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RCA Capping? :

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Captain Snakeoil View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Sep 2017 at 9:40am
Hi, this is my first attempt at posting on a forum! I want to share a great DIY project with all of you members of the Elite Slee Brigade. 
Thankyou, I hope you enjoy the read and the DIY 
Best wishes John, aka 'Captain Snakeoil' Wink


I was intrigued by the idea of capping unused  RCA ‎sockets as mentioned on the Snakeoil survey thread. 

This provoked some scepticism in myself, and a smirk when I discovered the price of these branded caps. I'm not willing to spend any money on something unknown, unproven which could be spent on Music, but my curiosity and my mind ran around this idea. ‎ When a copper pipe fitting can be bought for a quid (£1). Could these be the archetypal 'Snakeoil ' product priced at a pint (£3.50) apiece?

In trying to understand what these caps are alleged to be doing I decided on  a 'No risk' (reusable components) No solder, Simple DIY experiment. Driven by curiosity and the possibility of a completely unique improvement of the performance of my components. 

My thinking on the idea is this:-  If a component, amp/cd etc.  is energised when in use an electrical field surrounds the unused open sockets (conductors). By simply capping the unused socket‎s the electrical field around the RCA sockets is closed off. Therefore it prevents the field from radiating or receiving.

If a better way of insulating this field could be found an improvement may result? 

(Pure guesswork. I humbly accept all sniggering and ridicule as I present my naked ignorance to the board. But!  before I 'Get my coat' please do try this at home. With real experience of this particular project. Then hurl as much abuse..... or other... as you now deem fit.)

My idea is to extend this electrical field of both +&- and insulate them more effectively than just  placing a cap over the negative conductor‎. 

‎The experiment. 
I purchased twenty Neutrik Rean RCA plugs and two Neutrik XLR EMC plugs for £44 from Designacable.com. Outstanding value, quality materials from a proven Pro-Audio manufacturer. These would cover all unused sockets on my amp and BDP, I need 19, so the Branded caps would cost significantly more without the 'special' XLR plugs!. These items could be used for their intended purpose ‎if I was not impressed, I'm partial to cable experiments, thus 'No Risk' no waste, no delusion, no problem. 

I used some semi rigid Polypropylene pipe 6.3mm Od. 4.3mm Id.  I had previously bought this to make some cables but Teflon tube could easily be used. The dielectric constant of PP is 1.5 , compared with air at 1. and Teflon at 2. ‎So there is a considered reason for using Polypropylene tube in preference to Teflon. It's rigidity has advantage and disadvantage for cables but that's another story. 


Cut to a length of 20mm the PP tube sits inside the RCA and covers the Live pin and the Negative tag folds around the ‎PP which I wrapped in the thicker(than water) Gas PTFE tape. The tape is wound around the top half of the tube 2 or 3 turns and folded over to cover the tube opening before being placed over the Live pin, the Negative tags folded around the PP,  and the PTFE wrapped around the tags. All in one strip of PTFE. The RCA body is screwed in place having removed the cable strain relief sleeve.   Then carefully wrap the gold outer contact with 3 or 4 turns of PTFE. Ensure the PTFE meets the plug edge and will not foldover inside when pushed onto the socket,  and smooth it tight. Very simple. The XLR 's cable relief was wrapped in PTFE to hold it in place around the EMI 2part ring and to cover the cable opening, 

This was all guesswork, and a nice hour at my coffee table with no special tools, soldering or difficulties.

The results are very satisfying indeed, I was not expecting this. I am unable to comment on the performance of the Branded caps, nor able to compare. However I am very satisfied with this experiment, the results are Audible together with a cost-effective £-Vs-P  very worthwhile and a nice easy DIY project.
If in doubt just make enough for your amplifier (Tuner sounds great through capped amp) and slash the cost to the price of a few pints.! This is really very easy and the improvement in details very worthwhile if not unique. 

A note on A-B blind listening. These plugs are not visible and are not a high value 'tweek'. Therefore the proven tendency to listen through the eyes and the wallet‎ is less influential. However,  vanity and hopes of my 'inventive' DIY is the key factor in any delusional listening. I have had shielded and screened cables and loved them. I now have naked/unshielded cables throughout with NO interference and simply amazing detail which I find thrilling. 
The point being, tastes change over time and with experience.  I like what I'm hearing with these RCA plugs, this is not delusion, nor wishful listening. Were that the case I would pretend my system sounds unbeatable and would not pursue Any improvement, THINK about it......!‎ 

I ‎am not interested in fooling myself when the media seems intent on doing that to us all regardless of intellect or economies. I know my system and the music I play, I can hear changes in presentation and I trust myself. I am afterall a most critical arbiter of myself and my personal code of ethics. The reason why I loathe much of the deceit spewed flogging hifi. 
....... Phew!  


I will not be removing these RCA / XLR plugs from my system, they are now a necessary component. 

I hope this will motivate and provoke some curiosity enough to give this a try. What have you got to loose?  Please prove me wrong by all means. I would like nothing more than to hear from anyone who takes up this Easy Peasy  DIY challenge as described. ‎Quality materials are all important and do not necessarily cost hifi land prices. 

Thank you for the inspiration!  

Best wishes, 

 John aka 'Captain Snakeoil'.


These track are ON IT!

UNDERGROUND.  Thelonious Monk.
'In walked Bud'  vocal by Jon Hendricks.

This Really does it! Big Style  ...... Studebaker John & The Hawks, 'Two Time Boogie' 
That Guitar is close to pornographic!  

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Richardl60 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richardl60 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Sep 2017 at 11:05am
Well done John.

It would be interesting that know how much these cost on materials and your labour.

I agree the branded options appear expensive though are they with spending that much for the improvement? Yes in my system they were.

So you could make some with your material and labour cost to sell - how much would you look to charge? There may be some members willing too invest in some?
Richard
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Snakeoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Sep 2017 at 12:04pm
Hi Richard, and thanks. 

The thing about DIY is that it's much more than just being a 'tight-wad'. 'Necessity is the mutha of invention' I believe someone once said. Although Mr Zappa may have claimed 'Necessarily it's the Mothers of Invention'! 
It's about a hobby to occupy the mind and time, beats TV! It's about stimulating the intellect and about learning both from mistakes which are part and parcel and from triumphs, no matter how small. 
As to cost? It's all in the text with the exception of Polypropylene tube, this was previously purchased at £1 per metre. Inc postage. Considerably less than Teflon tube! Plus a roll of Gas PTFE at less than a £1. The Neutrik Rean come in at just over a £1. Each. 
The labour was an hour to make up 19 RCA'S plus x2 XLR's. 

But the real motivation is to improve upon an idea. To not simply cap the RCA but to extend the field of both conductors and insulate them in a more comprehensive manner with components designed to fit completely onto the unused socket. This should mean a better product doing a more efficient job at a fraction of the price. Labour is a commercial consideration which is of little consequence for a simple yet highly successful  DIY activity. 

I dread to think what the time spent on rebuilding and modifying my turntable would be charged at! Simply impossible to evaluate. Oh but the satisfaction!  
To invest the time is a pleasure and a joy, to charge for it wouldn't be feasible. Thus the price of the Branded caps is in reality not at all unreasonable. 
I consider that a persons time and attention are the two most valuable assets one has to give. What price that? 
Regards John 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richardl60 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Sep 2017 at 12:44pm
Thanks John.

Yes I am sure we all 'dabble' from time to time, some are far more able and gifted than others.

Me I pay a decorator now in part because I don't have the time (or the inclination). I serviced my own car for 37 years - but time pressures meant I could no longer afford the time albeit as you have found there is the pleasure element wrapped up in there somewhere and the knowing you have done a great and satisfying job.

Will await your next project with interest
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Sep 2017 at 5:08pm
Would it be possible for you to show a photo or two of your "invention"?
Opus3 Continuo with Opus3 Cantus parallel tracking tone arm - ZYX R100 Fuji - Elevator EXP MC Step-up - Vacuum Tube Audio PH16 - Vacuum Tube Audio SP14 - April Music Eximus S1 - Magnepan 3.3/R
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Snakeoil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Sep 2017 at 10:43am
Hi Eric, Apologies, I should have included pics and step by step to begin with. I hope you get the drift. The principle is simply to extend and insulate both conductors so wrap in PTFE how you like, covering the threads or not is another choice. But I assure you this DIY is Audible. Please have a go. It's great to get a win.
Regards, John. 

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Thanks!
Opus3 Continuo with Opus3 Cantus parallel tracking tone arm - ZYX R100 Fuji - Elevator EXP MC Step-up - Vacuum Tube Audio PH16 - Vacuum Tube Audio SP14 - April Music Eximus S1 - Magnepan 3.3/R
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