How to Identify RCA Cable Internal Wires

Written by david lipscomb Google
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How to Identify RCA Cable Internal Wires
Identifying internal RCA wiring is simple, using visual indicators. (rca image by serge simo from

The internal wiring on an RCA cable dictates the positive and negative polarity inside the wire's construction. Locating and identifying the disposition of the polarity, and identifying the colour of the individual wiring used to carry the signal and ground is very simple. Although the cosmetics and RCA shell construction can vary, often these differences are superficial and ultimately irrelevant to the way the signal is carried inside the wire.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small screwdrivers (Philips, Allen, Torx)
  • Small razor knife

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  1. 1

    Observe the outer shell of the RCA cable. Look to see if there is a small set screw, holding the outer shell in place. If so, remove it using the appropriate screwdriver.

  2. 2

    Unscrew the outer shell fully. Slide the shell down the cable to get it out of the way.

  3. 3

    Cut a small amount of heat shrink from the inner collar using the razor knife, if present. Peel back the wrap to examine which wires go where.

  4. 4

    Make note of which colour is nestled into the centre conductor solder point. This is the positive wire. The other wire is the negative, soldered to a different position on or close the outer portion of the inner shell, often on a small arm or peg. Additionally, there may be an uninsulated wire soldered with the negative; this is the drain shield.

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