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DIY: Make Your Own Solderless RCA's

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Old 11-17-2009, 10:50 PM
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DIY: Make Your Own Solderless RCA's

This is a DIY I had made on an audio forum about a year ago. First off, there are solderless RCA ends and ones that require soldering. I chose to go the solderless route because of the RCA ends themself (they look so sexy).

Most prefer RCA's that require soldering, just a better connection, but if you're not a hardcore enthusiast, you're not going to notice a difference. That said, here's the DIY.

Currently there is a tutorial for making your own RCA ends by NaamanF, which is a great thread. I ended up going the solderless RCA route and got numerous headaches from it, till I found the simplicity of it. So here it is to share with you all. If you would like to see the thread, it is located here: . This same tutorial begins on Page 3.

Wire by itself, 12" long...cut whatever length you would need.

Cut a short amount, I did about 0.25"

You will end up with something like this:

Pull back the braided wire

Simply put the connector over the wire and push down

Screw in the darn screw

If you were to pull it out (after unscrewing), you will see the hole...this hole is where the screw goes through the braided wire, but does not touch the center conductor, thus the ground.

If you look closely, there is a hole by the center conductor, that is where the pin on the RCA end went through. Since choosing the wire size is crucial, the conductor will touch the pin on the RCA and that is the positive.

Here are two pics of what it looks like finished.

Then do the same thing to the other end.

Now make another one so you have a left and right

Pic of them together:

Now, when I was taking one of the ends off, I realized this

What does it mean? There is NO need to make ANY cuts EXCEPT for the length of the wire you need. How much SIMPLER can this get?! And all this time I was pulling hairs get frustrated....frustrated to the point where I wanted to through something like the time when I couldn't right click, then found out I was using a MAC and not a PC Go figure.

So, I decided to make them look purrty. All I had is blue heat shrink in 3/8" size, so I put it just under where the screw would go in fro the RCA end.

Next, I heated them. Make sure you leave enough room so you can move each wire around so it would be easier to plug in. I did about 3.5 or 4 inches, but I recommend a tad more. 5" is what I would recommend to be honest.

Both ends and wires:

Now for the tech flex

Then I put a little bit more of heat shrink around the tech flex to cover it. I used 3/4" for this. Make sure to cut out the length you need first.

Completed RCA's

Installed on the amp. As I mentioned, I would really recommend putting the tech flex and heat shrink at least 5" from the tips, because I had a bit of a difficult time getting them in.

Some notes:
You must make sure the wire will have little to no gap when putting in the RCA. If there is quite a gap, the center conductor on the wire will not be touching the center pin on the RCA and you will not have a functioning RCA. Also, remember, at least 5" from the tip is where the heat shrink to begin/end, however you see it. This is to make it easier when you plug them in.

Alas, I can relax.

Now, as for costs. I highly DO NOT recommend the way I went because of the cost. I bought these solderless ends from Tara Labs because they were nice and I really like them. They cost $4.50 per RCA end. I ended up getting a little discount sine I got 30 of them along with a 4 meter optical cable.

The wire itself is a hefty price as well. $3 per foot. I am going to find something else that will work just as well. As long as the outer diameter is the same size, I will be fine. I wouldn't mind paying $3 per foot if money was not an issue and if I didn't need a long length. All my amps (five of them), will be next to the processor and four of them will be daisy chained so I will need some VERY short lengths. Max length I'll have is 1.5 - 2 ft.with some as small as under 6". I will need a 15 ft. length that goes from this unit I bought for my Blackbird connected to the dock to make it work by having audio since I have the processor. It will go directly from that unit in the glove compartment to the processor, so I would need about 40 - 50 ft and I'm not going to spend near $200 on wire. I'm sure I can find 50 ft. of wire for under $50.

My suggestion, if you want something easy when making your own wires and don't want to solder, get some solderless RCA ends that you like, and some good wire, not something that has an RG6 jacket since it is not flexible, but something like an RG59 jacket. I will be ordering the wire soon and see how it goes. I'll then state which wire I went with. This is really beyond easy and IMO, nicer than store bought RCA's. And then, you can tell people you made your own RCA's and more than likely, people will be shocked and amazed, yet they won't know the simplicity to it .

Total cost of this 1 ft. length RCA cable = $24.50. So not worth it and would be better off buying the wire from them and not worry about the hassle. But as mentioned, when you use other ends and other wire, cost will be MUCH lower and I would recommend's also a fun project, at least for me, and it gives a nice custom look to your audio setup

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