Cardas Golden Reference powercable - Changing the IEC connector
Or: why you shouldn't try to attach connectors to Cardas cables yourself
This cable was brought to me to replace the unprofessionally attached IEC connector. Apparently, originally it was supplied with a 20A connector and the previous owner modified it but in an untidy manner. After examining the cable I thought it a challenge to try and fix this properly. But it is no easy job. This piece is written as a warning for people who want to do the same. My advice: don't do it.
This cables is no ordinary cable and there are a few caveats that make it nearly impossible to terminate properly. If you still feel like changing the IEC connector after this warning please use this article as a guide.
This is how the cable arrived:
It came with a standard Apsa IEC connector, soundwise also standard but as it turns out there aren't many alternatives that can be used easily.
Here you can see the tiny airtubes that surround the actual conductors. The shield is not connected at this end.
On this picture you can see a big blob. The previous owner had tried to remove it as can be seen by the cut. It turns out to be impossible to remove.
Now it really becomes clear that you have to work around the ferrite ring through which the earth conductor has been wound and then dipped in some kind of glue.
The wires had also been tinned sloppily, but I couln't just cut off the soldered part since the leads were already too short.
On this picture you can see how it is impossible to fit the connector-lid over the wires and still have enough length to insert them into the connector.
The repair work:
By stripping the cable jacket, I could slide the ferrite ring a bit back but the earth lead remained short because it was wound around the ferrite ring. First, I soldered a piece of solid core installationwire to the earth connector.
Of course I couldn't mistreat the two phases this way. I needed an audiophile-apporoved method... Therefore I decided to use extra long 24k gold plated pure copper cable end sleeves.
I couldn't just crimp them on as the already present solder flows under pressure. In time it would make for worse and worse connection, so I soldered them from the inside out.
Attaching the Wattgate IEC connector:
In order to make for a good stress relief, as well as securing the large Wattgate to the cable I first applied a layer of glued heatshrink. I intentionally left the connector slightly open.
When the glue had solidified I put another layer of shrinkwrap over the entire assembly and then tightened the screws for extra stress relief.
There you go: an as-good-as new Cardas Golden Reference powercable.
As good as new?
Of course that's not entirely true because there is solder involved and an extra contact transition. But at least the cable now has a proper IEC connector. One that is also better than the one supplied by the factory. All connections are now very tight and will not loosen up with age.
This was a major job and one that I don't recommend doing. Although I'm reasonably satisfied by the end result, it still doesn't look immaculous. I'd advise anyone who wants to change their cable to ask the importer or even Cardas themselves to carry out the mod for you because you may feel sorry for ever starting a project like this.
This is a solution that I only thought of while in the middle of the project. Use a Furutech Fl-15 connector because this one opens just like the standard Apsa but luckily sounds a lot better. You don't need long leads for this connector and the process is somewhat easier but it will cost a bit more.
Furutech Fl15. Installation-wise in this case the best choice. Soundwise there may be better choices. Please see the IEC connector reviews.