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Worn-out cables?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Fat Tony, Jun 16, 2004.

  1. Fat Tony

    Fat Tony
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    This may be an odd question , but when do cables wear out? I'm just wondering if it gradually deteriorates with time & if so whether this would be significant after say 5, 10 or 15 years. Assume it hasn't been left in direct sunshine or dampy rooms.

    I've got some Gale XL315, which is about 7 or 8 years old. Not exactly sure if this is exactly the same stuff that is currently being sold, but just wondering if I should keep it (also must be good enough for new Kef egg satellites) or upgrade to new cables. Given I'm going to channel some of it into the wall, I just want to make sure it has got plenty of life left as cost of redoing this in few years will easily outweigh the cost of new cable now!

    If I should keep it, do you recommend cutting of the current exposed cable ends & peel back the sheath to get some 'fresh' wires?

    Thanks
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Interesting question and I don't have a clue as to the answer. The exposed ends of the cable will probably have oxidized a little over the years so cutting off the ends and making new "ends" will help give a good clean connection.
     
  3. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I really don't think it'll make any difference (Russ Andrews would have made a point of it by now otherwise!)

    As Ian says, the ends of a cable may oxidise but that happens over the course of months rather than years and is easily fixed by stripping a bit more back (for speaker cable at least). It's easy to notice on XL315 because it goes dull or green compared to the shiny copper through the transparent sheathing.
     
  4. WILD9

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    Id be dubious about it having any effect other than oxidising the ends, and even then if they are attatched to the speakers/amp, if its a good connection then oxidation wouldnt form anywhere where there was contact, the uv might have some effect on the plastic coating like making it brittle tho.
     
  5. Mylo

    Mylo
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    The cable entry will corrode at a similar rate will it not John; therefore you would need to clean that with an abrasive to remove any oxidisation.
     
  6. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Good point.

    I suppose it depends on the connection type. If there's a complete physical contact between the terminal and the connector then there shouldn't be any oxidisation occuring anyway.

    Nickel/tin plated contacts will degrade much faster than gold.

    To be honest though, I don't think it would make an audible difference anyway.
     
  7. Mylo

    Mylo
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    I was just thinking of the mains plug example I learned at college many moons ago. I was advised to unplug all devices once a year and clean the contacts with 'brasso' to give a lovely clean contact. That of course is 2 different metals as well.
     
  8. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I have heard people recommending cleaning mains plugs (and all number of other plugs) with an abrasive agent. Some people even coat their mains plugs/sockets in silver :eek:

    Does cleaning the plug actually make a difference then? I would imagine using a decent plug (I use MK where I fit my own) is more important than keeping the contacts clean but havn't tried any tests myself :)
     
  9. Mylo

    Mylo
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    Just discussed it with a colleague. Apart from a simple resistance test we think it would by very difficult to actually measure any real difference in our Lab and my ears are to shot from the rave era to hear much difference at home. I think it’s peace of mind really.
    If you can think of a test we could set up I would happily give it a go.
     
  10. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    It's going to change the resistance of the surface, and subsequently the boundary won't be impedence matched. I've not come across a single connection in the hifi world where the cable and termination has been properly impedence matched to start with so I don't think it would make a difference. One day a cable company might consider power transfer important enough to give it some though, but not yet.

    This leads us back to our old plans of hardwiring every component together and to the local substation though :D
     

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