A few days ago my DSL connection kept tripping. After abusing the service provider for a few days, I looked at the stats and noticed signal attenuation was sky high and attainable rate was very low(<1000 Kbps). I checked the wires and found that one of the wires going into the ADSL splitter was hanging on by a few strands and was about to break.

The problem

The main source wire has solid cores, and is joined(twisted together) to a thin stranded wire which has a RJ11 jack to the splitter. I wanted to improve upon this by soldering but later found out that the soldering iron's heat burns off the strands in the thin wire. How do I connect it reliably to the solid cored wire?

I'd prefer if I get to connect the two wires together directly rather than by a jack or something similar(since introducing jacks could cause signal loss).

Edit: My source wire(untwisted) looks similar to this:

enter image description here

The RJ11 cable is something similar to headphone wire - it has 4 non-enameled ultra-thin wires in each colored insulation. It has a red and a green insulation in there(so 4 strands for red, 4 for green). The thin wires also make it a nightmare to strip the insulation off - the wires break too easily.

Here's an actual image of the source cable: enter image description here The top and bottom wires are just copper solid-core wires and the printed part is sheath. An electrician came yesterday and 'fixed' the thing. It stopped the tripping problem but I want something more elegant than this. enter image description here The other end of the red 'fixer' goes to the splitter. I don't think it'd do much good by opening it up - unless I'd just solder the source wire under the ADSL jack on the splitter's PCB.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could do with a picture, but one possibility is to shorten the whole thing and crimp on a new RJ11 jack. \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Sep 24 '16 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Using DSL? Damn. Enameled Wire maybe? \$\endgroup\$ – ammar.cma Sep 24 '16 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pjc50 You mean add a female one to the source wire? \$\endgroup\$ – cst1992 Sep 24 '16 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had in mind a male one, but that's why a picture or diagram would be useful - can't visualise the whole thing from the text. Anyway, crimping > soldering for this kind of job. Try some of this: telecomgreen.co.uk/engineering/… \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Sep 24 '16 at 19:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Burns off the strands in the thin wire" either your wire is then not made of metal, or your soldering iron is about a thousand degrees too hot \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Sep 24 '16 at 19:51

enter image description here

Figure 1. An insulation displacement connector (IDC) box.

Wires are pushed down into the terminals using an expensive professional push-down tool with built-in cutter or a cheap plastic pusher. The blades in the IDC connector displace the insulation (by cutting through it) to contact the wires.

enter image description here enter image description here

Figure 2 and 3. The "pro" tool and the cheap plastic pusher.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What are you saying? \$\endgroup\$ – cst1992 Sep 24 '16 at 20:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm answering your question "How do I make a good electrical connection with wire I can't solder?" Answer: use IDC connectors. \$\endgroup\$ – Transistor Sep 24 '16 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, though consider finding the version with a built in modular jack and use it as the endpoint with a patch cable, rather than as a splice. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Sep 24 '16 at 20:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget your Krone tool... \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Sep 24 '16 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sam: I had added a picture of a "Clone" tool instead. \$\endgroup\$ – Transistor Sep 24 '16 at 22:07

I'm back with an update.

First of all, thanks a lot @pjc50 for your advice that I'd be better off crimping the wire rather than soldering it: otherwise this'd never have occurred to me. And now that I think back, I feel kinda stupid I didn't do this from the start.

Before starting, this is how the RJ11 cable I was talking about looks like:

RJ11 cable

That thing is hard to strip, and impossible to solder. As is evident, I stripped out two of the four strands on the green cable - stripping is made harder by the white 'filler' that's also poking out of there.

box and wire pins It was way easier to just use a full male-male RJ11 cable and attach it to the female port on the above box. I decided to crimp the source wire to the two spade-connectors above.

Time to open up the fixer(I dread to see what's in there...) The fixer

Just as I expected. enter image description here

And guess what happened when I pulled the insulating tape off one of the joints? broken Yup, the source wire broke. The main reason I hate fixers.

I marked one of the wires before starting, which would connect to the red wire: marked red wire

And crimped on the spade-connectors. crimping done

test complete Test complete! Time to finish the job.

Finally, something that looks cleaner: Finished!

Here's the result: dsllog

Not as good as I expected, but now I think it can't really get higher than that. Maybe I should move closer to the exchange or something(:P)

Thanks everyone so much for your time and support, and I am extremely glad I asked here, otherwise I'd still be stuck soldering that impossible joint.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A little problem there: you haven't actually crimped the wire into the connector. All you've done is use the connector to hold the insulation. You could have wrapped the wire around the screw and tightened the wire between two washers to get a better connection. Well, screw head - shakeproof washer - washer - wire - washer. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Morton Oct 5 '16 at 20:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndrewMorton No, I have not used it to just hold the insulation; the core of the wire is coming out and against the wire in a U shape and the connector is touching the exposed core. See pic 7 - you can see a bit of the core sticking out from under the covered connector. \$\endgroup\$ – cst1992 Oct 5 '16 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ For those wondering - yes, I had to use a jack - but I guess it's better to use that than that awful thing up there. \$\endgroup\$ – cst1992 Oct 5 '16 at 21:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's one example of a wire properly crimped in a connector here: headlight re-wiring. Notice how one of the crimps is on the bare wire while the other holds the insulation. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrew Morton Oct 5 '16 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AndrewMorton That's good, but unfortunately I can't use that. The wire I crimped was solid core, and that seems to be stranded wire. Otherwise it does seem pretty neat. \$\endgroup\$ – cst1992 Oct 5 '16 at 21:08

Note that those are probably not stranded or solid wires. Examine under a magnifier. For flexibility, some phone cords are made from extremely tiny copper-foil ribbons spiraled around a core of ?nylon? strands. A soldering iron melts the plastic fibers onto the copper, forming a crunchy carbonized glob.

I've soldered these in the past just fine. Unspiral the ribbon, snip off the white fibers in the center, then twiddle it back together. Tin it with low temperature (NON-leadfree) flux-core solder. Then solder normally.

Note that the soldered ribbons are fragile, so it might be a better idea to use a spade crimp; the kind with insulation crimp for strain-relief.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for replying, William! I might try out that as an experiment, and yes, I am kind of sure there's copper in there, but it burns like a wick the instant I touch the wire to my iron. I can only get the usual 60/40 solder and a generic iron here though(most people don't really care about things like this here in India, it makes me sad). \$\endgroup\$ – cst1992 Oct 6 '16 at 7:26

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