testing cable?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Joe_Atlanta, Nov 20, 2001.

  1. I ran into a problem at my last gig that I finally traced down to a cable in my effects loop (the cable didn't completely fail, only muddy the sound under heavy load). The whole process would have been a lot easier if I had some way to quickly test them.

    Is there a way to test cables using an inexpensive multimeter or anything else from the Shack? Any tips would help, I'm electronically "challenged". :D
  2. Give me a bump, Vasily. One bump only.

  3. PJR


    Jun 20, 2001
    N.E. PA
    'Rolls' CT1 Cable Detective........fits in the palm of your hand.....tests most every cable type....fairly inexpensive......($39.99 I believe...been a while since I bought mine)

    They pop up on Ebay every once and a while....

    I recommend !!

  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Usually any digital multimeter has a cable testing function. There also are some cable testers available.

    But you can only test connectivity, those weird side effects you decribe can't be found with it.

    Prefab patch cables often misbehave or break. Make your own.
  5. Thanks for the tip, I had heard about the whirlwind tester on another board, but this seems to do the same tests for about $20 bucks less. ProCo also sells one in the same price range or a little less than the Rolls (no midi cable test, though).
  6. Hmmm, I had hoped a multimeter would let me do some kind of variable resistance test. The problem was with a somewhat "homemade" cable, a George L. Apparently the ground screw was making enough contact to pass a regular signal, but not enough for a heavy preamp driven load.
  7. pmkelly


    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
  8. Thanks, that one looks like it combines some of the functions of a mm with the standard open/short cable tester. Good price, too.
  9. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    I have a multimeter, but I only use it when I'm finished making my own to make sure it's okay. Afterward, the proof is in the pudding. I test the cables by hooking them up and making sure they sound okay. If not, they are unplugged and replaced with known good ones. I take the bad ones back and fix them later. Some of the degradation you're talking about can be difficult to test with cheap testers. Seems like your ear is telling you all you need to know.

    If you are trying to find the location of a problem in a bad cable, a tester can help if visual clues aren't apparent. Most cable problems I've had were traceable by visual inspection (primarily at the connector). A few were hidden in some stretch of very old wire that probably fatigued with age, so the wire was discarded.

    I recommend keeping a batch of pre-tried, good cables in your gig kit. If one fails, set it aside and use another.

    - Mike
  10. Thanks for the tips Mike. The gig problems were kind of a combination of bad luck and stupidity. I actually had back up cables, but I couldn't believe my new, tested at home George L's were the prob. A pedal also picked that night to start giving me a bit of unwanted distortion, so I blamed the pedal and my road weary amp. *sigh* :rolleyes: