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Making custom cables


pvanstry
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Gentlemen, i have sometime on my hands ( slow season over here ) and wanted to offer my services to any one who would need it. I have been making custom cables for friends and would like to extend this service to the forum here. I can make all kinds of Audio passive cables, RF jumper and passive DC distro. My cables are premium built ( all connection are shrink wrap for added durability ) and all made to specific lenghts. I can built just about any cables. Please feel free to contact me at: pascal.vs@mac.com. I accept paypal payment only. ( buyer pays for shipping and fees ).

Thank you in advance.

Pascal

PS. I also make custom harness/mounting system system for 788t/cl8/SRa bags that are really something to see.

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Hey Pascal,

Thats a really elegant solution to mounting/arranging SRa receivers. Are they just velcroed to the supporting "beam" or is there something more sophisticated going on? I currently swap my SRas between two different bag rigs, a Zaxcom Fusion-based rig with an Octopack, and a 552-based rig, using Blue Cow Cables' dsub cables. With both systems using the same "SRUNI" mount on the bottom of the SRAs, it makes swapping super easy, but when im on the 552, I miss how neatly the receivers sit, as they do with the Fusion bag, so your mount seems obvious and smart, except for how much I'd hate to keep adhering and removing Velcro from the receivers. I've even been considering buying a Quadpack just for the tidiness, though it seems like a big expense for very little payoff (c'mon Larry, i know you can drop that price a little!).

As for your RF antenna distro, I'm very interested in what you've got going on there. Though I've been pretty happy with the Octopack, my experience with it has made me feel that for hand-held bag use, it's not all that much of an improvement over the receiver's built in whip antennas (at least how I've been using mine, with 1/4" Wave BNC whips installed. So I'm intrigued by what you have going on in your system. Could you describe all the components? What have been your experiences with the performance vs. the normal whips installed? Any comparison vs. the Octopack? What type of antennas did you use, and how do you mount them?

Thanks in advance!

E.

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SOlid, sorry fo rthe wait.

1- FOr the SRa mounting, i use a combination of Velcro, Tie wrap and plexiglass. Basically there is velcro on both side of the SRa, velcro on the 788 and i made a little plexiglass plate with velcro for the other side so that the SRa are sandwhiched in between the two. THe tie wrap are actually what makes it so good looking. I use very smal one and tie the mounting screw holes on the SRa together. THey become really rigid and stay in place like magic.

2- Antenna distro is a combination of Mini-Circuits splitter ( ZFSC-4-1 Sma ) and a Lectrosonics UFM230 ( amplifier ). THe splitter introduce around 5-6db of signal loss so the amplifier is there to make up that loss. And only the loss. Adding too much gain actually creates more issues then adding range. For antennas, i use custom made block specific Coaxial Dipole antenna, very similar in performance to Lectrosonics SNA600 antenna but it is just a piece of cable. Is there much of a difference from this to whip? Not a simple answer. Pros and cons:

Pros:

1- You can remote the antenna to get a better less obstructed line of sight to the transmitter, helps a lot in very crowded room.

2- You can use different antenna type so that you can tailor it to your need.

3- You can mount your antenna on the roof of a chase car when doing a car scene, HUGE help.

4- Clean and Simple.

Cons:

1- A little heavier on your back

2- If not properly set ( gain ) can create issues.

3- A little power drain.

Options:

PSC nows as it's SMA RF MULTI unit out. Basically it is a unity gain splitter ( internally built amplifier compensate for splitter loss ) with Antenna bias power ( so you can power amplifier remotely so that you can place the amplifier at the antenna on long cable run where you want them to be ). Cheaper, but not by much.

Hope this helps.

Pascal

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I found this

from there: http://nickmeade.com/blog_tesd.php

Creating Custom Cables for Field Recording

One of the lessons I have learned in my career is that good gear is hard to find. Great purchases always require a decent amount of research and even then you may not always find what you are looking for, especially in the specialized world of sound effects recording. For example, I was recently in the market for a 2-channel cable for my stereo MKH-30/MKH-60 combo rig. As there were no commercially available solutions that I was particularly fond of, I decided to build a cable from scratch with the exact materials I would like to see in a quality stereo mic cable.

My goal in this tutorial is to show the basics in custom cable construction, not specifically give instruction in soldering. For specifics in the art of soldering check out YouTube and enter a search criteria such as "How to Solder," where I was easily able to find approximately 5600 videos on the subject.

The first requirement in making good customs cables is good tools. Below you will see a picture of the basic tools I use when creating cables: Soldering Gun, Wire Strippers, Multi-Meter, Gator Clip Stand, and of course a small torch for heat shrink. (My favorite tool!)

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Next we need the actual supplies for the cable itself. It is very important to buy quality components when building cables. For this build I am using Mogami W2739 4-core cable with Neutrik Black and Gold XLR's. One of the goals of this build was to create a stereo cable that was ultra light for field recording but also possessed enough quality to stand the rigors of the field. The W2739 cable is close to 1/4 the size of a standard mic cable, but is still rigid enough for field use. I am also using .125", .1875" and .25" shrink tubing to protect all exposed wire strands in the cable.

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A close up of the shrink tube I am using. The clear shrink tube is for the ground lead, while the black is for the W2739. I will explain the use for both.

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The shield will be used as the ground for the cable. Carefully take the shield strands and wind them into one single strand as shown below.

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Next, take the 4 individual conductors and group them into 2-pairs. The grouping of the pairs does not matter as long as they are consistent throughout the project. I grouped the colored strands into one pair and the shaded strands into another.

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It is now time to install the shrink tube on the exposed ground lead. This will prevent the possibility of any shorts in the future. I am also taking the time to apply solder to the tips of the leads to prevent any unraveling of the strands during the installation.

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Soldering irons come in many shapes and price points. I use this $50 Weller workstation and have literally completed hundreds of projects with it. It also collapses nicely to fit into my toolbox. I have the iron set to approximately 80% power for this project.

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One mistake I often see is people make when making cables is fill the cups of the XLR connector with solder. Try to use enough solder to get the job done; not so much as to fill the cups and make de-soldering a nightmare, but enough solder so that the cable does not fail due to cracked joints caused by rough handling.

Neutrik conveniently labels their connector terminals with numbers to make sure you get the cable in the right place every time. Just remember what XLR stands for when soldering XLR cables: X=1 for Ground, L=2 for Live, R=3 for Return. Below I have attached the ground to terminal 1. I will attach the colored wires to Terminal 2 (L=Live) and the Shades to Terminal 3. (R=Return)

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Here is what the finished soldering job looks like. Clean and polished, with enough solder to retain a good, stable connection but not so much that if I needed to remove the cable from the terminal it would be an issue to de-solder. The only issue with the picture below is that the place where the cable sleeve ends has exposed shield material, which I will now cover with the shrink tube we slid onto the cable before soldering began.

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To finish this end of the XLR simply slide the protective plastic sleeve and cover on and screw it together with the back piece you installed earlier. If you forgot to install the back before you soldered the cable, you will now have to de-solder the cable, install the back piece, and re-solder the cable back together again.

Since I need a stereo cable, I am repeating the steps I performed above to solder an XLR to a second cable and will use several pieces of shrink tube to link the two cables together. There is tubing available for purchase that can cover the entire cable, but in turn creates a more rigid cable than I want for field applications.

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If you have never used a Multi-Meter before I recommend checking one out. The meter I use checks everything from resistance to amperage to voltage. The setting you see below is used for checking continuity, which is simply a test to make sure path 1 connects to path 1, not path 2, or path 3, and so on..

Simply insert one end of the test node into the female XLR. Then test the matching terminal on the male side of the cable. A terminal with continuity will make the Multi-Meter beep or output some sort of signal. (Depending on your make and model) For example, Ground to Ground should have continuity, not Ground to Live. Also take the time to check for shorted connections. If pin 1 has continuity with pin 2 for example, you have a short and need to evaluate your cable before proceeding.

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I always label my cables. In this case I am labeling them LT and RT.

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Here is a look at one of the other options in 2-channel cables. My cable is much lighter and way more flexible then this Mogami 2-pair AES/Analog cable.

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Let me know of any feedback you may have and happy soldering!

Nick Meade

Audio Enthusiast

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