Site Navigation

Your Account

Choose Language

Tether Reel from Cheap Extension Cord Reel

User-Contributed Guide

User-Contributed Guide

This guide is not managed by the site's staff.

In this guide I will show you the steps I took to modify a cheap extension cord reel into a tether reel.

  • Author: Brett Forsyth
  • Time estimate: 1 - 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This guide is heavily influenced by the tether reels of community members Kevin_K and Rick2 found at this post http://community.openrov.com/t/off-the-s...

3 Edit Step 1 Supplies  ¶ 

Image 1/3: It is important that the reel can come apart as you want to work on just the reel component by itself. You will need a pair of long needle nose pliers to pinch the tabs holding the reel together. You only need to remove the handle and undo the top handle. Image 2/3: You will also need to purchase a slip ring. I used a 6 wire one from adafruit and it fit perfectly http://www.adafruit.com/products/736 Image 3/3: Last you need 3 #10 stainless steel pan head machine screws and 3 #10 stainless lock nuts. I forgot to measure the length but I believe they were 1"

3 Edit Step 1 Supplies  ¶ 

  • Find a reel similar to this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bayco-K-100-150-... http://www.amazon.com/Bayco-K-100-150-Fo...

  • It is important that the reel can come apart as you want to work on just the reel component by itself. You will need a pair of long needle nose pliers to pinch the tabs holding the reel together. You only need to remove the handle and undo the top handle.

  • You will also need to purchase a slip ring. I used a 6 wire one from adafruit and it fit perfectly http://www.adafruit.com/products/736

  • Last you need 3 #10 stainless steel pan head machine screws and 3 #10 stainless lock nuts. I forgot to measure the length but I believe they were 1"

Edit Step 2 Reel Prep  ¶ 

Image 1/2: This is also a good time to drill a small hold into the non-handle side of your reel. You can see the hole in the images. You want it to be just bigger than the tether wire. Image 2/2: This is also a good time to drill a small hold into the non-handle side of your reel. You can see the hole in the images. You want it to be just bigger than the tether wire.

Edit Step 2 Reel Prep  ¶ 

  • If your reel has a hook meant for holding the extension cord remove it and sand it smooth.

  • This is also a good time to drill a small hold into the non-handle side of your reel. You can see the hole in the images. You want it to be just bigger than the tether wire.

Edit Step 3 Slip ring mount  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Cut a piece of material to those dimensions. I had some thing acrylic lying around that I glued together but pretty much anything will work. Image 2/3: Cut a hole in the center that matches the thick part of the slip ring behind the flange. Image 3/3: Place the slip ring in the hole and mark the location of the 3 holes.

Edit Step 3 Slip ring mount  ¶ 

  • Measure the inside diameter of the reel opening. Make sure you are measuring the side that the hole you drilled in the previous step is on.

  • Cut a piece of material to those dimensions. I had some thing acrylic lying around that I glued together but pretty much anything will work.

  • Cut a hole in the center that matches the thick part of the slip ring behind the flange.

  • Place the slip ring in the hole and mark the location of the 3 holes.

  • Drill out the three holes

  • Sand the material around the three holes to allow for a better epoxy bond

  • Tape the threads of your bolts so they don't get epoxy on them (remove the tape once everything dries)

  • Epoxy the bolts to your material

Edit Step 4 Tether wire prep  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Apply a small amount of hot glue to the wire to prevent it from pulling out.

Edit Step 4 Tether wire prep  ¶ 

  • Pull a length of the tether through the hole

  • Apply a small amount of hot glue to the wire to prevent it from pulling out.

  • Apply hot glue around the wire on the other side to help prevent water getting into this area later.

Edit Step 5 Affixing the slip ring mount  ¶ 

Image 1/3: Apply some epoxy to the plastic reinforcing tabs inside the reel hole Image 2/3: Insert the slip ring mount and pull the tether through the center hole. Make sure you sand the top and bottom surfaces of this as well. Image 3/3: Apply a bead of epoxy all around the edge of the mount.

Edit Step 5 Affixing the slip ring mount  ¶ 

  • Sand the inside surfaces of the reel

  • Apply some epoxy to the plastic reinforcing tabs inside the reel hole

  • Insert the slip ring mount and pull the tether through the center hole. Make sure you sand the top and bottom surfaces of this as well.

  • Apply a bead of epoxy all around the edge of the mount.

Edit Step 6 Attaching the slip ring  ¶ 

Image 1/3: I went a step further and applied hot glue to the wire ends to water proof them and around the seam of of the slip ring for the same reason. Image 2/3: Solder the tether wires to the slip ring wires. I used the hot glue and water proof heat shrink on this joint. Image 3/3: Affix the slip ring to the mount using the lock nuts

Edit Step 6 Attaching the slip ring  ¶ 

  • Prep the slip ring by coiling the 4 unused wires. Use a zip tie to hold them in place.

  • I went a step further and applied hot glue to the wire ends to water proof them and around the seam of of the slip ring for the same reason.

  • Solder the tether wires to the slip ring wires. I used the hot glue and water proof heat shrink on this joint.

  • Affix the slip ring to the mount using the lock nuts

  • At this point I would recommend winding the tether on the reel (I had done this previously but then you have to take things apart again). Place the reel back into the frame and reattach the handle.

Edit Step 7 Protect the wires  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Protect the exposed wires with heat shrink. Use a bit of hot glue at the start and end to help with keeping water out.

Edit Step 7 Protect the wires  ¶ 

  • Optional: Extend the wires that came with the slip ring

  • Protect the exposed wires with heat shrink. Use a bit of hot glue at the start and end to help with keeping water out.

Edit Step 8 Finishing touches  ¶ 

Image 1/1: Attach the tether wires to the top side adaptor.

Edit Step 8 Finishing touches  ¶ 

  • Attach the top size adapter to the reel using a velco wire strap.

  • Attach the tether wires to the top side adaptor.

Conclusion

So far this reel has worked well for me. I spent a lot of time getting the twists out of the tether before I wound it on and I would highly recommend that you do as well.

3 Comments

To pop the reel apart are you just supposed to squeeze the tabs and pull on the handle to pop it free, I can squeeze on the tabs(the part protruding that has a split down the middle located within the reel) but I don't seem to be able to get anything to pop apart. Any tips? Thanks

Chan Valentine - Reply

Hi Chan,

It is a bit tricky but I squeezed and pushed with the need nose that I was using

Brett Forsyth -

If your interested in ditching the slip ring and making the OpenROV Wireless, you can set it up with a TP-Link portable Router. I set my OpenROV(1491) up with one and set it to be a simple access point. Doing so has allowed me to have even more versatility as the ROV seems to support multiple devices connected with with little to no addition to the ping, and seems to perform just as well with multiple devices connected. The TP-Link is the TL-MR3040. Its actually kind of a steal for $30 and has a little bit longer battery life than the ROV. It has both a full USB port (designed for 3g usbs, but works great to feed the ROV) and an Ethernet port.

I set it up using the idea from here: How to build a WiFi enabled Tether Management System And just improved on it using a router with a built in battery.

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0088PP...

BeardedMechEngineer - Reply