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Replacing Speaker Wire

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by Ardis, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. Ardis

    Ardis Member

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    Hello, all.

    I need to replace the speaker wire on my combo amp; the current one causes the signal to cut in and out if you move the wire at all. Can you give me some pointers on soldering a new wire to the speaker? I've never soldered before. I purchased a soldering iron, desoldering tool, rosin-based solder, and rosib-based flux. Anything I need to watch out for?

    Also, I'm a little confused about the flux. The radio shack guy assured me that it's an important ingredient in the soldering process--I should coat the part I'm soldering onto with the flux. I'm a little confused by this, because I'd never heard of flux before and didn't realize you needed anything other than the solder for the joint.

    Any help you all can provide would be much appreciated.
     
  2. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    If you've got rosin cored solder I wouldn't bother with the flux-the core is the same stuff. Let's see:
    1. Prepare the wire by stripping the ends, then lay the end on the soldering iron and touch the solder to the soldering iron beside the wire. The solder should wick up into the wire (tinning the ends).

    2. Desolder the current wires, using as little heat as possible. Best to leave the speakers in the cab, if you splash solder around it's less likely to damage the cone and more likely to fall harmlessly in the bottom of the cab.

    3. If necessary tin the contacts the solder is going to attach to (not usually necessary when you're replacing wires previously soldered into place).

    4. Lay the wire on the tab and touch the soldering iron to the joint, you probably won't need to add any more solder. Hold the wire very still, melt the solder and then let it harden. It should be nice and shiney and smoothly cover the joint.

    OR-remove the current wire and attach the new wire to the tabs with nice cool crimped on connectors...
     
  3. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    If it's new wire and rosin-core solder , take the flux back for a refund and ask him if he works on commission . :rolleyes:

    and what drbob said too ! ;)
     
  4. Ardis

    Ardis Member

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    You guys are the best. Thanks a million!
     
  5. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna Member

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    Recommendations for brand & gauge of wire?
     
  6. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    And that's where the flux comes in ardis , but about 99.9% of the time you only need it on really dirty stuff , and if that's the case you're better off to replace it if that's an option . Corroded stuff is a a bear , burnt-in insulation carbon , and gum from black tape can usually be dealt with by cutting the wire back past the original strip and re-doing it if you've got the length to spare , but corrosion migrates back down the wire . tony's right , get after it with a scraper and get down to bare copper . And ditto John on crimp connectors and screw terminals . I use 'em sometimes when I can't help it , but I pull or cut off the insulator , solder the wire in the socket instead of crimping it , and heat-shrink back over 'em .
     
  7. Ardis

    Ardis Member

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    Thanks and thanks again. I'm going to give this soldering a shot tonight. Wish me luck!
     
  8. aeolian

    aeolian Member

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  9. RL in Fla

    RL in Fla Member

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    Great Link !! There's nothing to it but practice and a good iron , and a pic is worth 1000 words !
     
  10. Gearhead

    Gearhead Member

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    Is there a real difference between soldering the wires directly to the speaker tabs vs soldering to connectors (to be slid on the speaker tabs)?

    Difference meaing a) sonic and/or b) reliability.

    Thanks (outfitting a 4x12 this weekend!)

    Dave
     
  11. Wakarusa

    Wakarusa Member

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    Absolutely. The pressure fit (slide on) connectors will eventually fail. Every Marshall 4x12 that comes through here gets those cut off and replaced with solder.

    The solder joint won't oxidize and create a high-resistance connection and (if done correctly) will tolerate a heckuva lot more mechanical vibration than the push-on type.

    Add to this that if one of the connectors falls off or develops a nice patina of rust between speaker and connector the result is a high impedence (worst case open circuit) presented to your amp.

    Thankfully, the tube sockets will arc and/or the output transformer will melt down to shut down the amp in plenty of time to save the two-cent speaker connector from any undue stress.
     
  12. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    The audiophile guys claim that a solder connection, because it doesn't produce any compression between the pieces and because solder is apparently an indifferent conductor compared to copper or silver wire, is an inferior connection and that a pressure formed connection (crimp or better screw type binding posts) is better. Maybe they can afford to do things that way because they're not shaking, rattling and dragging their cabs around?
     
  13. WailinGuy

    WailinGuy Member

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    It is true that solder is not nearly as good a conductor as silver or copper. But solder wire is not used like hookup wire! The amount of resistance from one side to another of a 1 or 2mm blob of solder is negligable. The higher resistance of solder is not even a factor if the end of the hookup wire is making good physical contact with the terminal being soldered.
     

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