Banana plugs are single wire connectors that are used to join wires with other pieces of equipment. The main benefit of using banana plugs is that you end up with a high-quality connection that permanently lasts. In addition, it makes the installation a far easier process. Trying to connect the bare wire to the terminal doesn’t always work – many setups don’t give you a lot of speaker wire to work with, and the wire strands are susceptible to fraying.
There are many types of banana plugs in existence. Some are made of metal, some are made of plastic, others are screw-type, and so on.
Installation can be a simple process as long as you follow the simple steps below:
For starters, you need to prepare the wire. Once you figure out how much wire you need, it needs to be trimmed to the desired length. If you are using a setup in which the wire is being run behind a wall or some large object, double check your measurements before cutting the wire. The next step is to take the wire and split the pair apart. In order to easily handle the wires in the following steps, you want to separate them at least two inches apart.
You are going to have to strip away the cable on one of the separated strands so that the wiring can be exposed. You will have to peel the cut jacket off of the bare wire. Most people find that using a wire stripper makes this process much easier. Aim to take anywhere from 0.75 to 1 inch of the cut jacket away. This will give you a good amount of bare wire to work with. Repeat the stripping process for the other wire.
Note that some wires will have the copper strands loosely flailing around. You will want to fix this before attaching the banana plugs by twisting them together.
We are now at the point where you can install the banana plugs, one colored black and the other colored red. Remember: Black banana plug goes to the black cable, and red banana plug goes to the gray cable with the red stripe. If you are lost, check the accompanying instructions to determine the proper connection.
Unscrew the bottom of the banana plug and feed the wire in, applying pressure until you can feel the wire hit the front of the plug. This ensures that you will have a secure connection. If you did it correctly, you should not be able to push it any farther. When you are finished, screw the back of the banana plug back in. The wire will be tightened, and it will not fall out. Don’t forget to repeat this for the other wire!
Your plugs are now ready to connect to your speaker/receiver.
The instructions above pertain to closed-screw banana plugs. You have to do something a little different with the open-screw banana plugs. Keep in mind that while this method is simpler in execution, it will not look as clean. Follow the previous instructions up to the point where the back of the banana plug has been unscrewed, and then proceed as follows:
You need to insert your wire through the banana plug’s side opening and push against the front end of the plug. Once the wire is in place, you screw the back of the banana plug down like you did with the closed-screw banana plugs. This is necessary to secure the wire in place.
Once all of this is done, you should be good to go. You can run a preliminary sound test to make sure that the connection is solid. Turn on your device and turn up the volume without playing any media. If you did the job correctly, you should not be able to hear any cracking or hissing sounds. Make sure that there is no radio interference or a transmitter/receiver getting in the way.
And that is how you install a banana plug. It’s a fairly straightforward process that gets easier after the first time. If you are in doubt, have an experienced professional or a knowledgeable friend help you with the installation process.