Belden; Do or DIY must try

- a Tale of Two friends who had noThing better to do -


Every now and then, I get bitten by some weird bug… sometimes I’m lucky and get way with nothing more then a staying itch or some broken skin; other times, it feels as if I’m actually going to die…… did you know that if you are REALLY fast with your hands, you can actually catch one of those stupid bugs right out of the air? *swish* and then slowly open your clenched fist to see it fly out dazed-like….haha…then of course there are those bugs that you can’t do anything about…. I got bitten really bad one day…

"Don’t be such a selfish bum!" I yelled over the phone. "I want my interconnect cables back today! I don’t care if you haven’t finish sleeping with it… its MINE! Hello? HELLO? Oye!!" *SLAM* of course, you never have any luck when you raise your voice at someone for any reason, that is why parents always tell you to ‘keep your voice down’. So here I am, left with my system all dismantled in their component parts trying to hook up a tube stage with NO SPARE interconnect…..

"….hmmm… maybe I can use my old ones…" *fiddle fiddle nudge nudge tweak BZZSZZZTtttTTT!!* "oH! !@#*^&%!!!! Now what am I suppose to do with this half?" Have you ever noticed that if you stared at something long and hard enough it actually seems to morph into whatever you were dreaming about the night before? "WooahhH! Baby baby…come to PAPA! come here you sexy thing… yeahbabyyeahbaby….hmmmmm"

it’s no big deal… a cable is a cable is a cable. If you concentrated, it could look like spaghetti too…. makes me hungry but it also makes me feel stupid because someone had the brains to make this thing and all I could do was to fantasize about last night’s dinner…..but what if???….every guy has a tool box where he puts all his favorite macho-looking devices in. (if you don’t have one… get one NOW). Dragging out my box of tricks from under the bed, "it’s no big deal" I tell myself again… "any fool can fix up another cable… I don’t need Mr John Reeschwhatisname to tell me how to DIY…"

"ok, where did I put that extra TV to antenna cable?" *dig dig rummage burrow* "AhaHA! This looks like a likely candidate….seems tuff enuff" *bend bend* "…nice White colour too…’Made in China’…what the heck, a cable is a cable…." picking up the phone to contact my trusty-long-suffering BMT buddy "Oye…it’s me…yes.. ME AGAIN! No, you can keep the stupid cable… I’ve got a better one HA!… hey hey…quick question : RCA cable connector heads can be reused right? Yes.. yes… those Red and White ones…yes…how? Cut the stupid wire off and SOLDER another on! Simple …. But can reuse right?" my buddy loves me… why else would he still be hanging around with me after 10 years?

Cutter, Pliers, Scissors, Décor-parge heating iron, some bits of solder from old PC motherboard, newspapers, rubber bands, scotch tape, hairdryer and 2 cans of Coke….. never underestimate your thirst for Coke… 2 cans is the MINIMUM for any job… 1 just doesn’t cut it. "ok I’m ready…let’s see who’s the smart alec now Mr Johnowhateverhisnameisspelled…. I can do this."



1. Cut the wire into the required lengths

2. Strip the wire of about 3/4 to 1 inch of outer insulation

3 & 4. Twist the wire around the cable tightly

(Yes... these notes are pretty lame, I know. But every single numbnut must be able to make these by the end of this article)


"hmmm… I need about this length…should reach about here….so that means I can cut it about… HERE!" *snick* "lalala…that wasn’t so difficult…. Ok next to remove this rubber / plastic covering……hmm hmm hmm… what’s this mesh thingey? Looks like panty-hose…hahha…OUCH! @*&!^#^!!! This thing is sharp!" *sucking fingernail* " better bend it all out of the way…..dum dee dum dum… it’s still sticking out…. maybe should just twist the whole damn thing together…..there! all done!… haha… it looks weird put pretty solid I guess…" Laying out the reused RCA heads, I slowly separate them into their individual components – the case covering and the head connector itself "…the knee-bone connects to the thigh-bone, the thigh-bone connects to the hip-bone…" AUTHORS NOTE #1: only idiots assemble the head before threading the case covering into the cable first… I know because I had to do it 3 times before I got this part right. "HAHA! Success at last…. now how do I get this head to stay right at this position?…..where’s the pliers?" *fumble grip SQUEEZE* "???!!! Looks out of shape… better do the other side too.." *fumble fumble grip SQUEEZE* "there we go….that looks so much better…"



5. "Thread"the screw-on parts of the male RCA connector onto the cable first. They face opposite directions

6. Strip inner insulation. Self-adjust till cable fits exactly the length of the RCA connector

7. Put the cable into the RCA connector

8. Crimp the ground "clamp" around the outer conductor tightly.


"it seems pretty stiff…. Wonder if I still need to solder? … where’s the phone?" *ringing tone* "hello? Yeah me again…. What’s with soldering? Can I use glue instead?… I’ve got this nice tube of UHU here…. No?… ok.. so HOW do you get the solder to go where you want it?…. wire? What wire? .. no… I’ve got some bits I took off a motherboard… those silver bits…that’s solder right? What do you mean I can’t use that? No flux? Huh what’s that? it sounds like something that you do in the toilet…haha….no? what do mean No? What do YOU know about soldering anyway!!" *SLAM* "humph….wise ass…let me see….I bet I could stick the bits in place with some UHU…. Yeah… that will do….dum dum dee dum…. TaDAH! Easy rider!" this time, I had remembered to plug in and turn on the Décor-parge iron before I started work, so now it was warm as toast and smelling strongly of evaporating wood varnish. "this should melt the stupid solder in a jiffy….hmm hmm hmm hmm? ?????!!!" *bright flash of flame* "OWOWOWowowoowo….my eyes!! Owowowow!… AUTHORS NOTE #2: UHU glue is highly flammable and eyebrows get singed VERY EASILY.


9. After crimping

10. Solder the crimped part (ground) then the centre pin ("hot")

11. After soldering

12. Wrap with PTFE (i.e. teflon) tape (haha.. cheem name.. but actually plumbing tape bought from any hardware store)

13 & 14. Multimeter testing for short circuits (can skip... at your own risk! : )


"That’s it! I’ve enuff of this! Where’s the Handy Plast? Owowowow….grrr …I’m going to plaster this stupid thing too…." *vicious winding of tape around RCA head* "there!…now you won’t come off even if the solder drops off!" throwing down my tools, I pick up the cable and screw in the RCA case covering over the head. "stupid UHU…and all along I thought it just smelled good….ok… here we go plugging in the cable….CD player here… and amplifier inputs here…. there all in…… turn the power on and….." *PHFFFZZZFFRTTTtxxtxxtztzzttt!! KCKCKkskskskkrkrk psssssstt*

--- much later ---

"hello? It’s me….Yeah… can you come over and help me fix my amp? I think I fried something….. yeah… and bring a camera so you can document the process when I make another cable…. I keep forgetting to check the polarity for shorts….."