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Do Optical Cables Go Bad?

Have you ever wondered if Optical Cables go bad over time?

I have experienced my optical cables wearing out due to specific reasons. Certain ways ensure that an optical cable’s life extends to some extent. 

Optical cables can go bad over time in rare cases. The optical Cable tends to wear out more quickly due to frequent disruptions, repeated plugging and unplugging, bending, and improper handling.

This article will provide vital information about how Optical Cables damage and how we can prevent them from wear and tear.

Moreover, we are also going to discuss the causes behind Optical Cables getting bad. 

What Causes Optical Cables To Go Bad?

Optical Cables are generally sensitive and fragile since they contain high-grade plastic, including glass fiber. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that we handle the Cable properly. 

There are a few cases of Optical Cables going bad. However, Optical Cables tend to wear out over time for specific reasons. 

Otherwise, Optical Cables do not degrade on their own. High-quality Optical Cables can last for 20 to 30 years.

However, mishandling can usually lead to damage to the Optical Cables.

Here are a few reasons that cause Optical Cables to go wrong;

1. Bending the Cable

Bending the cable is one of the most frequent causes of Optical Cable damage. People often bundle the Optical Cable or keep them wrapped somewhere.

Therefore, Optical cables are more likely to get broken or bent. So, always prevent the Cable from getting pinched, squeezed, or crippled.

Bent Cable
Bent Optical Cables may degrade over time.

2. Inappropriate Handling

Another reason behind Optical cable ruining is due to inappropriate handling.

If you frequently disturb the Cable by plugging in and out, you may mishandle the Cable unknowingly or knowingly. 

Moreover, Cables laid across the floor are easily tripped over or snagged.

By doing this, you risk damaging both the cable and the attached device. That is why you should always keep your Optical Cables neat and organized.

3. Bad Manufacturing and Cheap Quality

The longevity of the Optical Cable also depends upon the quality of the Cable. Inexpensive Optical Cables are available with non-durable materials.

In addition, you may also find some manufacturing faults in the case of cheap Cables. 

Therefore, if you want an Optical Cable that is durable and lasts for a significant period, make sure you purchase the Cables from reputable vendors.

Also, remember to check the quality of the material too.

4. Optical Cables Might Go Bad Over Time

Optical cables can degrade with time. Exposed metal parts may rust over time, weakening connections.

Moreover, the development of moisture inside the Cable can also degrade its functionality. Once the water gets inside, it ruins the Cable’s internal components. 

Therefore make sure that you protect the Cables against moisture. At the same time, buying a good quality Optical Cable will also ensure longevity and good functionality. 

Connected optical cables
Optical Cables can go bad if it is too old.

How do I Know if my Optical Cable is Bad?

Most of the time, we know about the dysfunctionality of the Optical Cables too late. Therefore, you must wonder how to understand if the Optical Cable is wrong and requires maintenance or replacement. 

To know if your Optical Cable is getting bad, you can check towards the end of your Cable. Sometimes, you can find some indications where you plug in the components. 

At the same time, rusting can cause your Optical Cable to get wrong. Since we manufacture metal, rusting can be a common and potential problem. 

If you face a signal loss problem, this could be your sign to check the Optical Cable once. Look for areas where the Cable is crippled or spliced. 

Optical cable working properly
A good Optical Cable won’t show any audio problems.

Corrosion on the two ends of an Optical Cable also invites different problems and challenges while transmitting the signal from one point to the other. 

You can also look for a missing red indicator light on the Optical Cable. It is one of the easiest ways to know you have a bad connection.

A red light means the connector is ruined and should be replaced immediately.

You can go through the given process to test the optical cable audio.

  • Connect one end of the Cable to the optical out on the Tv.
  • Connect the other end of the Cable in the home theater or stereo system.
  • Make sure to check for the red light on both ends.
  • The optical Cable will work better if a red light is on both ends.

Moreover, you won’t hear anything if your Optical Cable is broken or misconnected.

And you can also encounter signal loss, which could lead to bad audio quality.

Common Optical Cord Problems

An optical cable may experience different problems that lead to its breakage or damage.

However, people usually face some common problems while using these cables. 

1. Loose Connection 

One of the significant problems we face with Optical Cables is a loose connection. Make sure that the grip is tight.

A loose grip may fail to connect the components of the cables tightly, which in turn may impair the optical Cable’s operation. 

However, we must also remember that too much tightening of the Cable is not essential.

Since the cables are sensitive, more pressure is liable to break or damage the Cable.

2. Dust Accumulation in Cable 

The glass fibers in the Optical Cables are insulators. They are more likely to accumulate dust and debris. 

Therefore, maintaining a clean Optical Cable is paramount while performing any network installation.

Sometimes these cables might have accumulated dust particles even if it looks clean to the naked eye. Even a dust particle as small as one micrometer can affect the connection. 

Therefore, if you want to ensure that no oil or dirt stains are sticking to your cord, gently wash the ends of your Optical Cables using a 91% isopropyl alcohol swab.

3. Problem in Audio

The audio problem in Optical Cables usually arises from breakage, bending, twisting, and standing on it. The damage can also be irreparable some of the time. 

The audio source could be labeled “optical input” or “digital input.” Therefore, you cannot source audio until the appropriate input is chosen.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure the Cable is not bent or twisted while storing it.

Watch the video to learn more about Optical Cables’ common problems,

Are Optical Cables Reliable?

Fiber optic cables usually have a good performance, better quality, and reliability.

Advanced Optical Cables have light signals instead of electrical impulses, which help deliver the information. 

As a result of this unique feature, fiber Optical Cables are much more reliable than copper cables.

Moreover, fiber Optic Cables also have higher bandwidth and data transfer rates. This also makes the use of fiber Cables safer. 

Multi-channel and high-quality audio transmission make Optical Cables perform better than analog audio connectors.

At the same time, such cables also support new, high-resolution audio standards. 

Read more: Can you plug power strip into surge protector?


If handled with proper care, Optical Cables last for a long time. Therefore, if you want to increase the longevity of an Optical Cable, make sure to handle it with utmost care. 

When Optical Cables get bad, you may not be able to view the damage in the initial stage.

Since most of the damage happens in the inner components, it will already be late once you know about the issue. 

You can take precautionary measures to protect your Optical Cable from ruining.

Purchase the Cable of good quality and try to avoid moisture on the Cable as much as you can. 

You can also use electrical tape to manage your cables.

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