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DB25 Soldering Tips?
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Fishy1500
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#1
20th February 2009
Old 20th February 2009
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DB25 Soldering Tips?

Does anyone have any good tips for soldering DB25 connectors to an 8 channel snake? I finally gave in and ordered myself a switchcraft patchbay with DB25 connectors in the back (hope it arrives soon!) and wanted to pick up a set of packaged mogami snakes but it just came out to be stupidly expensive!

Anyhow, I went out and bought myself some DB25 connectors and 30meters of mogami 2932 snake cables to solder together but this has really got to be the most painful experience I've had putting together something for my studio. I've finished just stripping the ends of a couple of the cables but wanted to see if anyone had suggestions on how to properly isolate the shielding from each other. The hot/cold cables are covered in plastic so they are ok, but since each channel is really close to each other, what is the best way to keep the grounds on each channel separated?
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20th February 2009
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Cut small bits of heat shrink. Put the shrink over the cable just before soldering. Be sure to put the shrink also over the master cable. You will need two sizes. 1 for the master cable and one size for the smaller ones inside. Then shrink them before you do the next cable. Just did a massive DB patch system for an AWS 900. I did 144 DB 25's to whatever. Man that was a job! I see why SSL charges about 20 Grand to a complete system. Good Luck!
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20th February 2009
Old 20th February 2009
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I went true the same scenario this week and decided to buy the cable, its not worth it ... You may even buy mogami and it may even be a better cable , but you will never be able to do the clean soldering job with it so better buy the cables done by prof's instead of having doubts about your connections when you start working .
maybe even a cheaper cable on d sub like neutrik or alva could work good , i have 2 of them for my rosetta and no problem with it ....
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20th February 2009
Old 20th February 2009
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Strip the wires really short and use rubber sleeves or shrinktube.
Put one over the pair's insulation and a smaller one over the shield. This way they won't short.

It will help alot if you put the connector in a small desktop vise (facing upwards) and hang the cable upside down. Some people prefer to solder all the pins in advance, I prefer to insert each wire in the solder bucket and then fill with solder.

Seems hard and time consuming in the beginning but once you've done a few it goes pretty quick (2/hour for me)

hope it helps.
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20th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arno View Post
I prefer to insert each wire in the solder bucket and then fill with solder.
It is definitely better to tin the wire AND the solder cup on the connector first. This will greatly reduce the chance of cold solder joints. Having a temperature controlled solder station with a fine tip makes doing these a lot easier.
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20th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishy1500 View Post
what is the best way to keep the grounds on each channel separated?
You can get pre cut pvc sleeves from Redco or Gepco that will slip over the drain wire (the silver wire among the loose copper shielding) just cut the copper wires back. I secure the sleeve with a 3/4" piece of 3/16" shrink tubing.
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20th February 2009
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ok here's my solidary tips. Forgive my not so good english.
I have included a drawing. The trick is to press the cables between two small metal plates so they stay in position and you can cut them the exact lenght according to their number. So it's 200% more easy to solder them neatly.
IMO I don't need shrinkwrap for the individual cables(hot, cold, gnd), it's a additional nightmare you can skip if you twist the stripped ends and tin them carefully (no loose "hairs")
But I recommend you to put shrinkwrap around each group of 3 conductors (8x) , so the grounds don't touch when stuffed inside a housing.
I also avoid tinning the DB25 before, because you must push the cable end inside the cup WHILE applying heat. Otherwise, just place the tinned end inside the cup and it will stay there while sodering. Just make sure the tin "flows".
Cheers
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Last edited by nucelar; 20th February 2009 at 05:51 PM.. Reason: for clarity
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20th February 2009
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If you're going to telescope the shields and lift them on inputs to alleviate ground hums, I'd suggest you do one channel first to test, then proceed ahead.
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20th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Paul View Post
It is definitely better to tin the wire AND the solder cup on the connector first. This will greatly reduce the chance of cold solder joints. Having a temperature controlled solder station with a fine tip makes doing these a lot easier.
Tinning wire first is obvious
But when you don't twist the core of the + and - before tinning (it's faster to slightly twist when stripping - in one move), I've had single wires of the core come loose while soldering, damaging the insulation. Seems to go better when you don't "pre-tin" the solder cups.

"insert wire, grab soldering iron in one hand, soldering wire in other hand, solder! "


When telescoping grounds it's also useful to fold back the drain wire under the pvc sleeve or shrinktube. If you ever decide to use the ground, you don't have to rewire the whole connector...
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20th February 2009
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crimp?
Fishy1500
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20th February 2009
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Thanks for all the great tips! (super bonus drawing from nucelar too!)

I'm going to go pick up some shrink tubing today and see whether or not wrapping the ground or the whole ground/hot/cold set (or both!) will work out better (mainly worried about the grounds from different channels touching)

Also, what I did so far with the drain (the harder silver colored wire) and the shielding (copper loose wires) was to basically wrap the copper shielding around the drain and solder them together. Is this a good way to do it?
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21st February 2009
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I don't think I saw this mentioned. If you are soldering to a Dsub that has plastic insulating material between the pins it is extremely helpful to plug the connector into a mating plug before you start soldering. The issue is that without the mating connector holding the pins in place the plastic can get overheated and the pins can start moving around which is a real problem later when the connector doesn't line up properly. I believe I picked that tip up from Brian Roth here on Gearslutz and it is a real winner. It can even make the Dsub easier to mount in a Panavise while you are working on it.
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21st February 2009
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hey great post i'm about to get my hands into a db25 soldering project!
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21st February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nucelar View Post
ok here's my solidary tips. Forgive my not so good english.
I have included a drawing. The trick is to press the cables between two small metal plates
That's awesome!!

Wish I would have had that drawing last summer when I had to solder a sh!t-ton of DB25s!!

To the OP: Take your time dude. re-soldering these things is a MAJOR nightmare. Try to get it right the first time.
I don't envy you.....LOL
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21st February 2009
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I generally use the crimp pins to do DB25 (and DB9 back in the days of ScoUnix and dumb terminals) but I have all the old tools for doing that type of work. For audio work, I then solder the wire into the crimped ends. Once I have all the pins soldered to the wires, I then mount the pins the DB25. It is a pain in the ass to make these and I dont wish it on anyone but as long as your careful and neat with your work, it will turn out nice.

I dont know what most people use for these but I use:

D-Sub Connector Hood (DB25) : MH25
25 Pin D-Sub Crimp Shell Connector (Male) : C25P
D-Sub Crimp Shell Contacts (Male) : MCP20P
#16
21st February 2009
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Crimp and solder like the post above you won't regret it. I'm pretty good with a soldering iron and after two tries at snakes and I went with Repco. I discovered crimping and soldering, when I wired my console and of course, after I spent $500 plus on repco cables.
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21st February 2009
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Lightbulb We have been crimping our multi-pins for decades.

Some good suggestions...

We have been crimping our DSUB (and ELCO/EDAC) connectors instead of soldering them.

We find that crimping with gold contacts is much more reliable and an efficient way of building snakes and harnesses.

We tried the crimp & solder method a while back, but in our world of live recording and on location (which can be abusive to all cable products & connectors) we found that the cable needed some flexibility and the solder/crimp joint eventually broke off.
It may seem to not make sense, but it was a reality for us, especially with soft cable snakes like Mogami.

With that in mind, my suggestion is: when you crimp do not solder...
Remember, YMMV as they as.
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22nd February 2009
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One more who agree's on getting crimp pins/sockets (gold not tin) for db25, db15 + db9 connectors. I see your using them for audio, I made cables mainly for serial communication. I always used Amp connectors and crimp tools, they can easily be purchased thru Newark, DigiKey or Allied Electronics. Unless your crimping techniques are sub par, soldering isn't necessary. Solder for peace of mind (I've actually had more problems with soldered connections breaking over time then plain crimped wires, but it's very important to match the gauge of your wire to the gauge of pins/sockets). YMMV. Believe me I've soldered many sub-d connectors and I've never looked back.
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23rd February 2009
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Thanks again for all the tips! I've successfully made three snakes so far (1x DB25-DB25, 1x DB25-XLRM, 1x DB25-XLRF) and they work perfectly, look just like the mogami gold ones I purchased a while ago.

Just another 8 to go =P (and a huge savings) but with each one I seem to be able to finish quicker!
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23rd February 2009
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I had about twenty DB25's to put together, so I went with the AMP tool and crimped them all. In contrast, I soldered all the XLRs and 1/4" connectors on the other side. The crimping was a lot faster and less error prone.

You can crimp all the pins, then carefully order them in the DB25 head, shrink tube the whole lot and clamp on the shell with minimal fuss.

Now that my studio has gone through a move and downsize, I'm really looking at cutting the DB25's off and redoing them on that end instead of playing with the connectors because of the ease of crimping them all.
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24th February 2009
Old 24th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty View Post
One more who agree's on getting crimp pins/sockets (gold not tin) for db25, db15 + db9 connectors. I see your using them for audio, I made cables mainly for serial communication. I always used Amp connectors and crimp tools, they can easily be purchased thru Newark, DigiKey or Allied Electronics. Unless your crimping techniques are sub par, soldering isn't necessary. Solder for peace of mind (I've actually had more problems with soldered connections breaking over time then plain crimped wires, but it's very important to match the gauge of your wire to the gauge of pins/sockets). YMMV. Believe me I've soldered many sub-d connectors and I've never looked back.

WORD!
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24th February 2009
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Have to try this crimping thing... Of course I just finished a Dsub bay...

I tin both the wire & cups, then join with a tinned iron. This way I only need 2 hands and a vise. Tinning the wire makes cable prep (cutting, sorting & clipping that structural wire, stripping the wire, twisting...) incrementally longer, but it's already being the most time consuming part of the process. The soldering goes fast that way.

But the first one in a batch is never pretty...
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24th February 2009
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Crimp a connector once and you will never go back to soldering DSUBs or ELCO/EDAC connectors again.
YMWNV on this one!












YMWNV = Your Mileage Will Not Vary
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24th February 2009
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Had fits once crimping connectors with Mogami wire on my new board install and I've soldered ever since. Maybe I'll try crimping again some day.
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24th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sutton View Post
Had fits once crimping connectors with Mogami wire on my new board install and I've soldered ever since. Maybe I'll try crimping again some day.

If the crimper and pins are not sized correctly for the wiring, you will think crimping is the most evil, error-prone, useless task ever invented.

This happens to me when I have a rare need to make a Molex connector using the 0.062 size pins since I don't have a crimp tool for that. If I have to do one more of those, I'm buying the proper tool since it usually takes me forever using a makeshift crimping method.

I hate buying a tool for 3 pins, but I'm also a huge proponent of the 'right tool for the job' approach. <sigh>
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24th February 2009
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How did the Mogami cable know to be so difficult to wire or use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sutton View Post
Had fits once crimping connectors with Mogami wire on my new board install and I've soldered ever since. Maybe I'll try crimping again some day.
I feel your pain.

We have been build an insane amount of adaptors, panels, snakes and harnesses for our expanding portable gear and some of the wire we used was Mogami.

There's a trick to crimping Mogami and cable like Mogami.
We got through it after figuring out how to address the many problems with the brand...

Hey, what about Mogami's low flash point?
You can melt the cable if your heat gun is on too high or over the cable too long.
Crazy stuff for sure.
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25th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post

There's a trick to crimping Mogami and cable like Mogami.
We got through it after figuring out how to address the many problems with the brand...
would you mind sharing??? I've seen the folding of the stripped conductors back on the jacket, and tinning the wire before crimping... I had an experience like Mr. Sutton once with Mogami and DL pins and haven't used the crimp tool since.

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25th February 2009
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I wired my whole home studio w. Mogami 2944 (console wire w. drain). At the time, it was about 50 synths and drum machines, four 7' tall effects racks, and 5 tt patchbays. I preset 2 different strippers to match the outer insulation and the inner wire insulation, stripped and crimped all the DB25s with zero problems. On the other end of the cabling, soldering to XLR and 1/4" was similarly problem free. No excessive meltback of insulation, no pins falling off the wires after crimping, just took a chunk of time to get it all completed.
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25th February 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Paul View Post
would you mind sharing??? I've seen the folding of the stripped conductors back on the jacket, and tinning the wire before crimping... I had an experience like Mr. Sutton once with Mogami and DL pins and haven't used the crimp tool since.

Ken Paul
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You basically got it right.
We bend the stripped strands back over the jacket, but we DO NOT solder the wire before crimping.
We have had bad experiences (on the road) with soldered/crimped Mogami wire.
We find crimping pins is the best process and has lasted the longest in the field.
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25th February 2009
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WRT crimping vs soldering.
I am in total agreement with Steve. We've been crimping all our Dsub's here for the last 25 years and find it MUCH more reliable and FIELD SERVICEABLE!
We have been using the AMP pins and connectors and Northern Hydraulic metal shells. The biggest thing I've found that makes crimping easier is having the right tool. The tool that AMP sells today is an absolute piece of crap. The old tool 90312-1 was a great tool and is sold today by the folks that made it for AMP. The part number is Sargent/Rostra Tools "3127 CT"
I just bought a couple of them for our toolboxes and they are exactly the same as the original AMP tool. The bonus is they only cost about $90. (Less than I paid for the original tools 25 years ago!)
All the best,
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