I plan to use banana plugs which have screws to lock in my NACA5 speaker cables. Is it recommended to twist the NACA5’s copper wire strands before inserting in the banana plug before screwing? Or is it recommended not to twist the copper wire strands?
It’s recommended to solder them
@garyi 's answer is as accurate as it is short but, if soldering isn’t an option for some reason, twisting stranded wire before inserting it anywhere () is usually a good idea to avoid stray strands going AWOL.
I’m not aware of twisting having any performance issues associated with it - either good or bad - though personally I always try not to twist strands with bare hands due to the gunk that can get transferred from the latter to the former. A piece of paper towel or similar is what I try and use to keep the freshly-stripped copper as pristine as possible.
The best & recommended method is solder.
I use Deltron banana plugs that include a screw in the ‘solder bucket’ to enable user choice of screw and/or solder. I use the screw just to hold the wire in place & complete the connection with solder.
+1 Deltron, if you don’t have the Naim ones.
I don’t twist, just make sure that all the strands go in :0)
Some or all of this thread (and other linked threads) may be of help or assistance to you;
I also use banana plugs on both ends, currently the Deltron type screwed against the copper core without any twists.
I’ve had NAC A5 pairs with soldered Naim plugs as well, the reality being that both work fine and aren’t going to cause any concerns.
If you want to feel you’re doing what Naim feel gives the best solution then using their supplied plugs with professionally soldered connections removes any doubts, using alternative plugs and methods will work fine in most cases without any detriment to the enjoyment of the system as a whole, I’ve used multiple plugs and methods over the years and never had any problems personally nor determined a preference or if one was better than the other.
I still have the original Naim banana plugs that came with the Nait.
I have a 30 watt soldering iron which I use when joining small gauge wires. Would that have enough juice to heat up the NAC A5 and the banana plug to have a good solder?
Don’t know if 30W can do it since even 100W took a long time, see below. There’s a lot of wire that conducts heat away, likely that 30W can never get it up to temp
I would also strongly doubt that a 30 watt Iron would work - and is likely to result in frustration - and at best poor joints.
Twist is best partly to hold the bundle together, and if screw clamping partly so that all the strands are brought beneath the screw.
Although I’ve never looked at a NACA5 cable in the flesh, I’d be willing to bet that the copper strands are twisted inside the insulation
You’ll need an iron with a lot more power than that! A much safer bet would be to get a dealer who knows how to solder to do it. (Not all Naim dealers are able do this adequately, so do your homework!)
No, 30watt is not enough, I have a 100watt with temp control & that was enough with 3.3mm/2 cable, however I’ve also used it on NACA5 & Linn K20 & frankly would have liked more.
Actually the copper strands are not twisted inside NACA5. You’re therefore also right in recommending to twist them before screw clamping as otherwise the screw may well miss a number of the strands, resulting in a poor(er) connection.
If one were to twist the NAC A5 strands then i doubt very much you’ll get them to fit into the SA8 plugs/slots - the method being here is to slightly un-twist whilst at the same time forming the cable strands the same shape as the pin slots - it’s a tight fit prior to soldering.
Another option would be to first use a copper ferrule 4mm2 matching naca5 precisely, crimp the cable ends and then screw this too the banana plug if it has a screw connection. I use this method on my speaker spades and it works very well and you have the option of easily removing the spade or bananas and changing them out, if one so desires. Of course use copper, silver or gold plated ferrules to match the banana or spade plug material.
No. With the 100W iron in a warm room it still took a full minute to heat through enough to get the solder to flow.
I’m not sure I agree. It’s not hard to do if you’ve had a bit of experience at soldering, and have an iron with sufficient power.
The key is making a little jig to hold the wire in place in the pin while you heat, solder and wait for it to cool.
If you stuff it up you just chop a few cm off and try again. (Thanks @Richard.Dane for the link to whoever it is that showed their jig, it worked a treat.)
Yes, it’s easy enough if you can be bothered, but for many it will be a one-off other than maybe a few practice runs, so possibly better to pay someone that to buy a decent soldering iron you’ll never use again.
Precisely. Well said.
And you might not even need to pay - if say you were buying several metres of £$£ cable at the same time…
The trick is to preheat the pin to about 200°C to 250°C, This is hot enough to enable more rapid time to flow, but cool enough to not cause a significant rate of oxidation of the nickel plating.