Where can I get multi-stranded, coated headphone wire?

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So, another of my "What is this item actually called" moments.. This one has been annoying me for the last few months.

Basically, in many cheap headphones, if you open them up, inside the outer insulation layer, the two wires going to the headphone speaker will be made out of multi-stranded, lacquer/enamel/PVC/something coated wire. Turns out it's perfect for my application, since it's small enough to pack a few of them in a dremel-ed out channel in the side of a guitar neck. However, aside from ordering a whole bunch of headphones, I can't seem to find this wire anywhere! Does anyone know where I can get this sort of wire, or how to better look for it? I've searched the usual Mouser/Digikey/Google, but other than solid magnet wire, which tends to be too brittle to use, I can't find somewhere to buy this stuff.

Any clues?

Thanks!

Alan Chatham
OpenChord.org
No more buttons! Play guitar games with a real guitar controller.

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Hi Alan,

I would call it twin shielded audio cable like this ...

http://www.altronics.com.au/inde...

Have you left Melbourne yet?

Cheers,

Ross

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Alan is looking for cable where each conductor is made up of a lot of individually coated strands. There's no plastic insulation around each conductor, only insulation around both conductors.

This kind of wire is very difficult to solder.

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It's called Litz wire of course.

http://www.newenglandwire.com/litz.asp

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Litz wire is expensive. I cannot imagine it in cheap headphones.

I can imagine super-flexible wire. Which is just more+smaller strands of tinned copper wire in each of the two individual insulated wires.

If the intention is to separate each individual Litz strand, I would be very wary of the individual strand strength/insulation.

I suppose the simple answer is to cannibalise some headphones just to see exactly what you want.

David.

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While the litz wire may not be as flexible as the headphone wire, it would do what the op wants. Headphone wire is usually multicolored so the left and right ch can be picked out. Custom litz wire can be ordered likewise. Ebay can supply all you need. Just use an ohmmeter to identify the strands if you can't find multicolored.

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Is 8usdtoo expensive, or, take too much work to get it into a form you need?:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/547685-REG/Sennheiser_083380_H_83380_Replacement_Cable_.html

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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You might take a look at Cooner Wire co. They make extremely fine stranded, small gauge, high flexibility wire and cable for medical instrumentation, etc. Not cheap, but good stuff.

Tom Pappano
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Sorry, I should have included a picture of what I'm looking for -

I mean, this stuff has GOT to be cheap - it's the wire you find in headphones you buy from the dollar store, so obviously it's going to be 3 or 4 feet (times the 4 wires in headphones) for way under buck. Litz wire sounds like it might be the correct name for it, but at the same time, Litz wire seems maybe a little too precisely built for what I need - I just need to put a few milliamps at 5V through a wire, with no care to noise or shielding. It just needs to be insulated and thin so I can run 5 strands down a thin channel in a guitar neck without having a bunch of thick insulation in the way.

Maybe I should just go get a few thousand cheap headphones from Oriental Trading co. or some other dollar store supplier, but I'd feel like an idiot if I was buying new sets of headphones just to cannibalize some wire! I wonder if I could coat my own wire...

Oh! I finally found a site selling Litz wire that offered prices, and at $0.15 per foot, that might be reasonable? I don't know. Maybe I should e-mail some headphone manufacturing companies. Thanks for the advice so far, though!

Alan Chatham
OpenChord.org
No more buttons! Play guitar games with a real guitar controller.

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When you get cheap telephone wire it has those characteristics. Perhaps look for 4-conductor telephone wire in a light gauge and strip it out of the outer jacket.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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I would agree with Lee. It is just regular jacketed miniature flex. It is nothing to do with Litz wire.

Telephone cable would do. Or the miniature screened 4 core wire that was used in record player (phonograph) pickups. Or even tape recorder heads.

Even ethernet cable may do you, but I suspect you want slightly lighter gauge.

David.

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Even DigiKey lists a lot of different wire/cable types. I selected multi-conductor, 4 conductor, and the smallest gauge and came up with http://search.digikey.com/script...
which has 28AWG conductors consisting of 7 36AWG strands. Diameter is 0.14" of each conductor. You'd need about a 1/4" square groove to hold 4 conductors. (At that point I might be tempted to find even tinier gauge and embed the whole cable...)

Any large city will have a "wire place", such as Anixter. They will be able to help.

(Hmmm--on a re-read 0.14" might be the whole cable...)

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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And it's only $525.20 for a 100 ft roll.

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This may be what you are looking for.

http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/84223.pdf

£26 for 25m. So it is not cheap.

David.

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Thanks for all the research, guys, but I really think I need the wire not to be jacketed, but enameled - an actual physical jacket is simply too big, since I need to cram 5 wires into a channel cut by a dremel, which will be about 1/8" wide, and arbitrarily deep. Eventually, I'd like to be able to cram about 15 wires down in there too, so actual jacketing is a no-go. Basically, I want multi-strand magnet wire, since solid-core wire winds up just snapping too much during installation, and I really don't want that hassle.

I asked Mouser and Digikey if they've got something like I originally described, and the answer was "No, sorry" from both..

Alan Chatham
OpenChord.org
No more buttons! Play guitar games with a real guitar controller.

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Do you really want the screening?
The PDF that I gave a link for, suggests an outer diameter of 3.3mm. 1/8" is 3.2mm.

Of course if you remove the plastic sheath you get 2.9mm OD. Personally I would not like stuffing wires down a deep channel without some form of sheath. The screening layer is going to snag on any rough edges of your slot.

David.

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Hi Alan,

I think I know the type of thing you are after, we use a stranded enammelled copper wire as flexible tails for a product of ours.
Have a look at this website http://www.wires.co.uk/acatalog/...
Unfortunately it is not local to you, but may get you on the right track.