Author Topic: Extending Stereo Speaker Wire  (Read 5288 times)

Mrs3F

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Extending Stereo Speaker Wire
« on: July 31, 2013, 08:32:29 AM »
I really want to run a set of stereo speakers into my kitchen.  But would need to greatly extend the length of the wires.  I've seen a few online tutorials and it doesn't seem impossible, but I'm something of a DIY virgin. 

How doable is this, really?

Can anyone here give me some pointers and hand-holding?

Greg

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Re: Extending Stereo Speaker Wire
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 09:27:57 AM »
Simple enough; get some same size or larger wire (not smaller), a tool to strip and crimp the wire connectors, and some sort of butt splice connectors.  Depending on the size of the wire, you could even use telephone wire connectors (sold at places like Home Depot, as is the wire) that make the connections fail-safe.  Cut the wires leaving several inches at one end or the other to work with. 

Separate the two wires a couple of inches, usually molded together, so that you can work with one at a time.Use the stripping tool to strip about 1/4" of insulation from the wires.  Twist the bare wire strands into a tight spiral of wire before inserting into the splice connector.  With both the end of the wire you are extending and the end of the wire you're adding in the splice, crimp or crush as needed.  Pull slightly on the connection to test if it will hold.  Do this for each wire, paying attention to the markings on the wire (printed or molded into the wire) so the the polarity will be the same. 

Does this make sense?

Spork

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Re: Extending Stereo Speaker Wire
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 09:56:35 AM »
You'll want to see what the max resistance load is on your stereo and what the resistance is in the speakers.  Wiring in more speakers means more resistance (if done in series) and less resistance (if wired in parallel).  You don't want to end up with a low impedance load on your amp if it can't handle it.

Here's a list of sample wiring diagrams showing how resistance varies with method.

edit to fix: I said "high" impedance when I meant "low"  ... and add sample wiring diagram
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 10:00:16 AM by Spork »

exranger06

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Re: Extending Stereo Speaker Wire
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 11:18:12 AM »
I'm confused. Do you want to add another pair of speakers (in addition to the ones you already have) for your kitchen? Or are you simply relocating your existing speakers to your kitchen, and need to extend the wires?

dragoncar

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Re: Extending Stereo Speaker Wire
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2013, 02:33:56 PM »
You'll want to see what the max resistance load is on your stereo and what the resistance is in the speakers.  Wiring in more speakers means more resistance (if done in series) and less resistance (if wired in parallel).  You don't want to end up with a low impedance load on your amp if it can't handle it.

Here's a list of sample wiring diagrams showing how resistance varies with method.

edit to fix: I said "high" impedance when I meant "low"  ... and add sample wiring diagram

Are you sure you weren't right the first time?

Spork

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Re: Extending Stereo Speaker Wire
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2013, 03:17:04 PM »
You'll want to see what the max resistance load is on your stereo and what the resistance is in the speakers.  Wiring in more speakers means more resistance (if done in series) and less resistance (if wired in parallel).  You don't want to end up with a low impedance load on your amp if it can't handle it.

Here's a list of sample wiring diagrams showing how resistance varies with method.

edit to fix: I said "high" impedance when I meant "low"  ... and add sample wiring diagram

Are you sure you weren't right the first time?

I'm no electrical genius, but I think it's right as it is.  My (admittedly rudimentary) understanding is that its better to have too much resistance than too little... i.e, zero resistance is a dead short and would cause immediate overload.  If you hooked up the speakers in parallel and had half the expected resistance, you'd have some amount of overload/overheat.

...but I'm open to someone telling me I am absolutely nuts and wrong and give me the "here's why."

Bottom line is: know that changing the number of speakers doesn't necessarily mean "plug more in."  You need to see what the design limits of the equipment is.

stubby

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Re: Extending Stereo Speaker Wire
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2013, 11:38:47 PM »
There are 4 components often referred to in audio (or any other electrical circuit)

Power (Watts)
Voltage
Current (Amps)
Resistance (Ohms)

When you wire something in series you are adding resistance, in parallel is removing resistance.

In a speaker voice coils are used and they are big copper windings that voltage goes through inducing magnetic fields and thus moving the cone and creating sound.

So think of it this way like a hose, series is screwing 2 hoses together, making a longer tube to get all the water through and adding resistance, parallel is placing the 2 hoses along side each other and allowing water through easier, or less resistance.

Now the main thing about amps is they design them for a specific output voltage (if your amp is rated for 100 watts into 8 ohms the rail voltage, or AC current is the square root of your wattage * your resistance or 28.3 volts and  3.5 amps).

Now if you have the same rail voltage and cut the impedance to 4 ohms (wire 2 8 ohm speakers in parallel) you now are getting 200 watts, but are now using 7 amps of current. If the amp isn't designed to do dissipate that heat or the circuit board isn't capable of handling that current very bad things can happen.

Now the difficult part is once current is put into the voice coil the magnetic fields that drive the speaker cause fluctuations in the impedance of the speaker, so a 8 ohm speaker at a certain frequency may actually be 12 ohms, or 6 ohms at a different frequency.

But to the OP, buy butt splice connectors, crimp both ends and you'll be in great shape to extend those speaker wires.



DaveSch

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Re: Extending Stereo Speaker Wire
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2013, 03:32:23 PM »
I send audio from room to room with a FM transmitter and listen with a portable FM radio. No wires needed. Might not work well if the distance is too great or walls too thick. My house is small. I run some "music servers" too and I have anywhere from 5-7 transmitters running at once. I then tune my radio to the desired program. Here is what I used:
http://www.n2ds.com/fm-xmitter.htm
http://www.n2ds.com/fm-project.htm
http://www.n2ds.com/musiccenter/musiccenter.htm

I bought the stuff from Chinese sellers on eBay.

Dave

frugal_bugg

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Re: Extending Stereo Speaker Wire
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 10:05:50 AM »
Simple enough; get some same size or larger wire (not smaller), a tool to strip and crimp the wire connectors, and some sort of butt splice connectors.  Depending on the size of the wire, you could even use telephone wire connectors (sold at places like Home Depot, as is the wire) that make the connections fail-safe.  Cut the wires leaving several inches at one end or the other to work with. 

Separate the two wires a couple of inches, usually molded together, so that you can work with one at a time.Use the stripping tool to strip about 1/4" of insulation from the wires.  Twist the bare wire strands into a tight spiral of wire before inserting into the splice connector.  With both the end of the wire you are extending and the end of the wire you're adding in the splice, crimp or crush as needed.  Pull slightly on the connection to test if it will hold.  Do this for each wire, paying attention to the markings on the wire (printed or molded into the wire) so the the polarity will be the same. 

Does this make sense?

Depending how picky you are with your audio I would suggest soldering if you have an iron. But if you're new to DIY I doubt you would... I borrow one from work when I need it. 
Also, depending on the length of your run, you might want to do a quick google search on the gauge to use.  For longer runs you'll have to spend a few extra $$ for the thicker gauge otherwise your speakers may sound a little weak and lack volume.