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1/4" patch cables: RoHS or Prop 65 compliant options?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author 1/4" patch cables: RoHS or Prop 65 compliant options?
Sir Ruff
Anyone know of any non-pvc or low/no lead patch cable options? I actually got a bunch of non-pvc cables from Monoprice, but the shortest are 3' and they are also quite heavy/bulky for patching duties.
kcd06
I'm a little unclear on the, "...non-pvc or low/no lead patch cable..." requirement since pvc and lead (in the solder) serve different functions, unless instead the "or" should be an "and". (Not being obnoxious, just trying to understand the request.)

Non-lead solder is probably not too difficult to find, though I have never actually looked for it in patch cables. No PVC is a bit more interesting, as it excludes (edit: the original "nearly every variety of wire" should be "the more commonly available varieties of wire"; IDK why I wrote that cause its really incorrect) I have used or run across short of stuff like magneto wire which is plastic or lacquer coated. You might be able to find someone making wire for antique restoration that is latex insulated and fiber wrapped. Almost certainly this would mass more than an equivalent from Hosa or whomever.
Pelsea
PVC is OK for cable insulation under RoHS. Which prop 65? California just requires a notice of any possibility of cancer.
PVC is allowed under NEC except for plenum installations.

Here's a list of common insulation types and their restrictions
https://www.awcwire.com/insulation-materials

I'm a fan of PTFE (Teflon) myself, but it is expensive.
Sir Ruff
kcd06 wrote:
I'm a little unclear on the, "...non-pvc or low/no lead patch cable..." requirement since pvc and lead (in the solder) serve different functions, unless instead the "or" should be an "and". (Not being obnoxious, just trying to understand the request.)


yeah, it's not the solder I'm concerned about but the lead in the PVC itself (it's used as a stabilizer). PVC in general is just nasty stuff and I'm trying to reduce the amount of that in our house.

Pelsea wrote:
PVC is OK for cable insulation under RoHS. Which prop 65? California just requires a notice of any possibility of cancer.
PVC is allowed under NEC except for plenum installations.


Maybe I need to aim for RoHS compliant cables (i.e., ones sold in both US and Europe) since the US doesn't have the same kind of restrictions aside from the Proposition 65 cancer warning (that's what my basis would be for relative amount of lead in PVC for a US product).
Dave Peck
If you buy through large established electronics distributors like Digikey, Mouser, etc. you can check for RoHS compliance when using the parts search system. It's one of the search fields.
Sir Ruff
Dave Peck wrote:
If you buy through large established electronics distributors like Digikey, Mouser, etc. you can check for RoHS compliance when using the parts search system. It's one of the search fields.


I did check that and unfortunately they tend to start out fairly $$, even on the low end.

But actually, Hosa just confirmed that their colored patch cables series (the CPP models) do NOT have lead in the PVC housing, which is great.
Rex Coil 7
Pelsea wrote:
...I'm a fan of PTFE (Teflon) myself, but it is expensive.
+ 10 bazillion ..... thumbs up

I pick up 100ft spools of 20ga Milspec Aircraft Grade fiberglass reinforced Teflon insulated 19strand wire for $9.00 per spool at various aircraft suppliers. That's $0.09 per foot. Comes in a number of colors, and each "batch" is numbered with the batch I.D. on the insulation about every foot or so.



mskala
Sir Ruff wrote:
kcd06 wrote:
I'm a little unclear on the, "...non-pvc or low/no lead patch cable..." requirement since pvc and lead (in the solder) serve different functions, unless instead the "or" should be an "and". (Not being obnoxious, just trying to understand the request.)


yeah, it's not the solder I'm concerned about but the lead in the PVC itself (it's used as a stabilizer). PVC in general is just nasty stuff and I'm trying to reduce the amount of that in our house.


I wonder how common lead in PVC really is for electronics in this era of RoHS. Plenty of PVC products are RoHS-certified, and when they're not it's more likely to be because of phthalate plasticizers, not lead. If you have specific objections to PVC independent of lead or phthalates, fine, you know your reasons for that, but "PVC free" isn't really a concept routinely used in the electronics industry, and absolutely isn't the same thing as RoHS let alone Prop 65.

Maybe your best bet is to search for "halogen free," which would imply no PVC and is a concept the industry does routinely use (because of corrosion concerns).
Pelsea
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Pelsea wrote:
...I'm a fan of PTFE (Teflon) myself, but it is expensive.
+ 10 bazillion ..... thumbs up

I pick up 100ft spools of 20ga Milspec Aircraft Grade fiberglass reinforced Teflon insulated 19strand wire for $9.00 per spool at various aircraft suppliers. That's $0.09 per foot. Comes in a number of colors, and each "batch" is numbered with the batch I.D. on the insulation about every foot or so.


My stash came from the surplus dock of Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids IA back in 1978. Collins was fhe leading manufacturer of aerospace radios at the time. They sold precut (stripped and tinned) teflon insulated wire for something like 2 cents a pound. There were various colors and lengths from 1 inch to 3 feet. I filled the trunk of a car and never looked back. I’m down to a couple of shoeboxes full, but that will do.
Sir Ruff
mskala wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:
kcd06 wrote:
I'm a little unclear on the, "...non-pvc or low/no lead patch cable..." requirement since pvc and lead (in the solder) serve different functions, unless instead the "or" should be an "and". (Not being obnoxious, just trying to understand the request.)


yeah, it's not the solder I'm concerned about but the lead in the PVC itself (it's used as a stabilizer). PVC in general is just nasty stuff and I'm trying to reduce the amount of that in our house.


I wonder how common lead in PVC really is for electronics in this era of RoHS. Plenty of PVC products are RoHS-certified, and when they're not it's more likely to be because of phthalate plasticizers, not lead. If you have specific objections to PVC independent of lead or phthalates, fine, you know your reasons for that, but "PVC free" isn't really a concept routinely used in the electronics industry, and absolutely isn't the same thing as RoHS let alone Prop 65.


Good question. I was definitely surprised to hear that there was no lead in the Hosa cables. But RoHS still allows up to 1000 ppm of lead in PVC so that's not even really "no lead", just low lead.

Quote:
Maybe your best bet is to search for "halogen free," would would imply no PVC and is a concept the industry does routinely use (because of corrosion concerns).


Interesting. Guessing this is not the type of product that ends up being widely available for consumer purchase though.

My next search is actually for low-/no lead IEC power cables to replace the current ones I have... Guessing RoHS compliant ones from mouser are my best option unless anyone has any suggestions.
mskala
Sir Ruff wrote:
Good question. I was definitely surprised to hear that there was no lead in the Hosa cables. But RoHS still allows up to 1000 ppm of lead in PVC so that's not even really "no lead", just low lead.


You're going to find it very difficult to buy anything with real, certified limits tighter than the legal definitions.
Sir Ruff
mskala wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:
Good question. I was definitely surprised to hear that there was no lead in the Hosa cables. But RoHS still allows up to 1000 ppm of lead in PVC so that's not even really "no lead", just low lead.


You're going to find it very difficult to buy anything with real, certified limits tighter than the legal definitions.


Yes, understood. But at the same time, I didn't have to look far to find the Hosa cables, which I actually already owned.
Rex Coil 7
Sir Ruff wrote:
PVC in general is just nasty stuff and I'm trying to reduce the amount of that in our house.
What of your water pipes? I mean, if your home has PVC pipes those are exposing your family to far more PVC than the tiny bit of off-gassing some patch cables may be doing. Kinda like worrying about what the candle flame might do, when the house is already fully ablaze and burning down.

Perhaps I misunderstand this whole thing.


seriously, i just don't get it
Sir Ruff
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:
PVC in general is just nasty stuff and I'm trying to reduce the amount of that in our house.
What of your water pipes? I mean, if your home has PVC pipes those are exposing your family to far more PVC than the tiny bit of off-gassing some patch cables may be doing. Kinda like worrying about what the candle flame might do, when the house is already fully ablaze and burning down.


Thankfully we have copper pipes.

But leaching of lead from PVC water piping has actually been shown to be a significant source of lead in drinking water... so yes much worse than just some cable off-gassing.
hsosdrum
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:
PVC in general is just nasty stuff and I'm trying to reduce the amount of that in our house.
What of your water pipes? I mean, if your home has PVC pipes those are exposing your family to far more PVC than the tiny bit of off-gassing some patch cables may be doing. Kinda like worrying about what the candle flame might do, when the house is already fully ablaze and burning down.

Perhaps I misunderstand this whole thing.


seriously, i just don't get it

Perhaps you mean ABS, Rex? Over the years my plumbers have replaced all the old cast-iron outbound (sewer) pipes in my house with ABS pipes.
wackelpeter
mskala wrote:


Maybe your best bet is to search for "halogen free," which would imply no PVC and is a concept the industry does routinely use (because of corrosion concerns).



The Concept with halogen free cable is mostly due to fire protection concerns.
Halogen free cable, does not set free the toxic gases and components that normal PVC set's free if it's enflamed, also it's much less flamable. But i haven'T heard About it in the context of corrosion, if it's not the characteristics when exposed to fire what you meant.

Btw. i don't like the halogen cable i have to use for our electronic cabling and wiring at work often… it's less flexible and pretty thick, compared to normal PVC cables…
Don't know if there'S a good equivalent for patching purposes around as i would tend to say, that These should be highly flexible and bendable and not as stiff as the halogen stuff i use.
JohnLRice
Sir Ruff wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:
PVC in general is just nasty stuff and I'm trying to reduce the amount of that in our house.
What of your water pipes? I mean, if your home has PVC pipes those are exposing your family to far more PVC than the tiny bit of off-gassing some patch cables may be doing. Kinda like worrying about what the candle flame might do, when the house is already fully ablaze and burning down.


Thankfully we have copper pipes.
Copper pipes could still be an issue if the pipes were soldered with lead based solder. Here's an article to read through:
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20040708005684/en/Contamination -Lead-Solder-Household-Water-Pipes-Toxic
Sir Ruff
JohnLRice wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
Sir Ruff wrote:
PVC in general is just nasty stuff and I'm trying to reduce the amount of that in our house.
What of your water pipes? I mean, if your home has PVC pipes those are exposing your family to far more PVC than the tiny bit of off-gassing some patch cables may be doing. Kinda like worrying about what the candle flame might do, when the house is already fully ablaze and burning down.


Thankfully we have copper pipes.
Copper pipes could still be an issue if the pipes were soldered with lead based solder. Here's an article to read through:
https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20040708005684/en/Contamination -Lead-Solder-Household-Water-Pipes-Toxic


Yes, for sure.
mskala
wackelpeter wrote:
mskala wrote:


Maybe your best bet is to search for "halogen free," which would imply no PVC and is a concept the industry does routinely use (because of corrosion concerns).



The Concept with halogen free cable is mostly due to fire protection concerns.
Halogen free cable, does not set free the toxic gases and components that normal PVC set's free if it's enflamed, also it's much less flamable. But i haven'T heard About it in the context of corrosion, if it's not the characteristics when exposed to fire what you meant.


I've been reading a lot about solder fluxes recently and that's what I was thinking of. The main reason for wanting fluxes to be halogen-free is corrosion, not toxicity, because chloride ions in particular catalyse the ongoing oxidation of copper. For cable, yes, toxicity in a fire is probably a bigger reason for halogen-free to be an issue. On the other hand, the halogen compounds specifically banned by RoHS are bromine-containing fire retardants; there may be a trade-off between preventing fire and having the fire be non-toxic once it's happening.

The original poster hasn't stated a clear reason for objecting to PVC independent of its inferred lead content (about which I have some doubts), and toxicity in a fire may not be the main concern for an individual who doesn't plan to set fire to the cables. Unplanned fires aren't exactly non-toxic in any case. But I suggested halogen-free as a target because no matter what the reason, something that is halogen-free will necessarily be PVC-free.
Sir Ruff
mskala wrote:
The original poster hasn't stated a clear reason for objecting to PVC independent of its inferred lead content (about which I have some doubts)


you've highlighted my exact reason smile The lead content of PVC is pretty well established--obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but I am inclined to err on the side of caution unless told otherwise. I don't want to have to worry about washing my hands every time I do a cable swap (the transfer of lead from PVC to hands I AM inferring here, since I haven't found any good research on it, but again, erring on side of caution).

The fire issues you mentioned are logical, but in the grand scheme of things, some PVC cables are not going to be the biggest environmental concern if a house goes up in flames.
mskala
Sir Ruff wrote:
You've highlighted my exact reason :) The lead content of PVC is pretty well established--obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but I am inclined to err on the side of caution unless told otherwise. I don't want to have to worry about washing my hands every time I do a cable swap (the transfer of lead from PVC to hands I AM inferring here, since I haven't found any good research on it, but again, erring on side of caution).


RoHS forbids intentionally added lead in any concentration except for certain exemptions and PVC isn't one of them. I think you're wasting your time trying to seek something both lead-free and PVC-free if your reason for avoiding PVC is only because of lead.
Sir Ruff
mskala wrote:
RoHS forbids intentionally added lead in any concentration except for certain exemptions and PVC isn't one of them. I think you're wasting your time trying to seek something both lead-free and PVC-free if your reason for avoiding PVC is only because of lead.


see posts above:

1) I bought some RoHS compliant, canvas jacketed 1/4" cables. No PVC and (presumably) minimal/no lead in jacket.

2) I was looking for other lead-free (not PVC free) options--Thankfully Hosa cables (which I already own) use lead-free PVC.

So there are affordable/mainstream options out there which fit either one or both criteria.
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