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Q & A: Speaker Cable

I found a 1,000-foot spool of 27-year-old, 16 AWG West Penn #225 speaker cable in a closet. It's in a pink jacket, and the strands appear to be tinned copper in the center and a tin/silver color on the outside. Because the cable doesn't look oxidized, is there any reason why I shouldn't use it?

Q: I found a 1,000-foot spool of 27-year-old, 16 AWG West Penn #225 speaker cable in a closet. It's in a pink jacket, and the strands appear to be tinned copper in the center and a tin/silver color on the outside. Because the cable doesn't look oxidized, is there any reason why I shouldn't use it?

— Craig Underwood, media services manager, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA (via Syn-Aud-Con listserv)

A: Before using the cable, be sure to check both the outer jacket and conductor insulation to see if either has become brittle over time. Unspool 10 feet or so to get into the reel. Strip off some of the outer jacket, and flex the inner conductors. If it cracks, recycle it. Also, the current version of #225 is not tinned, but that doesn't necessarily mean it hasn't been changed since then. Also, the current version is UL CMR-(rise) rated. Even if the cable you have is marked CMR, I'd be cautious about using it in a situation that requires CMR cables because the UL standards may have changed since that run of cable was made.

— Jim Woodier, vice president, AVCable, Frankfort, IL

Next month's question: I'm currently trying to find a solution to a ceiling-mounted/front-projection display in a high-end retail store that can project an image of about 8-feet-wide by 6-feet-high. The video screen wall is approximately 12-feet-wide by 8-feet-high. The ceiling height is approximately 8 feet high. The video display area is located in the corridor pathway, which means customers could possibly walk through the projector's light path with the low ceiling. Any ideas?

— Greg Brion, Jr., principal, Innovative Sound & Vision LLC, Mineola, NY

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