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Tip of the Day: Avoid Short Circuits, Save your Amplifier


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.