Converting speaker wire to RCA cables is a fairly easy procedure that, once done, will eliminate the need for feeding the positive and negative ends of the wire through their respective terminals on the back of a speaker. With their complementary female ends, RCA cables are much quicker and easier to use, and there are no fraying, splaying strands of copper wire going every which way. Not only that, but learning how to make your own RCA cables means you won’t have to buy them again. You only need to purchase plugs and sleeves and the less expensive wire.
Step 1 - Measure and Cut the Wire
If you are making RCA cables for a specific component, you may already have a length in mind. Otherwise, measure a length of cable long enough to be useful when you need it. Use the wire cutters to cut the speaker wire to the appropriate length.
Step 2 - Separate and Strip Each Wire
Speaker consists of a pair of insulated wires that are easily pulled apart to create more space between them. One attaches to the positive terminal, the other to the negative terminal. Pull the two apart no more than two inches. With the wire stripper, strip an inch off of both of the wires.
Step 3 - Attach the Sleeve
The sleeve is the hollow metallic cylinder that cover the connection points with the RCA cable. Before you make the soldering connections, slide the sleeve over the pair of wires so you can affix it to the plug when connected.
Step 4 - Solder the Positive Connection
The 2 wires that comprise speaker wire are marked differently. One may be black and the other red, or one may have a stripe down the middle of the wire while the other is blank. If black and red, make red the positive lead and black the negative. If striped, make the striped wire the positive lead. Be consistent with this arrangement so you don’t make any connection errors. Run the stripped end of the positive lead to the center of the RCA plug. Holding the wire to the connection point, melt a small amount of solder with the soldering iron over the wire and onto the connection.
Step 5 - Solder the Negative Connection
Solder the negative lead to the inside of the tab on the RCA plug. This is a strip of metal extending from the back of the plug to one side of center. Apply a small amount of solder to hold the lead in place. Test the strength of the connections when dry.
Step 6 - Attach the Sleeve
Now bring the sleeve up and over the connection points and screw it onto the threads provided on the plug or simply pop it into place.
Repeat this procedure for the other end of the speaker wire to complete the RCA cable. Again, make sure the positive and negative leads are the same on both sides. Your RCA cable is ready for use. Make as many as you need for all of your stereo connections.