How to Test Speaker Wire


Testing any wires for continuity is a task that does not take much time. In fact when troubleshooting any type of electrical circuits, including audio, testing the wires should be the first thing to do. Breaks in the copper wire strands can occur if there is undo stress placed on the wires. These breaks will show up by performing the testing method that includes using a basic volt ohmmeter.

Things You'll Need

  • Volt ohmmeter
  • Cut all power from the amplifier and the speakers, if applicable.

  • Loosen and remove the speaker wires from all termination points. This includes the rear of the amplifier and the speaker connections.

  • Twist the two wires together, gently by hand, to form an electrical connection. Do this to only one end of the speaker wires.

  • Turn the volt ohmmeter on and switch the front dial to the ohms position. Insert the red lead into the “ohms” connector and the black lead into the “com” connector of the face of the meter.

  • Touch the two leads together. The meter should be reading “zero” ohms.

  • Test the speaker wire by touching the red lead to one of the two speaker wires, at the other end of the twisted connection you made in Step 3. Touch the black lead to the other wire. The meter should be reading between 0 ohms and 8 ohms. If the wire is reading a higher value than 10 ohms, the wire may be bad. If the meter does not read any resistance, or infinite ohms, the wire is broken.

Tips & Warnings

  • Thoroughly check the outside of the speaker wires insulation to ensure there are no nicks or cuts in the wire’s insulation. Moisture can enter these small crevices and cause premature corrosion of the copper wires.

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