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Oculus Rift broken Cable repair attempt

Published on Wednesday 18 September 2019
Categories: Electronics |

Oculus Rift Cable Teardown

I purchased my Oculus Rift headset back in July 2016 and since then it has had a lot of use. Last month I started to get an intermittent issue with the HDMI disconnecting.

I assumed that it was the headset cable and so I contacted Oculus support who told me that the cables are no longer being supplied or sold unless the headset was under warranty.

I tried a different HDMI extension cable on my Rift headset and the issue was resolved so it was a problem with the extension but as I knew that other people had problems with their cables it was only a matter of time before mine failed, rendering the VR kit worthless and junk as Oculus have chosen not to support first generation VR headset users.

I found a lot of other people who had the same headset cable issues and who are unable to get a replacement cable and so I decided to order a faulty cable from eBay to see if it is possible to repair them to give me a spare cable for the future.

The faulty cable arrived from eBay and it had several large kinks and flattened areas in its length. I connected the cable to my Oculus Rift headset and starting at the headset end of the cable, moved the cable around bending it in all directions to find the section which had a fault.

The fault was tracked down to a section around 20cm from the headset connector end and after removing the outer plastic covering and separating the wires we reconnected it to the headset and wiggled each of the exposed wires to try to recreate the blank headset problem.

Cable Overview

Inside the outer cable covering is a metal braid and shield which contains the following:

2 x USB cables, twisted pair which are green and white.

5 x shielded twisted pairs for HDMI channels with ground wire and shield in each.

5 small cables.

4 larger cables.

 

The Problem Wire(s)

Oculus Rift Cable Cut

The issue was tracked down to an intermittent connection on what appeared to be a small red/silver cable and after inspection under the microscope it turned out to be a twin pair twisted cable with a metal shield and foil covering which appears to be one of the HDMI channels.

Oculus Rift Cable HDMI cables

Using photos taken under the microscope at 20x magnification next to a known size component (0805 resistor), I was able to approximate the cable size to be:

Outer shielded sheath 0.8mm diameter.

Twisted pair inner cable 0.3mm diameter.

Twisted pair inner cable core: 0.12mm diameter.

As these are much too small for me to solder by hand and keep the tight twists in the pair of cables, I was not able to proceed any further with repairing the cable and so we decided to take the headset connector apart to see what is inside and if it would be possible to source a replacement.

Removing the plastic covering revealed a shielded metal enclosure.

Oculus Rift Cable Connector

Lifting the metal cover revealed a small circuit board with a second plastic cover and the cable connections sealed in a clear potting compound.

Oculus Rift Cable Connector lid removed

The photo below shows the very small twisted pair HDMI cables with their three connections onto the connector.

Oculus Rift Cables

Under the other side of the connector was a very small circuit.

Oculus Rift Cable Circuit

The integrated circuits are marked as:

S7
`VR7050

S01.04

G1UN86

1734MO

This is a VR7050 USB 3.0 In-Cable Equalizer from www.spectra7.com/vr7050

 

SPECTRA7

VR7100-S-01

QMN82.14

1732DI

This seems to be a older chip dating back to 2012  from this press release: https://www.spectra7.com/pdfs/VR7100_PressRelease_Rev_2.2.pdf which states:

“The VR7100 features patented chip technology which is optimized to deliver the video bandwidth required for a fully immersive, stereoscopic 3D experience. The chip leverages Spectra7’s patented power harvesting algorithms, eliminating the need for any external power source while delivering up to Ultra HD 4K resolution. The VR7100 is available in a miniature, ultra-low profile QFN package measuring 5mm x 5mm.”

Oculus Rift Cable Teardown Chips

 

As is it not possible to repair this cable or replace the connector due to the proprietary connector and cable, I will have to replace my entire Oculus Rift VR system when my cable finally breaks.

After looking at the current Oculus models, I think it maybe time to ditch the platform and go to the HTC Vive Pro with its two lighthouse transmitters to be installed in the room.

Update: 19th Sept.

After posting a link to this post on Reddit there were numerous comments regarding my soldering skills and how easy it would be to connect wires with a thickness the same as a human hair (0.08 – 0.1mm width).

Soldering the actual cables together wouldn’t be too much of an issue with the fine tip irons we use but the problem would be insulating the twisted pair cables and maintaining the twists thought out the length of the repairs.

With twisted pair cables, having a straight section without the twists would cause problems with the signal integrity and can introduce interference with the HDMI data rendering the repair useless.

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23 Comments


parsecn

20 September 2019 at 8:28 am

Thank you for taking the time to publish your journey at repair attempt. The detailed photos and information is excellent, albeit discouraging as it would be great to self-repair. For anyone who has stumbled on this page, please take a moment to vote at Oculus user voice https://oculus.uservoice.com/forums/918556-oculus-rift-s-and-rift/suggestions/38506144 "Please continue selling Rift CV1 spares for a reasonable time" An email address and name is all that is required to vote.

Corscaria

29 October 2019 at 5:07 pm

Im 99.99% certain that the chips in the cable can be left out if you use thicker cables. The purpose of the chips is to allow the use of thinner and thus lighter cables.

I bought a CV1 off eBay, but it didn't come with a cable. So I'm trying to find one cheap, even a broken one. I have a strict rule that i wont pay more than i paid for the CV1, which disqualifies every cable on eBay...

Rajko

09 January 2020 at 12:51 pm

Since you already opened up the cable any chance of documenting the proprietary end's pinout ?

Roman

25 February 2020 at 12:05 am

This really sucks, mine just broke. I can't believe all the pieces are just trash now and I have to buy another vr headset. So frustrating. Thanks for the attempt

T Bastian

26 March 2020 at 4:07 pm

How about replacing the 17 pin connector on the MB and create a new cable, thicker perhaps, but sturdier??

Alexis

29 March 2020 at 9:11 am

Thank you so much for all of the useful info here, it gave me the knowledge and confidence to try a repair of my own. My CV1 cable has been broken for months (ran over it with an office chair) and I've tried everything to get a replacement short of ordering one from eBay for $200. So emailing after emailing Oculus support again today and being told the same "we haven't made a decision about offering replacement cables" I found this article and proceeded to dismantle my Oculus cable, I figured worst case scenario is I still had a broken Oculus. It turns out that there was a hair thin baby blue wire that had been cut, so I had to melt the shielding off of both ends of the wire because when I tried to strip it the wire broke again. Since I don't own a soldering iron I twisted the two wires together and then wrap them in electrical tape. After that I wrapped that whole section of wire in electrical tape and then used two tongue depressors as splints and wrapped that entire thing in electrical tape to prevent the wires from moving and coming disconnected. I figure it might last a few months if I'm lucky and very gentle with it but it's working for now. So it turns out the cable is repairable if it is a simple wire break like mine.

Andrew McAdam

02 April 2020 at 12:10 pm

Good article. I'm about to try to attach a new USB plug to my oculus cable as someone tripped over the cable which bent the USB connecter and broke it. I've found if I clamp the USB plug with a vice I can get it to work but I want a better solution. My only worry (before cutting the cable yet) is whether the colors of the individual cables will match those in my replacement USB3 cable, there's a lot of them.

Dan

15 April 2020 at 5:18 pm

It doesnt match i dont think. your going to need a vr7050 to replace the USB portion but I don't know the pin out

Greg

21 April 2020 at 6:23 am

Thanks for this attempt and posting the information you could get from it. I have done micro-circuit repairs before (smaller than that resistor you posted) and have an idea for you.
Why not solder a female HDMI + USB 3 connector to the Rift's proprietary connector? You would need to melt the white glue from it (heat gun on low+ scrape off glue) then trace the connections using a multimeter. Once you get the pinouts mapped it's just a matter of soldering on the female connections for the HDMI+USB3. You can then run any male to male HDMI+USB3 cable from the PC to the the headset. If the cable breaks again it's not an issue as you can buy a new HDMI/USB3 cable easily.
Luckily my CV1 cable is still fine, but if it ever goes and Oculus won't provide replacements this will be my attempt to repair it. If it fails I'm moving on to another brand as companies that do this to customers don't deserve further business.

Terry

22 April 2020 at 6:31 pm

Love the new comments.. Im working on an fix like in what Greg mentioned, using std cables for length and making a shorter rift cable like the TPCast one... Working on pinouts..

Great minds

26 April 2020 at 2:22 pm

Great minds think alike i guess. I was just talking to my son about his Oculus last week. My hdmi and USB connectors come in Thuesday from Amazon, and i am going to cut his cable short, then add the hdmi and usb connector to it. Then stiffen the short proprietary cable section, and he can buy replacement HDMI and USB cables thereafter. I also considered opening it up and changing the proprietary connectors..

Luis

02 May 2020 at 5:01 pm

Did anyone have any success trying to add HDMI and USB female connectors to the headset? Id like to try the same on a Samsung Odyssey+ which appears to have the same configuration. Thanks.

Fistula

21 May 2020 at 9:03 am

Hi there, i got a non functioning rift for cheap and the cable was the issue. i found a kink in the wire, so inspected this area. under the shielding, a tiny tiny thin yellow wire had a kink in it, so i used a lighter to burn off that section of platic coating. and there it was. a break in the wire. i twisted it back together and put scotch tape on it to hold it in place. it worked! probably got 50 hrs of game play out of it in that state. i konw its rough, but im sure some of you more experianced folk could sort it better.

Oliver Schwarzer

23 May 2020 at 8:28 pm

Maybe we get lucky and some Chinese Company will build those Cables in the Future. Are Chinese here? Hello? Please tell your chinese Friends that you can make tons of Money with a third Party Oculus Rift CV1 HDMI+USB3 Cable.

Magitor

26 May 2020 at 3:37 pm

I get my CV1 from second hand too, started to map the connector
Sadly, the HDMI colors, USB3 coplord dont match to standards. I gonna do the homework tomorrow, and dtry to attach a new HDMI on the cable shorter.
I disassembled the HMD too, and the mainbord was scrached on my unit, and factory sealed there. As an elecitrcal engineer, this bothers me more, than the crap cable quality. I am so glad, that I didnt pruchased yet in full price Oculus products, because this, and handling the customers is merely a bad joke.

Dale Marlow

27 May 2020 at 5:15 pm

Has anyone cut the wires and rewired at points that still transmit power? Say 12 inches below the headset connector and 12 inches above the split. It may look ugly but would it work, at least until Quest gets back in stock.

Greg

05 June 2020 at 3:12 pm

Magitor, don't bother trying to match up the colors with HDMI or USB3 standards. They customized the cable and it is very unlikely they followed any standard color scheme. You need to trace the cables from the headset back to where it connects to the PC ends. You can use a multimeter or check the color bands on each end (if possible) to map out the pins on each side.
Also, do not bother trying to bypass the Spectra7 chipsets (keep them in there) as they are needed as a "repeater" for the signals considering the cable length. Make sure you use a HDMI 2.0 or higher cable for the replacement. I'm also not sure if Oculus programmers put anything in their software to check that the Spectra7 chipset is there in use (unlikely) but keeping the Spectra7 chipsets installed should resolve that matter.
In theory, this should all work once mapped and properly soldered. It's a shame Oculus is STILL not doing anything about this when they could be making a ton of money from this and keeping customers. The new buyers of their products don't know that this is going on. Sadly, Oculus just doesn't care which is why my next 4 headsets (for my family) will not be an Oculus product.

Magitor

06 June 2020 at 6:14 pm

Hi Greg, I learned a lot from disasembling the cables. The USB3 also have a few ic.
For exact tracing the USB must be stripped also.
Next time i try to cut te lenght super short, and attach the new HDMI first, if not work, then figure out how to bypass the whole "craple".
Oculus is a crappy company, I wont reccommend to nobody, merely a joke this situation. Only luck I spend like 100 buck on this project. But for full price, I definetly throw it whit the company window.

Yves

20 June 2020 at 5:23 pm

Hi there, i have the same Problem with a Rift i have bought on Ebay.
But i don‘t be able to repair my cable.
If anybody can help me, i‘m afraight.

Harima Kenji

23 July 2020 at 11:28 pm

Hello greetings from Spain, thanks to this post I managed to repair the cable, if the problem is the error of hdmi the solution is to cut and solder the braided cables,, red, blue, yellow and green, which have 2 cables inside, you need a soldering iron very fine and magnifying glasses or microscope

Chris

13 August 2020 at 12:30 pm

I'll just leave these pictures I took of an HMD / HDMI connector here in case it helps anyone. Still working on repairing a different cable, currently getting no errors in the Oculus software, it shows connected and no HDMI connection error, but only getting the orange light on the headset, haven't had any luck figuring out whats missing to make it change to white.


https://imgur.com/gallery/IaJkGOp

Isma

19 August 2020 at 1:22 pm

Hi, I have also had problems with my cable. I'm going to try to repair it. I have ordered several pieces to try to create a standard connector with HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0. The idea is to cut the cable about 15 cm from the connector of the glasses and connect two female USB and HDMI connectors to use normal cables. At the other end of the original cable place a couple more females.

Of course the first thing to do is determine each pin on the original cable. If someone has tried and has information it will be well received.

Nomen

15 September 2020 at 10:33 pm

35 years ago I desperately needed for my Sincalir Spectrum a flexible Centronix printer cable. I needed for this parallel interface about 15 wires (STB, ACK, Busy, D0-D7, PE and some GND wires - there are more signals, but they are for a home computer irrelevant). But at this time there was behind the iron curtain simply no usable cable available :( Eventually I found by chance lots of used antitank missile wire on a military firing range :) It was about 1mm thick and consisted of three thinner, insulated copper wires. It was no problem to push five of them through a 6 mm transparent spaghetti tube and an elegant, thin and flexible - but very resistant centronix cable was ready :)
It works well until now ...


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