"tin" speaker cable ends?


Established Member
Aug 28, 2002
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I had connected Gale XL189 speaker cable (bare wire), into the micro speakers (push/grip connecters) of my home theater kit. No probs with the sound, although I noticed when I took the bare wire bit that goes into the speaker, it was badly stained and tarnished (oxidised)?. Has anyone "tinned" these ends that go into the speakers. Does it help? Any advice would be appreciated.

I would advise against tinning them - although this will stop the oxidation occuring on the surface the interface between solder and cable conductor will not be ideal.

If you are stuck with the spring cable clamps then I can think of two options (perhaps others have a few more). One is to periodically trim the cables and reconnect (I am sure you can see the limiation here) the other would be to use a contact spray designed to prevent corrosion and oxidation over electrical connections - such as they sell here




One other alternativ is to buy some 4mm banana plug sockets say with gold plate (try here)and see if you can remove the old connectors ad attach the banana sockets - then terminate your cable with 4mm plugs
Ace: Since copper does oxidise over time and is a very mallable metal, a better solution might be to buy some gold plated bannana plugs or spade terminals and solder them directly to your cable ends. This will avoid oxidisation problems and intermittent connections as the copper 'forms' itself under the pressure of the speaker or amplifier terminals.

Tinning the wire might make matters worse in the longer term as the solder itself will oxidise and is also quite mallable.


I think the problem is that his speakers only have the spring clip connections and no 4mm sockets.

Also I would advise against soldering the banana plugs for the same reason that I would not tin the ends - it will affect the properties of the cable (for the worse). In this case though the difference may not be noticable - depends on the kit really.

However for the best compromise crimp the cable to the connector or use some sort of mechanical joint and then seal this off from the air. QED airlock plugs do just this.

Ace: I just noticed the fact that you are stuck with gripper sockets for the cable. In this case I would tin the very end of the cable to keep the strands together and allow the copper to make the main connection. Please ignore my earlier comments.

I can sympathise, gripper connections can be a pain.
Tim: I understand where your preference is coming from but when you consider that the power is being passed through transistors that are soldered and the cable that connects the power to the termination is almost certainly soldered. I don't think that soldering the bannana plugs is going to prove detromental! Having made that statement, all good engineers know that a well crimped connection is better than any soldered joint especially in space;)

Seems our last posts crossed, anyway thanks for the correction.
Thanks for the input guys; still a little unsure about what way to go about this. I think tinning the ends may be the most practical option or the contact spray to prevent oxidisation, sounds interesting.

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