How To Use WBT Locking RCA Plugs


Industry Expert
Nov 16, 2014
I'm going to go over how to use the WBT 0102 Ag locking RCA plugs I use in many of my cables.

First, why locking RCA plugs? They are a pain! :evil: I know, but there are some advantages! :)

- RCA jacks are not all the same size so if you don't have locking RCA plugs some may be too loose and some may be too tight.
- If the RCA plugs are not locking the design must use a plug that can flex. This introduces some design constraints.
- If RCA jacks are not locking the number of cycles the plug and jack are good for is greatly reduced due to friction wearing out the parts. This friction will wear through the plating eventually.
- Conversely, locking RCA plugs allow the plug to be installed and removed without nearly as much friction, this preserves the plating on both the plug and jack.
- Locking RCA jacks make more firm contact with the ground and can't be inadvertently pulled out as easily.

And disadvantages:

- They are more difficult to use in general.
- 2 hands are required, one to hold the plug, the other to turn the locking barrel.
- If the plug isn't held while turning the locking barrel the plug can rotate on the jack or the cable could put stress on it's strain relief, worst case being rotation of the cable inside the plug.
- If over tightened the plug can damage the jack. If you look at WBT's Nexgen jacks, they are mostly plastic and too much force by the plug could damage it.

WBT has recently changed the material the locking barrel of the 0102 Ag RCA plug, it is now softer to prevent damage of RCA jacks. The downside is the main reason for this post, if over tightened the plug can come apart, it's made of 2 pieces that snap together. Let's check out some photos to see exactly what I'm talking about... But 1st, here's the instructions given by WBT:

These instructions don't go over what happens when you over tighten, so now that we understand the basics of operating the plug, let's look at that.

First, the complete plug. I recommend lining up the tip of the locking barrel with the ground prongs when installing. Note only ONE ground prong is the ground, the others are only there for support, so it's very important the ground prong is firmly in contact with the RCA jack.

Next, let's look at the locking barrels, stock on the left and with the carbon fiber damper added on the right. The carbon damper gives you more leverage, so it requires less force to tighten.

Here's a locking barrel separated into it's 2 pieces:

And here's what the locking barrel looks like when it's been separated due to over tightening:

And here's what the 2 different barrel materials look like, the old style is on the right and is much more difficult to over tighten, the new softer brass material is on the left and some folks have been having issues with them lately. The old one, I maybe had 2 folks separate the locking barrels over 5 years.

In conclusion, please understand these instructions and you will have a lifetime of musical pleasure. If the barrels separate, the ground prong may not make contact, this may cause noise and you may damage your speakers.

If anyone has any questions on the WBT plugs, or any of the locking RCA and banana plugs used by ZenWave Audio, please don't hesitate to contact me and ask questions. In the future I plan on making a video, which will be awesome, but this couldn't wait. Thanks for taking the time to check out this post and make sure you are using your WBT plugs properly! :)

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