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Soldering


The Making Music way to connect a jack plug. Before doing anything else, unscrew the barrel of the plug and feed the wire through it. Naught more infuriating that unmaking a perfect joint because you left the case on the table.

Trim off 15mm of the cable's outside covering using your wire strippers - you have wire strippers don't you? All right, be very careful with the scissors. Inspect the leads inside to make sure you haven't cut too far and nicked their insulation, exposing the wire inside.

If the screening is braided (tightly interweaved), push it back to loosen it, make a hole at the bottom, and pull the centre core out. If the screening is twisted, unwrap it, divide out the core, then retwist it to make a separate lead.

Cut the screen to just under half the length of the exposed core, then strip 3-4mm of insulation from the tip of the core itself.

Tin both of them, ie, cover the exposed wires with a thin layer of solder. Limit how often you touch the ends with your greasy fingers - it will spoil the contact.

Introduce the prepared lead to the plug (say hello). Ideally, the exposed core should sit perfectly on top of that short tag up front, while the upright teeth of the bottom terminal can be bent to grip around the thick outside covering, not the two inner leads. The screened lead should be under the core, nestling against the larger terminal.

IMPORTANT: (1) Don't carry dollops of solder on the end of the soldering iron (about 15 Watt is a good 'un). Use the iron to heat the metal of the terminal first, then bring the solder to it and the wire (a little extra iron heat is allowed). (2) Use just enough solder to comfortably cover the wire and leave a smooth surface on top. Huge lumps spell disaster, and anyway, think of all that extra weight. (3) Don't keep the iron hanging around. Excessive heat can soften the plastic of the cable, even the plug itself. (4) Avoid dribbling buckets of solder on the underside of the targe terminal, as that makes it difficult to get the barrel back on. (5) Don't burn yourself.



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Making Music - Copyright: Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.

 

Making Music - Jul 1986

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