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scorpionscar

Types of wires and how/when to use them properly!

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I would like to open this post in order to learn and contribute knowlegments about the types of wires, gauges, and how to use them properly in order to avoid ground noises as well as shielding techs/products. I wish this topic were something similar as a guide that everybody including newbies (in electronics) like me, can consult and learn, and who are experienced, share tips and ideas. I start launching a doubt about different wires I have in my workshop.

WIRES.jpg

NUMBER 1:  Is a shielded wire I bought in a local electronics shop, I understand is not the suitable type, however is easy to get, cause in my case sometimes I have to order in USA and is not cheap due to taxes and customs, appart from time.

NUMBER 2: Is a four conductor shielded. Is a great wire I bought at stew mac. If someone wants to explain how to use (the basics) can do it. Steward says that for short conections between componentes is not necesary shielded wire.

NUMBER3: Is cloth wire

NUMBER 4: Is a wire I get in my city, in an electronics shop. Diameter with plastic: 1.63mm, Diameter of conductor: 0.6mm (Is important to talk about gauges, and how they affect the connections/sound)

NUMBER 5: This is a shielded wire with en exteior metal mesh.

How and when is a good idea to use each of them and why. I've read in some place that is important to use shielded wire expecially from the jack output to the volume ground.

On the other hand, when is necessary/properly shielding the guitar and what is best. For example I usually use a conductive paint and is easy to apply and the results are good for me.

As non expert in this issues and ready to learn, every coment will be well received. Thanks in advance and happy weekend.

 

Scorpionscar

Edited by scorpionscar

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On 16/02/2018 at 10:10 PM, scorpionscar said:

NUMBER 1:  Is a shielded wire I bought in a local electronics shop, I understand is not the suitable type, however is easy to get, cause in my case sometimes I have to order in USA and is not cheap due to taxes and customs, appart from time.

Any reason why you think it's not suitable for use in a guitar? For nearly all situations I can think of I'd say it's probably the most suitable out of all of the wire you've shown in your picture, and pretty much identical to the types used by all the big manufacturers. Single core shielded is very common and easy to get.

 

On 16/02/2018 at 10:10 PM, scorpionscar said:

NUMBER 2: Is a four conductor shielded. Is a great wire I bought at stew mac. If someone wants to explain how to use (the basics) can do it. Steward says that for short conections between componentes is not necesary shielded wire.

Unless you are winding your own four-conductor humbucking pickups, I can think of very few situations where you would use this in a guitar. Of course, there's nothing stopping you using it in place of single core shielded cable and just using 1 out of the 4 conductors, but the extra cost and physical bigger size compared to single core shielded makes it unecessary and wasteful.

 

On 16/02/2018 at 10:10 PM, scorpionscar said:

NUMBER3: Is cloth wire

Unless you're building something that needs to be historically accurate, both inside and out (eg, some kind of period-accurate clone of a Les Paul), don't bother with the extra expense of this wire. There's nothing magical about it compared to any other wire of the same gauge, apart from how much faster it will make money vanish from your pockets.

 

On 16/02/2018 at 10:10 PM, scorpionscar said:

NUMBER 4: Is a wire I get in my city, in an electronics shop. Diameter with plastic: 1.63mm, Diameter of conductor: 0.6mm (Is important to talk about gauges, and how they affect the connections/sound)

NUMBER 5: This is a shielded wire with en exteior metal mesh.

Are you sure you haven't switched the descriptions of Number 4 & 5?

The red wire (unshielded) would work well for bridge grounds or 9V battery supplies if you use active pickups - anything that needs to hooked up that doesn't need to be shielded.

The shielded/meshed wire is probably OK as a substitute for Number 1, but I'm guessing it's more expensive. It looks a bit like the 'push back' stuff that Stewmac sells, but again there's nothing special about it compared to most other stypes of single core shielded cable. I guess you could argue that some people might find it easier to use than regular single core shielded, because you don't have to separately strip back the outer and inner sections of insulation when soldering it up.

 

On 16/02/2018 at 10:10 PM, scorpionscar said:

How and when is a good idea to use each of them and why.

On the other hand, when is necessary/properly shielding the guitar and what is best. For example I usually use a conductive paint and is easy to apply and the results are good for me.

Generally, to ensure low noise operation of the guitar use shielded wire wherever you can. If you can't use shielded wire for whatever reason, use another form of shielding to compensate (eg conductive paint or copper/aluminium foils). Remember that no matter what type of shielding you use, in order for it to be effective it must be connected to ground. That's about it, really.

Pick your shielding method to suit the guitar you are building. If you build a twin humbucker guitar and use nothing but shielded wire, there is nothing to be gained by shielding the control cavity as well. If, however you are buiding a Strat and the pickups only come with two separate wires each, you are better off shielding the cavity with paint or foil.

I personally wouldn't get too hung up on seeking a particular gauge of wire for use in a guitar. My only suggestion would be that it isn't so thin that it is mechanically weak and likely to break off inside the guitar under normal playing conditions.

 

Quote

I've read in some place that is important to use shielded wire expecially from the jack output to the volume ground.

You only need to consider why the shielding may be required between two components. On a Strat the cable between volume pot and output jack passes through a drill hole from the control cavity to the jack cavity. The section between these two points is through unshielded wood. Electrically you need both a signal and ground wire to connect the guitar to the guitar lead, so to accomplish both requirements (two wires to the output jack, minimise noise pickup between two locations) you use shielded wire.

If the connection between volume pot and jack were entirely contained within the boundary of a cavity that was fully shielded, (eg, this Yamaha RGX A2) then using two separate unshielded wires is permissible, as the extra shielding afforded by using shielded wire is unnecessary.

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Thank you very much Curtisa for your dedication, your time and this complete explanation. Effectively, numbers four and five are changed, sorry, I did the document in a hurry. The number one is very very easy to ge in my city, but I thought It didn't work because there is not an aluminium wrap like in number 2, its true it has a gronud exterior wire. You have made my day!!!

I understand that every connection you do between two components, you should solder the two edges of the mesh to ground.

About number 2 (the four conductor) It was hard to me to find a utility basically becouse as you said, you use one conductor and the other 3 are no necessary but in the web of stew mac, present it like a good choice...

Scorpionscar

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I've just read in an internet forum of electronics where explain that the correct way is to solder only one ending and the opposite is wrapped with heat shrink sleeve. Always learning new things.

Scorpionscar

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1 hour ago, scorpionscar said:

The number one is very very easy to ge in my city, but I thought It didn't work because there is not an aluminium wrap like in number 2, its true it has a gronud exterior wire. You have made my day!!!

The shielding on Number 1 is just a different version of the same thing in Number 2. Number 1 has a woven copper braid underneath the black outer sheath which must be soldered to ground to complete the shielding connection.. Number 2 has an aluminium foil wrap. The foil cannot be soldered, but the cable will typically include a 5th conductor inside - a bare tinned wire (aka a 'drain wire') that maintains contact with the foil wrap inside the cable which is used to solder to ground to complete the shielding connection.

The foil wrap cables are generally higher quality and may be favoured by some people due to the time saved in stripping and exposing the shield connection. Dealing with a woven shield usually involves 'unpicking' or 'de-braiding' the woven braid once the cable has been stripped, twisting it up and moving it off to one side before soldering. With foil wrap cables, the foil will usually tear away at the same time the cable is stripped, exposing all the conductors in one go.

They both do the same thing, just a different way of achieving it.

 

1 hour ago, scorpionscar said:

I understand that every connection you do between two components, you should solder the two edges of the mesh to ground.

Connecting the shield at both ends of a cable to ground isn't entirely necessary inside a guitar, but if you can plan your wiring such that it does occur, it is easier to follow and looks neater.

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Thank you so much Curtisa, I've very happy and grateful for learning about issues where I had some doubdts. I'm going to use number 1 cable, after reading you, I'm convinced is a good choice technically and can ge ti easily. Sometimes we do the things for routine and is better to understand how things work. This saves time and headaches, appart from money.

Is necessary that all the grounds go solder to the same pot or it doesn't matter?

Scorpionscar

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Shouldn't matter. As long as everything that should be connected to ground, is connected to ground.

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On 2/17/2018 at 11:09 PM, curtisa said:

no matter what type of shielding you use, in order for it to be effective it must be connected to ground. That's about it, really.

Is this correct to connect all the cavities with terminals and connect to a ground of the pot to make the shielding effective?

Scorpionscar

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The pot case is metallic and conductive, so there's no real need to connect it to the cavity shielding with a dedicated wire. Bolting the pot through the cavity wall should be sufficient.

As long as you can get a connection to any and all parts that must be tied to ground, that's all you need. If there is an air gap between two parts that must be grounded then you just need to find a way to bridge that gap, either by wire or by direct contact with each other.

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9 hours ago, curtisa said:

The pot case is metallic and conductive, so there's no real need to connect it to the cavity shielding with a dedicated wire. Bolting the pot through the cavity wall should be sufficient.

As long as you can get a connection to any and all parts that must be tied to ground, that's all you need. If there is an air gap between two parts that must be grounded then you just need to find a way to bridge that gap, either by wire or by direct contact with each other.

Ok, I understand. Thank you so much Curtisa. Is important having this issues clear in order to have a correct wiring and eliminate any unwanted noyse. Probably this weekend begin to wire some of my guitar buildings, so I like to plann each detail before doing it!

Scorpionscar

 

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I have applied almost three coats of conductive paint but when ise the multimeter there is no conductivity. What's the problem?

 

Scorpionscar

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In general I think that all different types of wire have their uses around a guitar. Anything that might move or flex needs to be multicore, anything that carries a signal should ideally be carried by a screened/braided wire. Solid core has its place. I use this for configuring switches where jumpers are required, sometimes even to the point of using clipped resistor/capacitor leads to make hand-bent "staple" jumpers. Thicker solid core (think, valve amp earthing) can also be used for tying pot cases together by forming thick busses. I've done circuits that are enclosed in solid copper tape as a Faraday cage to reduce clutter from too many earth braids and done simple single multicore point to point rather than braided with inner conductor.

All in all I think most things have their use. I would say about #1 that it isn't as good as a proper braid with an inner conductor. Maybe for non-critical things or electronics in metal-cased pedals. Meh.

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