Wiring speakers. Colour coding

  Flopper 22:33 21 Aug 2007

Probably a stupid question and it should be easy to deal with but I have to extend the wire on some speakers that I have bought where the connectors have alreay been cut off. The 'twin' cable on the speakers is red on one side and red and black on the other. The spare speaker wire I have got is grey on one side and grey and black on the other. I have tried matching the striped cable and the plain with the plain but it does not work and I have also tried the other way which also failed.
The speakers now don't work at all after putting it all back the way it was. Is it likely the speakers are blown? They are satellite speakers for a surround sound system.
Any suggestions?

  spuds 01:02 22 Aug 2007

Have the speakers got an on/off switch, that you have forgot to use!.

The cables are the new and old colour schemes, and should work if connected correctly, but it now sounds as though you may have 'blown' the system.

Couple of links for you to browse about speakers and wiring click here click here

  Arnie 11:09 22 Aug 2007

If the satellite speakers are passive, (no built in amplifier or controls) try the following.

Disconnect your added wiring to the speakers and using a multimeter set to the lowest ohms range, touch the speaker wires with the multimeter test leads.
The reading obtained will be quite low, possibly around 6 to 8 ohms, certainly not a dead short!

If the speakers are ok, a slight plopping noise will be heard as the cones move. This is due to the low voltage being applied from the multimeter battery.

If no multimeter is available, the same procedure can be carried out using a 1.5v cell (battery). Use a 100 ohm resistor in series with the cell and speaker to limit the current to the speaker coil.

Hooking the speakers to a low powered amplifier will also check their correct functioning. This would only be advisable if the speakers coils were not shorted!

If you do not understand the information I have provided, the last option is to take the speakers to a tv repair shop. The charge for testing the speakers should be minimal.

A few further points:
Were the speakers working correctly before you extended the wiring to them?
Are the main amplifier and its standard speaker system still working ok?

Reversing the speaker polarity by wrongly connecting the leads will not in itself cause any damage.
You will simply notice a hollow stereo response, often called a ‘hole in the wall effect’.

  Flopper 11:40 22 Aug 2007

Than you for the replies thus far. I reconnected the wires as they were and the satellites now work OK.
This suggests a problem with the 'extra' cable I am using. I cannot believe I would have made the same incorrect wiring connection 3 or 4 times.
I have borrowed a multimeter and I will test the cable.
Why the manufacturers do not supply longer cables, knowing that a surround sound speaker will be sat some distance from the main unit is beyond me!

  Stuartli 16:09 22 Aug 2007

You are probably using the wrong type of wiring for the purpose.

  Arnie 00:28 23 Aug 2007

"Why the manufacturers do not supply longer cables, knowing that a surround sound speaker will be sat some distance from the main unit is beyond me!".

Penny pinching!

  Flopper 08:16 23 Aug 2007

I tested the cable with a multi-meter and found that there may be breaks in the wire so I will simply bin it and get some fresh extension cable.

  spuds 11:05 23 Aug 2007

Possibly I shouldn't say this, and the experts may disagree, but I have used various types of 'small gauge' wiring for speaker extensions, without problems. Cheap 2 strand door bell, burglar alarm, telephone and the far more expensive 'shielded' cable. To me its a case of you pays your money and give it a try.

Many years ago, I purchased a very expensive (at that time) Aiwa Hi-Fi system with all the add-ons. Place a number of speakers around the house, and connected these up with door bell wiring as a temporary experiment ( due to having a large supply in stock). This temporary arrangement is still running to this day, and still sounds perfect.

  wee eddie 11:45 23 Aug 2007

The thicker the wire the lower it's resistance.

Single strand or multi strand, it is of little consequence, so far as I know but multi strand is more flexible.

Usually the two strands of a cable have different insulation covers, Black/red, plain/ridged, or whatever, allowing you to differentiate the positive from the negative,

  Flopper 13:00 23 Aug 2007

There is a branch of Richer Sounds nearby so I will call in at lunchtime and see what they recommend re: wire.

  DieSse 14:18 23 Aug 2007

For surround sound speakers any old wire will do fine. Ideally you should keep the polarity the same for each speaker - but with surround sound even this doesn't matter much, as there will next to no low frequencies coming from the rear speakers.

Shielded cable should be avoided, as it has strange effects on the capacitance.

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