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  1. #1
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    best way to extend speaker wire runs????

    I'm moving my equipment rack in the basement and need to extend the speaker wires to reach the new location which is about 23' longer than current run.
    The speakers wires are from home depot and are 12AWG. I currently don't use banana plugs, etc. Just straight wire.

    I'm not good at soldering so is there another 'best' way to keep the transfer of sound at the highest level?

    thanks,
    Greg

  2. #2
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    I've always found twisting the ends together, soldering and then wrapping electrical tape around them to be my method of choice but some well crimped butt connecters should work just as well.

    note the words "well crimped"

  3. #3
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    You could buy crimp on banna plugs and then connect using a double ended female bannana plug connector which you can pick up at radio shack. Or you can buy some 10-12g 99.9% copper wire from radio shack which comes on spools of 50' and just use this for speaker wire. By time you buy new high quality bannana plugs and the female adapter, you could have bought new wire for about the same price.
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  4. #4
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    thanks guys, the speaker wires are already run into the ceiling and i cannot rerun the wires. I may try to solder,but had no luck last time i tried.

  5. #5
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel_
    thanks guys, the speaker wires are already run into the ceiling and i cannot rerun the wires. I may try to solder,but had no luck last time i tried.
    ...were this existing wires fastened? If not you could probably use them as a drag...

    Soldering isn't difficult, but you have to do it correctly...you need a properly sized iron for the job, not too big, not too small (wattage that is). The conductors must be clean...if really funky, perhaps give them a "tooth" with a very, very fine abrasive...then a paper towel soaked in some isopropyl alchohol to remove any copper oxide dust the abrading created...make a good mechanical bond by twisting the new and old...maybe even get some soldering rosin to dip the pigtail in...most importantly, heat the conductors not the solder...if you use rosin it will start to smoke a bit which is part of the cleaning process >>>avoid breathing the vapors<<<...when they have reached to proper temp and while maintaining contact with the soldering gun/iron, touch the solder to the conductors...when the solder touches the wire it will flow towards the heat source leaving a bright shiny bond...anything that looks dull or grainy is a cold solder joint, so...WRONG...do it again...

    Practice on some scrap wire 'til you get it right...

    Wear safety glasses, avoid touching the element or molten solder and be mindful of solder splashes...that stuff get's HOT...ever burn the roof of your mouth with molten mozzarella...molten is the key word...

    jimHJJ(...red-hot pizza is child's play in comparison...)
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  6. #6
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    thanks for the tutorial...i'll give it a shot Saturday!!!

  7. #7
    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    nice post Resident Loser

    I have never found the optimal wattage to solder... I usually use 30W for most everything...lol
    12 gauge takes a wile at 30W...
    what iron do you have?
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  8. #8
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    A few...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rock789
    nice post Resident Loser

    I have never found the optimal wattage to solder... I usually use 30W for most everything...lol
    12 gauge takes a wile at 30W...
    what iron do you have?
    ...actually...A small, maybe 10/12W transformer powered job that I use on PCBs and like circuitry...A Weller 25W general purpose pencil-type w/ interchangable tips for larger (and odder) jobs...My workhorse Weller 100/140W dual-range gun; I Iike the near instant warm-up and cool down it provides, plus it has a built-in worklight...and a couple of irons of unknown origin and wattage which I could probably build a bridge with...Size does matter...plus an assortment of heat-sinks, cleaning tools and a few sizes of the indispensible Solda-Pult for de-soldering purposes...

    jimHJJ(...as the Weller folks say "Keep Your Tip Nuts tight"...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

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  9. #9
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock789
    nice post Resident Loser

    I have never found the optimal wattage to solder... I usually use 30W for most everything...lol
    12 gauge takes a wile at 30W...
    what iron do you have?
    I recommend at least 60 Watts for 12 guage, even then getting the wires hot will take a while. DO NOT use acid core solder (sold for radiators in automotive shops). If you decide to buy a soldering iron, buy one of the temperature controlled types, they cost more , but like any other tool, the success rate goes way up when you use a quality product.

    Also, electricians have been conecting large gauge wires with wire nuts for years. They are pretty good and probably best short of solder.

    You probably won't want this many of them, but here's what they look like: http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS...1576-wire_nuts
    Careful, they come in many sizes, verify that the ones you get are rated for 2 number 12 wires.
    Herman;

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  10. #10
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    i wouldnt solder or do ANY extensions.

    i would get new LONGER wire. it is nice to stay cheeeep but audioquest type 4 is very affordable and sounds GREAT.
    ...regards...tr

  11. #11
    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    I recommend at least 60 Watts for 12 guage, even then getting the wires hot will take a while. DO NOT use acid core solder (sold for radiators in automotive shops). If you decide to buy a soldering iron, buy one of the temperature controlled types, they cost more , but like any other tool, the success rate goes way up when you use a quality product.

    Also, electricians have been conecting large gauge wires with wire nuts for years. They are pretty good and probably best short of solder.

    You probably won't want this many of them, but here's what they look like: http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS...1576-wire_nuts
    Careful, they come in many sizes, verify that the ones you get are rated for 2 number 12 wires.
    http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS...1576-wire_nuts
    the tan or almond wire nut is my fav!
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  12. #12
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    every connection or junction

    carries with it the opportunity for lost sound quality. new wire in one piece, even if its just 12ga twin lead will be better than soldering or twisting, banana plugs, or wire nuts. as a TEMPORARY fix to see if a speaker position is good is one thing but splicing speaker wire is foolishness as a permanent setup.
    ...regards...tr

  13. #13
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Did you see the part where he said it was already run through the ceiling and that he can't remove it?

    To the original poster: you could tie the new speaker wire to the old speaker wire and pull it through, couldn't you?
    Eschew fascism.
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  14. #14
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    actually i didnt notice that he was running thru the ceiling

    but your solution is way more sensible than splicing, dusty.
    ...regards...tr

  15. #15
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    If anyone...

    ...wishes to take note, I'd suggested using the existing wires as a drag if practicable...however...I also addressed, with a blow-by-blow narrative, the OPs hesitancy of going the solder route, based on his previous experience...

    Now IMO to anyone saying that a properly made, soldered connection is somehow a lesser connection I respond with a hearty "HOGWASH"...If you want to go along with the KISS priciple as a legit reason I'm there 1000%...I' d rather run new, but that's a personal problem and in no way related to any supposed sonic loss...Shall we count the soldered joints from mic to loudspeaker...and while most PCBs etc. are done by machines, in "baths" and with eutectic solders (actually the reason these formulations were developed...not for some sacrosanct audiophool reasons) many are now crimped, punched-on or otherwise mechanically done...And that's the key...a good, clean mechanical connection is absolutely paramount in a sucessful splice/junction...the conductors' metal-to-metal contact is where the more musical members of the electron brigade march to and fro...The solder, and pay attention now, encapsulates the joint as a defense from environmental conditions; the fact that it's composed of nickel and lead, lesser conductors than copper, has little or nothing to do with sonics...

    Is there some measureable difference? I dunno'...never took the time to look with my trusty VOM, due to the fact that there was zero empirical evidence that such action was required...to put it simply and in my best Mr. Gumby accent..."eee...iii...eee...I tain't never heard no setch ting"...Nor have there been recurring solder/joint problems with telecom or data transmission with it's countless soldered and crimped connections that bring you from point A to B...In essence, nay-sayers seem to think our puny, little slice of frequencies is far more problematic than that of other related fields...As my friend Tony used to say in his Italian-tinged English: "Bowl-a-$h!t-a"...

    jimHJJ(...and Antonio I agree...)
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  16. #16
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Loser
    ...edit...Now IMO to anyone saying that a properly made, soldered connection is somehow a lesser connection I respond with a hearty "HOGWASH"...edit...
    And that's the key...a good, clean mechanical connection is absolutely paramount in a sucessful splice/junction...the conductors' metal-to-metal contact is where the more musical members of the electron brigade march to and fro...The solder, and pay attention now, encapsulates the joint as a defense from environmental conditions; the fact that it's composed of nickel and lead, lesser conductors than copper, has little or nothing to do with sonics...edit...
    As my friend Tony used to say in his Italian-tinged English: "Bowl-a-$h!t-a"...jimHJJ(...and Antonio I agree...)
    In the electronics production business we call a joint "a defect opportunity". You are correct that a properly made joint has excellent life expectancy and little if any sonic effect. Nevertheless no joint is still superior to a joint no matter how carefully made.

    Please note that in all surface mount electronics there is NO mechanical connection at all, the connections rely entirely on solder both for mounting and for conductivity. Solder is not merely an encapsulant, if it was they'd use epoxy which is cheaper. Solder forms an alloy with the metals being soldered, the resulting alloy is more conductive than solder alone. Solder is not a glue for metal. The actual thickness of solder in the best solder joints approaches zero and therefore so does the resistance.

    Perhaps a little less flinging of the bowels?
    Herman;

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  17. #17
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    I usually...

    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    In the electronics production business we call a joint "a defect opportunity". You are correct that a properly made joint has excellent life expectancy and little if any sonic effect. Nevertheless no joint is still superior to a joint no matter how carefully made.

    Please note that in all surface mount electronics there is NO mechanical connection at all, the connections rely entirely on solder both for mounting and for conductivity. Solder is not merely an encapsulant, if it was they'd use epoxy which is cheaper. Solder forms an alloy with the metals being soldered, the resulting alloy is more conductive than solder alone. Solder is not a glue for metal. The actual thickness of solder in the best solder joints approaches zero and therefore so does the resistance.

    Perhaps a little less flinging of the bowels?
    ...avoid speaking in absolutist terms like using the word "all"...In my experience signal transmission paths are usually treated quite differently than control paths which can be, due to their less critical nature, given a wider latitude on 'operate' or 'non-operate' voltages...Any joint losses can be accounted for in the design stage and while the same thing can be (and quite probably is) done in the signal path of mass-market items, I have observed that PCB components in those transmission paths tend to have their "legs" bent to make contact with the trace terminations ensuring a proper mechanical connection...I almost always have to use a spudgie or orange stick in addition to a Solda-Pult, perhaps a pair of long-nose pliers, in order to completely release a defunct cap or transistor or what-have-you...

    And besides we're splicing wires, not running up a few thousand pieces of disposable product...so in this instance, encapsulation is the name o'the game...

    jimHJJ(...maybe a nice staggered Western Union splice with some shrink tubing...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

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  18. #18
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Loser
    ...avoid speaking in absolutist terms like using the word "all"...In my experience signal transmission paths are usually treated quite differently than control paths which can be, due to their less critical nature, given a wider latitude on 'operate' or 'non-operate' voltages...Any joint losses can be accounted for in the design stage and while the same thing can be (and quite probably is) done in the signal path of mass-market items, I have observed that PCB components in those transmission paths tend to have their "legs" bent to make contact with the trace terminations ensuring a proper mechanical connection...I almost always have to use a spudgie or orange stick in addition to a Solda-Pult, perhaps a pair of long-nose pliers, in order to completely release a defunct cap or transistor or what-have-you...

    And besides we're splicing wires, not running up a few thousand pieces of disposable product...so in this instance, encapsulation is the name o'the game...

    jimHJJ(...maybe a nice staggered Western Union splice with some shrink tubing...)
    What rubbish, devices whose electrical connections are swaged, wrapped, clamped, rivited, leads bent over a hole or any other mechanical technique are not surface mount connected. While there are some that are mechanically held in place for convenience, the electrical connection is still made only by solder. The English is quite clear, surface mount devices are electrically connected by solder to the surface of a PCB not by other means, "all" is a perfectly reasonable term in this usage.

    Also you notice I earlier recommended wire nuts, wire nuts work by using a tapered conductive somewhat soft thread. It squeezes the wires tighter and tighter until a gas tight joint is acheived. This can also be done by twisting larger solid core wire with pliers. This is how wire wrap works. It can not be done with stranded wire. With solder, encapsulation is never the name of the game.

    Telling someone to encapsulate a wire with solder is a sure fire way to teach them how solder incorrectly.

    Give it up, I used to hold a NASA soldering certificate, while it's long since expired I still remember how. If you used a term like encapsulation in front of a NASA inspector you'd be thrown out on your ear.
    Herman;

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  19. #19
    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    Solder forms an alloy with the metals being soldered, the resulting alloy is more conductive than solder alone. Solder is not a glue for metal.
    actually... welding forms an alloy with the metals being welded by actually melting the metal together and sometimes adding an additional materal... soldering actually acts as a conductive glue...
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  20. #20
    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    fyi, I often use wire nuts on my offroad rigs... they work great, however be sure to use some sort of anti-oxidant (sp?) ...
    I found for offroading trucks, a waterproof version is required (marine grease works great), however for audio, any anti-oxidant would work...
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  21. #21
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock789
    actually... welding forms an alloy with the metals being welded by actually melting the metal together and sometimes adding an additional materal... soldering actually acts as a conductive glue...
    That is incorrect, welding, brazing and soldering all form alloys. It is not possible to peel solder off a well soldered joint, the metals are no longer seperate as for example a glue joint would be, admittedly the penetration is not very deep but alloys are formed.

    The following is copied from this site. http://www.circuittechctr.com/guides/7-1-1.shtml
    WETTING ACTION
    When the hot solder comes in contact with a copper surface, a metal solvent action takes place. The solder dissolves and penetrates the copper surface. The molecules of solder and copper blend to form a new alloy, one that's part copper and part solder. This solvent action is called wetting and forms the intermetallic bond between the parts. (See Fig. 1). Wetting can only occur if the surface of the copper is free of contamination and from the oxide film that forms when the metal is exposed to air. Also, the solder and work surface need to have reached the proper temperature.

    Tarheel_: Please accept my appologies, it was not my intent to hijack your thread and get sucked into a testosterone fest, good luck on extending your cables.
    Herman;

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  22. #22
    SuperPoser Rock789's Avatar
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    cool,
    I was apparently incorrect
    thanks for the info
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  23. #23
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    A regular rocket scientist eh?

    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    What rubbish, devices whose electrical connections are swaged, wrapped, clamped, rivited, leads bent over a hole or any other mechanical technique are not surface mount connected. While there are some that are mechanically held in place for convenience, the electrical connection is still made only by solder. The English is quite clear, surface mount devices are electrically connected by solder to the surface of a PCB not by other means, "all" is a perfectly reasonable term in this usage.

    Also you notice I earlier recommended wire nuts, wire nuts work by using a tapered conductive somewhat soft thread. It squeezes the wires tighter and tighter until a gas tight joint is acheived. This can also be done by twisting larger solid core wire with pliers. This is how wire wrap works. It can not be done with stranded wire. With solder, encapsulation is never the name of the game.

    Telling someone to encapsulate a wire with solder is a sure fire way to teach them how solder incorrectly.

    Give it up, I used to hold a NASA soldering certificate, while it's long since expired I still remember how. If you used a term like encapsulation in front of a NASA inspector you'd be thrown out on your ear.
    ...and poor me...only with my Ovaltine decoder badge...

    I'm curious...what sort of device designed to withstand the g-forces involved in space flight would rely on only a soldered connection...I've taken a cursory look at some modular power supply, switching matrix, printer engine, sound cards and other assorted PCBs in and around my shop and hot d@mn, not a one has any "surface mount" components to be seen...The various ICs, resistors, caps, etc. have all their little "legs" popped through holes in the 'glas and are soldered on the backside of the boards...I'd guess the lateral thrusts of those slaps and whacks administered by unhappy PC-users exceeds those of the typical spacecraft...Of course there are the odd surface mount jumpers that result from a redesign or option and I suppose one might actually make the argument that they somehow rely on solder in lieu of a fancy, schmancy mechanical connection...BUT...there's still metal to metal contact and it really depends on the skill of the iron wrangler to maintain said contact during the making of the joint...

    Have you ever seen spun joints that were then soldered? My old Pioneer is full of 'em; a PITA to work on...And BTW you can wire-wrap stranded...no such absolutism of "...it can not be done..." The wire can be tinned OR the strands can be twisted to a higher TPI and the inserted in the wrapping tool...zip and it's case closed. And before anyone tries to make the case that tinning is a no-no, in my experience, most wrapping posts have been square or have had a rectangular profile whose edges "cut" into the copper core. Seen any bulk strapping wire lately...just about all of that is clad copper...There's your gas tight joint...BTW, ever seen wire nuts that are 100% plastic, threads and all?

    Alloying? Well, while my subscription to Metallurgist Monthly has long since expired, my recall of high school physics ( or was it chemistry?) seems to tell me that for metals to alloy, both must be molten...only very rarely can I recall the items being soldered dissolving into a flowing mass due to the high temperatures involved in actually "alloying"...In fact, never...Now without getting into a slew of subatomic rhetoric, I'm sure some sort of bond must occur, perhaps some superficial covalent canoodling but, to my way of thinking "alloying", in it's true definition, is a bit of a stretch...

    Lead...Pb...the main ingredient of solder...think plumbers...Stained-glass windows...underground cable "sealant"...highly resistant to most environmental factors...Again, encapsulate IS the word...for all of your credentials you seem to have overlooked the salient points, previously stated...Two clean conductors are pigtailed, hand-willied, or WU twisted and the mechanical AND electrical connection is made...nothing (other than experience) says this joint absolutely, positively must be soldered...a heat-shrink sleeve, a few wraps of rubber, vinyl or even friction tape will protect this joint somewhat...Solder is the encapsulant that circumvents corrosion or mechanical degredation...A good mechanical connection is THE foundation of a proper soldered joint...PERIOD.

    jimHJJ(...give it up, I used to hold a Nestle's Crunch Bar, but it's long since digested...)
    Last edited by Resident Loser; 02-12-2007 at 09:14 AM.
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

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  24. #24
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    Nueva Jork
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    2,148

    And yet...

    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    ...it was not my intent to hijack your thread and get sucked into a testosterone fest...
    ...you seem to have a penchant for doing so...why, with your defensive posture, it's almost like you and hifitommy are the same person...BTW I don't recall addressing word one of your posts and yet you have made it incumbent on yourself to take issue with my use of the E word...

    jimHJJ(...if you are going to get involved, prepare to BE involved and not later beg off with pusillanimous "regrets"...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  25. #25
    Suspended markw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Noo Joisey. Youse got a problem wit dat?
    Posts
    4,659

    I can't believe this thread is still going on.

    Arguing about a spliced, well teisted and soldered connection vs. a straight run is like arguing the difference in speed a car can make wether the driver has 50 cents in dimes in his pocket or not.

    It might be a theoretical possibility, but preceiving or measuring it accurately is impossible.

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