DIY Component Cable Costs - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 36 Old 10-24-2005, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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After looking at the cost of high quality component video cable, I started to look into building my own cables.

There are a few excellent websites out there which go through the process of making cables, in particular I found the following useful: (I had to remove these due to posting limits - one was by cwhite, the other by revision3.

I also looked into purchasing ready-made cables from one of the sources recommended here. The best choice seemed like Blue Jeans Cables. Since I knew I needed one 25 foot cable and three 6 foot cables I looked at the price - it was going to be around $235 for these cables plus shipping fro BlueJean Cables.

I figured I could do better own my own, plus get the satisfaction of having built them myself. However, when I looked into building my own, I was shocked at the price! It seemed the tools necessary to simply crimp the Canare connetors onto the cables was pretty crazy. I called two sources for cable / tools that seemed recommended and took down what they had to say. I've summarized these into a few charts, which I will follow this post with (I need to post a few times so that I can post the images.)

(to be continued...)
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post #2 of 36 Old 10-24-2005, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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post #3 of 36 Old 10-24-2005, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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post #4 of 36 Old 10-24-2005, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyway, here are the recommended setups from partsexpress and haveinc.com:

http://boxmeyer.smugmug.com/photos/41396613-M.jpg

As you can see, the Haveinc rep came out in agreement with what I've read on the web and this site, buy Canare. Since flexibility was a concern for me (I really don't want the hassle of super stiff cables stressing the connections in my A/V cabinet and the short runs didn't seem to justify them either.) the rep recommended the Canre LV-61S. when I realized that the Die Set for this cable / connection setup was $128.25, I asked if there was something with a cheaper Die Set. He then recommended the LV-77S (which strangely enough is a better cable) which used a cheaper die set.

On the opposite end of things, the rep at Partsexpress went a much different route. He recommended I use their Microphone cable which he claims is well shielded, nice and flexible and totally fine for the use I'm planning (Component runs at 25 feet or less.) While the connections here require soldering, the whole solution is far cheaper since you don't have to buy the Die Set.

Here is where the three different options come out assuming I'm making or purchasing three seperate 6 foot lengths of component and one 25 foot component cable:

http://boxmeyer.smugmug.com/photos/41396783-S.jpg

Here's my question:
Has anyone gone the method recommended by Partsexpress? I've heard plenty of testimonial for the Canare stuff, but the price just seems silly to me. Given the short runs I'm talking here, will the Parts Express stuff work just as well as the pricey Canare gear? I'd love to hear what people think of this. Is it really sensible to spend $300 plus on cables? Am I being cheap here? I also have to buy the items to run a new surge protected outlet to where the plasma (Panny 50PX500U) will hang as well as surround speaker cable, so I am somewhat cost sensitive.

Thanks for any replies!
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post #5 of 36 Old 10-24-2005, 01:47 PM
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Check Ebay or Froogle for Python cable.

"Vintage" is good for wine, not for A/V equipment.

-Dan D.
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post #6 of 36 Old 10-25-2005, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Dan,

Thanks for the reply. How do you feel that the Python cables stack up against the various options I've laid out above in this thread?
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post #7 of 36 Old 10-25-2005, 06:04 AM
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Dbox,

Don't use microphone cable for component video, it's the wrong impedance (and intended frequency). Component video expects 75 Ohm, don't quite remember what microphones use but recall something in the neighborhood of 600 Ohm. Also, audio is of course 0...20 KHz, while component is 0...60,000 KHz.

Making your own cables gets cheap when you need/make lots of them. As you noted the 'setup cost' is high due to the crimper and dies. Another route that may be cheaper (or at least more universal in that you can use the gear for other purposes) is to get RCA compression connectors and a compression tool. I've been using Thomas & Betts compression F connectors, never used RCA ones but know they exist from various brands. I purchased a set of connectors/compression-tool/stripper from EBay for relatively little money and am using it with Belden 1694A (an excellent all-around RG6, also great for component video, though their RG59 version of this cable may be more flexible and considering the length you need would work just fine).

Good luck! Making your own cables is fun, and in the end saves a bundle...

-Rob-

Lies, damn lies, and interconnects...
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post #8 of 36 Old 10-25-2005, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Rob,

Thanks for the reply! Are you aware of any compression connectors which would work with Canare LV-61s cable. Aternativly, do you know of any cable that has similar characteristics as the Canare LV-61S (high quality, very flexible) and works with compression RCA connectors? This would seem ideal since I could purchase cheaper tools but still build high quality cables. Also, I could use the compression tools for other uses - such as running / repairing the coax cable TV runs in my house which are a mess.

Thanks again for the informative reply. You've confirmed my suspicions that the partsexpress solution was to good to be true =)
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post #9 of 36 Old 10-25-2005, 08:03 AM
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Python is similar (perhaps even the same) to Monster's lower-end (yet still quite good) stuff.

"Vintage" is good for wine, not for A/V equipment.

-Dan D.
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post #10 of 36 Old 10-25-2005, 04:14 PM
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While thinking about it: It's strange a PartsExpress rep would suggest microphone cable. I've bought lots of stuff from them and always found their reps to be knowledgable. This one must have been new at the job...

Just looked at the component cables I use, they're made by Blue Jeans Cables and have the most flexible coax I've ever seen (for that size). Cable used is Canare LV61S, so your choice seems to be a good one. That stuff is really flexible!

As to connectors: That Canare cable is standard RG59 in size, so in theory any RG59 compression connector should fit. Until you actually try it there's always a questionmark, because various manufacturers have slightly different dimensions and still call their stuff RG59, so it would be good if someone who has used RCA compression connectors on that particular cable would respond. It's not hard to find connectors: A Google search for "RG59 RCA compression connector" will give lots of hits.

-Rob-

Lies, damn lies, and interconnects...
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post #11 of 36 Old 10-26-2005, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dboxmeyer
Since I knew I needed one 25 foot cable and three 6 foot cables I looked at the price - it was going to be around $235 for these cables plus shipping fro BlueJean Cables.
$235 :eek:

254-525IV 25 Ft. Python Component - Video Cable $26.00
254-506IV 6 Ft. Python Component - Video Cable $10.00

A 'phile and his money are soon parted...
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post #12 of 36 Old 10-26-2005, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I called Canare and they sent me a .pdf file with the dimensions of their various die sets (I was pleasantly surprised that they would share this info.) After looking through the spec sheet - it confirmed what had been suggested on the internet, you can use other die sets and get basically the same crimp.

I've order a Paladin die set (2649) and will be trying this with my Parts Express crimp tool - a combination that many have reported using with great success. I'll post here when I can confirm that the combination will work well with the cables and connectors I've settled on.

In case anyone was wondering, I'm trying the Canare LV-61s with Canare RCA connectors (RCAP-C4A). It seemed like a great combo that many have really liked. If this all works out, it will be a very cost effective way of building your own A/V cables for minimal cost.
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post #13 of 36 Old 10-26-2005, 02:00 PM
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I realize you've already ordered, but some words of advice, and info

Canare tooling is expensive....esp the diesets. You were wise to find an alternative dieset that will work. Does your die have the very small opening for crimping the pin on the copper center? This is an important step.

Also, when you crimp the ring, it should leave a nice firm hex impression on the ring, if it does not, it is not applying enough pressure to the joint and will not stay secure. Try adjusting your crimp tool/dieset to see if you can get a tighter crimp.

IMHO, the single most important aspect of the crimp job is proper spacing when you strip the cable. I personally use all canare tooling, and sprung for their multi-strip TS100E tool. It makes perfect strips every time, but if you are diligent using other tooling, it is possible to make a workable connection.

If you want REALLY flexible interconnects, I highly recommend Belden 1505F cable with canare RCAP-5(something) connectors. Bluejeans uses this cable for their flexible interconnects and it is a great cable that works wonderfully as a flexible interconnect for tight spaces. Another good cable for longer runs (less flexiblity necessary) is Belden 1694A. Both of these cables are readily available (westlake electronics is where I buy my gear) and take canare connectors just fine.

If it wasn't for 1505F and its superior flexibility (braided copper center) it would be a nightmare to wire up my 12 x 8 component video distro matrix. That's 60 cables (20 YPrPb cables) terminated to a panel that is 4" tall and 19" wide.

Anyway, good luck. I only use interconnects that I make now (I think I may have 1 "bought" cable somewhere in my system) and have recouped the cost of the tools many times over.

Cheers,

Rich
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post #14 of 36 Old 10-26-2005, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I share your conclusion that getting the stripping right is essential. I sprang for the TS100E same as you - it seemed smarter than trying to mess with something manual. I just couldn't bring myself to buy the Die Set from Canare. The Paladin die set has the same shape (Hex for sleeve, square for pin) and the dimensions are within a thousandth (.001) of an inch of each other.

I'll report back when I've had a chance to try it out. I'm also willing to share the Die Set dimensions if someone was particularly interested.
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post #15 of 36 Old 10-26-2005, 11:50 PM
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This is why I buy my RG-6 pre-terminated at Home Depot and buy F->RCA connectors. Tool cost: $0. I think I even have a few cables around here using the Parts Express RCA connectors (crimp) and some pliers... they are ugly, but still work :)
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post #16 of 36 Old 10-27-2005, 11:10 AM
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I just ordered my supplies from Zack Electronics on Tuesday. 30 RCA connectors, comp tool, color coded rings, color and black heat shrink, net sleeving and a bunch of F connectors(just to have around). I already have 1/2 a spool of RG6 (belden). should be arriving today. cost well under 150 with shipping. should arrive today. I'll let you know if I have any issues.
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post #17 of 36 Old 10-31-2005, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boykster
If you want REALLY flexible interconnects, I highly recommend Belden 1505F cable with canare RCAP-5(something) connectors. Bluejeans uses this cable for their flexible interconnects and it is a great cable that works wonderfully as a flexible interconnect for tight spaces. Another good cable for longer runs (less flexiblity necessary) is Belden 1694A. Both of these cables are readily available (westlake electronics is where I buy my gear) and take canare connectors just fine.

Rich

Rich,

The Canare x-refference doesn't list Belden 1505F (it does list 1505A). What die set are you using for it? And which RCAP connector?

Thx,
Max
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post #18 of 36 Old 11-01-2005, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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All of my various parts and supplies arrived last night. I made my first cable in between answering the door for Halloween.

The bottom line is that it worked perfectly. I'm quite happy with the obvious quality of the cables, the tight connections provided by the connectors and the ease of assembly provided by my tools. In the end, I have the perfect high quality yet very flexible cables I was looking for in the perfect length for my setup.

In case someone doesn't want to dig through the posts above here's what I used:
  • Cable: Canare LV-61S
  • Connectors: Canare RCAP-C4A
  • Color Boots: Canare CB-25 (Red, Grn & Blue)
  • Wrap: Black Techflex with shrink-wrapped ends
  • Cable Stripper: Canare TS100E
  • Crimp Tool: Parts Express Crimp Tool (#360-680)
  • Die Set: Paladin #2649
I figure I saved a little over $100 by using the Parts Express crimp tool and Paladin die set. The Paladin Die set was within .001 of the measurements for the Canare set (I have the specs from Canare) and they worked quite well. The Parts Express crimp tool looks identical to the Paladin tool but is about half the cost. Compared to the Canare crimp tool, the Parts Express one is about 1/5 of the cost and seems to work just as well.

Given the savings on these tools, the investment cost of making my own cables was significantly lower than if I had gone the all canare route, and I've ended up with the professional quality cables I wanted at a fraction of the cost I could find at even the most reasonable provider. The materials cost for a 6 ft component video cables is around $22 for me now. When you compare this to the Monster retail price of $70 or even the online price of $48 when using the exact same materials as mine (LV-61s w/ RCAP-C4A) and it is pretty apparent that I won't need much cable to come out ahead this way. I'm a happy man, so thanks to all of those that contributed advice and input to this thread. I'll be happy to provide any further details if anyone is interested.
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post #19 of 36 Old 11-01-2005, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Spivak
Rich,

The Canare x-refference doesn't list Belden 1505F (it does list 1505A). What die set are you using for it? And which RCAP connector?

Thx,
Max
Hi Max,

Canare RCAP-C42 or RCAP-C4F are the RCA connectors I use, as well as BCP-C42(F) (BNC) and FP-C42(F) (F connector). If you go to:

(both the C42 and C4F series fit fine)

http://Westlake-electronics.com

and search for 1505F you will find the cable, connectors, and the Dieset (TCD-4C). The dieset is spendy, and if you go to the canare site, you can get the crimp dimensions and probably find a "generic" dieset that will work fine (as dboxmeyer did). I also picked up a TS100E stripper.

The dieset dimensions are:

1.31 mm / 0.0516" - Pin Crimp
6.48mm / 0.2551" - Sleeve Crimp

--edit: It looks like the dieset that dboxmeyer used would work fine for these connectors - use the .052 for the pin and the .255 for the sleeve

If you want to add the rubber "boots", the CB04 series fits great. Just search "cb04" and you will see the variety of colors available. The canare site lists the CB25 boots, but I haven't used them and have had great success with the CB04 ones.

I can't remember off the top of my head which setting I use on the TS100E, but I can check if you like...

Rich
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post #20 of 36 Old 11-01-2005, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I've recieved a few erquests for the Canare Die Set dimensions, so I'll just post the info here:

http://boxmeyer.smugmug.com/photos/42585853-O.jpg http://boxmeyer.smugmug.com/photos/42585853-O.jpg

To add to Rich's comments above, it is pretty easy to compare which "generic" die set you need that is comperable to the Canare die sets by combining the info I've posted above with the info listed on the Canare site.

I'm using the Canare CB25 boots on my current cables and really like them. they are smaller than the CB04 ones, which make the whole cable seem more "streamlined" (if that makes any sense...) They are the same cost as the original (CB04) versions.

-Dave
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post #21 of 36 Old 11-01-2005, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dboxmeyer
I'm using the Canare CB25 boots on my current cables and really like them. they are smaller than the CB04 ones, which make the whole cable seem more "streamlined" (if that makes any sense...) They are the same cost as the original (CB04) versions.

-Dave
Ah...so that's the difference.....cool thx for the info.

Too bad i have TONS of the CB04 boots already :rolleyes:

I tend to overbuy when I buy cabling supplies...

Rich
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post #22 of 36 Old 11-01-2005, 04:33 PM
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Thanks Rich and Dave.

I think I'm going to go with Parts Express crimper, haven't decided about die sets, though I lean towards Canare. I did order Canare stripper.

For cable, I'd like to settle on two, one for video/dig audio and one for stereo interconnects, subwoofer, etc. I've been reading the excellent articles at bluejeanscable.com. They have tested all of these cables and they suggest 1505F for stereo interconnects, LV77S for sub (with 1505F as a close second) and 1694A for video. Right now I'm leaning towards 1505F and 1694A. I figure I can satisfy most of my cabling needs with this.

I ordered 5' each of Belden 1505F, 1505A and Canare LV77S from western-electric (already have 1694A) to see how the cable feels. They sell by the foot, which is nice.

Now, I'll also need a 50' fiberoptic DVI cable -- anyone 'crazy' enough to make their own? ;)

Max
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post #23 of 36 Old 11-02-2005, 10:00 AM
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Folks,
I am wondering.... isn't soldered connections better than crip-ons?

Won't solder give you a better (less resistance) connection?

-Rajiv

-Rajiv
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post #24 of 36 Old 11-02-2005, 12:04 PM
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The difference is negligible

"Vintage" is good for wine, not for A/V equipment.

-Dan D.
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post #25 of 36 Old 11-02-2005, 02:39 PM
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Additionally, a quality crimp connection is "easier" than a good solder connection.

A poorly soldered joint will have much higher resistance and impedance than a well done crimp. For a diy'er, you'll have a much better success rate crimping.

If, however, you are experienced with a soldering iron, then by all means :p

Rich
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post #26 of 36 Old 11-02-2005, 03:11 PM
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Those bluejeans articles are good sources of information. Before building my own, I bought many interconnects from them, and they seem to know what they're doing.

I chose 1505F for my interconnects based on their articles...sacrificing a small bit of performance for the added flexibility that I needed for my setup and have no regrets.

One other "procedural" tip:

Slide the boots and crimp rings on the cable BEFORE you strip them...it makes for a much easier job sliding the connector on later if the braid isn't all messed up, as it will be if you slide the boot on after you strip. The ring is less trouble, but still trouble at times.

Rich
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post #27 of 36 Old 11-02-2005, 06:13 PM
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gusy I am making my own sub, component and audio cables from the 1694a I just oredered.

I found some info on another forum and this is all the guy suggester I need. All these are form parts express. Please let me know if I am missing something. IT doesnt seem to have what you refer to as "dies". Also is there any cheap heat shrink I Can so I can color code the cables for component so it looks nice? Anyway here are the part numbers:
360-046
092-498
360-016
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post #28 of 36 Old 11-02-2005, 06:46 PM
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maxse,

Those are compression connectors rather than crimp connectors, and do not need a "die" to terminate. Rather, they use a compression crimp handle (the first item u listed) instead of the pin/connector/sleeve that the canare connectors (and others) use.

Some would say these are not as good as Canare connectors (might be true) and most importantly (from a video standpoint) they are not 75ohm connectors. I have used these connectors before, for component video even, and have had NO problems.

Rich
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post #29 of 36 Old 11-02-2005, 07:26 PM
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wait so they wouldnt be good for a sub or audio. Since I think a sub requires 75ohms!
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post #30 of 36 Old 11-02-2005, 08:33 PM
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I have used them for: component video, composite video, stereo audio, and sub cables in the past with no problems.

For audio applications, I don't believe the impedance is as important as in video applications, but I'm not a professional so I cant speak for sure on the technical side of things.

Rich
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