Breaking in power cords

Can I break in my new power cord by connecting it to a lamp and then leaving it on fulltime? Various threads indicate hundreds of hours of break in time in the audio system, and I don't want to wait months and months for the benefits. Has anyone tried this method?
Use it to power your computer, that's even better (more current draw). Most computers take IEC-type AC cords. You'll be breaking in your power cord while surfing the 'gon!
Great Idea, Mwilson. Thanks.
Refrigerator is best. Or an electric motor of some type (space heater?) is second best.
Fatparrot's suggestion to use one of those little "ceramic" space heaters should work great. On low power, they pull about 750 watts and on high power, most are up around 1250 - 1500 watts of draw. This is steady state draw too, so there is a lot of thermal stress on the dielectric of the cord. On the other hand, the in-rush current of a refrigerator is VERY high, especially on older models. The steady state current draw might not be as high, but the constant cycling of the refrigerator may work to one's benefit too. Both are good candidates and much better than light bulbs, computers and other devices that aren't real high in current draw. Then again, i suppose that something is better than nothing, but at that rate, i'd just use it on my amp and be done with it. Sean
I'm with Sean. A space heater is what I always use. Good high amperage current. Will get you where you want to be real fast. A computer doesn't draw the type of amperage you want and a fridge will be off more than half the time because of the thermostat. I'ts been my experience (using the heater) that 100 hours is more than enough to do the job.
peace, warren
There is a guy here that sells the adaptors so you can burn in your power cord right from your refrigator. Look up btstrg Agon member Here is a link to his ad:
I agree with Sean and Warrenh, however I prefer the refrigerator because I have to run it any way and itÂ’s not an additional use of power. :-)!
Many good ideas. I checked the ad by btstrg and liked the idea of daisy chaining my PCs (I got four new ones)to an oscillating fan. I'd use the refrigerator idea, but it would be hard to fit four PCs behind it and they would get dirty as well. Also with the heater, I'd have to deal with the heat and possible problems if it got knocked around when I wasn't there. Also my wife would probably notice that one more quickly, and she already thinks I'm crazy with "extension" cords the size of garden hoses. Thanks for the help.
Hey Sean, we're on the same page...fancey
I went in 3rds on a Audiodharma Cable Cooker. This thing is majic! It runs a hi current sweeptone through the connected cable wether it be speaker,power, or interconnect. I even used it on my component video cables for my DVD player. Turns out that blasting your dielectric with hi current is only part of the puzzle. This is only going to stress the dielectric at 60Hz. It needs to be stressed at all the frequencies in the audio band ie: 20hz-20Khz hence the sweep tone. Ayre Acoustics makes a CD with these same principles in mind....i have not used the disc so i cant comment. I think a cooker is the way to go
I have heard, that no matter how broken in your ics, pcs, or cables, doing them, after, with a cable cooker will bring them to an even higher, descernable, sonic level. anybody on this?
Warren: I too noticed that we agreed on something. It is nto the first time and i'm sure that it won't be the last : )

Cooking an interconnect regardless of how many hours of actual use it has on it will typically improve the performance of the cable in my experience. I say that with some hesitancy as some cables supposedly respond poorly to cooking, but i think that this is more of a problem with the type of cooker used and the length it is used for.

Even after cooking the cable and placing it into the system, i find that a good dose of the Ayre Acoustics disc track 7 placed on repeat for a few days can push things just a bit further. Obviously, one can use the system as desired and just place the disc on repeat when not listening.

If i was doing interconnects, this is the approach that i would use. I have used it many times with excellent results. The difference in before and after is quite noticeable. Sean
Sean, it's obviously me, but playing a cd player non stop for a few days is ok? I use my Ayre Acoustic track 7, once a week. A few days 24/7?
Also, I heard the same about how some ICs can respond poorly to cooking. They can be overcooked, as well. How does one know the exact duration and strength of the cooking. I would hate for my ICs to be "welldone."
I've always turned with a wince when I've heard the suggestion to run a CDP continuously like that - of course, thinking about my high-end player. Rather than put an expensive player through such a duty cycle, it would seem to me that one would want do this with a cheap unit, second hand, hand-me-down, classified ads for twenty bucks type of player. It's been widely suggested before - for doing this sort of work, some "beater" equipment makes a good tool.
Warren: "overcooking" an IC has more to do with the improper design of the cooker being used, not so much the length of cooking. A simple test would be to cook the cable for a period of time and then pull it and listen. Typical signs of "over-cooking" are a dulling of high frequencies and flatness of presentation. The cable will return to normal, but may do so only after an extended period of normal use. Cables that make use of lower grade and / or higher quantities of dielectrics need to cook longer than cables using very little or very high grade dielectrics.

Mwilson: While you bring up a valid point, my experience is that playing back this disc actually improves the sound of the deck being used too. If you read some of my other posts, you'll see that i've "broken in" many a machine in this manner. In fact, i did this with one machine that was known for breakdowns and it lasted longer than most of the others of the same vintage before developing problems. Sean
If you have kids and laundry is a never ending thing , a Clothes Dryer. Up to 5000 Watts.
Sean, I use and love the results with the Ayre disc. I only play track 7. do you play the other tracks? Results if any? Also, can you explain exactly what track 7 is doing and how? In laymans terms, if you can. Thanks again, warren
Darrylhifi, most clothes dryers operate on 220 volts (USA). Not only is this a "no-no" for burning in power cords, but the receptacle plugs are different for 110v vs. 220v, so this would be an impossibility as well!
Fatparrot, you be wrong on dat. Most dryers? I don't think so...
What chu talkin about Willis ? My Dryer is a Maytag , it operates off a 120-volt receptacle. When I had the thought , I cleared it with Jerry Ramsey of Audio Magic.
I definetly notice cleaner sound.........or was that cleaner laundry ? Hmmmmmmmm................
Peace, Warren.
How about on an active subwoofer that I leave on all the time, will the amp in that give a PC a proper break in?
My dryer has a 120v 20A line, but it is a natural gas model and not electric. I currently run my stereo off of my dryer's outlet. Cleaner clothes? With Walker SST, you bet!
Maybe, just maybe, there's a tiny, really tiny, stackable electric dryer that requires a 120V circuit, but, - I dare say that *any side-by-side model out there is a dedicated 30A, 120/240, 3 or 4 wire ('pending on local codes and/or age of equipment.) 240V heater element, 120V controls. Same as an electric range, 'cept those are 50A (typ.) circuits.

A 120V dryer with a load of quality bath towels and several pairs of newish jeans might take oh, 6 or 8 hours to dry? .

Newer, energy star reefers are nearly useless - mine takes 24 hrs. to trickle through 500W.

Plug it into an amp, let it rip all day, and after a day or 3, start listening to music...
Allright you got me , Im a midget and I shop in the kids depatment. I have tiny furniture and a tiny stereo system . To me a JVC shelf systems speakers look like Legacy Whispers ! Seriously Its a full size Maytag Clothes Dryer .Its a 20 amp circut , a 120 volt receptacle. The stock Maytag PC is 16 gauge .Estimated drying time towels and jeans , 50 minutes. maybe with Walker SST, I can get it down to 45 minutes !
I refrained from Fisher-Price brand with a lightbulb inside cracks .

Very unusual appliance. 16AWG PC...? My 240V antique is a 3-10AWG PC. The 50 min. may 'splain it all, since it should be 'bout 30-40 min, tops.

No SST, but cleaned the PC brass prongs, and used one of the Caig products...
Refrigerator is my first choice. Easy and it's running 24/7 anyway. Audiogon member subaruguru sells cords fairly cheaply that makes the process easy.
I found that my power cords kept getting better with up to 900 or more hours of break-in (I used to run my CD player 24/7 on repeat at low volume. Hooking up to the refrigerator gives you 168 hours per week and over 700 hours in a month.
Respectfully; if your refrigerator runs 24/7, it's broken.
Shasta -
I know the refrigerator cylces on and off. I was referring to the idea that you can set it up and walk away from it and it will be running on and off constantly 24/7
If your refrigerator is running, go catch it!
I don't think that there is anything in there worth running after, but thanks for the advice/encouragement.
Psychic, where don't you get your material? Whew, watch out Billy Crystal..A regular riot Alice...

The problem w/reefers as a burn-in tool is, as you noted, they are primarily off (unless one believes the light stays on.) This is increasingly the case the newer they are, and more so if they are an EnergyStar model. It also depends on much the door is opened.
The upside is that you don't waste electricity.

The downside is, for my reefer, it takes a full 24 hours to run a dinky 500W through it; an average of 28W per hour. This is hardly a "burn-in". I can accomplish this in 20 minutes on the microwave oven; a 100W floor lamp for an evening; a couple of washer loads.

But really, after a day of this fiddling, I'm of the mind to use the power amp as the burner for a few days, quit being anal/obssesive, and listen to some tunes. A PC doesn't carry music; just a one-note drone tone...
I'm not sure about the energy ratings on my refrigerator, but it is a fairly recent model (about 3-4 years old) and is certainly not an energy hog. In my opinion, the benefit of power cord burn in on a fridge has nothing to do with the continuous draw and everything to do with the heavy surge when the compressor kicks in, even if it is rarely kicking in. My experience is that even supposedly fully broken in cords (ie. cords that have been in use on my integrated amp for 6 months to a year) showed noticeable improvement following a week on the fridge. The adapter necessary for this, by the way, can be bought at many electronics parts stores for about $3.

My amp is not a monster (about 70W per side), so your experience may vary if you have very high powered amps, but other than that, any other piece of equipment will never ultimately and fully burn in a cord the way a fridge or chest freezer does, including computer monitors/towers, large box fans, etc. Haven't used any larger heaters here though. That is my experience. energyguy/appliances.htm
If That does not bring you to the page, go on Google and type

Common Household Appliance Energy Use

It will bring up a chart.
I purchased a few adaptors and used the refrig to break in a few power cords one of which was an Elrod. All I can say is that it was well worth the price of the adaptors, so thanks Btstrg for them. Very much appreciated.

Happy Listening after break-in!
One should be careful with what they try to hook up an "audiophile grade" power cord to when connecting it to something other than an audio component. Some of these very expensive cables aren't capable of passing more than a few hundred watts of power on a steady state basis. Rather than "breaking in" your power cord, you could "burn it up" literally. Check with the manufacturer as to how much current it can pass safely before making a costly mistake, either buying it or damaging it trying to "make it better". Sean
Sean, wouldn't any respectable power cord be rated for a 15 amp load, minimum? If so, this would translate to 1800 watts.
In the US, power cords are tested and certified ("rated") by Underwriters Laboratories.

Fatparrot, I bet you won't find a single audiophile power cord that has been certified by UL.

If the cord is properly constructed, there's no reason why it wouldn't handle 15A (or more), but no one has "rated" it other than the manufacturer.
One would think so, but there are "audiophile grade" power cords that cost hundreds of dollars that will shrivel up and die if used with such a load. Sean
Names, names, names!!!
I received hate mail! It's been quite a while since that happened. The text is as follows:

TO: Psychicanimal

Fuck you piece of shit. \
Go back to your welfare low end spic apartment.

I know where you live stuupid spic.



FROM: (NON-member)

Guess what? The hate mail was sent from AOL Mexico:

Received: from ( []) by (v103.7) with ESMTP id MAILINYI42-7af418f7cf532e; Mon, 08 Nov 2004 09:04:54 -050

It takes all kinds...this time a *cholo malparido*.

Why do you have to break in power cords? The issue of breaking in cables is quite controversial. I think whether a cable, be it an interlink, speakercable or powercord is good or not, could be heard within seconds/minutes. I think you don't need another breaking in period to get a cable sounding good. This is a general misconception. A cable is inherently bad or good sounding, regardless of being broken in or not!
Psychicanimal, I still love ya (platonically speaking, of course!) Absolutely UNBELIEVABLE! At least you have a "fan club". Anyone who would use and email such ethnic slurs has a major brain malfunction. Interesting as well that a person from Mexico would use a slur word for Hispanics (or Latinos, depending upon your location). So any available Sect. 8 housing por mi y mi familia? We wouldn't even mind living next to a "low-life" such as yourself :-)
Ah, that guy doesn't know who I am. If he is from Mexico, I can tell him I went out with one of the Puro Loco Mexican TV program models--no small feat for a "Welfare Spik". Actually, my job position was Sales Manager/Latin America for a very small high tech company ( I had her agree to go out with me before having given my B/card--muy importante--so I *do* have my charm!). Too bad for Sept 11, when I was there and things went down the toilet...she's more mami than Salma Hayek. Problem was that I couldn't sustain her lifestyle on welfare checks...

With psychic power, primal intensity and boogie factor,
Dazzdaz writes:
I think you don't need another breaking in period to get a cable sounding good. This is a general misconception.

If you "think" that's the case, don't you wonder what causes people to relate their observations of the phenomenon in a public forum? Just taking a straw poll, I reckon we read more posts from folk who claim they have experienced the positive effects of break-in than those who say they observed no change over time.

Then there are members who "think" it's a misconception.

How many different power cords have you broken in ?
This is a good question. I have no doubt in my mind that "most" interconnects and speaker cables undergo some type of sonic change after being exposed to specific electrical stimuli for a given period of time. I don't know if i really believe this about power cords or not.

Most all of the power cords that i've ever purchased were used and / or new and had high amperage pulled through them right away. As i've stated before though, power cords don't make that much of a sonic difference IF the AC coming into the power cord is clean and the power supply in the component that it is connected to is properly designed. All of my AC is filtered before getting to the outlet and the power supplies have been upgraded.

With that in mind, my main concerns are reducing the potential for the PC to act as an antenna for RFI and making sure that the PC doesn't mechanically transfer vibration / resonance into the gear itself. This can happen if the PC itself is too rigid and / or arranged in a position that helps it to pick-up air-borne vibrations.

Some power cables are so rigid that you can literally feel the beat of the music in the PC and / or the component itself from the speakers resonating the PC. As i've mentioned before, i've had power cords that when you "knock" on one end, you can very clearly hear acoustic output being radiated at the other end. This is not good.

I actually measured increases in the noise floor of a component when varying the amount of vibration that it was exposed to via the power cord. Changing the amount of mechanical damping within the unit itself and / or the PC feeding it corrected this problem. From this one instance, i learned that rigidity with a lack of mechanical damping is not a desirable trait when it comes to a PC. Sean
From: Customer Service at []

Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 6:44 AM
To: a.k.a. shasta
Subject: Re: Product Question


Thank you for visiting our customer service page. We appreciate your interest in our products and service.

We do not offer an electric dryer that operates on 120volts. We are not
aware of any prior electric dryers that did.


Maytag Consumer Services
(Mon.-Fri. 8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time)

Received Date: 11/3/04
Completion Date: 11/11/04