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How to strip wire and use compression banana plugs?


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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 Emile

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Posted March 23 2003 - 10:04 AM

I am almost completely done setting up my home theater system but I am having trouble with my wiring. I have never hooked up speakers before, and I only have spools of wire, not pre-terminated cables. I just bought a wire stripper, but I am having problems using it;it can only fit one wire a time, yet the cables are two wires connected by the middle. Do people usually have to cut the middle of their wires before they plug them into their speakers and receiver? And is there a good and bad way to do this? I keep on hearing how you want to twist the exposed wire and make sure there are know stray strands of copper, but this seems impossible to do. Also, my banana plugs are of the compression type, and they don't really fit snugly into my binding posts, is it supposed to be this way? Are there any tutorials for this type of thing on the net? Thanks for the comments.

#2 of 7 Mat_M

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Posted March 23 2003 - 12:12 PM

Yes, split the speaker wire down the middle, maybe 4-6 inches. Then use the wire stripper on each individual wire to take off about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of the casing (maybe more), exposing the bare wire. This should give you ample room to attach the banana plugs.

Now, I had the same problem with my banana plugs not fitting snuggly, but this can be easily solved. I took a pair of pliers with a large mouth so I could fit the banana plugs between the ends. Using just a little bit of pressure, I was able to make the bowed part bow more. I don't know if this is possible with all compression banana plugs, but you might want to give it a try. Hope this lame picture helps explaining what I did.

___ <- Pliers mouth
(|)
(|) <- bowed part of plug
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___


#3 of 7 Glenn Overholt

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Posted March 23 2003 - 02:44 PM

To add to the wire stripping. The idea is not to cut any strands off, and even to leave just a hair of insulation that the strippers don't cut into.

After that is done, you can twist the insulation and if it was cut just right, you'll twist the cut off piece of insulation away from the rest of the cable.

If you keep on twisting while gradually pulling the insulation away, you can end up with a very neat and tight set of stranded wires to work with. Practice!

Glenn

#4 of 7 Emile

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Posted March 24 2003 - 03:28 PM

Thanks for the info Mat, it helps to have that much room between the wires...I am using compression type plugs for only 2 of my five speakers, so I guess I should be able to tighten as you suggested. Glen, it seems when I cut the insulation and take it off, lots of copper strands fall off automatically. But I've been practicing lately, and should have it down soon. Thanks for your comments.

#5 of 7 Bob McElfresh

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Posted March 25 2003 - 02:12 PM

It sounds like you are using the wrong stripper. Did you buy one of those "Strip O Matic" strippers that bite down on the wire? The "One size fits all" type do not work well for stranded wire. The ones that DO work well have different holes for different gauge wire. But they do take a bit of practice to work well.

Go to Radio Shack and find the wire strippers that look like pliers, but have holes for 12, 14, 16 ga wire. These will cut through the insulation, but not the wires. They are fairly cheap and work well. Your local hardware store should carry some as well.

I STRONGLY recommend that you cut off about a foot of wire, then practice stripping, cutting, stripping and use up the entire length. It's not hard to do, but the first few strips will be crude/poor til you get the feel for it. Then go after your real speaker wire.


Also, check out the Radio Shack dual-banana plugs (2xx-308). They work great for behind the speakers. The single bananas (2xx-306) work well behind the receiver.

#6 of 7 RobWil

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Posted March 25 2003 - 06:01 PM

I've always had better luck with scissors or a knife. It takes a gentle touch not to cut any strands but the idea is to not cut all the way thru, like Glenn mentioned, and then just twist or gently pull the insulation off.
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#7 of 7 Emile

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Posted March 26 2003 - 06:28 PM

Thanks for the comments. Robwil, I tried the knife, but I definitely don't have that gentle touch, lol. Bob, I bought one of those from Lowes, and most of the wire is now intact when I cut the insulation. Thanks.