Internal Speaker Wires - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry if this has been discussed before, not an easy thing to search for as results are mostly for external wires.

Wouldn't the quality and size of the internal wiring be important to the overall sound? (That is assuming that speaker wire actually makes a difference, which is up for debate).

Spending money on fancy wires seems like a waste of time if the limiting factor is the internal speaker wire. If you have 2 gauge fire hoses between the amp and the speaker but only 16 gauge internal wiring wouldn't that be the weak link?

The general rule seems to be that longer runs should use thicker wire, but the internal wire is still just an extension of the external wire. Binding posts and the internal wire are really the same thing as having a thick cable spliced into a thin cable 2' from your speaker, right? So is there any point to using thick cables?
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post #2 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 10:30 AM
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16GA is just fine for normal runs. If you are doing something ridiculous long I might go to 14 or 12.
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post #3 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 10:33 AM
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That is assuming that speaker wire actually makes a difference, which is up for debate

I would say this should not be up for debate on a science forum...but anyone can post so we can not stop the madness

besides that......any search would produce many, many threads on the topic

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post #4 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I know there are tons of threads about the pros/cons of different size wire between amp and speaker. That is not what my questions is, please read my question before posting a reply.

What effect, if any, does the internal speaker wire have on the signal path. If the internal wires are 16ga, is there any point to using something thicker outside the speaker?
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post #5 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 10:37 AM
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I know there are tons of threads about the pros/cons of different size wire between amp and speaker. That is not what my questions is, please read my question before posting a reply.

I did read it and EVERYTHING has been discussed over and over and over....you have not posted a new question.

We have said the internal wiring in speakers is very small and cheap to start with for a long, long time so its kind of silly for people to buy expensive wire and think its different. This is nothing new.

As for telling someone not to reply, maybe you should not start thread for questions that have been answered 100 times

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post #6 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 10:38 AM
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Besides you answered your own question.....

"Spending money on fancy wires seems like a waste of time if the limiting factor is the internal speaker wire."

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post #7 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post

I did read it and EVERYTHING has been discussed over and over and over....you have not posted a new question.

We have said the internal wiring in speakers is very small and cheap to start with for a long, long time so its kind of silly for people to buy expensive wire and think its different. This is nothing new.

As for telling someone not to reply, maybe you should not start thread for questions that have been answered 100 times

I can't find a tread on internal speaker wire, searching for terms yields a million threads on external wires. I would be more than happy to read such a thread if this has been discussed and delete this one. Can you point me in the right direction?
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post #8 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 10:48 AM
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I can't find a tread on internal speaker wire, searching for terms yields a million threads on external wires. I would be more than happy to read such a thread if this has been discussed and delete this one. Can you point me in the right direction?

Its has been part of many, many wire debates.

Not much to read actually. Speaker wire internally is usually inexpensive and a higher gauge (thinner). What else is there to know?

For any wiring questions just follow

http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm


its that simple, nothing else needed.

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post #9 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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I will take a look at that site, thanks.

To step back from speakers for a sec, if you have a run of wire with various thickness spliced together, is the resistance for the run equal to the resistance on the thinnest section of wire or does it matter how long that thin section of wire is? IE: is a 30' run of 16ga equal resistance to a 25' run of 10ga + 5' of 16ga?
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post #10 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

Spending money on fancy wires seems like a waste of time if the limiting factor is the internal speaker wire. If you have 2 gauge fire hoses between the amp and the speaker but only 16 gauge internal wiring wouldn't that be the weak link?

Yes, if it is only the relative gauge that is relevant. It is a flawed comparison, but if you have to run a fire hose 100', the distance MAY become an important variable, as well. You DO want to make certain that you get the signal to the binding posts correctly in the first place.


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Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

.............but the internal wire is still just an extension of the external wire. Binding posts and the internal wire are really the same thing as having a thick cable spliced into a thin cable 2' from your speaker, right?

Not exactly. The internal wiring is still an electrically separate, and much shorter, run of wiring.


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Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

So is there any point to using thick cables?

ThickER cables? Theoretically, only if the distance is relevant. All that is important is that the signal reaches the binding posts properly so that the internal wiring can then conduct that same signal, separately, over a much shorter distance.




Not to argue that cabling can at all make a difference, but the gauge is not the only difference between different cables. So, we can, at the very least, entertain the idea that it is perhaps, maybe, somehow possible that one external wire may be more capable of (or better at) transmitting a signal over that greater relative distance than the internal wiring covers, and that this difference between 2 different external wires may perhaps, maybe, somehow be related to something other than the relative gauges of the 2 different external wires.



And speaker wire DOES make a difference if one of the wires being compared, for some reason, transmits an altered or incorrect signal. I have experienced this first-hand. And that is the only explanation I am willing to accept. That one wire was inferior. Not that the other wire was superior.

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post #11 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post


Not exactly. The internal wiring is still an electrically separate, and much shorter, run of wiring.

That is the part I don't get, why is it separate?
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post #12 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 11:32 AM
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Typical 16awg wire produces 13.17 ohms of resistance per kilometer. There is no noticeable increase in resistance with 16awg or greater speaker wire on runs of less than 15meters (50 feet). So in your example, there would be no practical difference between a 30' run of 16awg (0.12ohm) or 25'@10awg + 5'@16awg (0.02 + 0.02 ohm).
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post #13 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 11:34 AM
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Let me throw out a hypothetical here. If I have a 50 feet run of 14G wire vs. 20G wire. I know the resistance is going to be much higher in the 20G wire resulting in lower volume output per input wattage. However, how many of us suffer from not having enough input wattage? Aside from those tube amp audiophiles with their 10 Watt amps, I don't think anyone can't turn up their amp volume to compensate for increased wire resistance. What am I missing here?

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post #14 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cansp6 View Post

Typical 16awg wire produces 13.17 ohms of resistance per kilometer. There is no noticeable increase in resistance with 16awg or greater speaker wire on runs of less than 15meters (50 feet). So in your example, there would be no practical difference between a 30' run of 16awg (0.12ohm) or 25'@10awg + 5'@16awg (0.02 + 0.02 ohm).

That helps, thanks for the info.
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post #15 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

That is the part I don't get, why is it separate?

You are thinking that the sound is going to be limited by the weakest link. However in case of speaker wiring, that is not the case. You are looking at the overall resistance, which in this case, is additive.

Total resistance = resistance per length of wire1 * length of wire1 + resistance per length of wire2 * length of wire2 + etc.

If we assume wire1 is external speaker wire that is 50 feet long at 14G and wire2 is the internal wire that is 0.5 feet long at 20G, the resistance from internal wire is only a small fraction of the overall resistance (due to the short length) that it really does not matter.

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post #16 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xradman View Post

You are thinking that the sound is going to be limited by the weakest link. However in case of speaker wiring, that is not the case. You are looking at the overall resistance, which in this case, is additive.

Total resistance = resistance per length of wire1 * length of wire1 + resistance per length of wire2 * length of wire2 + etc.

If we assume wire1 is external speaker wire that is 50 feet long at 14G and wire2 is the internal wire that is 0.5 feet long at 20G, the resistance from internal wire is only a small fraction of the overall resistance (due to the short length) that it really does not matter.

Gotcha, that is essentially what I was getting at which seems to contradict what others have said. I wasn't sure if the electrical path is a 'weakest link' scenario, somewhat analogous to water in a pipe. Water flow will be limited by the thinnest section of pipe. So if electrical resistance is not like that, then using thicker cable between the amp and speaker *can* make a difference but only to a point. 16g wire seems to be sufficient for standard runs.
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post #17 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xradman View Post

Let me throw out a hypothetical here. If I have a 50 feet run of 14G wire vs. 20G wire. I know the resistance is going to be much higher in the 20G wire resulting in lower volume output per input wattage. However, how many of us suffer from not having enough input wattage? Aside from those tube amp audiophiles with their 10 Watt amps, I don't think anyone can't turn up their amp volume to compensate for increased wire resistance. What am I missing here?

As the overall resistance of the wire increases, and it has to be somewhat substantial, the you start to introduce frequency response aberations that are similar to the speaker's impedance. The oft quoted Roger Russel site looks to have the loop resistance (50' of wire is a total of 100' going and coming) at something like 0.1 or 0.2 ohms. I forget, but you can calculate it.

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post #18 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

That is the part I don't get, why is it separate?

Because it IS separate.

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Originally Posted by xradman View Post

You are thinking that the sound is going to be limited by the weakest link. However in case of speaker wiring, that is not the case.

Sure it is. And, with a much greater distance to transmit the signal, it is much more likely that the external wiring MAY be the weak link, not the internal wiring. If the signal that reaches the internal wiring is defunct, then that is what the internal wiring will transmit.


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Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

Gotcha, that is essentially what I was getting at which seems to contradict what others have said.

No, it doesn't.


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Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

I wasn't sure if the electrical path is a 'weakest link' scenario, somewhat analogous to water in a pipe.

It IS a weakest link scenario. If the external wiring doesn't transmit the signal properly in the first place, then it is the weakest link.

But, as I said, that analogy is imperfect.


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Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

If the Water flow will be limited by the thinnest section of pipe.

The amount of water may be limited, but not the pressure. Provided the water is delivered at enough volume (and pressure) by an initial run of pipe, a latter, thinner section of pipe will increase the water pressure.


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Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

.................then using thicker cable between the amp and speaker *can* make a difference but only to a point. 16g wire seems to be sufficient for standard runs.

Assuming that the gauge is the only relevant variable.

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post #19 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

It IS a weakest link scenario. If the external wiring doesn't transmit the signal properly in the first place, then it is the weakest link.

Reading your whole post, I do believe that you understand what your talking about Siv, so I'm not really going to disagree with you. However, the way your saying it may be somewhat misleading to those who don't understand, so I'm going to help clarify.

The resistance is indeed additive, as was explained by xradman. You cannot argue with mathmatics in that case. It is not the same thing as water flowing through a pipe, although some analogies can be drawn (explained below). We are talking about electrical signals not physical mass, they behave differently. Water flowing through a pipe experiences an increase in pressure drop when forced into a smaller pipe at higher velocity, the only way to keep the overall mass flow the same (given a constant desired end pressure). You can, however, add up the pressure drop from different length and diameter sections of a pipe to determine the overall pressure drop of a pipe run, which could be considered similar to the speaker analogy, in a way. Then, depending on the end pressure desired, you can calculate what the initial pressure needs to be to force the flow through the pipe (in a way, similar to the required amount of current needed for a speaker wire run, for desired volume). If you have enough headroom on your amplifier, this isn't really of much concern, just like if you had plenty of pressure to spare for the water flow.

I believe, however, what Siv was getting at was potential interference of the electrical signal from outside sources due to poor insulation of the wire. Higher guage (thinner) wire typically is less shielded, making it more susceptable to interference. If the original run provides a distorted signal to the inside of the speaker, it doesn't matter what the inside of the speaker is capable of. Likewise, if the inside of the speaker run creates an interference in the signal, it won't really matter what type of wire you've run outside the speaker. My personal opinion would be that reputable speakers will have an internal wire run that will not provide any meaningful problems in this regard. I just can't see how they'd spend so much money designing speakers that cost a thousand or more and limit themselves with a $2 problem that could be easily solved.

So, the difference in the water-pipe analogy and speaker wire is that water cannot escape from, nor can any water be introduce into the pipe, as a variable of the size of the pipe. That isn't necessarily the case with the electrical signal being transmitted through speaker wire.
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post #20 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 12:59 PM
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I'm not sure I agree that the internal speaker wire should be considered the "weakest link" - since (I assume) the speakers were tested fully assembled and using the production-quality internal speaker wiring.

Thus, when you look at the Frequency Response of the speakers from reviews - you are seeing the capability of the speakers with that wiring installed.

In any case, the DBTs are very convincing to me. The placebo effect is effective in changing perception something like 40% of the time - it even shows up frequently in PAIN RELIEF studies. People suffer from pain - and think sugar pills makes it better. I doubt it goes down when your subject has just willingly paid hundreds of dollars for his new audio kit.

I'd like to see a test done like the CBC did on HDMI cables - just test the signal in vs. signal out. If it's the same coming out as it was going in, then you can prove there is no difference caused by the wire.
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post #21 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varrius View Post

I believe, however, what Siv was getting at I believe, however, what Siv was getting at was potential interference of the electrical signal from outside sources due to poor insulation of the wire.

What I am getting at is that the signal transmitted by the external wire may be affected independently by any of several things including, but certainly not limited to, interference. It is quite possible for a speaker cable, regardless of gauge OR shielding, to transmit an inferior signal. But not a superior signal.

But the point I was trying to make is that the transmission of the signal externally, from the amp to the speaker, IS physically separate from the internal transmission of that same signal by the speaker's internal wiring. Hence, the gauge, for example, of the external wiring may be important if the distance from the amp to the speaker is great enough. And a gauge of wiring that is greater than that of the internal wiring may be required to transmit the signal properly from the amp to the speaker. And I think the OP understands that. Just not sure why, if that is understood, that they ARE separate is not clear.

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post #22 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by penngray View Post

I did read it and EVERYTHING has been discussed over and over and over....you have not posted a new question.

We have said the internal wiring in speakers is very small and cheap to start with for a long, long time so its kind of silly for people to buy expensive wire and think its different. This is nothing new.

As for telling someone not to reply, maybe you should not start thread for questions that have been answered 100 times

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post #23 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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"...has been discussed over and over and over"

But no one can point me to a thread (or many threads) where it has been discussed. Thus my question, and I think it was a valid one.
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Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

"...has been discussed over and over and over"

But no one can point me to a thread (or many threads) where it has been discussed. Thus my question, and I think it was a valid one.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/search.php

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post #25 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by david-me View Post

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/search.php

why must we do the work for you ?

Like I said in the first post, I did a search. Nothing came up, so I started a new thread. Where is the problem?
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post #26 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

Where is the problem?

No problem. But, honestly, I think you knew the answer before you posted the question. Or had read the question elsewhere.

And just to reiterate. Using special cables makes sense if they can somehow, for WHATEVER reason, transmit the signal to the speaker better than another cable. Regardless of the internal wires' quality.

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post #27 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

No problem. But, honestly, I think you knew the answer before you posted the question. Or had read the question elsewhere.

Honestly, I didn't read this anywhere nor did I have the answer. I did post on a different forum first which has significantly less traffic. I decided to post here to see if I would get more input.

I wasn't sure if using wire thicker than what is inside the speaker made any sense if it 'bottlenecked' inside the speaker anyway. This all started when I took my speaker apart this weekend to upgrade my crossover and tweeter and noticed the relatively thin wires inside.
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post #28 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

No problem. But, honestly, I think you knew the answer before you posted the question. Or had read the question elsewhere.

And just to reiterate. Using special cables makes sense if they can somehow, for WHATEVER reason, transmit the signal to the speaker better than another cable. Regardless of the internal wires' quality.

True, but if they transmit a great signal to the binding post and the internal wire trashes that signal before it gets to the crossover then it really doesn't matter. I'm trying to determine how much difference that internal cable makes. A follow up question is for those who do spend a lot of money on quality cables, do you also upgrade the internal wires to pass along that signal or does it not really matter at that point because the distance is relatively short.
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post #29 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 02:17 PM
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The internal wire, which is quite short, does not trash the signal.

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post #30 of 35 Old 01-05-2009, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

True, but if they transmit a great signal to the binding post and the internal wire trashes that signal before it gets to the crossover then it really doesn't matter.

Obviously. But it is hard to know that about the internal wiring, so we assume it doesn't negatively affect the signal. Which would mean getting the signal to it properly is important. Even if you knew it trashed the signal, would that really diminish the importance of the external cabling for you?


Quote:
Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

I'm trying to determine how much difference that internal cable makes.

Probably, and hopefully, very little, if any. We've outlined or hinted at a few reasons why the external cabling may make more of a difference than that comparatively short run of internal cabling.



Quote:
Originally Posted by kazinvan View Post

..............do you also upgrade the internal wires to pass along that signal or does it not really matter at that point because the distance is relatively short.

You'd probably be surprised.

I suspect that MOST people who use "special" cable do not alter their speakers' internal wiring, though. I do not use "special" cables, but if I did, I would probably just assume, correctly OR incorrectly, that the internal wiring was relatively fine for such a short distance.

What would be (slightly) interesting would be a comparison of the internal wiring used from manufacturer to manufacturer. OK, I'm bored.

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