How to Attach Spade 10 AWG Solid Copper


I am working on DIY cable project. I am almost done, I just don't know how to attach the spades I purchased. I have spades that require crimping. I need to somehow attach a 10 AWG solid single copper conductor to the spade. Can someone suggest a cost effective tool for accomplishing this. I have never crimped a connection and I have had a hard time finding a resource to aid me in my project, any will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
dfelkai
I have the Klein Tools Journeyman Crimping/Cutting Tool (J1005) which is sold at Home Depot. You can also get it online at a bunch of places, including Amazon.

It works very well. Not sure what price range you're looking at but this is around $35.

As for technique, just line the uninsulated crimp up in the center of the spade & give it everything you have. I've done hundreds of crimps & not one failure. I'm guessing you have split style barrels, so gently squeeze with the insulated crimp just enough to hold the wire snug before nailing it down. Of course, put the pointy part of the crimper on the solid portion of the spade. If you need pics, I'm doing a set now & can send them to you.
Mechanical crimping of lugs or sleeves over solid core wire will loosen and fail with any physical movement of the connection. If you use a standard crimping tool I would recommend you solder the lug to the solid #10 wire after crimping. Make sure you apply enough heat to cause a good flow of solder between the barrel of the lug and the solid wire.

A Hi-press where the lug is compressed around the wire would be a good mechanical connection. Though the barrel of the lug would need of the no seam type to survive the compression onto the solid wire. I am not aware of a Hi-press tool for that small of a wire though.
Ah, I failed to pick up on the word SOLID. As Jea48 accurately describes the connection, it will indeed fail. My instructions were for multiple wires, which are not necessarily stranded.

Anyway, you will need to solder or spot weld. Perhaps a body shop can do this for you?
Just a suggestion. If there is enough room around the terminal the #10 solid wire is going to be connected to a curled eye works great for a good termination. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to form the eye.
Pick up some Alpha Core/Goertz solid silver spades and solder them.
Solder with either WBT Silver or Wonder UltraClear solder. The Alpha-Core spades are a good suggestion.
yes, agreed a zap of a gazillion watts from a spot welder at a body shop would be optimal, but that is hard to arrange. I was thinking the crimp and a dab of solder method is more practical, though I was trying to avoid a coldish solder connection. Given the nature of the wire, it is evident that the crimp alone will not suffice.

I have looked into WBT spades, but the price tag is hardly justified, in my opinion. I am happy with the spades I have, Copper silver plated spades. I suppose they are the "barrel type" I will post some pictures later tonight to clarify things.

I am still unsure of how to use the crimp tool, and I am looking forward to receiving some pictures from "Driver" that will make sense of things. Thanks guys, and please keep the suggestions coming.
I purchased one of these criming tools a couple of years ago. It is very handy to have around as it works great.
After crimping I always solder the joint for strenght and durability.
Agree a crimp is going to fail. For solderless: I would use a spade (like WBT) that can be screwed down onto the wire for a solid tight connection. Even drilling a hole into the shaft of the spade, threading it and using an allen head set screw will do a great connection (I would file the wire to have a flat spot where the set screw meets the wire, to make it (nearly) impossible for the wire to pull out.
First solder at high heat using the least amount of solder to make a perfect connection. Then you can crimp. Do not crimp first and then solder.
Do not crimp first and then solder.
Reb1208
And why is that?
.
I one crimps at all, it should be done first, to obtain the best/most metal to metal contact. Minimum solder between the actual conductors is preferable. Once soldered, a crimp is wasted effort. Obviously- solder is a conductor also, but none will be as good as the spade or cable's metal.
It never ceases to amaze me how much information you read on the internet that is outright wrong.

If the average person with average skills solders after crimping, the crimped connection will tend to be compromised.

In this case, we are talking about a solid core wire. So once again, I advice soldering at HIGH heat using a minimal amount of solder. Then crimp the connection.

If the wire to be connected to the spade is stranded, I would advice crimp only.
I have done this several times in the past, being in the building trades. I have also done it wrong several times. The strongest, least likely to fail connection for solid core is exactly as Elizabeth said, a screw down. You could add a drop of screw lock to the screw and your connection will never fail. The allen screw is also a very good idea, you can torque it down better than a standard philips. Very good Elizabeth.
And the band kept playing on.......

The subject at hand are speaker wire spades and 10g solid core wire. We are not talking about AC circuit breakers, fancy IEC or AC plugs.

WBT screw down spades are a terrible choice for 10g solid core. First one must crimp the wire to a WBT crimp sleeve, then insert into spade and screw down. I advice only using WBT spades for stranded wire.
05-31-09: Reb1208
It never ceases to amaze me how much information you read on the internet that is outright wrong.
You got that right...... JMHO, the info you have given thus far is an example. Instead of just making a blanket statement saying solder first then crimp, why not back up your words with some credible data......

As for checking the Internet I can find crimp/solder connectors but not solder/crimp connectors. Though not audio grade here is just one example of crimp/solder connectors.
The free lesson is over. You (meaning those that need documentation) can experiment on your own. I know what works. I have built perhaps over 100 DIY audio cables of ALL types.

Have a nice day, anyway.
I've been soldering and crimping cables/connections for over forty years(30 yrs in business), and would REALLY like to know what could POSSIBLY be gained by crimping ANYTHING after soldering it. GEE- a hundred, really?
BTW, the link you provided is a valid approach. Notice that the solder is at the end of the wire, away from the crimp joint. You want to play semantics? I've done many a connection that way myself. Just don't solder where the crimp is, after the crimp is made.

Over and out..................
"and would REALLY like to know what could POSSIBLY be gained by crimping ANYTHING after soldering it"

1) Mechanical stability of the chemically bonded solder joint. Especially important in a speaker spade when you may torque down and remove an unknown amount of time over the life of the cable. Solder joints can and do fail under repeated load.

2) Metal to metal contact of the wire and connector, making for a direct contact connection. That is why I advocate to use a minimal amount of solder. You want to crimp onto metal, not solder.
That's dealing with butt connectors. I suppose you use those in your DIY audio cables too? =8^)
If you're referring to crimping an area of a connector that acts as a strain relief, it has no bearing on the actual connection/conductivity. Different story, and understood!
05-31-09: Reb1208
BTW, the link you provided is a valid approach. Notice that the solder is at the end of the wire, away from the crimp joint. You want to play semantics? I've done many a connection that way myself. Just don't solder where the crimp is, after the crimp is made.

I've done many a connection that way myself. Just don't solder where the crimp is, after the crimp is made.

Who said anything about soldering where the crimp is? Other than you..... You said solder then crimp.....
Crimping is a process of cold welding..... Pretty tough to get a good cold welded connection of the barrel and wire if the two are surrounded by solder.

Crimping of stranded wire works great. Not meant for solid wire.
05-31-09: Rodman99999
That's dealing with butt connectors.
Video
.
I use my version of a "butt" technique when joining two solid core capacitor leads. First I remove the outer plating and then flatten the surface with a Dremel carbide. Then I hold the two leads together in a locking hemostat, making a mechanical connection. Next step is to solder the joint permanently connected. I uses a similar technique in making a wire/prong connection when I build AC power cords. So, depending on the connection to be made, I use various techniques. I've already outlined above how I make a solid core wire to spade, speaker wire connection. I use additional "strain" relief besides the crimp. The crimp is most definitely making a conductive connection
Here is a link as to how I connect a 10g solid core wire to spade.

First clamp bare solid core wire to spade at lower point. Optional is to strip away metal plating on spade at solder contact area. Then solder with high heat at lower point only.

http://s301.photobucket.com/albums/nn76/reb1208/?action=view¤t=IMG_1427.jpg&newest=1

Then crimp connection at upper crimp location creating a direct metal to metal contact.

http://s301.photobucket.com/albums/nn76/reb1208/?action=view¤t=IMG_1428.jpg&newest=1

Then cover in heat shrink to add mechanical strain relief.

Using this method you have a chemical solder bond and a direct mechanical metal to metal crimp connection.

If you can show me a "better" connection, I'd like to see it.
I've been following this thread & want to say to solder then crimp is not considered prima facie.

Reb, your initial posts seems to convey crimp over the soldered area, which in essence does not allow direct metal to metal contact. Now I'm getting you are referring to two different contact areas-one for crimping & one for soldering? Your pics don't indicate this. At least I don't see what you're talking about.

There are a few ways to test the reliability of a soldered and/or mechanical joint. I don't think cable companies have their connections subject to shear debonding tests. Here the conventional wisdom is what has worked in the past still works.

Then again, the coolness of DIY is for one to experiment & try other methods; however; that does not mean you're right and everybody else is wrong.

It never ceases to amaze me how much information you read on the internet that is outright wrong
Driver,

E-mail me your address and I'll send you a finished sample so you can evaluate the connection.

reb
I uploaded 3 more pictures. Plated surface area of spade removed with carbide, wire clamped to spade with locking hemostat and then soldered, then crimped metal to metal contact and finished with heat shrink.

http://s301.photobucket.com/albums/nn76/reb1208/?action=view¤t=IMG_1430.jpg&newest=1

http://s301.photobucket.com/albums/nn76/reb1208/?action=view¤t=IMG_1431.jpg&newest=1

http://s301.photobucket.com/albums/nn76/reb1208/?action=view¤t=IMG_1432.jpg&newest=1

And know, I'm not saying I'm better than anyone else. Just showing how I make this connection.
Hi Reb,

OK, now I see what you're getting at. That connection looks very solid. The only thing about that style is you can't utilize the curve of the spade for a contact area. I'm sure there are spades w/a large enough pad you could do that & still have the space for full contact.

I don't do shear debonding tests or instability analysis or any other type of testing using electrical or mechanical devices. I would think a digital analysis at the microscopic level would show any fractures that would lead to failure but I believe those methods are used w/PCB's.

I appreciate your offer to send me a sample but I couldn't test any more that you can.
Driver,

That spade is small and not meant for audio speakers or amps. It was just a cheapo I had lying around to demonstrate my DIY method. On a larger audio quality spade, the circular surface area would be available as I would solder further back.

reb
I am definitely liking the solder then crimp method, it sees reasonable. The only issues are:

1. finding spade with enough room to do the solder portion such that optimal curve space can be utilized for connecting afterwards.

2. making sure the the metal to metal connection is solid as well. If the metal to metal stage is not crimped tightly then the contact point will be the soldered connection, and in that case you might as have crimped then soldered instead.

I suppose the problem (in 2.) can be eliminated buy using a screw connection, but then you might not have to solder at all.

Just my thoughts, it seems to be extremely tricky and I will certainly post my results and offer my 2 cents after I am done experimenting.

I also picked up a 66 ft spool of Teflon coated silver 22 awg, to experiment with some braid techniques; but I will save that discussion for another thread.
Here, I mounted this very spade onto a banana plug adapter. You can clearly see that in addition to the spade blades. The round nut and curved portion of the spade do indeed make contact. Torque it down and you have a superb connection! I could have soldered the solid core wire curved off to one side and that would have made more surface area available.

http://s301.photobucket.com/albums/nn76/reb1208/?action=tageditmany
I am having trouble viewing you link, it just redirects me to photobucket's homepage.
Just click on anyone of the 3 links in my earlier post above. You can then scroll thru the slide show. The latest pic is there. Audiogon for some reason is now blocking the direct link.
I posted a question to Rick Schultz at Virtual Dynamics regarding our discussion here. Virtual Dynamics manufactures what I believe to be some of the best cables in audio. Thier designs are mainly single solid core wire designs and he is certainly an expert on the subject. On his site he has a QnA section where he posts video replies to questions he is given. He has agreed to make a video explaining some of the techniques used to properly attach spades to a solid 10 AWG.

If you feel compelled to request the video as well, you can email him at-----> info@virtualdynamics.ca. Check out his products, no I am not a salesman, just a fan.

And thanks again for those that have posted in here giving me some good ideas as to how I solve my DIY project issue.
Here is a link to the video posted in response to the discussion in this thread. It has been authored by Rick Schultz, founder of Virtual Dynamics. A permanent link will be given later after it is uploaded onto the QnA section of his website. Have a look and tell me what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ5q9oA4Fzg
First off I think that too much of an issue is being made of this simple topic. There are obviously many ways one can make that type of connection. That said, I will comment on what Rick has shown in his video. Firstly you will notice that he also makes both a mechanical and chemical (soldered) connection, as I have advocated. Being that he is in business and needs to make $$$, he can't spend the time a DIY'er can on a single connection.

What he didn't do that he could have if he spent more time was.

1) Clean the solid core conductor before pre-tin.
2) Remove the plating on the spade so that the solder connects to the base metal and not the plating.

In all honesty he has made a fine connection but the sonic result will be inferior to my connection.

He uses too much solder inside that spade which the signal will inevitable pass thru. Yes, it will audibly degrade the sound. Second, the copper conductor never makes physical contact with the spade. What makes contact is the pre-tinned surface, the plated spade surface and the set screw. Plus, I am not a fan of using externally applied flux. Over time I have seen flux residue degrade the connection. I did not see him clean off any flux that may have oozed out.

In my connection, the bare copper makes direct contact with the base metal of the spade at the solder point. Plus makes direct metal to metal contact at the crimp portion.

If I really wanted to and at one time I was seriously thinking about it. I could turn the high end audio wire community onto some of the finest sounding wires available. I'm sitting on several interconnect and power cord designs that are superb. I do nothing about it because the market is already flooded with too much product.

If you think I'm full of myself and am just making an ego play, fine. But let me give you a little more background. I have taken apart dozens of high-end wires (very expensive ones too) to see what is inside. At first it was utter dis-belief at just how fraudulent these expensive wires designs truly are. Most are nothing more than unnecessary over use of insulation and shielding. Many are simply off the shelf wires cloaked in nylon tex-flex braiding. Now don't get me wrong, there are certainly many true high quality products out there that are innovative and honestly marketed. However, none of them are worth anywhere near the prices they command.

Enjoy your day.

bob
You know I have to agree, I no longer want to be one of those companies or products and I am trying to change but it is not easy. I have tried not to be, but you learn as you go. I myself have to admit some shamed of the audio cable community and what we have done to you, our customers. I think it is time for change and you, as our customers are the only ones to make it happen. Part of the problem is in customers not believing or knowing the truth of how we market or sell products. I am willing to come clean and explain to you why the cable industry is so messed up and where I think, as an audiophile who has been on both sides of the fence, we need to go from here.
First off I think that too much of an issue is being made of this simple topic. There are obviously many ways one can make that type of connection.
Agree completely.

In my connection, the bare copper makes direct contact with the base metal of the spade at the solder point.
Why not use copper spades? Do you also remove the plating at the spade to get connection of base metal with binding post?

I have taken apart dozens of high-end wires (very expensive ones too) to see what is inside. At first it was utter dis-belief at just how fraudulent these expensive wires designs truly are.
I have done this also and agree. Also have seen some substandard connector installations.