How much does RCA, hook wire and binding posts really matter? - diyAudio
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Old 9th April 2011, 12:03 AM   #1
JZatopa is offline JZatopa  United States
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Default How much does RCA, hook wire and binding posts really matter?

I am collecting parts for a cheap F5. I tried building a tube amp years ago from some spare parts I had laying around and it ended in disaster so I am considering this my first true amp building attempts. I have almost everything but I still need an enclosure, RCAs, Binding posts and hookup wire. I think I am going to build my enclosure out of wood but could use some info on the rest. What gauge wire should I be using for hookup? I would assume that bigger is better on the wires going to the speaker binding posts but what is too big? Here is my plan so far.

wires to binding posts - 12g copper stranded (unless you think I can get 10g to work)
binding posts - Radio shack
RCA to PCB - telon coated hookup wire
RCA inputs - Radio shack

I don't mind spending a few extra dollars if it is worth while but I am not trying to build the best F5 ever.

Last edited by JZatopa; 9th April 2011 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 9th April 2011, 12:49 AM   #2
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I used 14 gauge for my wiring (rectifiers to power supply, power supply to amp boards, amp boards to binding posts). Even 14 gauge may be a little "overkill".

I used very thin (or as Zen Mod says, "thinnnnnnnnn") twisted pair between the RCA jacks and the amp boards. Most important thing is to keep a tight twist, and to route these input pairs well away from power and output leads.

You can also use Search on the F5 thread, to get other forum members' thoughts.
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Old 9th April 2011, 01:04 AM   #3
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Your wire choices seem good, but I'd try to get some better connectors. They may work fine the day you build it, but a couple years down the road you'll wish you used something mechanically more solid and without the poor plating. I'd suggest either industrial quality binding posts from E.F. Johnson, or some audio specific ones from various culprits. You definitely want better RCA connectors than RS.
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Old 9th April 2011, 03:59 AM   #4
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"Build nice, or build twice."

Have you asked around for surplus electronics stores in your area?
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Old 9th April 2011, 09:46 PM   #5
JZatopa is offline JZatopa  United States
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So I am looking at the wire on apexjr and think it is going to be what I use. I will be picking up 10g teflon coated wire but I am not sure which gauge to use on the RCA hookup. I have usually found bigger to be better with speaker wire but I am not sure that is true with line level signals. Would I be better off with 26g wire or 16g? Does it matter if it's stranded or not?
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Old 10th April 2011, 12:22 AM   #6
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Well, like I said--I used 14 gauge, and that was probalby overkill.

Are you planning to use 10 guage wire to connect to the amp and/or power supply boards? If so, please get some good pictures!

Depending upon whose PCBs you use for the power supply and amp, I suspect you'll have real issues trying to cram a 10 gauge wire into a PCB hole.....and if that hole is through-plated, drilling it out to accept a 10 gauge wire is a very poor practice. Having said that, your call.

Go with very thinnnnnnn wire for the RCA inputs. I suspect I'm using about 24 or 26 gauge, tightly twisted (see my prior pics) --and when you get that thin, you're running out of "stranded" options. Go with solid core (copper, or better).
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Old 10th April 2011, 01:47 AM   #7
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The thing that contributes most to the great sound of these amps is circuit design and beefy power supply. Don't undersize the trafo or the PS caps.

I have used Radio Shack parts and 16 gauge hookup wire throughout on amps and they sounded amazing -- much mcuh better than my Sony ES receiver. The nickel plating is fine.

I do like standard tinned stranded hookup wire. I have seen stranded (non tinned) copper speaker wire corrode due the the heat and flux and vinyl sheathing after it was soldered.

For line level signals I prefer around 20 gauge. 26 is probably fine, but I find it a bit small to work with.

Good luck and please post some pix when the time comes.

JJ
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Old 10th April 2011, 03:12 AM   #8
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I see Partsconnexion carries DHLabs DHLAbs Hookup Wire red/black twisted pair hookup wire. Seems like a good choice.

Regards,
Dan
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Old 10th April 2011, 10:30 AM   #9
AuroraB is offline AuroraB  Norway
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Jeepers...... I've made miles and miles of 20-26 ga twisted pairs just using a cordless drill.......whenever a prticular colour combo was out , - 2x about 100' along the corridor and twist away...
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Old 10th April 2011, 04:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuroraB View Post
Jeepers...... I've made miles and miles of 20-26 ga twisted pairs just using a cordless drill.......whenever a prticular colour combo was out , - 2x about 100' along the corridor and twist away...
Yep..... no real "rocket science" in making a twisted pair--all it takes is a drill, and wires of your choice........but you must have a longer corridor than I do......!
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