In case you are curious, these four 10' cables will be used to connect these buttons (player buzzers) to the main control box housing the circuitry and this large timer display. The entire apparatus is for a Jeopardy style quiz game to be used my friend who teaches high school science classes. The complete project description is available on my website!
Let's get to it!
Step 1: Materials and Tools
RCA Cable Ends - I got mine from Radioshack because I needed them right away, but you could easily find them online for cheaper, or scavenge old stereo equipment for cables that you don't need and just extend those wires.
Wire - I am using 24 gauge speaker wire that I had in a scrap pile for a couple of years.
Heat Shrink Tubing - Optional
Soldering Iron and Solder
Continuity Tester (or multimeter with that functionality)
Precision Needle Nose Pliers
Wire Strippers and Cutters
Hot Glue Gun - Optional
Heat Gun - Optional
Step 2: Preparing the Wire
- Figure out how long you want the cables to be.
- Cut the wire, split the two sides a bit, and strip the ends.
- If one side has a marking, make note of it now.
- Slide a piece of heat shrink tubing over the end.
- Open the RCA cable ends by unscrewing the back half of the casing.
Step 3: Solder the Ends
If your wire has a marking on one side, then this will be easier. Take the unmarked wire and thread it through the small hole on the shorter metal tab from the inside out. Bend the lead around the tab a bit, and it can be soldered in place. Then, you should cut off the rest of the exposed wire.
Now, take the marked wire and do the same thing with the longer metal tab.
Be careful... overheating either of the tabs can melt the plastic housing, causing the threads to deform. This can make screwing on the back casing difficult!
Step 4: Secure the Collar
The two tabs should be bent down over the wire and clamped tightly together. Don't overdo it here, you could cut through the wire insulation and short the two wires together.
Speaking of shorts, now is a good time to check the continuity of the two wires - they should not be shorted together!
Step 5: Do It All Again
A second piece of heat shrink tubing can be added to this side as well.
Now comes the part where having marked wire is beneficial. This is not a "crossover cable." The same unmarked wire should be connected both small tabs while the same marked wire should be connected to both longer ground tabs. If you don't have marked wire, just use a continuity tester to determine which side of the wire should go where.
With that figure out, repeat the soldering process described in the previous step.
Step 6: Protecting the Wire
Pull the tubing as high onto the wires as possible, even covering the the clamp collar. This will add additional security to the wire. Use a heat gun to shrink the tubing. This process is very fast and simple using my DIY Heat Gun Reflector! Sorry, that's my last shameless plug.
The other optional thing I like to do is put a bit of hot glue in the gap between the two soldered tabs. This is to additional security to the wire termination. I really don't want these solder joints to get pulled apart! Before you do this, I suggest you bend the tabs in a slight bit. this will ensure the back casing has enough clearance to be screwed back in place. Do not get any glue on the threads!
Step 7: Screw the Casing Together
Now, these cables can be used on anything with an RCA jack!