Soldering with a few basic tools

Is it really possible to repair your own audio leads with tools you’ve got lying around in the garage?

These are the tools that you need to be able to repair the audio lead

Work bench or ply to protect your table top.
You need an economical soldering iron and some resin core solder
A simple utility knife that you might even find in your office.
Of course you need the part you are going to be replacing.
Something that’s a lot of help is a “helping hand” or some sort of clamp to hold your replacement part.

Safety Considerations

Be sure to set up your workstation where there’s ventilation, extended exposure to the fumes is bad for your health.
You’re also dealing with a hot soldering iron and you can burn yourself so be very careful
And it’s always a good idea to wear safety glasses or some eye protection.
Now to begin with I need to prepare the lead to make sure it’s ready and that means cutting off the old plug that’s been damaged.

It’s always a good idea just to cut back from the end of the lead, because if you’ve had damage on the plug like this there is a good chance that it could have even stretched or broken some of the wire inside this cable. So, whenever I

cut off a plug like that, of course if I’ve got enough cable I’ll cut it off a little bit further away from the plug.

So let’s cut that off. We’ll use our basic cutting pliers, and you’e got your cutting tool there. Again, there’s your plug we’re going to be

cutting off. Now we can throw the old plug away.

The next thing, we need to prepare the lead. Inside this lead you’ve got two conductors. You have got

the outside plastic of course, but then you’ve got a shield over-the-top of an insulated wire in the center. Let’s have a look at that, and it’s

a good idea to just work out how much you need to remove by lining it up with the plug. The outside plastic can be cut with your utility knife. It’s just simply a matter of rolling the knife over the top of the plastic. You’ve got to be careful that you don’t go all the way through.

We’ve got a little cut in it there, and as you can see just bend the plastic and it should break. That way you don’t cut any of the fibres.

Now separate the wires and twist the outer braid together. Now you have to remove the outer covering off the little conductor in the centre so let’s take it off in the same manner.

Just roll that over with the knife, being careful not to go all the way through and cut the wires inside. Once you’ve made a mark bend the wire, the plastic should break.

Of course, if it’s a problem and you’ve cut through too many you can always shorten the cable and have another go at it.

So we twist those braids together, the outside shield and also the inner conductor, twist those together, and now you’re ready for the next step and that’s to tin the wire.

So set my plug up in some sort of holder. We need to put some solder on each of these terminations here, as well as the wires. They call that tinning the wire then we’ll be able to cut them to length. I’m going to shorten this shield so that it’s not so long.

And don’t forget you’ve also have got to tin the inner conductor as well. There we have it. Now those two wires are tinned ready to solder onto the terminals.

We need to tin the terminals as well. Put the soldering iron onto the metal, heat the metal up, then place the solder onto the metal and we’ve got a nice connection.

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