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jarthel 9th June 2003 06:33 AM

can I use OFC speaker cables
as hookup wires in a DIY tube amp?



JOE DIRTŪ 9th June 2003 06:35 AM

Kevin explain on what yoiu want to use it for.....its fine for power,etc..>?????

Steve Eddy 9th June 2003 06:38 AM

Re: can I use OFC speaker cables

Originally posted by jarthel
as hookup wires in a DIY tube amp?
Sure. You can even use oxygenated copper if you'd like.


jarthel 9th June 2003 06:43 AM

well I plan to use wires rated 7A for the power supply. the speaker cables will only be used on signals.

Morse 9th June 2003 07:59 AM

Hi Jarthel;

Only potential problems I see to using speaker wire for hookup wire are:

1. Some speaker wire is very large in diameter and relatively hard to work with in a confined space.

2. Depending on your RF environment, amp layout, etc, you may want to use shielded cable inside the amp - at least for the input signal to the volume control. After all, do you use unshielded interconnects?

3. Cost. If you can afford name brand speaker wire as hookup wire in your projects, then spend away; after all, it's your money. Personally, I'm probably too cheap - 20 gauge, tinned Belden solid core works fine for me, except for signal in and B+. Signal in is usually 20ga shielded microphone wire, and B+ is usually test probe wire that's rated at well over 1kV.

4. Insulation. Frankly, for most amps the insulation on speaker wire is probably fine. BUT if you're into one of the really high voltage numbers (you know, "1.2kV = B+, etc") then you should really consider some wire with "enough" insulation for the task.

5. Just checked over at the Asylum and I have to concur that heat may well be long term problem with that insulation type.

Frankly, I would just use 'hookup' wire as 'hookup' wire inside the amp. If you want something better, teflon insulation is a joy to work with (it doesn't melt as easily with the cavalier application of a soldering iron the way some other insulation types can).

Good luck on your amp and all the best,

jarthel 9th June 2003 09:06 AM

I never said I'll be using brand-name OFC speaker cables. I was thinking of using this.


Is a twisted pair from input to volume control a better solution that using a shielded cable?

EC8010 9th June 2003 12:03 PM

Why use shielded cable at all inside a conductive chassis? If you've done your layout correctly, the wires from the input sockets to the volume control are short. The connection from the volume control to the next stage is the only connection where hum is likely to be a problem, so you make sure that's even shorter. All that screened cable inside a chassis does is make the wiring much harder, add capacitance, and increase the likelihood of hum loops.

As for using loudspeaker cable as hook-up wire within an amplifier, why? The currents are tiny and low resistance is not required. All you will be doing is making life difficult for yourself. There are reasons why hook-up wire is the way it is and the way loudspeaker wire is the way it is. Flying in the face of logic is simply perverse.

Morse 9th June 2003 05:18 PM

Hi EC8010;

>>>...Why use shielded cable at all inside a conductive chassis?...<<<

That's a very good point, and it was bad of me to assume that Jarthel uses a nonconductive chassis. I on the other hand usually work with wood for all my projects, electronic or otherwise - a lifetime of woodworking experience didn't go away when I got interested in building amps.

You're absolutely right about the difficulty of working with shielded cable too - it took a lot of time for me to learn how to handle and run that mike wire inside a chassis.

Anyway, we're in agreement - hookup wire is the best choice for use in an amp.

Peace and all the best,

EC8010 9th June 2003 06:26 PM

Hello Morse,

don't worry, I did the opposite. I assumed a metal chassis. (If you saw my woodworking, you'd know why.)

However, I've seen wooden chassis lined with copper foil to provide screening/ground plane.

Silver in PTFE sleeving makes lovely hook-up wire, and, as you say, PTFE tolerates all sorts of soldering abuse.

Morse 10th June 2003 02:15 AM

Hi EC8010;

No problem! I guess all of us just think about how we'd build something and go from time I'll try to be more open minded, since metal chassis are pretty much the norm.

Thanks for the tip on the copper foil. I've thought along those lines previously and I might just give it a try on my next project.

All the best,

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