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AV Tip: Avoid Short Circuits, Save your Amplifier or AV Receiver

by December 12, 2012
Tip of the Day: Short Circuits

Tip of the Day: Short Circuits

A guaranteed way to make a receiver or amplifier fail is to create a short circuit by improperly connecting speaker wire to your speakers or receiver. It could be as simple as a stray strand of wire which has come loose from the binding post (on either receiver/amp or speaker) and touched the other terminal. It is critical to make sure that the bare wire of the positive speaker cable does not touch the bare wire of the negative speaker cable.

One can hope the receiver or amp's inbuilt short circuit protection circuit will do its job, but why take a chance. To prevent jeopardizing your equipment follow these simple tips:

  1. Terminate your speaker wire: Always try to use banana plugs or spade lugs to terminate your speaker wire. If your receiver/speaker has spring clip type terminals, tin the exposed bunch of strands with a soldering iron. Put some slack in the wires to prevent accidental disconnections.
  2. Strip less wire: If you can't terminate your speaker wire with banana plugs or other connectors, then make sure to only strip back as much wire as you need. With most speakers or receivers you only need 1/4" to 1/2" of bare wire to make a solid connection.

  3. Verify before power up: Inspect your connections before powering up the system. All binding posts should be firm and clear of hazards. If you have in-wall speaker cables, use a continuity tester to verify proper impedance.  
  4. Safety First: If you need to make a change to the wiring (even for line/signal level connections), as a rule, power everything down and disconnect your receiver/amp from the main power supply. This is the only 100% safe way to handle speaker level connection changes.

Source: forum member agarwalro


About the author:
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Cliff, like many of us, has always loved home theater equipment. In high school he landed a job at Best Buy that started his path towards actual high quality audio. His first surround sound was a Klipsch 5.1 system. After that he was hooked, moving from Klipsch to Polk to Definitive Technology, and so on. Eventually, Cliff ended up doing custom installation work for Best Buy and then for a "Ma & Pa" shop in Mankato, MN.

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