Help with spades, speaker wire construction

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by SamS, Jan 16, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Hey guys,

    My brain has thoughts of summer, and enjoying some music on my outside deck. I'm finally getting serious about putting some speakers out there, and decided on B&W WM4 all-weather speakers.

    My big dilemma is wire! I am leaning towards a 100' spool of 14/2 CL-3 rated wire. I would like to terminate with spade connectors. Can anyone recommend some good, inexpensive crimp on spade connectors that are easily available (Radio Shack or Home Depot is fine).

    Do I need to solder? I have no soldering gun or any skill with one. Would crimp on spades with some heat shrinking tubes around the connections be sufficient? Some place recommended using some petroleum jelly to prevent oxidizing. Whaddya think??
     
  2. gelder

    gelder New Member

    Location:
    north carolina
    Radio shack gold plated spades will work well. The key is to get a good crimping tool. If you get a good crimp, I think heat shrink would be fine for the parts left exposed.
     
  3. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Location:
    Greater Vancouver
    Sam, you could have someone "tin" (means apply solder to) the bare wired ends and then crimp the spade right onto the wire covering (50% covering/50% tinned wire in the spade crimp) without much fuss. This would eliminate the need for applying shrink tubing. Just a thought Sam.
     
  4. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Good ideas, guys.

    Would I get a crimping tool at Radio Shack with the spade ends?
     
  5. fjhuerta

    fjhuerta New Member

    Location:
    México City
    Sam, I use Radio Shack spades all around. I use a crimping tool from Radio Shack. The spades work GREAT and look nice.

    Parts Express has some $2 a set spades that are better made, thicker, better looking and are screwed, not crimped. They only accept 12GA wire, or thinner, though.
     
  6. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Javier,

    Sounds like those $2 spades might be cheaper and better quality overall than buying a crimping tool + spades at Radio Shack, right?
     
  7. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
  8. gelder

    gelder New Member

    Location:
    north carolina
    I believe a crimp connection is better than a set screw type. Especially being the application is outside. A good crimp connection should eliminate a chance of oxidation in the crimped area. The last set of spades I got at radio shack were around $6 for a package of eight. They have different ones for different wire gages.
     
  9. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Do not do this. Tinning the ends before crimping is wrong.

    I'm not a fan of soldering spades onto speaker wires - I prefer crimping. But each side has their supporters, and I accept that. But combining soldering with crimping is adding the worst characteristics of the two techniques together.

    Put the heat shrink on first and then the spade. You don't need a fancy tool - a pair of Vice Grips should get you 80% of the way there. Then get a hammer and a drift, put the spade on an anvil and pound away. Crush that sucker into submission - get a good cold weld.

    Get out your heat gun and do the heat shrink. Don't worry about oxidation. In a couple of years, cut the ends off, strip off the insulation to expose some nice fresh copper and put new Rat Shack spades on. Cheap and cheerful.
     
  10. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    I've got all the heretical responses right here in one neat little package.
    Got this 10-15 year old JVC AV (two channel with fake ambience rear channels) reciever at a yard sale last year for five bucks. It's set up in the room with the TV and connected (line level) to the living room stereo (Harmon Kardon 430) via a longish (20 foot) run of Canare "Star Quad" mike cable. The "Record Out" jacks seem to have their own buffers, so it's appropriate to run another stereo off of the JVC. I soldered on RCA phono plugs on the ends of the cable.
    I remember you saying you don't solder, so sorry if I seem to be jacking here, but my experience is that connectors are responsible for messing up sound in a general way. My theory is that any time you change the metal in the links of a hook-up wire, you functionally have a semi-conductor effect. Generally speaking, the fewer the connectors and the fatter (lower resistance) the cable, the better the end result. The amp dosn't have to work as hard. This relates to the fact that shorter wire runs from amplifiers sound better. You might be better out figuring out a way to send a line level signal from the main stereo to another amp closer to the speakers.
    If you can get somebody to tin the wire, it might be better (and easier) to avoid spade connectors altogether. Whenever possible I solder wire directly to speaker and amplifier posts. The improvement in sound quality is instantly noticeable.
     
  11. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
  12. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Well, I hate multistranded wire like that, but we all have our little quirks.

    You should wait until the wire arrives, and then lop the end off - it should be stripped, as in the photo. Take the segment down to Rat Shack and examine the spades. Make certain that the metal hoop will easily take all the wires without too much twisting and fiddling. You want to get all 70+ strands in there nice and parallel, if possible. Then you'll get a nice crimp.

    If the ones you see are too small you may have to order the next size. The ones you linked are not good:

    "Insulation-piercing phone spade lugs. Pack of 24."

    The Rat Shack ones I have used have been gold plated - maybe $3 for a pack of 8. They are as "audiophile" as Radio Shack goes, but they'll serve your purposes. You don't really want to look for "crimp-on" spade connectors per se - not like those ones you showed, which are designed to go through the insulation. I can't find the ones I've used on the Radio Shack web site. Go to a good store.
     
  13. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Geoff, thanks again for your comments. How would one get solid-core wire of this variety? I don't recall seeing this style in anything other than stranded.
     
  14. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Don't worry about it Sam.
     
  15. fjhuerta

    fjhuerta New Member

    Location:
    México City
    Yes! Those are the ones. You unscrew them, they open in half. Insert the wire from the back, bend the wires over the shaft, and re-screw the spades.

    They make a good connection and you can re-use them. Most purists will tell you crimping is better than screwing, though :D
     
  16. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pleasantville, NY
    Sam, If you are going to step up to B&W outdoor speakers use some good wire. Check out Audio Advisor, they have some Kimber Kable in wall wire that really makes a difference, they also have good spades. As others have said corrosion is what you will have to fight. The best is solder and the heat shrink, however, if you do not like to solder the definitely crimp not set screw unless you are really going hi-end like WBT. Be sure to use heat shrink whatever you use, a hair drier is all you need for it.
     
  17. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Hey there ALP,

    I think I'm gonna stick with that bulk CL3 wire. If it was for actual indoor speakers, I'd reconsider for kimber. Obviously I want to 'do it right', but I'm sure I have some other obstacles to the best sound, considering they're outside and all ;)

    Javier, thanks I'll look into those as well.
     
  18. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Hi again guys. Well, the wire arrived, and I picked up some color-coded heat shrink tubing. My problem is that I can't find any decent spades to save my life!

    Today I went to Radio Shack (two different stores), Home Depot, Lowes and Fry's with no luck except for those tiny el-cheapo aluminum looking spades with the plastic shrouds. Everything I could find looked like this. I was hoping for something a bit more sturdy.

    My friend has offered to help me by soldering/tinning the ends of the wire, and just ditch the spade idea. What do you think?
     
  19. Robin L

    Robin L Musical Omnivore

    Location:
    Fresno, California
    I think you friend's idea is better than getting spades.
     
  20. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Don't apply any solder. If you don't want to use spades, just stick the myriad of multi-strands into the hole and tighten the screw. A few strands will probably snap off, so just vacuum them up.

    The problems with adding solder are (a) it's not as conductive as copper (b) it "flows" under stress, so after a while the connection will be loose.

    Take your time Sam and order some decent spades. Cardas are very good. I like Kimber PostMasters but they are very expensive and not cost effective in this application.
     
  21. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pleasantville, NY
    Sam, Check out Audio Advisor, they have good spades at reasonable prices.
     
  22. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks for all the suggestions, guys!

    Thanks for the AA suggestion, ALP. I am also going to check with a local audio shop for some spades.

    Geoff, you're right, I should just take my time... summer's a long way away :laugh:
     
  23. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend Thread Starter

    Location:
    Texas
    Okey! Finally got around to assembling my wire. Here goes an extra blurry, out of focus picture, but I'm sure you get the idea.

    Before I crimped on the spades, I treated the bare wire with something called Ox-gard, which is a gray paste that is supposed to help against oxidation.
     
  24. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pleasantville, NY
    Sam, Looks good. :thumbsup:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page