How to make a simple DIY tethering cable strain relief

Tips & Techniques

Once you start with cabled tethering from your camera to your computer you’ll soon want to look into a solution for a strain relief for the cable on your camera side to not only protect you from accidental disconnections, but even more from damaging your camera’s internal connector port.

Pretty soon you will stumble over the JerkStopper by Tether Tools which is basically a small plastic part that cramps around the cable with a short cord that is bound to the strap eyelet of your camera. Well, that little thing is everything else than cheap at over $16 currently.

Some cameras like the Canon 5D Mark IV also come with a cable protector that works perfectly for this camera. But that is a very rare case for a very limited number of cameras.

Luckily a lot of people have published similar DIY solutions, which are cheaper and fit every camera. Just search on YouTube and you will find plenty of DIY alternatives. Here I would like to present you a slightly different approach that works very well for me.

The biggest gripe I have with the JerkStopper concept is that the cable stands away straight from the camera. This means that there is still quite a lot mechanical force that the straight plug can cause on our camera’s internal port. Plus you always have a cable loop next to the camera. It’s pretty easy to get caught with the loop somewhere. Also this combination makes it not so easy to hold your camera in portrait position.

Therefore I prefer an angled plug that allows the cable to run down to the side for the camera.

This puts already much less force on the connector, but you still need a real strain relief. As I have an Arca Swiss plate attached to my camera all the time anyway (specifically the Peak Design Capture Clip plate) and I want a solution that can be quickly attached and detached I have opted for an Arca Swiss clamp. The ideal clamp was the Andoer 38mm clamp. Not only is it cheap, but it has loop holes on all sides. Using two cable binders I simply attached the tethering cable to the clamp.

Now I can attach the clamp to the plate on the bottom of my camera and I have an elegant strain relief that can be attached and detached very quickly.

And in case you have to work with a tripod, still no problem. That Andoer clamp has an Arca Swiss plate profile itself as well. So you can connect your camera with the attached clamp to your tripods Arca Swiss clamp.

If you are working for a longer time with a tripod I recommend to use Velcro tapes to secure the cable to the bottom of one of the tripods legs. In that case you won’t knock over the tripod with your camera on when someone is stumbling over the cable.

On the laptop end of the cable Tether Tools is also offering a jerk stopper version. Again a very expensive piece of plastic. Well, I’d say save the money and just use a Velcro tape again to secure the cable to one of the table’s legs.

Lastly one word on the cable itself. I have a pretty cheap 5m USB cable with an angled mini-USB connector by Delock. It works very well and I had no transmission problems yet. However it’s plain black and can be overseen very easily therefore. Also it tends to twist itself very easily. It’s good enough for me, but in case you will use the tethering cable more often or even professionally you might want to search for a better cable. Personally I haven’t tested the Tether Tools cable, which can be used with an angled adapter as well. I can imagine that this cable does not twist and of course its light, shiny color, might prevent the need for a strain relief in some cases, which is always better of course.

About the Author

Carsten Schlipf is a photographer and a hacksmith based in Germany. You can read more of his thoughts on his website. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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