The Art & Science of Audio & Video

Re-using Existing Wiring

Q: I have received numerous questions that involve installations using existing wiring during retrofit projects. Most of which are too involved for simple brief answers and almost all contain the same variables. So my answer is a broad answer on how to address these types of issues.

A: Whenever dealing with existing wiring there are a few cardinal rules that you must follow. Never, ever believe what others tell you concerning the current status, condition or configuration of the existing wiring. It’s your reputation on the line and until the project is complete that’s your equipment you’re working with. Meaning it’s not the customer’s problem if you damage it. So with this in mind always, always, always test the wiring before connecting it to any of your equipment. No matter how sure you think you are that you know what is on the other end. It is crucial that you check all wiring for shorts between the conductors (i.e. – between red/black, red/shield, black shield, etc.) and also shorts to ground on all conductors. When working with speakers you need to be checking the impedance (with an impedance bridge not a multi-meter) of the speaker line to ensure you have the proper load on the circuit. Another element to check for is stray voltage both AC and DC. This covers the “big” monsters that can stop you project dead in its’ tracks. The brutal truth is we could go on and on further investigating the wiring with oscilloscopes and all sorts of fancy equipment that the majority of you will never see or have a need for.


February 23, 2008 - Posted by | FAQ's | , , , , ,

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