Cardas Golden Reference powercable – Changing the IEC connector
Changing the IEC connector of a Cardas Golden Reference power cable is quite involving
This power cable was brought to me to replace the un-professionally attached, non-high end grade 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 considered it a challenge to try and fix this properly with a Wattgate connector. But it would not be an easy job. If only I had elected to use an entry-level folding-open Furutech FI15 things would have been much simpler.
The cable 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 couldn’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.
I had made an incision in the ferrite ring part which is covered with very strong plastic, but the way that the earth wire is wrapped all around it made it impossible to disassemble. By stripping the cable sleeve, 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 installation wire to the earth connector.
For the plus and neutral wires I was not prepared to use the ground wire method, what I needed was an audiophile-approved 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.
In order to make for good stress relief, as well as securing the large Wattgate to the cable I first applied a layer of glued heat-shrink. 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.
As good as new?
There’s some solder involved and an extra contact transition, but at least the cable now has a much better quality IEC connector than before, and one that is also better than the one normally 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 quite satisfied with the end result, it still doesn’t look immaculate and I’d advise anyone looking to change their cable to ask the importer or even Cardas themselves to carry out the mod for you.
This is a solution that I only thought of while in the middle of the project. Instead of using a connector with a slide on rear end sleeve I could also have used a Furutech Fl-15 connector because this one opens just like the standard Apsa while sounding a lot better. You don’t need to extend the leads for this connector and the process would be much less tricky. The only caveat would be that the connector is not designed for cables as thick in diameter as the Cardas. One would have to strip it back somewhat and possibly remove the air tubes at the point of connector entry and this would need to be covered up with shrinkwrap.