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predicting cable failure

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Bob Cole
predicting cable failure
on Feb 7, 2006 at 2:37:59 pm

About 4 four years ago I bought a nice audio snake to clean up the cabling in my editing room. I've plugged and unplugged the various connectors perhaps 50 times. Now one of the cables is flukey. It seems to me that the cable must have been bad from the start, because it just hasn't been moved that much.

Not a big deal, though the next time I get a snake for a studio, I think I'll get some extra wires for this situation. But I'm wondering why an audio cable fails. And also, could I have tested the snake when I got it? Would a digital resistance meter have been able to tell me anything?

-- Bob C



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Frank Nolan
Re: predicting cable failure
on Feb 7, 2006 at 8:02:52 pm

A cable that has been unplugged 50 times! How can you say it hasn't been moved that much? If it has worked fine for 4 years then I'd say it wasn't bad from the start. Cables fail for all different reasons. One of the primary causes is from placing gear or chair legs etc. on the cable, another is unplugging the cable alot. You can test a cable with an ohm meter. Check to see you have continuity between each of the pins respectively and then if that is ok, check to see if there's any continuity between say pin one and pin 2 or 1 & 3 or 2 & 3. If there is then you have crossed wires somewhere in the cable. Also try to avoid buying cables with molded connectors, as it is hard to trouble shoot these. If you cant unscrew the connector it's impossible to see if it's a simple case of the solder being broken.


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Bob Cole
Re: predicting cable failure
on Mar 31, 2006 at 3:46:38 am

[Frank Nolan] "
A cable that has been unplugged 50 times! How can you say it hasn't been moved that much?"


I should have been clearer -- this was a snake in a rack; only one end was unplugged, and when it was, it was left right next to the input on the mixer. The other end is in a rack. That one is a real mystery.


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Ty Ford
Re: predicting cable failure
on Feb 8, 2006 at 4:25:19 am

flexing and severe bends will cause fatigue. At some point the conductor will fail.

A simple VOM (volt/ohm meter) can be used to check for continuity.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Ty Ford's "Audio Bootcamp Field Guide" was written for video people who want better audio. Find out more at http://www.tyford.com


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David Jones
Re: predicting cable failure
on Feb 8, 2006 at 11:47:16 pm

Check the xlr's on each end to see if you might have a cold solder joint.


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Bob Cole
Thanks all
on Mar 31, 2006 at 3:43:49 am

Great suggestions, thanks.

-- Bob C


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