DIY Power cable

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Joe Tilley, Jun 25, 2002.

  1. Joe Tilley

    Joe Tilley Supporting Actor

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    Ok first off I hope this don't start a flame war but,yesterday I made my first Diy power cable with some 12awg wire & some wattgate connectors & I cant believe the difference it made. At moderate vol I don't see any difference but at high vol it made all the difference,treble & midrange are much more detailed & bass is quite a bit tighter sounding than before. Another thing I noticed was it seams quite a bit louder at a given level than before,for example I would listen to music at 30 to 35 at the most before & now at 40 this thing is just screaming like never before.
    I never really thought a piece of wire could do so much before but know Im a new believer in power cables,so long to the factory 18awg junk its gonna be DIY all the way for me from know on.[​IMG]
     
  2. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Well, yesterday I made my first snake oil power cable. I used some Belden cable that's two 12-gauge stranded copper tin plated conductors with Teflon insulation, with foil shield over that and tin-plated copper braid over that, covered with Teflon outer jacket. I used a Wattgate IEC connector and a heavy duty right angle Hubbell/Bryant male plug. I'm going to take it to our next HT meet in Austin and if I get positive reactions, I'll add it to my list of products. Next comes interconnects.
     
  3. David A. Frattaroli

    David A. Frattaroli Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm with you, Joe. Here's the one I made. Instructions and more pics on my site: www.downinfrontht.com under the DIY section. I also have instructions for mounting an IEC connector to a component in order to make the cables interchangeable.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Joe Tilley

    Joe Tilley Supporting Actor

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    David,actually Im pretty sure your site was where I got the idea for my power cable.The cable I made is the same as what you have pictured,I used four pieces of ROYAL 12awg 600v copper & braided them like you have done.
    I am truly amazed at the difference it has made to my system & will be making others for my DVD player & sub amp.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. David A. Frattaroli

    David A. Frattaroli Stunt Coordinator

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    Joe, did you have to break yours in or did you notice improvements right away? What kind of improvements or changes did you notice?

    Thanks.
     
  6. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    David or Joe,

    How much did it cost to make a single power cord? Thanks!
     
  7. Joe Tilley

    Joe Tilley Supporting Actor

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    David,I noticed a difference right away.Like I said in my first post the improvement is at high vol,I don't really hear a difference at normal levels.As for changes bass is quite a bit tighter or clean sounding,& mids & highs seam to come through more clear with less harshness.
    I quess I don't really have a good way to decribe how it sounds other than I know it made some improvement,heck even my wife (which hates my system)said she thought it sounded different & she had no idea that I done anything yet, I think that alone is saying something.
    Bryan, I made my cable for about 30.00 but I already had the wire (which doesn't cost much). I bought my connectors from Parts Express,using the wattgate IEC part#110-430 & Marinco Hospital grade plug part#110-402.You can pick up the wire just about anywhere like Lowe's,Menard's,ext I know in my area it runs around 8.00 for a 50' roll of 12awg,but keep in mind that you will need three rolls one white,green,& black.
    If you haven't already check out Davids site it will tell you how to braid the wire.
    Good luck Bryan,& David it was your site after all where I got the idea to make mine, I went & looked around it the other day again & realized that was it,so I quess a Thanks is in order for your help:b [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    Well, mine are done. [​IMG] Interesting enough the Wattgate IEC was the vast majority of the cost (one cost about as much as the two Leviton plugs and all the wire - bought by the foot). Still burning in the power cords but they have around 30 hours on them. The bass has tightened up noticeably. The braiding was most certainly the hardest part. All in all, for about $35 a cord it was worth it, not only the improvement in sound but also the experience. Thanks for the pics of the cord David! They were extremely helpful! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. Jeff D

    Jeff D Supporting Actor

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    What happens to the second green wire? I only see one being used. Do you run them together before putting into the ends?

    It looks like a fun project, but the mods to the dvd player and such seem a bit much at the moment. (wait until I fall out of warrenty)
     
  10. Mark Tranchant

    Mark Tranchant Stunt Coordinator

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  11. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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  12. Mark Tranchant

    Mark Tranchant Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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  14. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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    There is a substantial difference in quality between using a cheap $5 molded cord with cheap connectors than with premium connectors, which Wattgate and Hubbel are. The whole question of what difference a power cord or any other cable can make really gets beaten to death. The only suggestion I can really make to try it empirically, if it makes a difference, then come up with the scientific explanation. For myself, I have made my own power cables and replaced the duplex outlets on the wall and noticed a significant difference.
    Here is a good post on why power cables make a difference.
    http://www.AudioAsylum.com/audio/cab...ges/13538.html
    Here is someones empirical findings using the same wire, but different connectors.
    http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/cab...ges/15700.html
    Chu, you're right, all those other sources play a role, but please think about it. If the inductance of the power cord doesn't make a difference, why doesn't everybody use a zip configuration (such as in Romex) rather than a spiraled or braided configuration? The inductance in the zip configuration is much higher and leads to greater losses.
     
  15. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Just tossing out some food for thought Ted. A few possible answers might be Romex isn't the most flexible thing in the world and/or its not needed. I'm familiar with Risch and in the second link you provided I've abstracted the following words:
     
  16. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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  17. Joe Tilley

    Joe Tilley Supporting Actor

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    Mark, I'm not suggesting that the amp is doubling its power or anything like that,it is just that at higher levels everything is much smother & more detailed. As far as a under rated power cable the cable that I replaced was only 18awg.Now I know that this is pretty standard for just about any receiver or small amp but come on. Would you feed your Corvette gas through a 2mm straw? Sure it may run but hit the gas & it gonna fall on its face.I know that is something completely different but in a since its still the same,bigger fuel line less chance the car will choke,better power cable better chance the amp will get the power its needs...
    As far as doing a double blind test or any test for that matter WHO CARES I know what I hear,my wife knows what she heard,I don't need to prove myself to satisfy you or anyone else I'm happy with the end results & that's all that matters...[​IMG]
    PS sorry if I come off as an ass but I just cant stand people with the whole you cant do that it will never work attitude. I've built cars for 13 years & always had people say (you'll never get that to work right its not even made for that car)But you know what I would always prove them wrong & they would be left scratching there heads....
     
  18. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Hey Ted, I'm biased by some of the bread I've made! Oh god! You mentioned Stereophile! Aren't you just a bit curious though if you really made an audible improvement and wouldn't you be interested in a means wherebye you can truly 'trust your ears'? Tis quite possible. After all, the amount of time it would take probably pales in comparison to the amount of time reading, asking questions, ordering parts, assembling and all that. If you're interested we could discuss it off-line, and if not, somehow life will go on. I'm glad though that everyone seems to have successfully built what they set out to do. As far as that car analogy goes, i certainly wouldn't want to put a 2 mm fuel line because of backpressure issues, but by the same token, I wouldn't want to bore out my injectors to 2 mm either [​IMG]
     
  19. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu,

    All I'm saying about double blind testing is that I don't feel it is necessary. I don't mind doing it but at the same time don't think its the only answer to arrive at a relatively unbiased conclusion. As for the comparisons, these were all relative to the freebie cables that came with the components. Not hard to improve on those IMHO. The biggest difference I noticed was on modifying the DVD player -- which had the skimpiest cord.

    Stereophile? Yes, I was a long time subscriber until all my favorite reviewers except for Sam Tellig left. I still keep all my back issues and when the urge hits go through them again.
     
  20. Bill Fagal

    Bill Fagal Stunt Coordinator

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    In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit up front that I am burdened with a decent dollop of skepticism about the merits of power cord esoterica, and suspicious about the ratio of intrinsic benefit to psychological. (However, even a good placibo upgrade is definately worth money, if it works for you! [​IMG])
    With that out of the way, I'll next admit that my empirical skepticism hasn't kept me from wanting to experiment! For my next upgrade (after I've finished my remodeling my kitchen), I plan to install a dedicated 20A circuit with an isolated ground. Breaker at the top of the load center bus, and ground soldered to a rod driven into my basement floor. I haven't decided yet whether to terminate with an outlet on the wall or just continue the romex run unbroken into the back of my amplifier, effectively eliminating (and surpassing) expensive outlets and plugs.
    All of this is easy (if you're a DIYer), cheap, and should far surpass the performance of any little run of high-quality power chord, IMHO.
    Bill
     

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