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DIY Stereo Cables (how to make or fix)

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  • DIY Stereo Cables (how to make or fix)

    For those who want to save a bit (all of us i'm guessing) i've gathered some photos together to show those that can't yet.

    first you need a stereo cable (i used some mic cable)
    a couple of stereo jacks and a soldering iron.
    i also use some pliers and swiss army knife to cut the cable down and get the rubber sleeves off.

    Unscrew the back of the jack plug the slide that on the cable
    *its much easier to do it now than later (if your on the first end it doesn't matter)

    cut off 1cm of the outer sleeve...

    then peel back all the 'ground' wiring to reveal the red and white wires.
    and in this case some string insulation.

    cut the insulation off and prepare the wires for soldering by twisting any exposed wire (this keeps it all together and helps it take the solder)
    *the sleeve wire is often too bulky to thread into the jack so its good to either cut some off or twist into one useful bit and the other to keep out of the way.

    then you need to solder the red wire to the tip
    white to ring and the sleeve to... the sleeve!
    *its good to coil the excess sleeve round the cable to keep out of the way

    make sure no wires are touching each other!

    sorry about the blur, my macro wouldn't focus.

    then screw the back on the jack and repeat on the other end.

    *tip if your strugling to get the solder to 'stick' to the tabs apply a little more solder and hold the soldering iron on the tab until the solder seems to soak into the tab rather than a bead on top.
    keep your soldering iron clean by wiping on a damp sponge.

    Good luck and share your knowledge!

    My kit 25/02/09 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anzGxUMv3U4

    Share the knowledge and evolve together.

  • #2
    maplins do a pack of stereo 0.6m leads for £9.99 which are good value. they aren't 90deg jacks though and all different colours. just a heads up for the budget solderphobes.

    it's funny you should post this, i'm making my own today, got 12m of good quality cable (same colour as my shells) and a load of jack plugs (straight and 90 deg) from maplins. make them to custom lengths, bob's your uncle and fanny's your aunt. there is something therapeutic about setting up and settling in for a big cable soldering session


    • #3
      thank you VERY MUCH for this functional post.


      • #4
        good stuff, have a great day with your iron.

        One of the great things about making your own is customizing them (as you mentioned). colour, length, 90% plugs, mini jacks, RCA plugs, Y leads etc..

        My kit 25/02/09 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anzGxUMv3U4

        Share the knowledge and evolve together.


        • #5
          The other very useful thing that is worth the trivial effort to make is a cable soldering jig. If you are going to be building or repairing a lot of cables, it will pay for itself in no time at all. Here's mine: I have XLR, TRS, RCA, and MIDI jacks on a piece of scrap aluminum I can clamp to the workbench. The connector insert for each type of cable can be plugged into the mating jack on the jig- which very efficiently keeps the little suckers from running around the bench while soldering on them. This is a *huge* timesaver.

          Second image: You'll note that the XLRs look like they are upside down. This is done so that the solder pockets on Neutrik XLR connector inserts are facing up for ease of tinning and soldering.

          Third image: One turd-polishing thing I've done is to wire all these connectors together, and off to a short stub MIDI cable, so that I can plug the jig directly into my cable tester. This allows me to test the cable right as I'm building it (one end plugged into the jig, the other into the tester), and helps speed up repairing dead cables immeasurably.

          The tapered slot I cut into the scrap aluminum is my third hand: it is intended to be the place to park the cable for stripping and tinning- the last picture shows that as well.

          There's nothing like having the right tool for the job to make things go quickly and easily- and once you have it, there's never any reason to be stuck with cables that are dressed to the wrong length, laying around in snarls and piles... For anyone who might want some more DIY info on this topic, I posted all of this and more in a thread on the Recording Project web site: http://www.recordingproject.com/bbs/...ic.php?t=30764 .

          And here's one more very useful link for cable-building info: http://colomar.com/Shavano/construction.html . Share the knowledge, for sure: that's a great philosophy!
          Attached Files
          Last edited by skod; 04-23-08, 11:32 AM.


          • #6
            Great idea Skod, i (like most people) am restricted to just two hands!

            My kit 25/02/09 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anzGxUMv3U4

            Share the knowledge and evolve together.