GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through

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Bretherman

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GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« on: 14 Feb 2017, 11:26 pm »
Hello,

I will attempt to upgrade my Insignia speakers with the GR Research upgrade kit. I've never done anything like this, so I hope this post can serve as a learning experience for myself and others.

Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm doing.

I bought these speakers a few years ago already well used.



The front cover just pops right off:



Hex bit had a 3 on it, so I guess that means 3mm?


So far so good. If everything goes this smoothly, I'll be building HiFi setups in no time!



Unscrewed the driver, and it looks like there was already some foam in there.



Took the foam out, and found the board glued to the bottom. I had to pry it off with a flat head screwdriver, but it didn't take much effort.



Next I unscrewed the posts. Held the inside nut with some pliers:



Stuck the hex bit in the post hole in the back, and turned that while holding the nut steady:



And out it came! One of them had some glue or something, and was slightly more difficult to take out than the others.



Empty box now. You can see all the glue from where the board was mounted.



All the components:



I think these are the tweeter connections:



And these the woofer:



Some shots of the stock board:





Next post will consist of plastering the inside with water putty!

Bretherman

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #1 on: 14 Feb 2017, 11:41 pm »
Now to fill all those notches inside the box.

Durham's Rock Hard water putty as recommended by GR Research:



The only experience I have is with Silly Putty, so we'll see how this goes.

Mixed it up pretty thin and laid the speaker on its side.



Pouring it in:



Used a spoon to get the liquid in the port area. After doing this a few times, I later scrapped the idea, and poured enough in the speaker area to where I could just tilt the liquid in the port area.



First coat:



You can kind of look through the port hole to see what you are doing (kind of).



Mixing some more. This stuff dried pretty quick, so I was never sitting around waiting to throw another coat on. While I finished with one coat on one speaker, I went to the next speaker. So on and so forth.



Another coat.



And another.



I think I did 3 coats. Weird enough I can't remember, as I was mixing different consistencies to see what worked. I would pour it in, shake it around and tap the box to spread everything. I used almost the whole 4lb can of the stuff. I don't think there was one time I coated it where I didn't have lumps.



Both boxes done.



You can see that I ditched the spoon, and just poured the liquid over the opening to the port side. The putty on the port itself was when I was trying to spoon it over.



That's done. Next up is to figure out how to put together the electronics.

goskers

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #2 on: 15 Feb 2017, 02:59 am »
Great work!!

I remember the first time I modified a DVD player as transport thinking to myself that I may have a $50 piece of trash on my hands after I wreck the circuit board soldering.  It all worked out well.  Keep pushing through and trying as your efforts will be rewarded.

Bretherman

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #3 on: 15 Feb 2017, 03:50 am »
Thanks Goskers!
I've started on the electronics, and had to cut it short today. I think I have everything set up correctly. I ran it by GR Research which was nice enough to take a look at some of my mock-up pictures. However, I may run the completed pictures by them when finished just to make sure I can post them up without blatantly revealing their R&D work :).

S Clark

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #4 on: 15 Feb 2017, 03:53 am »
You've done the hard work.  Electronics are easy, and there are lots of us that can help out if you run into a problem.  These are going to be such an improvement over what you started with.  I assume that you have a sheet of No-Rez that goes in last, right?

Bretherman

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #5 on: 15 Feb 2017, 04:06 am »
You've done the hard work.  Electronics are easy, and there are lots of us that can help out if you run into a problem.  These are going to be such an improvement over what you started with.  I assume that you have a sheet of No-Rez that goes in last, right?

Thanks S Clark. Yup, I've got the No-Rez that came in the kit, as well as a small roll of fiberglass insulation I picked up at the hardware store. The components sure look like they'll sound better  :lol:. We'll see if the speakers or my old receiver is the weak link when it's time for the ear test.

Hope everything fits in there. It looks like it will be a tight fit behind the driver when the components on the block of wood go in. I'll try to remember to comment on the fitment when I'm able to test fit it.
« Last Edit: 15 Feb 2017, 05:48 am by Bretherman »

mresseguie

Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #6 on: 15 Feb 2017, 08:39 am »
This is super, Bretherman!

I look forward to your impressions once they're back together again.

Michael

ThePriest

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #7 on: 15 Feb 2017, 10:46 am »
Hi Bretherman,
It looks good, but I thínk you've got the tweeter/woofer connections reversed.
The blue/yellow ones are for the woofer. You can see it says "+ L -" on the stock board, which is Low frequencies.
The red/black ones are for the tweeter. you can follow them going into the woofer, connecting the tweeter part of the coaxial unit.

Just to help you not blow your tweeters when you put it all back together. Otherwise, excellent work!

/ThePriest

Hello,

//

I think these are the tweeter connections:



And these the woofer:



Some shots of the stock board:





Bretherman

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #8 on: 15 Feb 2017, 12:58 pm »
Thanks for clarifying ThePriest, shows how much I know :lol:.

S Clark

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #9 on: 15 Feb 2017, 04:42 pm »
IF I see this correctly, the blue/yellow wires are soldered to the connection that has a fairly large, looping, bare wire... that is usually the wire that goes to the woofer voice coil.
The red/black wire connection has thinner wires leading away into some black heat shrink.  These go to the tweeter voice coil... perhaps through the air vent in the center of the magnet??? 
I'm not that familiar with the wiring of coax speakers.  Could you show a pic of the back of the magnet structure? 
 
But the Priest is correct that you have identified them incorrectly.  Just be sure to put them back as they were originally wired.

Bretherman

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #10 on: 15 Feb 2017, 08:19 pm »
IF I see this correctly, the blue/yellow wires are soldered to the connection that has a fairly large, looping, bare wire... that is usually the wire that goes to the woofer voice coil.
The red/black wire connection has thinner wires leading away into some black heat shrink.  These go to the tweeter voice coil... perhaps through the air vent in the center of the magnet??? 
I'm not that familiar with the wiring of coax speakers.  Could you show a pic of the back of the magnet structure? 
 
But the Priest is correct that you have identified them incorrectly.  Just be sure to put them back as they were originally wired.

Here are some more pictures of the driver.

Black and red side:



Blue and yellow side has some wires going further in:



Side view:



Another shot of the black and red side:



Magnet:



I'm getting ready to test a completed network. I had to redo some things along the way, but fingers crossed it works. I'll hook it up outside the enclosure (granted I know which side of the driver is woofer and tweeter), and if all goes well, I'll use some silicone to solidify the components, and throw it in.

I should have the pictures posted up a bit later.

S Clark

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #11 on: 15 Feb 2017, 08:43 pm »
All as expected.  Blue/Yellow are the woofer wires, and the red/black are the tweeter connections.  Carry on!

Bretherman

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #12 on: 15 Feb 2017, 09:03 pm »
All as expected.  Blue/Yellow are the woofer wires, and the red/black are the tweeter connections.  Carry on!

Great, thanks for the confirmation!

Bretherman

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #13 on: 15 Feb 2017, 09:57 pm »
So, on to the construction.

Here is the set up. Old Weller solder station, a little copper-scrub-thing solder tip cleaner, solder pump, de-soldering braid, solder (included in the kit) and a liquid flux marker (not pictured, but noted later). I have some experience soldering. I'd consider myself a grade-A novice.



De-soldering the original coil using a combination of the solder pump, and braid (and flux).



It was glued down as well:



But wasn't hard to remove.



Laying out the components on a piece of cardboard that's roughly the size of the wood I will cut. I just stuck it in the enclosure and cut it down until it fit to get the size.



Used some pine because I had it laying around. It was 0.75" thick, and 3-something inches wide.



Not the straightest or most accurate, but it should work.



Finally started twisting stuff together.



And figuring out where everything should go.



Pliers helped greatly, especially with the thicker wires.



That should do it.



Looks like the leads aren't long enough, and I'll need a jumper.



I don't know where my wire strippers are, so I did everything with a razor blade. Fingers are a little sore.



This was solid core wire, so it was kind of difficult to bend.



All bound together, and with a piece of heat shrink on the right side waiting to be placed.



Unwinding the original inductor.



Used a bit of super glue just to hold it from unwinding some more. I'll probably silicone it along with everything else.



Both done and trimmed.



As it stands now:





So that jumper I put in the top right? Well I realized the positive woofer signal is supposed to come from there. So off it came.

Getting the positive lead ready:



And on:



Now I took a drill and indented where I thought would be some good places for holes -- for the zip ties.



Went outside and drilled it through.



Looks pretty good.



And tied down.



More on the next post.

Bretherman

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #14 on: 15 Feb 2017, 11:00 pm »
So a little about soldering.

If you don't have a soldering pencil, or station, I recommend one of these Weller stations. Look for this blueish color (that's the color of the commercial grade ones). You can normally find them used for pretty cheap. The station works way better than just an isolated pencil. The temperature is more reliable, and there is much less chance of cold joints or damaged components from over heating them. I bought a similar station to this for around $40-$50. The one I'm using here was found on the side of the road!

In the picture below you will see a little black thing with a copper scrubbing pad in it. This is to clean the tip before and after soldering components. I like this better than the wet sponge.

That marker you see is flux. This is a liquid one -- Kester 951. I chose this because it's a popular no-clean flux. It also has anticorrosion properties. Solder normally has flux in it, but I can't imagine soldering without this stuff. Everything flows way nicer. Not to mention increasing the efficiency of de-soldering braid.





You can change the tips on the Weller. These Weller tips are almost indestructible. They don't deteriorate like the cheaper tips. I have a fine pointy one for small stuff, but I chose to use a decently sized chisel tip for this.




Tip cleaner:



Always tin your tip when setting aside the iron!



Coating the leads in flux. If you are going to use this marker, be careful. I haven't used it a time where it hasn't leaked on me.



Finally soldering!



Ooooohh, look at that.



And that.



And those.




Yes.



Using the back of the iron to shrink the heat shrink.



Shrunk.



I'm trying to gauge what length of wire I need.



The tweeter network is much smaller, and is going to be placed on the back. This resistor lead is a little short to join to the other side.



I'm gonna have to use a wire to connect the positive woofer network to the positive tweeter network. You can see an area I stripped where the resistor will join.





I soldered it and heat shrunk it before bending it where I want.



This is the back side. You can see where the resistor connects to that stripped area in the top left.



And soldered.



So I ran into a little trouble with the original inductor. One end soldered just fine, while the other end that was trimmed did not want to stick, and looked all kinds of bad. What I didn't realize is that the coating is preventing me from soldering it!

I took a razor blade and scraped all sides of it, getting it as clean as I can.



And bam! Clean contact.



Checking continuity (one of the few multimeter settings I know) just to make sure it's good.



Here I'm de-soldering the contacts that go to the binding posts.



Could have used the pump or the braid, but I heated it up...



And quickly jammed it in the copper scrub pad. Nice!



Twisted that solid wire through the hole.



Soldered it.



And heat shrink.



Did the other one, and then realized I forgot something...



Damn it I can't count how many times I've forgotten to slide a piece of heat shrink on before soldering. I twisted this wire even harder through the hole. Took about 10 minutes of de-soldering and working with the pliers. I almost wanted to cut the whole thing.

And done!



I used the woofer side for a common negative point. This lead from the cap goes to the woofer negative. I put the negative binding post lead here.

The negative lead for the tweeter comes off the original unwound inductor on the other side. One of these wires is running to that inductor, then continues on to become the negative tweeter lead.



Three white wires coming off the bottom:



That original inductor I had trouble with? Well I had to de-solder it when I figured out how I was going to do the negative. I spliced one of those three wires towards the middle where I wrapped the inductor lead around (similar to how I did it with that resistor).

You can see it soldered to the splice here:



Here is another view of it:



Another one of those wires is the negative for the woofer, and the negative for the binding post. I guess I could have put the binding post negative on the tweeter side, but I didn't want to mess with the very thin inductor wire too much.

If works without blowing up, I'll be using some silicone to solidify things in place, and cover up the copper wire that heat shrink can't get to.

Bretherman

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #15 on: 15 Feb 2017, 11:05 pm »
Did a quick test, and it WORKS!

Sounds a bit thinner than before. Hmmm... Could use an enclosure  :lol:.


revg1952

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #16 on: 15 Feb 2017, 11:12 pm »
Thank You so much
For the Visual Step by Step Field Trip. I have 3prs of these. O have one cabinet opened up ready for surgery  . Just need to get my bloody arse in gear, and order a kit form Danny and get down and dirty.
Thanks again
 Gary/RevG52

Folsom

Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #17 on: 15 Feb 2017, 11:16 pm »
You should twist the negative and positive wires together. I would have planned on that for lengths and locations. You don't need a really tight twist, one turn every 1-1.5inches will help keep the fields down.

S Clark

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #18 on: 15 Feb 2017, 11:18 pm »
Very nicely done.  I can see this ain't your first rodeo.   
Really nice and clean.

Bretherman

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Re: GR Research Insignia Upgrade Walk Through
« Reply #19 on: 15 Feb 2017, 11:31 pm »
Thank You so much
For the Visual Step by Step Field Trip. I have 3prs of these. O have one cabinet opened up ready for surgery  . Just need to get my bloody arse in gear, and order a kit form Danny and get down and dirty.
Thanks again
 Gary/RevG52

No problem! Glad it could help someone so far.

You should twist the negative and positive wires together. I would have planned on that for lengths and locations. You don't need a really tight twist, one turn every 1-1.5inches will help keep the fields down.

I didn't really think about that. If I can maneuver the wires, I'll try. The solid wires are much stiffer than the component leads, so I'm a bit scared I'll snap something off.

Very nicely done.  I can see this ain't your first rodeo.   
Really nice and clean.

Thanks!