Assembling Solderless Lava Cable...Help!

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by teestone, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. teestone

    teestone Mostly Regular Member Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm having a terrible time assembling solderless mini ELC Lava Cable.

    I have read the instructions, watched the Lava Cable instruction video and Gigrig YouTube video. After watching these I felt pretty good about it but still having trouble.

    I used George L's for years and had those dialed in but I just can't seem to get these working right.

    Are there any tips for assembling these and more importantly making sure they're working correctly??
     
  2. Surefire641

    Surefire641 Member

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    I've had a similar experience with them, and finally just decided to order the Switchcraft jacks from Redco and solder my own cables. The couple Lava patches I was able to make work seemed to benefit from having only about a millimeter of the shielding folded over the insert piece.
     
  3. embrionic

    embrionic Supporting Member

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  4. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    Spent 90 minutes last night trying without success to assemble ONE Lava pedalboard cable (I have the 10 plug/10' set). Watched all the videos again and will try again tonight, but posting here because I was unaware that people had trouble with this before I made the purchase and probably would have gone another route if I'd known.
     
  5. grimlyflick

    grimlyflick Member

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    Which version do you have? Tightrope or the standard solderless?
     
  6. deadlands

    deadlands Member

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    My method gets me a good cable every time in about 3-4 minutes. The trick is to trim off the braided shielding as close to the edge of the insert as possible. You want to make sure that no stray wire can ground out against the signal wire. I use a pair of small sewing scissors to do this. I also leave about 1/8' of the signal cable with insulation(the inner wire with the white insulation) sticking out of the top.

    I need to take pictures next time I make a cable. But I've never had one fail and I've been rocking the same builds for 2 years now.
     
  7. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    Thanks DL. You say you trim off the braided shielding, but I thought that needs to be rolled down over the top of the metal sleeve. (I get the point about the braided shielding not touching the the wire in the center of the cable - taking apart my attempts innumerable times eliminated that obstacle early on....)

    I found another tip here on TGP, which was to use a razor or something sharp to cut the cable to length, so you're not smushing/ flattening the cable when you cut it - that was happening when I used my perhaps-too-dull wire cutters last night.

    Hoping to find the magic touch that others come about so naturally (much as I'm trying to do with my playing)....
     
  8. deadlands

    deadlands Member

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    Yes, that is what all the instruction say, but my findings suggest trimming it down works a whole lot better. It's still connecting to ground because the insert is touching the braided wire all down it's length internally. What I like about this method is that you can simply re-tighten them when you switch a pedal and you'll never risk a stray wire contacting the hot wire. The twisting of the shield and leaving it long never seemed right to me if the goal is preventing those wires from shorting the connector.

    I took one of mine apart and snapped a photo, I hope it helps. BTW, the cable still works after putting it back together.

    [​IMG]

    Also, @embrionic 's instructions are really good, almost exactly how I figured out how to do it. The part about tighten them down is also important. That helps the cable stay good and significantly lessens the chance of a failure.


    I use a pretty old wire cutter, I just make sure the cable is round just using finger force, same way I did George L's, before I assemble.

    You'll get it. I learned my method from wiring up an 8 loop switcher. That was around than 38 connectors with some auxiliary pedals thrown in.
     
  9. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    thanks again. now i'm recalling that one of the videos - perhaps the official Lava cables one - said that the reason to role the braided wire over the sleeve was to secure it from pulling out the other end. in terms of conduction, what you said seems certain - unnecessary to fold it over.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  10. grimlyflick

    grimlyflick Member

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    After no joy using the various methods on YouTube etc, I found this to be the best method.

    Use a scalpel to slowly saw/cut a good square end without squashing the cable.
    Then using 2nd largest setting of the cutting tool remove the outer casing and braiding about 5-6mm from the end. Use the scalpel to trim off any of the braiding left that may have been missed by the cutting tool.
    Remove another 6mm of the outer casing, best way I found to do this is to roll the cable gently under the scalpel blade. When this is done you're ready to assemble the cable, insert the cable into the sleeve, if any of the inner section of the cable sticks out the sleeve trim it back with the scalpel.
    You should then be able to screw together and presto you're good to go. If the cable doesn't work the problem will be the small pin in the end of the plug hasn't made contact with the centre conductor so take apart give the cable a wiggle and try again.

    This method works best for me, every cable bar one has worked since I've used this method, and none of the cables have failed (touch wood) in use.

    The absolute worst method was the folding over the end of the sleeve way of doing it. None of the cables I made this way worked, very fustrating, especially since one of the clips using this method on YouTube is the official Lava clip.

    Good luck!!!
    :aok
     
    deadlands likes this.
  11. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    Success! Thanks @deadlands and everyone else. First three cables I did last night all worked first try, fourth one when I re-fiddled with the ends. I understand the component parts of the wire and what they do better now, and what should be done. Unlike a couple recent posters here, I did fold the braided wire over the sleeve - but was extremely careful it didn't touch the white insulation, let alone the center wire. The one plug that wasn't working last night was, I think, because the plug needle wasn't making contact with the wire - as alluded to by @grimlyflick above.

    Now holding my breath to see how they handle transport and pedal swaps and so forth....
     

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