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Old 20th November 2012, 11:30 PM   #1
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Default RCA plug connection to shielded cable

I'm in a new house that's "pre-wired" for home theater. I've found the cable that's intended for a powered sub-woofer, but it has no terminations. It's a 2 conductor 22 AWG shielded cable. My sub-woofer and audio receiver have RCA jacks. How do I wire RCA plugs to the cable? The standard RCA plug seems to have only two connection points. What should i do with the shielding and drain wires? Are there versions of the RCA plug that accommodate shielded cable. Any suggestion for specific brands? The ones I bought at Radio Shack don't seem very solid. Thanks for any help.
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Old 20th November 2012, 11:56 PM   #2
Einric is offline Einric  United States
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I assume that your cable is a two wire cable ( most likely red & black ) that have a silver drain wire then wrapped in a foil shield all inside a PVC jacket.

In this case I would attach the black to the RCA outer and the red to the RCA pin.
I would tie the shield and drain wire directly to Earth Ground at one end or the other NOT BOTH.
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Old 21st November 2012, 11:58 AM   #3
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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Both if ya wanna shield RF
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Old 21st November 2012, 01:41 PM   #4
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Default RCA plug wiring

Both of you make sense, but there is no ground connector at either end. How would one create that connection? i guess one could strip back a few inches of the shield and drain and clip off the red and black wire appropriately. My apology if this is a simple issue -- I'm new to all this. I did use a short manufactured cable to connect the receiver and subwoofer just to make sure the subwoofer works, but can't permanently place it at the test location. The manufactured cable does not have any ground connection that I can see -- looks like standard RCA plugs at both ends.
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Old 21st November 2012, 10:46 PM   #5
Einric is offline Einric  United States
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Strip a couple of inches back and roll it between your fingers.
Then solder on or crimp on a butt splice and crimp a wire to that.
Take that wire to building ground somewhere.
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Old 22nd November 2012, 04:58 PM   #6
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Default RCA plug wiring

Thanks, Einric. Will give that a shot.
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Old 23rd November 2012, 10:28 PM   #7
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I would connect the Red to the center connection at both ends.
I would connect the Black & drain to the shield connection at both ends.
The goal of an RCA interconnect is to have low end to end resistance of the shield connections.
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Old 24th November 2012, 08:35 AM   #8
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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The definitive authority on shielding is Henry Ott:
home page
His book Electromagnetic Compatability Engineering is worth buying if you have any serious interest in electronics, or borrow it from your library.
Read this before you start adding pig tails to cables, it is not a good idea, thyough short ones are acceptable, but proper termination 360 degrees is better...
http://www.hottconsultants.com/techt...xemission.html
http://www.hottconsultants.com/pdf_files/aes-2007.pdf

Last edited by marce; 24th November 2012 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 25th November 2012, 08:09 AM   #9
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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Switchcraft and Neutrik make some nice quality RCA plugs. I've never actually seen the Neutrik ones in the flesh, but they should be very well engineered.
http://www.neutrik.com/en/phono-rca/...ctors/nf2c-b-2
Alternatively, install XLR receptacles which will accommodate all those conductors, and use RCA to XLR cables at each end. XLR connectors are more rugged, probably electrically superior, cheaper than the Neutrik RCAs, and easier to solder to. I suspect phone jacks would be less reliable since they are designed more for frequent re-plugging than long-term connections.
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Old 2nd December 2012, 04:44 PM   #10
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Default RCA Plug Wiring

Thank you all. What i ended up doing was soldering the red wire to the center post, twisting the drain and black wire together and soldering them to the outer post and stripping the shielding back to where I'd stripped the outer plastic insulation. It seems to be working fine. i've got an Onkyo AV Receiver at one end and a Polk powered subwoofer at the other. The shielded cable looks to have 22 AWG red and black leads plus a drain wire and very thin foil shield. I estimate the cable to be about thirty feet long, but can't really tell since it is hidden in the walls.
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