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Mogami snake DIY questions
Old 25th June 2005
  #1
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Mogami snake DIY questions

I'm getting ready to pull the trigger and build/solder a bunch of 8 channel Mogami snakes (a mixture of TRS/TRS, TRS/MXLR, TRS/FXLR and MXLR/FXLR). They will be more or less permanently installed so no need for road worthyness. Length will be 15' maximum.

Here are a few questions :
1. Is the Mogami 2932 the cable to use ? Would I be better of with Canare ?
2. Is there a serious difference between silver and gold contact connectors ? I plan on using Neutrik.
3. Are the cables properly labelled or should I consider colored tube shrink ?
4. In which places should I apply shrinking (if nothing else for neatness)? Which size/diameter of tube shrink to use with the 2932?
5. Is a hairdryer good enough to shrink the material or do I need a flame thrower ?
6. Any other things I might have overlooked ?

It seems that Redco (for bulk Mogami cable) and HaveInc (connectors) are the recommended sources. Any better suggestions ?

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge.

MisterBlue.
Old 26th June 2005
  #2
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hi Misterblue,

I just finished a TRS to db25 snake using Mogami 2932. The only place I felt I had to use shrinkwrap was at the db25 end for the shields, although I probably could have gotten away without it. I used shrinkwrap on the 1-8 cables at the TRS end to avoid chafing on the swaged end of the barrel of each Switchcraft connector. I used two layers for thicknes (1/8' & 3/16' or 3/16" & 1/4" - I forget which), and there was still some play.

The inner numbered cables are clearly marked (although if you stretch it too much, the 7 can look like a 1).

I'd get a heat-gun with a concentrating tip (it slides over the barrel, extends and then wraps back so that the cable is cradled in the heat). I use a Sears Craftsman at the middle setting. Use an oven mit to hold the work.

Try Kester 44 eutectic solder and a good iron. (I use a Hako.) You'll be glad you did. Use an old piece of gear to hold the connector and a pair of 'helping hands.' Tin the wire and the connectors. Then apply heat to the work and let it melt the solder.

Good luck. The Mogami is nice stuff to work with.

Oh yeah, wash your hands - twice - after soldering. Lead is nasty stuff but it makes for good solder joints.

You may already know this about the soldering, but somebody may benefit.

best,

John
Old 26th June 2005
  #3
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John,

thanks for your reply. Good information.

How long did it take you to assemble the cable? I have about 10 snakes to build and need to get a better idea how long it might take. I have experience in soldering but I'm rusty - haven't done it in years.

Thanks again,

MisterBlue
Old 26th June 2005
  #4
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Nosebleed,

thanks !

JMK doesn't seem to have this bulk cable information on the web site. I guess I need to call ... ? Did I miss it on the web site ?

Do you shrink the 8 cable ends individually ? And / Or do you shrink just once where the indivual channels come out of the main/outer tube (gee, can't think of the right description here but I hope you know what I mean).

Do you remember what size of shrink you were using ?

Thanks again,

MisterBlue.
Old 29th June 2005
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Alright,

I finally called Redco and got some additional useful answers. Apparently the 1/8" shrink is the right one for the individual cable ends of a multichannel snake and the 1/2" is right for the point where the individual cables come out of the main tube (I still don't know how to call that properly).
Upon detailed search I found them even pre-cut with the proper description on the Redco website. Duh !

Anyway, I ordered the cable from Redco and the connectors from HaveInc (pretty good deals on Neutrik XLR's and Amphenol TS and TRS). Both companies were very responsive and friendly on the phone and seemed to care about their customers.

Let's see how things look when it all arrives. I now hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew. I only have a few days to solder a bunch of snakes ...

Thanks again to all for your kind advice.

MrBlue.
Old 30th June 2005
  #6
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T_R_S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterBlue
1. Is the Mogami 2932 the cable to use ? Would I be better of with Canare ?
2. Is there a serious difference between silver and gold contact connectors ? I plan on using Neutrik.
3. Are the cables properly labelled or should I consider colored tube shrink ?
4. In which places should I apply shrinking (if nothing else for neatness)? Which size/diameter of tube shrink to use with the 2932?
5. Is a hairdryer good enough to shrink the material or do I need a flame thrower ?
6. Any other things I might have overlooked ?
.
Mogami will save you time as there snakes (the cable that I use) is color coded and numbered. Also be carefull of gold/silver conectors. Mix and mismatch of different conductors (metal types) is not good go with the same for everything.
Old 30th June 2005
  #7
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hi MisterBlue,

I built another Mogami 8-ch snake last night and today. This time it was to connect an 11-pin (like an octal but with 11 instead of 8) connector to six TRs and 2 TRSs. The thing that helped me the most was having written down a connection scheme prior to touching any of the parts. Normally i wouldn't have done this, but what I was doing was anti-intuituve (for me) in that I was attempting to use 8 conductor cable to connect 5 channels of Lang tube EQ using an 11 pin plug.

It all worked, but because I kept stopping and testing, it did take longer than it would have otherwise. The biggest single hassle was getting the shield+drain-wire to solder to the sleeve half-barrels on the Neutrik TRs. I wound up cranking the heat on my Hako, but if I had a lot of them to solder, I'd probably buy a bigger tip. The Switchcraft TRSs soldered-up like a dream, though.

I hope you don't try to rush things too much. If you can't recruit any help, then one way to save time is to plan on not using the copper shield. Twist it and cut it sort of flush with where you have stripped the outer-jacket of the numbered connector. Then solder only the silvery drain wire to the sleeve half-barrel or pin 1. I used the copper shield and twisted it with the drain wire at the TR/TRS ends, however, I had no choice but to use only the drain wire at the 11 pin end - all the grounds went to pin #11.

best,

John
Old 9th July 2005
  #8
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Alright folks,

the orders from HaveInc and Redco have arrived (took almost two weeks) and work has started. I just casually stripped the outer tube off the Mogami snakes so far ... which wasn't too bad. Looks like there is a pretty decent mechanism inside the Neutrik connectors that will prevent the cable from pulling out. Nice. There is also some instruction (not too detailed) on how to connect the Neutriks on their website. Still helpful.

I am now trying to figure out how to connect the XLR's and the TRS's (the pinning). I guess I'll just measure a pre-made cable I already have. Please let me know if there is a good website for this kind of information, just in case.

My planned M.O. will be to prepare everything in steps - kinda like mass production. First remove all the outer tubes (done), then remove the rubber on the individual cables (i.o.w. strip the cable ends), then tin all loose ends, finally solder them all in one go and then assemble them. I'm really hoping it won't be too bad. Maybe I can convince a friend of mine to help out. A couple beers usually do the job ...

More soon.

MisterBlue.
Old 9th July 2005
  #9
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brianroth's Avatar
 

On the XLRs, pin 1 is shield, pin 2 is "hot" (use the red or clear insulated wire) and pin 3 is "cold" (black wire).

NOTE! That is the current worldwide standard. A lot of vintage American gear flipped pins 2 and 3.

On the TRS plugs, tip is hot, ring is cold and sleeve is shield.

Bri
Old 9th July 2005
  #10
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Brian,

thanks, that's the information I was looking for !
I will go with current/future standards ... not too much retro equipment in my racks, I'm afraid.

Wire stripping is going well, soldering is soon to start ...
Gotta get some of that 63/37 solder first.

MisterBlue.
Old 9th July 2005
  #11
Gear Addict
 
cletus's Avatar
 

I was thinking about taking the plunge and building my own mic cable as well. What particular neutrik xlr connectors do you guys recommend? There are a bunch of options and I'm just not sure. Also what cable performs the best? I've heard both Mogami and Canare are good options. What do ya think?
Old 10th July 2005
  #12
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Both Mogami and Canare cables seem to work well for people. I got the Mogami, seems to be the choice for studio installations. It seems very flexible and is probably a good choice for (semi-) permanent wiring. I'm not sure I would trust it on the road, to be honest. Redco.com has good deals on bulk cable, that's where I got mine. The connectors were cheaper at Haveinc.com but they took almost two weeks to get here. I decided on Neutrik NC3FZB / NC3MZB connectors, they are black with gold contacts. The price difference to silver connectors was small. I paid $1.61 (male) and $1.94 (female) each
For TS and TRS connectors I decided to go with Amphenol. Again, black with gold. They were $1.10 and $1.21 each in the quantities I bought.

Hope this helps.

MisterBlue.
Old 10th July 2005
  #13
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brianroth's Avatar
 

For permanent installs, I've been using Gepco cable for many years for the in the wall/in the rack portions. Since I haven't done a mobile in eons, no suggestions there.

Bri
Old 10th July 2005
  #14
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sdevino's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jabney
hi MisterBlue,
The biggest single hassle was getting the shield+drain-wire to solder to the sleeve half-barrels on the Neutrik TRs. I wound up cranking the heat on my Hako, but if I had a lot of them to solder, I'd probably buy a bigger tip.John

This might have been tough because you are not suppossed to solder the shield in the Neurtik TR and TRS connectors. Its suppossed to be a press fit between the strain relief plug and the outer shell. You get more compression, better strain relief and more surface contact this way which results in better shield performance.

Soldering is not always the best connection. BTW REDCO has all the connectors as well as the cable and their prices are excellent.

Steve
Old 10th July 2005
  #15
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Steve (or anybody out there),

do you know how the strain relief works on the Amphenol TRS's ? It seems to me that the shielding would go around a - in lack of a better word - mini coat hook. If I looped it around that hook and then soldered it together (not to the outer shell, though) it should provide some fairly good stress relief ... ?
Otherwise there is only some clamping mechanism at the very end of the connector that I would have to press onto the cable. This makes me feel a little uneasy as I would think that it is easy to damage the cable this way ... ? Any insight what I should or should not do ?

I have order a fair amount of shrink tubing. I guess I would in any case "strengthen" the cable where the clamping would hit in.

Any input will be most appreciated.
Thanks,

BTW, Redco indeed has all the connectors as well. I just found them to be a little less expensive at Have Inc and in the quantities I ordered this made a difference for me. Both places hit me as professional and corteous when I talked to them. I am not pushing for either one, I'm just a customer, not affiliated with either one of them.

MisterBlue.
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