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How To Build Lava Mini ELC Solderless Cables

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Lava Solderless Mini ELC patch cables are a fantastic product. They provide minimal tone loss and maximum space savings for your pedalboard, but putting them together can be very frustrating. After many failed attempts at making these cables, I finally found the method and I can now assemble my patch cables correctly every time.

My method is slightly different than some others I’ve seen online, but it works for me!

 

Step 1.

Using the included stripping tool, strip off about 1/2 inch of the outer black insulator. I usually use the largest notch on the stripping tool. Place the tool at the length where you want to make remove the insulator, and apply very light pressure so the blade makes the cut – be careful not to press too hard or you will easily cut through the braided conductor underneath. Rotate the tool around the wire once or twice, and pull the stripping tool toward the end of the cable to remove the insulator.

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Step 2.

Next, fray the braided conductor a little and twist it around itself. This will reveal about 1/8 inch or so of the black center insulator. Note that there are two layers here before the center copper conductor – a black layer and a white layer. It is important to realize that the black layer is conductive, so to avoid potential issues, use the stripping tool to carefully remove 1/8 inch of the black layer.

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Step 3.

Slide the shield sleeve over the end of the cable, then carefully place the plug over the shield sleeve, paying close attention to the center needle – it has to make good contact with the center conductor. Remove the plug and inspect the end of the cable to ensure the needle was placed correctly; if it looks good, put the plug back in place. Otherwise adjust the wire until it makes good contact. Next, while carefully holding the assembly together, bend the plug over 90 degrees and start screwing the cap in place. Use sturdy  rubber gloves, a jar opener, or something similar to tighten the plug into the cap – don’t settle for just bare hand-tightening! You’ll not be able to get it tight enough and you’ll likely make your fingertips sore – I know from experience!

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Step 4.

The only thing left is to check your work! Use a cable tester, or more commonly a handy muti-meter to make sure the connections are good and nothing is bridged.

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5 Responses to “How To Build Lava Mini ELC Solderless Cables”

  1. I do not think that it’s physically possible for the grounding sleeve to fit over the braided ground wire if you twist it around itself. I’ve tried it on several attempts at building a Lava cable now, and it just doesn’t work. If I trim about 1/4 inch off of the grounding, then twist it around itself, it seems to fit alright but results for a working cable are inconsistent at best.

    Maybe posting a video of your cable assembly process could clear up just how you are making all this go together. Until then I will stick with the process Lava shows, which results in working cables.

    • Austin, I’ve built many this way! I’ll try to get a video to clarify the process. It does take a bit of practice to get it right, the cables aren’t easy to build, but when done right they are reliable.

  2. I have a switching unit with 12 pedals and interface boxes. It took me ages to build Lava Cables without shorts developing on my first build. They weren’t especially reliable either. I’m doing a big pedal board rebuild which had me tearing my hair out. This method has given me 1/4 of the build time for cables and not one shorted connection.

    Thanks so much! I’d used both Lava Cables video and Dan from TheGigRig neither being reliable at making good connections (at least for me).

    • Thanks KJ! Still to this day I will run across a cable or two that has gone bad in my own rig. When go to rebuild the cable, I find that it was one I made BEFORE developing this method. Glad you found it helpful! Would love to see your rig as well.

  3. So here I am, three years later, but this is a great idea! I can’t wait to go home and try this technique out. So simple that it’s genius. Thanks!

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