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Jim Leach 25th February 2011 05:30 PM

My new DIY speaker cables!
3 Attachment(s)
I work with Plasma Guns. I have for many years now (since about 1987 or so?)

Anyway, these are power hungry beasts. 40kW is a typical power rating, and our newest gun runs up to 100kW.

These are powered by coaxial hoses- a interior conductor inside a hose that provides the cooling water.

Since the cables are water cooled, we can run such high power through a relatively small cable- uncooled, we use three rather large cables for each DC leg.

Anyway, our Swiss counterpart uses the same scheme; however they use a better interior cable. Ours is a rope braid tinned copper (each individual strand is tinned) whereas the Swiss version uses a silver plating on (at least) the outer 'French' braid that covers the inner rope braid. It appears (going by color comparison alone at this point) ALL the conductors are silver plated in the Swiss version, but I have to confirm that...

Anyway, I got a few scrap feet of this stuff and some copper ring terminals from Homo-Depot. I milled the ring terminals into spades (solid copper!) and crimped these onto the ends of this cable, and then shrink tubed the whole mess.

Generic specs:
These are about 00 gage (roughly 3/8 inch)
0.0779 ohms/1000 ft. (based on 00 gage solid copper)
190 amp maximum power (probably limited by my spade?)

I also planned to 'pair' them; however I am keeping them 'loose' at the moment to see if I can hear any difference between paired or separated by air. (I don't expect to but who knows!:scratch:)

Cables are four feet- I plan to have my amps right next to my speakers this time...

Will these change the world? No. They look cool :cool:, and the resistance is certainly low :superman:. Capacitance and inductance can be 'tailored' by pairing them (parallel or twisted, but twisting seems like it could be problematic due to size) or keeping them seperated by air. These are so short, it doesn't matter. Yes, you can jump start your Kenworth with these (bonus!!):rolleyes:

PS the shrink tubing is a bee-otch to get over these! Anything longer and I'd need an alternate plan... AND, if anyone wants some of this cable to goof around with, I can check pricing- we buy it by the spool...:p

Anyway, here they are:

Pic 1 is an overview
pic 2 is a close up of the 'custom' spades
Pic 3 is the cable 'dissected'- rope inside; French outer (like a shield)

Jim Leach 25th February 2011 05:44 PM

I wanted to add that the individual strands are FINE- I measured one at 0.0035 inch. There are a LOT of them...

Cutting method:
Wrap end with masking tape
Use straight razor with hammer to 'guillotine' the cable through the tape
Remove tape

azneinstein 25th February 2011 06:26 PM

Though they look good.... I was hoping you had made some liquid cooled speaker cables when I was reading the first paragraph, then you can argue how water creates some polar response that blocks all noises~ lol

Jim Leach 25th February 2011 06:41 PM

I could make some 'water cooled' cables [Water Damped speaker cables! Exclusive!!!- even heavier!], but they would eventually saturate with heat, although that may take a few hours or so to occur... unless I did a closed loop through a heat exchanger... (we have DI water 'on tap' here in the plant)

But, as we deal with, there is a power loss as heat into the water (we loose about 5 volts over 15 feet). We can't have that now can we?:rolleyes:

However; how does this grab you: This cable inside a Teflon tube that is back-filled with Argon! Or, better yet, evacuated (partial vacuum)! Maybe Neon and we get them to glow...:rolleyes:

I was thinking about longer lengths and thought 1/2" ID Teflon tubing could be used as an insulator (jacket) rather than shrink tubing. All that 'air' space could be some other gas or a partial vacuum...:scratch: Not very flexible at all unfortunately...

Would it sound better? No. BUT, it JUST MIGHT justify the costs often charged for some speaker cables...:D


Jim Leach 25th February 2011 07:07 PM

Trying to confirm pricing for this stuff but the person I need to speak with is in a meeting...

I will also see about the tinned stuff- also quite good, and would most likely have a slightly different sound to it due to resistance change?? (Who knows...):scratch:

Also, with the Swiss stuff, you can slide off the 'shield' for some other project (was thinking it might be good shield for a turntable interconnect- another story) and still use the full interior rope braid, or (As I did in my last set of speaker cables) un-twist the larger bundle and use one or more smaller bundles for a less bulky cable... (version 1 speaker cables were the tinned stuff- a single 'sub braid' of each [~12 AWG] in PVC clear tubing with gold plated copper spades crimped on the ends. Used those for years...)

Anyway, there you go!

Jim Leach 25th February 2011 07:48 PM

No pricing yet, but I got this:

The US stuff we use is listed as 3 AWG on the spool (that's the tinned copper)

The Swiss spool says this:

3234 X 0.1 + 24 X 8 X 0.1

So I interpret that as the inner is 3234 strands at 0.1mm each, and the 'shield' is 24 'strands' of 8 strands each to make up the French braid.

Total AWG? Not sure. 0.1mm = 0.00394 inch (I was close when I measured it!) So, 3426 X 0.00394 inch strands (saves me from counting them!!)

NOTE: I just learned this wire gage is called "Metric 1" for the 0.00394" wire

Area: 0.00785 mm^2 X 3426 = 26.8941 mm^2

If I did that right, effective diameter is (only) 5.8517mm or 0.2304 inch which is close to (but a bit larger than) 3AWG (3AWG=0.2294 and 2 AWG=0.2576)

This makes sense since it is 'about' the same size physically as the US 3AWG stuff.

So, disregard what I said in the first post that it was/is 00 gage. If it was solid, I guess it would be... :o Oops...

A whole lot of useless information!

PS I have a sample of the swiss stuff in the lab to be evaluated. I will know for certain what the plating is. (but not in a hurry because this was a [:drink: I owe a beer] job for them....;)

Jim Leach 25th February 2011 08:23 PM

Cable pricing (As of today)
The Swiss stuff comes from Germany I think (we buy it in Euro, and it is subject to currency exchange on top of vendor increases for every shipment).

Anyway, the stuff can be had for the following prices as of today:

US stuff (Tin Plated Copper 3AWG) 3.32/ft

Swiss Stuff (Silver plated Copper 3+AWG) 25.82/m (8.61/ft)

If you want a lot of this stuff, I might be able to do better on pricing. Shipping is extra, but I think I could fit quite a bit in a USPS flat rate box for what ever those go for these days ($10.00 or so?)

If you want an inch or three to play with, that is usually free (from the scrap bin) but availability varies- it took me about 6 months to get my four 2-foot scraps to make my cables...:rolleyes:

PS we also have other interesting stuff in the scrap bin... How about hose with a heavy copper outer braid, encased in an outer jacket? Sort of like the oposite of how we use these plasma hoses. We supply air down the center and the copper conductor is around the outside. Send this huge 3 AWG conductor down the center and you have some SERIOUS coax... RG 1 billion!!!:p:scratch:

Jim Leach 7th March 2011 05:10 PM

Material Verification
I received the lab report today.

The "Swiss Stuff" is in fact silver plated copper. Both the inner and outer braids.

Jim Leach 25th November 2013 12:25 PM


These sound great (but at this length, they should sound like nothing at all)

They have been running for a while and they are performing flawlessly.

I have yet to try and jump start a Kenworth with them...:D

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