A very trying troubleshooting experience

Discussion in 'Hardware Lounge' started by jasn, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

    As I've been implying in other threads, I moved into a new home and finished the basement with a workout/media area. I'm thinking to offer it for CJ's system page, but another time...

    For this new media room I've purchased nearly an entirely new system; AVR, speakers and TV. I had an equipment shelf built in to a side wall and ran all of the speakers wires and cables back to the shelf. This included ~500 ft of in-wall, 2-conductor speaker wire manufactured by Atrium.

    To avoid making this a long, drawn out thread over the hours I spent setting everything up on each piece of equipment, and the hours afterwards trying to figure out why two weeks later it began sounding terrible in surround modes, I will instead will show you these...


    That's the in-wall wire to my center channel. After pulling the wire out of the wall (well installed by my electrician to get back out) I was able to find a stiff spot on the cable that would make the speaker cut in and out. Cutting back the covering I found the black wire had apparently run out of the spooling machine, so it was wrapped, soldered and heat-shrank with a 2-inch joint to join another spool and kept on truckin'. The joint was long and stiff so must have broken went coiled on to a smaller reel.

    I suppose you could just call this cheap material, but I'm not totally convinced. What's the manufacturer to do? As you can see in the photo it is actually heavily-soldered. I think that the splicer over-twisted the wires and they were actually broken, so when the joint bent it fractured. Not sure where it was made, but I can only imagine the person making this splice was not exactly a well-trained electrician.

    All fixed now and I am patting myself on the back for having figured it out. After checking every menu setting multiple times and trying all sorts of equipment and channel swaps (it was actually intermittent, making it even more frustrating), I was glad I wasn't sending anything back for repair. I'm also very glad it was the center channel and not one of the ceiling or rear speakers. Those runs are 3 times longer!

    Thanks for reading. I needed to share this and where else but HTL? Should I post it on Amazon and make this a decision-point for the miles of other fine cable? What are the odds it'll happen again?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  2. Jason P

    Jason P Member War Zone Member

    Are you sure it was the manufacturer that spliced it and not the electrician?
  3. capsuleri

    capsuleri Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    Good snooping!! That's a unique problem alright! I have never even heard of it before. What brand wire is that? I had kind of a similar problem too in my 5.1 system the electrician had pulled the wire through the wall and left it for me to install the speakers. Even though I had double checked that the polarities between the receiver and the speakers were correct the system would simply not sound right. Finally by trial and error I found out that the +ve and -ve were switched inside the wall somewhere on the center and front left channels. As far as I know the electrician did not splice the wires, he was a young guy very conversant with HT wiring he did that in his own house he said. To this day its a mystery. The HK receiver I was using at that time did not have an Audssey like set up.
  4. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

    Yes Jason, it was inside the covering. What you see is after I cut the covering off.

    cap, my OP has a link to the Atrium cable. I bought it on Amazon.
  5. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    Eek. I'm glad you found the problem!
  6. DustinDavis

    DustinDavis Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    Wow, very good detective work. I might have been able to narrow it down to a cabling problem but never would have found the root cause in the cable itself.
  7. Phil A

    Phil A Well-Known Member Top Poster

    Glad you found the problem. I've had that happen with spools of (expensive) wire I bought to make cables several times. It would be marked right on the 100ft. spool by the manufacturer as 70+30.

    In my old place, I had Cat5 cable run from the office in the front of the house to the loft upstairs in back of the house. When I asked about it (the house was built in 1997), the builder's electrician acted as though they never heard of it and then ran it. Walking thru the house when it was almost finished, I caught one of them testing it as a phone cable and he didn't even get embarrassed when I asked him what he was doing. When I went to use it probably 8-9 years later it didn't work. They must have stuck a nail thru it somewhere in the wall or attic. Luckily, I took a video before they closed up the walls. When I was finishing the basement, I ran Cat5 from my office down to the basement from the office and from the video I was able to snake wire down a gas pipe going to the second zone furnace in the attic (just had to cut a little door in a closet in the bedroom next to the loft).
  8. Denton

    Denton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    Wow. That is sh*t.
  9. Rick C

    Rick C Active Member

    Good catch! Lucky the ceiling tile was there rather than Sheetrock.
  10. claud

    claud Well-Known Member Donor

    Looking forward to your piece on System Of the Month. This thread proved you know your way around the wires.
  11. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll HTT Refugee Donor War Zone Member

    Mike, having been a professional cable custom builder early in my career (RF and controls), I can tell you that for the wire manufacturer to splice a wire in the middle of a reel or spool is a major quality control failure. If I had found anything like that we would have had a very serious conversation with 1st the vendor and then the manufacturer.
  12. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

    I do agree Dan. My first thoughts were to be pissed and intending to blast them on Amazon. But BIBOMO, you know? It was a one-off problem for me, I'm glad I found it and I'm pretty happy with the wire overall .

    I checked my leftover spool and it doesn't say where it was made. I'm betting China. If this were for work I'd have a very different attitude, for sure.
  13. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    I have never seen cable spliced like that and if I did I would never buy it again. It's almost like they should have painted a big red bar a foot long over it so you would know to cut it out.
  14. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

    I decided to put up a 2-Star rating on Amazon for this product. I don't ever expect to need to buy again, and if so would look elsewhere.

    Be forewarned...
  15. Carl V

    Carl V Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    odds I hope are low that this would ever happen again but....
    DID I miss it---what was the brand & model?
  16. jasn

    jasn Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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