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RCA Cable grounding by design or short? (1 Viewer)

nicholsonscn

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Shawn Nicholson
Hello,
I recently purchased an RCA interconnect cable pair where the left/right cables are bundled together in a single unit (as opposed to two independent cables one for left/one for right).

My amplifier kept reporting a short with them so I checked with my multimeter and found out that all the grounds are shorted together.

None of the hot leads are shorted to the grounds, it's just that the left cable's ground is connected to the right cable's ground.

My question:
Is this a faulty cable? or is it just my amp is too finiky or it's a design for a specific purpose that isn't for connecting an AV receiver to an amp? It's not clear to me why having all the grounds shorted really makes a difference (if it does and someone could explain why I would also appreciate that).

Thank you
Shawn
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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If you meter two of the RCA jacks on the back of your amp, you’ll probably find that they have continuity. That’s pretty standard. If yours isn’t like that for some reason, then that explains why the cable didn’t work.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

JohnRice

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To add to Wayne, I don’t think shared grounds on line level connections is usually a problem. A receiver reporting a ground fault is usually with the speaker wires.

Just to add, a cable with shared grounds has to be an incredibly poor quality cable. I’m not sure I’d want to use it.
 

nicholsonscn

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Shawn Nicholson
Thank you both for the quick responses.

Yes, my amp jacks did show continuity when I tested them just now.

I'm pretty sure it's the RCA cables - I have some old crappy radio shack independent RCA cables (I wanted to upgrade them for ones with some better shielding due to all the power cables running all over the place behind my system). When I played around with which cable was connected to which receiver jack, the short indicator on the amp would change to invariably point at the jack being used by these new cables (and only when I connected the pair of them; if I only used one it didn't show an issue). When I switched out the new cables completely with my old radio shack ones, everything works.

I'm definitely not going to use the cables, but was wondering if they were defective (For return) or if this is a deliberate design in some cables that I was simply not aware of (perhaps some term used to describe this "feature" that I should be on the look out for - or should I just avoid this type of pre-paired cables in general and go with independent ones).

Shawn
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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It’s possible there was an intermittent short between one of the positives and ground. A good way to find those is to wriggle the cable just beyond the connector while doing a continuity check. (Typically a cable fails right behind the connector, which is where it gets a lot of stress from the hard bend.)

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

JohnRice

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I didn’t think of that. I was just thinking that the fault has nothing to do with the shared ground on the cable. A cheap cable is also more likely to break and cross wires.
 

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