On a speaker wire, the copper wire is normally positive. The silver strand is the negative wire on a common wire used for devices like speakers and amplifiers, while the copper-colored strand is the positive wire. These three strands are covered with a protective layer of insulation when they are placed inside of a metal conduit or cable.
The voltage is transmitted through the negative wire to all other parts of the audio system, then back through the positive wire to the speaker. If you connect one end of speaker wire to a metal part of your vehicle's electrical system, such as the trunk or engine compartment, the other end should be connected to another metal part, such as the hood or frame. Otherwise, you could get a shock if you touched both ends of the wire at the same time.
Speaker wire comes in several different sizes, depending on how many speakers will be connected to it. The most common sizes are 14AWG and 16AWG. These names come from the diameter of the copper wire inside, which determines how much current can flow through it. A speaker wire that is not up to spec may cause your speakers to burn out due to excessive power being delivered to them.
Negative and positive have nothing to do with electricity going into or out of your body when you get a shock.
If the multi-colored cable has black and red wires, the black wire is the negative wire and the red wire is the positive wire. If both wires are black with a white stripe, the striped wire is negative and the plain black wire is positive. Otherwise it's reversed.
The term "positive" means that this wire will connect to the metal frame of your car when you connect it, while the "negative" wire connects to ground, which in most cases is the body of your car. It's very important to connect each terminal on the connector box to a colored conductor in the original wiring system. If you connect one black wire to one red wire, for example, you'll get no power to the passenger side headlight bulbs.
It's best to hire a professional electrician to install your new speaker wire because these cables can be dangerous if not done properly. However, if you have experience working with electrical wiring, then you should be able to install this yourself. Just follow the instructions below and make sure to use only approved equipment for cutting backflow preventers.
Speaker cables can be color-coded, and the speaker handbook will inform you which is positive and which is negative depending on the color-coding. Otherwise, they may be see-through, with the silver wire being positive and the copper wire being negative.
You should connect the red lead to the positive terminal and the black lead to the negative terminal of your amplifier. If you connect them wrong, you could get a shock from the metal parts of your radio.
Your speaker wires should be always be connected to the red and black leads of your amplifier. Do not connect one end of the cable to a positive voltage source (your radio) and the other end to ground (empty space), or you might get a shock.
If you have old wiring in your house and it's possible that you have copper instead of aluminum wiring, don't worry about it. But if you're going to replace some of the wiring with aluminum, then do it for safety reasons only. Aluminum wiring will not give off heat like copper does, so you won't need as many lights on a circuit. Also, because aluminum is a better conductor than copper, any electrical noise present on one side of the line will spread until it finds something big enough to jump to, resulting in very poor reception for everything else on the line.
Each speaker wire will have a distinguishing feature, such as color. The insulation on certain high-end speaker cables is transparent, or see-through, allowing you to view the bare wires. In this situation, the silver wire is normally the positive polarity while the copper wire is the negative. These cables are called "silver-plated" or "copper-clad," depending on which metal is used for the core of the cable.
Cheap speaker cables that are sold in quantity at music stores and home improvement centers often use black plastic insulation with yellow stripes on them. The wire inside these cables is always black with a red stripe on it. This means that if you were to connect one end of these cables to a metal part of your vehicle's electrical system and the other end to another metal part of your vehicle's electrical system, there would be no way to know which end of the cable should be connected to what portion of your vehicle's electrical system.
Speaker wire can be divided into two categories: balanced and unbalanced. Unbalanced speaker wire carries signal energy only in one direction through its conductors, whereas balanced wire carries a voltage equal but opposite to that flowing through its paired conductor. This is important because many devices these days are designed to work with balanced signals. For example, a pair of speakers wired with balanced connectors will not cause any damage to other equipment in a home audio system if one side of the connection breaks.
The wire with the white stripe or dashed lines often carries the "positive" (+) end, while the other, unmarked wire carries the "negative" (-) end. If you're not sure which is which, just follow the path of least resistance.
There are two types of speaker wires: single-conductor and twin-wire. Single-conductor wires can carry only one current at a time. If you were to connect two single-conductor cables together, both signals would be forced onto one conductor, causing noise on the second channel. Twin-wire conductors can carry two currents at once because they use two separate conductors instead of one. If you connected two identical twins together, each signal would still reach its destination without interference from the other channel.
Single-conductor wires are used for connecting speakers together in parallel. For example, if you were to run three single-conductor cables from your amplifier to your speaker system, each would carry its own current and could drive any pair of speakers simultaneously. The problem with this configuration is that it's easy for one cable to get more power than the others. If that cable gets hot, it could cause damage to itself or your speakers!
Twin-wire conductors are required when using more than two speakers.