DIY Cables

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Guitarbrett, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

    Messages:
    323
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    SW Fla
    I should be receiving some Mogami wire (2524 and 2319), Neutrik connectors, GLS pancake plugs, shrink tubing, and techflex sleeving today. I decided to make cables for my board (approx 10 pedals), connection to amp, and connection from guitar. Total cost was about $70. Not bad considering Mogami Golds would have cost over $300. I am currently wired up with Livewire Advantage cables which I have never really had a problem with over many years.

    So should I expect a sonic improvement?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  2. jnepo1

    jnepo1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,210
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Sutton, MA
    Never used Livewire, but heard they were made w/ Mogami cable. Placing heatshrink tubing on the cables and slipping the Neutrik retainers are hard to manipulate along w/ the Techflex, but can be done. You just need to place small slits on the opening of the rubber cable retainer to allow for a little more room. Otherwise, it would force the cable into the body of the plug as you try to tighten the retainer. With Neutrik plugs (NPX series) it really isn't necessary to use heatshrink.
     
  3. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

    Messages:
    323
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    SW Fla
    Thanks for the reply. That is all good to know. Interesting if that is true about LiveWire using Mogami cable.
     
  4. jnepo1

    jnepo1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,210
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Sutton, MA
    You would be surprised who uses Mogami, they are a big name. They also manufacture cables for other companies. I just recently saw an add for Hosa branded cables w/ Neutrik/Rean plugs, and the cables are Mogami 2524.
     
  5. ahcleinad

    ahcleinad Member

    Messages:
    940
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Livewire uses Mogami 2524 and Neutrik ends for their Elite series. They are pretty nice cables, but it'd be cheaper making them yourself.
     
  6. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

    Messages:
    323
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    SW Fla
    Well, I made a couple cables over the weekend. I need to redo one of them because of shoddy soldering. The "good" one I made sounds great, but seemingly not real different than my LiveWire Advantage (not Elite).? I tested them directly (straight in) into my POD practice headphone rig.

    Oh, and, yeah, I didn't need the shrink tubing with the Neutrik plugs. I also don't think I'd use Techflex again. I just don't really dig the feel.
     
  7. RockStarNick

    RockStarNick Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,530
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Location:
    North NJ
    Post some pics Brett. It took me a while to get the hang of making my own cables.

    1. Make sure your soldering iron is powerful enough
    2. Clean shiny tip
    3. Make sure you strip away some of the black conductive shield that is directly under the spiral shield. If that touches your "hot" connection, it'll sound all sorts of awful.
    4. Make sure when you solder,it's clean, quick, and dries shiny. If it dries grey, takes too long to go on, etc, something's not right.

    The soldering on the cable really is the crucial part. You can have amazing cable made out of gold plated unicorn mane hair, but if it's not soldered properly, chances are it'll give you problems in one way or another.

    I've got my soldering and cable making skills down now, and can bang em' out left and right. In fact, for some weird reason, I find cable making relaxing and therapeutic. I'll get home from work, and solder some cables for my pedalboard, and that's a fun night for me. haha.
     
  8. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

    Messages:
    323
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    SW Fla
    Thanks for the tips RockStarNick. I bought a cool apparatus with rugged alli clips and magnifying glass from Radioshack that helped alot. I also picked up a new 25W RS soldering iron. It was more consistent than my other, Black & Decker iron. I am using 4% silver solder though, and I'm wondering if the 60/40 works better.?

    I had to redo both cables last night because of shoddy soldering. There was some white noise with every note. It wasn't out front, but definitely loud enough for me to know my soldering job was crap. So I resoldered 3 of the four ends and both cables are quiet and sound great. Still though, I a/b'd the cables against my LiveWire Advantage (approx. $20 for 10-15') and I didn't hear much of a difference, if at all.

    Anyway, I am feeling more confident to go ahead with making the 10 patch cables for my board. Again, I won't use Techflex in the future. I am considering cutting it off of my 2 finished cables. It does not feel good at all.
     
  9. jnepo1

    jnepo1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,210
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Sutton, MA
    I only use Techflex on cables going to the backline. Either a single cable or a snake cable configuration. I also use it for power cords. If you are using Neutrik plugs it's hard to configure cables w/ techflex and heatshrink on them because of the cable retention system on Neutrik plugs.
     
  10. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

    Messages:
    323
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    SW Fla
    So I made my first patch cable. Was tough using the GLS pancake plugs at first, but I got the hang of it. My main problem is my soldering iron tip not staying hot. It turns black rather quickly and loses conductivity. I am going to sand the tips and try to tin them quicker to mitigate this effect. I hope it works because there is nothing more frustrating than working with a soldering iron that isn't hot enough.
     
  11. a1briz

    a1briz Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,634
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    Location:
    Near Philly, PA

    I get the same thing when I try to do any soldering. I wonder why that happens.
     
  12. jnepo1

    jnepo1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,210
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Sutton, MA
    You probably needs to replace the tip. As a practice, I tin the tip of the soldering tip before I put it away.
     
  13. JRC4558Dude

    JRC4558Dude Member

    Messages:
    5,365
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Tin your tip, and tin it often! I re-tin my iron before every joint.
     
  14. RockStarNick

    RockStarNick Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,530
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Location:
    North NJ
    Brett - ditch the 25W, go for the 40W. Seriously dude. I own that same one, and never use it. I could NEVER ever, ever, ever get the Radio Shack 25W hot enough to do anything.

    The Radio Shack 40W is perfect for doing cables. And it insures that you make the connection fast. Also, 40W pencil tips are readily available.

    I use my 40W for just about everything except detailed PCB work.

    Keep a damp sponge nearby, and clean the tip before EVERY solder.
     
  15. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

    Messages:
    323
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    SW Fla
    Thanks RockStarNick. The 25W seems to work fine as long as the tip is clean/tinned. I tried to keep it cleaned/tinned last night, but it didn't want to keep the solder on the tip. It kept balling up and falling off. Maybe I'll try the 40W---putting more into these cables than I budgeted:bonk
     
  16. jnepo1

    jnepo1 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    13,210
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Sutton, MA
    Sounds like you are using crappy solder as well.
     
  17. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

    Messages:
    323
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    SW Fla
    I am using Radioshack 96/4 solder. I also have some smaller Kester 67/38/2 (??).
     
  18. RockStarNick

    RockStarNick Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,530
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Location:
    North NJ
    I bet the Kester is like the silver bearing "hi-tech" Radio Shack stuff.

    I've actually never used 96/4. I think 60/40 is more common, no?
     
  19. Farbulous

    Farbulous Member

    Messages:
    672
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I had to get a hotter iron myself before the solder would flow properly. Now I've got a 30W and it works perfectly. I've got the Kester 60/40 and it's ideal.
     
  20. Guitarbrett

    Guitarbrett Supporting Member

    Messages:
    323
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    SW Fla
    Well, my 25W is hot enough. The problem I have had is with tips. For some reason, tips burn out quick on me. I think I need to invest in solid copper tips. Anyway, I have been able to keep the current tip decently clean and tinned and have had great succes. Tonight I soldered 3-4 patch cables in about 5-10 minutes each; and the cables worked on the first go round.

    The lesson for me has been to keep the iron tip from burning out, or if it does, sand it and start over. This cable making is MUCH better with a proper tip.
     

Share This Page