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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    66

    Default Any alternatives to soldering?

    I am working on three different pairs of speakers and am tackling the crossovers for all three together. I have got the layout and soldering of the components down fairly well - at least for a layman. However, I am at a bit of a sticking point in terms of connecting the wires. Is it advisable to use wire nuts or other removable means such as a disconnect to connect the wires? Or is it better to solder everything? I am thinking that using an easily removable connection will make it much easier to take the crossover or drivers out if necessary, plus it will help make managing the wire splices easier - particularly at points where several wires come together such as the + and - off of the binding posts (especially the ground).

    My current thought is to solder a lead off of each driver, binding post and each point on the crossover that needs to connect to something else. Then I would be able to bring those leads together with wire nuts or couplers. Would that work well or would it potentially effect the electrical signal or lead to other problems?

    FWIW I did build some crossovers in the past for a pair of Statement Monitors and center, but they were a mess and I'm trying to keep things cleaner this time around.

    Thanks,

    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Appleton
    Posts
    7,640

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    Quote Originally Posted by snmhanson View Post
    I am working on three different pairs of speakers and am tackling the crossovers for all three together. I have got the layout and soldering of the components down fairly well - at least for a layman. However, I am at a bit of a sticking point in terms of connecting the wires. Is it advisable to use wire nuts or other removable means such as a disconnect to connect the wires? Or is it better to solder everything? I am thinking that using an easily removable connection will make it much easier to take the crossover or drivers out if necessary, plus it will help make managing the wire splices easier - particularly at points where several wires come together such as the + and - off of the binding posts (especially the ground).

    My current thought is to solder a lead off of each driver, binding post and each point on the crossover that needs to connect to something else. Then I would be able to bring those leads together with wire nuts or couplers. Would that work well or would it potentially effect the electrical signal or lead to other problems?

    FWIW I did build some crossovers in the past for a pair of Statement Monitors and center, but they were a mess and I'm trying to keep things cleaner this time around.

    Thanks,

    Matt
    I like to solder everything, except I crimp push-on connectors for the drivers and (back) terminal. To each his own.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Plain City, OH
    Posts
    250

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    I've had success using terminal strips from lowes. They were expensive, but high quality allows for extra super tightening of the screws! I soldered wires to every node and to the tabs on the drivers.
    Your mistakes do not define you, they tell you who you're not. -3 Doors Down

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Atlanta, GA, USA, Earth
    Posts
    2,413

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    There are a zillion different styles.
    I layout my crossover on the board, trying to make it as small as possible.
    Hot glue and tie wrap the components to the board, then twist the leads together
    and solder. I try to not use jumpers and keep everything on the top of the board -
    I make enough mistakes as it is, so I try to keep it simple.
    Up till now, I have soldered big wires (14 or 16 gauge) on the drivers, the crossover
    in/out points and the terminal cup, then connected them all with wire nuts.
    I'm going to try using "Euro style terminal strips" for crossover in/out points on my new build. Should make things a bit cleaner.

    Hope this helps.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    Thanks for the replies and ideas. Looks like there is more than one way to skin a cat in this case. Part of my problem is that two of the three builds I am working on don't have much access to the inside of the speaker to be messing with terminal strips and soldering. A pair of disconnects with long enough wires so that I can connect them outside of the speaker would make things quite a bit easier when making all of the connections. So I think I am going to solder wires from all the leads/tabs and then crimp and solder the other end to the disconnect. That should only leave me with disconnects between the binding posts and crossovers and the crossovers and drivers. Everything else will be hardwired.

    I actually did use the European style terminal strips on my previous speakers Don. They worked pretty well and made it easy to build the completed crossovers, only leaving the wires from the terminal strip to the driver/binding posts. I would consider using them here but I am running low on space on the crossover boards, and in two of the builds I am splitting the networks between to boards, so I think disconnects may be easier for me.

    Thanks again guys,

    Matt

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    366

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    Not sure if I understand what you mean by access inside the speaker.

    I mount the crossover on a piece of peg board, and then fish it through the woofer hole and attach it to the back wall (or wherever handy). For instance, if I have a 4-inch hole, I'll make the crossover mounting board 3 inches wide. The only leads that need to be long are the ones that go to the drivers and terminal.

    The board can be attached with screws. That way if tweaks need to be made in the future, the board can be removed and re-installed.

    btw, Radio Shack also has some of the terminal strips of various lengths.
    - Dave R
    the 200% Norske

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Sioux Falls
    Posts
    11,844

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    Quote Originally Posted by ssyfert View Post
    I've had success using terminal strips from lowes. They were expensive, but high quality allows for extra super tightening of the screws! I soldered wires to every node and to the tabs on the drivers.
    You may want to be careful of how much torque you apply. A very common failing on manufacturing equipment is broken strands of wire on terminal blocks from over-zealous maintenance men.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    coastal AL
    Posts
    642

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    Years ago, due to multiple projects at once, and constantly swapping/upgrading crossovers and components, I decided to go with #10 ring terminals on all crossover parts.

    I use a pliers to pull off the insulation on the crimps; this reduces bulk on large stacks of components and also makes soldering them much easier. After crimping on the terminal rings to components, I solder them to solid core items like inductors or capacitor leads; if the caps have tinned/nickel/silver stranded wire leads, I don't bother with solder. I use peg board as a base to mount them on. For each node, I use #10-32 brass hardware available at your local hardware store or home center (although I'm sure McMaster/Carr would be much more economical in bulk).

    I use flat head counter sink screws. The 10-32 screws fit perfectly in standard pegboard holes and flush up to the back side without pulling through. I use a nut on the other side to hold the stud in place and a second nut to sandwich all the ring terminals together at the node.

    It takes longer when you get a new batch of parts in, but having infinite flexibility is fabulous and worth it to me. It also makes it very easy to swap and A/B different components in different places on the crossover.

    The pegboard also provides convenient holds for looping tie-wraps through to secure components.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Bremerton, WA
    Posts
    947

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    I recommend DO NOT TWIST wires together. It is too difficult to get them separated after doing so. I wrap one wire 180 degrees around the other wire that is left straight. I've never had a solder joint fail and I've built 12+ pairs of crossovers - and disassembled half of them. After 2+ years and you are happy with the speakers & their sound, then maybe revisit and twist them together.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Sioux Falls
    Posts
    11,844

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    Quote Originally Posted by scottq View Post
    Years ago, due to multiple projects at once, and constantly swapping/upgrading crossovers and components, I decided to go with #10 ring terminals on all crossover parts.

    I use a pliers to pull off the insulation on the crimps; this reduces bulk on large stacks of components and also makes soldering them much easier. After crimping on the terminal rings to components, I solder them to solid core items like inductors or capacitor leads; if the caps have tinned/nickel/silver stranded wire leads, I don't bother with solder. I use peg board as a base to mount them on. For each node, I use #10-32 brass hardware available at your local hardware store or home center (although I'm sure McMaster/Carr would be much more economical in bulk).

    I use flat head counter sink screws. The 10-32 screws fit perfectly in standard pegboard holes and flush up to the back side without pulling through. I use a nut on the other side to hold the stud in place and a second nut to sandwich all the ring terminals together at the node.

    It takes longer when you get a new batch of parts in, but having infinite flexibility is fabulous and worth it to me. It also makes it very easy to swap and A/B different components in different places on the crossover.

    The pegboard also provides convenient holds for looping tie-wraps through to secure components.



    This was an experiment. Next time around, I will use brass hardware.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    Thanks for all of the feedback. Certainly a lot to think about. I have another crossover question that I'll post here rather than starting a new thread. I have heard that you don't want to use silicone inside a speaker because the fumes can cause damage to the drivers. Therefore I have avoided using it in past builds. However, I recently read that it is ok to use as long as you give it a day or so to cure and the fumes to dissipate before sealing it in your speakers. Anyone know the correct answer to that? I would love to be able to use silicone adhesive to secure crossover parts, but I don't want my drivers falling apart after a few years.

    Thanks,

    Matt

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WV
    Posts
    3,734

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    Quote Originally Posted by snmhanson View Post
    I have heard that you don't want to use silicone inside a speaker because the fumes can cause damage to the drivers.
    Matt: I have used silicone for decades without any damage.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sydney View Post
    Matt: I have used silicone for decades without any damage.
    Great, thanks! To be honest, it was kind of a moot point anyway, since I have already put two together with silicone. Thought I would ask for piece of mind though.

    Thanks,

    Matt

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Tasmania, Australia
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    I thought silicone was fine as long as you waited for it to dry (no more fumes) and then it should be great...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Middle Iowa
    Posts
    1,038

    Default Re: Any alternatives to soldering?

    I solder the crossover, terminal connection and speaker leads and wire nut the rest. I've never had a problem with the wire nuts and it does save trying to solder inside the box.

    I also use wire nuts to breadboard crossovers. They're quick and easy to use and work better than clip leads.

    Ron
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