OK to squeeze copper wire into banana plug?

Discussion in 'A/V Interconnects, Cables & Power Conditioning' started by Gemseeker, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Gemseeker Enthusiast

    Gemseeker
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    Having never done any kind of electrical wiring before, I have a few questions. I've watched a bunch of how-to videos explaining how to strip wire and put banana plugs on the ends, but my wire isn't like the type I keep seeing on the videos and it's confusing the heck out of me.

    It's 16 gauge Rocketfish speaker cable wire (they threw it in at half-price with my Energy Magnolia speakers). So instead of 2 copper wires, each wrapper in a red or black jacket, and those both wrapped in a third jacket together, mine is just a pair of copper wires each wrapped in a very thick, clear plastic insulation, joined together but easily pulled apart. When I tried to use the stripper I bought to remove the insulation, I keep tearing off more than half the wires, even when using a bigger gauge hole/notch on the stripper tool (14).

    My second issue is that when I tried to thread the wire through the Sewell banana plugs I bought, the insulation is too thick to go completely through; I hit an inner rim about 3/4 of the way through. My question is: if I want an airtight connection, should I try to squeeze the insulated part further into the banana plug, or would that damage the copper?

    I don't have any experience or desire to solder the connections-I have a thing about poisonous fumes in my home. Yet everybody here talks about how important airtight connections are. If I have to I'd rather just use electrical tape to seal it off, but why bother if I can make use to the thick, rather gummy insulation the wire is already wrapper in?

    I'd also appreciate any other tips for a complete newbie when it comes to anything electrical-I never even took shop class in high school.

    Thanks~
  2. Irvrobinson Audioholic Ninja

    Irvrobinson
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    I highly recommend buying some inexpensive, professionally terminated speaker cables, like you see from Monoprice, Amazon, or wherever. Don't fiddle around with silly cables; do it right.
  3. jp_over Full Audioholic

    jp_over
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    - Stripping wire can be delicate; look here: How to Strip Wire (Without A Wire Stripper) '.. . <o:p></o
    - A tight connection (snug, ensuring not to damage threads) is necessary, airtight is absolutely not necessary. Also, you don’t want exposed bare wire as this could touch something it’s not supposed to and cause a short.<o:p></o
    - Soldering is nice, but not necessary. Electrical tape should not be required either if you have a decent pair of banana plugs.<o:p></o
    I’ve wired up many speakers in my time but bought these for a clean looking install. It might be worth a look:<o:p></o
    <o:p> </o
    Amazon.com: Dayton Audio SCP-6 6 Feet Speaker Cable Pair with Bananas: Electronics
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
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  4. Sheep Audioholic Warlord

    Sheep
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    Do what Right? 10 ga, 12 ga, 14 ga, 16 ga. It doesn't matter how big your wire is versus your banana plugs. As long as it has a solid connection and doesn't short out, you're golden. Don't waste extra time changing out perfectly okay wire just because it got smushed. I'm running 10 ga wire in plugs that hate it, and it sounds the same as some old 14 ga and 16 ga wire that fits better. Just make sure the wire ga is the right size for the length of the wire run versus the impedance and you're golden.
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  5. Irvrobinson Audioholic Ninja

    Irvrobinson
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    Do the end-to-end cable right, with secure connections. The OP is having trouble stripping the wires and fitting them into banana plugs, and talked about taping the wire to the connector and in general making a pretty sloppy connection, not a solid one. For example, he can have these for a very reasonable price and not worry about it:

    Amazon.com: C2G / Cables to Go 29176 10 feet/3.04 Meters Velocity 12 AWG Speaker Cable Blue: Electronics

    Why fret when for $25 or so problem solved?
  6. jp_over Full Audioholic

    jp_over
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    Just had another cost efficient thought for the OP - ditch the banana plugs and wire directly to the AVR and speakers using the binding posts.
  7. Rickster71 Audioholic Spartan

    Rickster71
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    Now that I looked up a picture of your banana plugs, I understand.

    Those can be wired two ways......don't put the wire in the end.
    Use the big hole on the side and tighten down the set screw, then trim off and excess wire that comes out the other side.
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  8. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    Sewell makes several types of Banana Plugs. They also offer this tutorial on how to install them. Perhaps this will help you.

    FWIW, I just bought a 24 pack of the "deadbolt" style and installation couldn't be simpler and they appear to allow quite a thick wire to be used.

    Which type did you buy?

    As for stripping the wire, well, that's sort of an acquired art that comes with time, practice, and patience.
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  9. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
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    I have to say, I've become severely disenchanted with Sewell banana plugs, specifically the silverback model. I've had all but two pair break in me, where the banana part pulls itself loose from the main cylinder. I'm not sure if I just got bad batch or what happened, but it was enough to switch all if them over to BJC locking banana plugs and I couldn't be happier.

    Maybe I'm lazy but I just bought one of those strippers from RadioShack. Insert wire, squeeze, voila stripped wire :D
  10. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    Interesting... I hope the ones I bought don't suffer that fate. But, I don't intend to plug/unplug them with any regularity.

    But, yea, those "screw-adjustable" wire cutters are great if they are gonna be used only for one gauge wire. Somehow, I've gotten used to using dikes (diagonal cutters) for that purpose.

    ...at least until the wife commanders them for cutting steel wires for her crafts and totally destroys the cutting edge. I could deal with that if she kept them, but she constantly loses them and takes the new ones I buy to replace the last pair she destroyed. :mad:
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  11. Gemseeker Enthusiast

    Gemseeker
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    I bought the 12 pack of Sewell Fast-Lock Deadbolts from Amazon, but they don't have a second hole on the side to thread the wire through. They're more barrel-shaped than most banana plugs, too. My wire is 16-gauge Rocketfish oxygen-free wire that looks just like the standard RCA wire I see when I look it up on Amazon-Mine has a clear coat around each wire-from a distance it looks pinkish-orange-in other words, it looks nothing like the double-jacketed wire pictured in the guide on Sewell's webpage.

    So my main question it really whether it matters if the wire gets a little squeezed as I push it through the banana plug. Will it cause a fire or a short or a bad connection? I just want to know if there's a good reason to strip away even more insulation, since it seems to me that the insulation would provide better support. The more bare wire there is, the more stress, yes?

    (And no, I don't plan on stripping away all the wire out past the edge of the banana plug. If I have to I'll just measure and strip only enough to have the maximum amount of insulation inside the banana plug as possible without hitting that inner rim.)
    Thanks for replying :)
  12. Rickster71 Audioholic Spartan

    Rickster71
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    When I did a search for Sewell the first picture that came up was the style I mentioned. Didn't realize they made others.

    Amazon shows a series of pictures of how much to strip off and to insert wire. Have you looked closely at those?

    When you say, "The wire gets squeezed."
    Are you saying the insulation doesn't fit into the black plastic barrel, or that the bare wire doesn't fit through and come out of the top?
    They claim: Maximum Wire Size 8 AWG (10 AWG suggested) ...so I'd think you wouldn't have a problem.

    A disclaimer: I tried this type of banana plug before and didn't like them at all. They are still sitting in a box somewhere.
    They wouldn't accept the larger gauge wire I had, and I didn't care for the way they screwed together
    YMMV, so to each his own.:)
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  13. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    A pic is worth a thousand words.
    [​IMG]

    This is what you should be doing with them, then flare the wire out and tighten them down so the wire is getting "clamped" in there. With your 14 awg, just fold it over once and it should be plenty to cause it to clamp.

    [​IMG]

    I've used the Monster version that these are a knock off of and I did not like them.
  14. BMXTRIX Audioholic Spartan

    BMXTRIX
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    To your orignal question, no, you won't have any issues if you squeeze the jacket on the cable a bit. There is still the proper gauge inside and you will be fine.

    Also, be sure not to run the wire you have inside of walls, it is not rated for in-wall use. All in-wall cables must have an exterior jacket on it.

    I will say that I've used this type of banana plug and I don't like them at all. I looked at the Sewell stuff and I'm just not overly impressed with what I've seen.

    This is what I like most: Nakamichi plugs 0534B, Nakamichi connectors, banana plug, RCA plug, Nakamichiplug.com , Nakamichi Audio Speaker Banana Plug connector, Nakamichi plug, Nakamichi connector

    They provide a double set-screw type connection which completely locks the wire in securely and easily with a shielded shell which helps to prevent shorts. Very easy and very secure at the right price.


    [​IMG]
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  15. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    I use those Nakamichi ones (except the BFA style) also for my surrounds and other systems and I do like them. Bought a bunch in bulk and they were very inexpensive and they work great. The sleeves do loosen once in a while, but that does not affect the attachment of the wire. In bulk they were around $0.70/ea.

    [​IMG]
  16. BMXTRIX Audioholic Spartan

    BMXTRIX
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    Yeah, that double locking screw system is bomb. This is basically what Rotel included with their several thousand dollar amplifiers. So, even though they aren't expensive, they work really well. With my own company, I ended up buying like 300 of them. Every one of my customers get them and I don't have to charge them $10 a pair to make some decent money on them. (ie: screw them over) I can keep the price down and give them what I consider is top shelf quality.
  17. jostenmeat Audioholic Spartan

    jostenmeat
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    I heartily recommend locking screw type bananas to everybody!

    To the craziest hobbyists who are always swapping gear, because it's so easy to plug and unplug securely.

    But also to noobs who never buy new gear or swap gear, because the locking mechanism + the plug itself helps ensure that there won't be any stray or crossing wires creating all sorts of issues. Also, no more concern of the oxidizing connection many years down the road.

    So, for everybody!


    Those Nakamichis^, at first I was thinking man I've been overpaying for single screw! I find some Sewells now online as well, researched for comparisons, and one of the first hits has an AVS member claiming that "Nakamichi banana plugs and spade terminals are gold plated iron, NOT "pure copper" as advertised." Anyone know anything about this? Otherwise, killer deal! :eek:
  18. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    AVS :rolleyes: LOL. I can almost guarantee they are plated brass not copper or iron (LOL), which AFAIK, practically all other connectors you are going to find on the market are as well.

    *edit - I just checked their site and it does say copper, but I am fairly certain nearly all connectors are gold plated brass. They work and sound no different than any other connectors I've ever used, so I'd say that is a mistake on their site not a misleading claim.
  19. Rickster71 Audioholic Spartan

    Rickster71
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    You'd think by now they would've tried to test them with a magnate.:D:rolleyes:

    I'll go test the ones I have (still in box) never liked them. EDIT#2 I just realized you were talking about the Nakamichi.
    I just tested the type the OP is using. Sorry for my confusion:D.
    Edit: tested mine, Not magnetic.
    Mine are 6 or 7 years old, so who knows; depending where they source them from. Materials could change.
  20. jostenmeat Audioholic Spartan

    jostenmeat
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    Thanks for the feedback. I'll probably check those out sometime, for the price it's hard not to give them a shot.

    I'm wondering what mine are made of now. I got them after the poster formerly known as MidCow2 aka Forest Man started a thread about Unique Products plugs. I did have the impression that the inner gold piece was much, much lighter than the dark (anodized?) outer sleeve. Maybe I should try to find a magnet, haha.

    My plugs fit 12 AWG from both Mono and BJC just fine. Something tells me that Rickster goes past that.

    Also now that I think about it, even with just one screw, my plugs are extremely secure. I wouldn't be surprised if I could rip out a post before the screw slipped. (I'm just wondering if 2 screws are unnecessary work, but I guess extra secure is just extra secure.)

    I read a little more carefully through this thread, too bad about the negative feedback on the particular Sewells mentioned on the last page. I'll probably try the Nakamichis like I said, sometime soonish, later this year or something. :cool:

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