Non soldered Banana Plugs

I know that many will call it sacrilege but I cannot get a decent soldered connection on my banana plugs. Therefore, can I go back to ones with the screw fixings in the bore? Am I throwing away a whole load of performance?

Do you know the wattage of your iron, should be easy this.

Screws are rubbish. If you cannot solder, get a crimping gun and crimp plugs instead. It still won’t prevent oxidization creep up the conductors but a decent crimp forms a cold weld and a very good connection.

Screws neither acheive the connection quality of solder or crimping.

100% agree on that. If you can’t solder, get a crimp gun, or even better get someone who can solder to do it for you. You don’t need a Naim or audio dealer, any electrical service shop, best will be an auto-electrical service shop

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I am pretty handy with a soldering iron, but only have a small craft one that struggles to get enough heat into the joint. NACA5 has a really thick and tight cross section that just takes a load of energy. I will try again and see if I can do it in 3 parts: tin the cable, tin the plug, make the join.

If you only have a small craft type iron, my advise is forget it.
I have a 100W & have wished it had a bit more some jobs.

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If you know what you are doing re soldering then it’s worth buying yourself a bigger soldering iron. I doubt you will get enough heat in there with a small one and you will probably end up having to start again. A bigger iron will only cost you one or two metres of NAC A5!

Best
David

Screwfix, gas powered one and then fit the large spade end. That will do it nicely as that is what I used and was fine

You need a lot of heat to solder NACA5 well; otherwise you’ll end up leaving the iron on it too long and melt the insulation.

Do it properly - even a cheap 100W iron will get you better results than what you are suggesting. Get a 15-quid job from the river if you don’t want to spend a lot, or treat yourself to a soldering station by the likes of Hakko or Weller and you’ll question how you ever got anything soldered before. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Wait…does this mean that every single mains plug in my house is not making a good connection?

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If you were to check them all, you would be surprised how many of those screws would be a bit loose.

Obviously if they are very loose then you can get overheating but just a little bit loose isn’t going to stop a 240 V, half an amp or so power connection and any distortion added probably will go unnoticed by your vacuum cleaner or hair dryer!

For an audio connection though things are more finicky, so soldering is a good way to remove that as a possible source of future problems.

Best

David

When did you last check? The screw terminals in mains plugs can tend to loosen off sometimes, so it’s worth checking from time to time, although the terminals can get pretty loose and things will still appear to work fine. Not quite the same thing with signal or speaker cabling though.

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Gosh i have been using a german brand of screwed banana plugs for years on several systems . never had a problem . i hate solder !!

There’s been discussions out in the Audiophile world about solder vs crimping for years… All I’ll say is that arguably the Best connectors, WBT use a crimp sleeve and then screws. As a practical matter when I buy a cable I don’t worry about crimp vs solder. Tons of information on the internet on crimp vs solder.

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I am more than happy with crimping and screws

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Akways amazed at the sheer number of very expensive “screw only” plug sets out there. I’m talking set that are $200 and up for 4 plugs. I always wonder why bother? followed closely by who buys this stuff?

I’d take a dirt cheap solder or crimp nickel deltron over $200 of screw only rhodium any day.

Anything with a screw and a wire is subject to:

  • Uneven (and reduced) contact area.
  • torque on indivitual strands (and often some strand breakage) during screw tightening.
  • That magical loosening happens over time for no reason.
  • Accelerated oxidisation because the area exposed to air between strands is greater.

While a screw can work and be permanently fault free, “working” and “working well” aren’t the same thing. And while the audible difference might be almost imperceptable (though on bad connections it will sound off), what’s the point in spending $thousands on a system and then cutting a corner as cheap and easy as proper cable terminations?

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I agree, and I suspect these screw-down connectors are there to appeal to people who want to buy something ‘better’ without having to bother with soldering, and if there are expensive versions out there, someone is going to buy them.
The crimped solutions now offered by the likes of Chord and QED are, I suspect, there to cater for dealers who do not have adequate soldering skills, by providing an alternative that is harder to mess up.

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I bought my Mogami speaker cable from John Burns of Pear Audio, UK agents for Dynavector and Shahinian. John’s strong recommendation is for screw type connectors. He dislikes soldered joints with this cable. Go figure!

There are a couple of potential issues with soldering. Even if the soldering is 100% secure and good there are still problems. First of all is the fact that one of the electrical conductors in the chain is now the solder itself. Going to all of that care with OFC this and 100% copper that etc… seems a bit compromised if there’s a slug of solder acting as the conductor. The other issue is a potential problem with galvanic effects with the dissimilar metals.

So, if you could get the screw connector secure and stable then this MIGHT have an advantage over soldering.

I’d think good crimping is the preferred method IMHO.

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That would be poor soldering. Good soldering should primarily be about a good mechanical fixing to ensure a tight and well sealed connection between two conductors. That’s why good preparation before soldering is essential. Just relying on the solder to conduct between the two parts you’re trying to solder is a recipe for a poor result and possibly a dry joint.

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