Two bundles of cables

New house. In the front closet, right next to the front door, there's a low voltage junction box with (seemingly) two sets of wires—red, black, orangey, and yellow.

I've tested them and there doesn't seem to be any voltage passing through. On a hunch, I tried connecting them, thinking maybe it was a doorbell or something. Nothing happened 😃

I taped the ends up and was just about to shrug it off and cover them, but not knowing what it is nags at me.

Any thoughts?

  • 1
    look around for other junction boxes with the same coloured wires. – ratchet freak Sep 4 '17 at 15:34
  • A guess: something to do with speakers. May have been pre-wired and never implemented. Two sets of stereo speakers. When you say "new house", I assume you mean new to you, and not actual new construction. If it is brand new construction ask the builder, if it's not what do you think age of construction is? And where in the world are you located? – Tyson Sep 4 '17 at 16:29
  • Yes, new to me. I'm in the Midwest USA (Milwaukee-area). – nathanziarek Sep 4 '17 at 19:08
  • Decades ago my uncle had an intercom at his front door. – Keith McClary Sep 4 '17 at 19:17

Use a DVOM (digital volt ohm meter) to test each wire to ground for ANY AC/DC voltage. Test the mix of each wire to each wire. While this does NOT rule out any kind of voltage it gets you pretty close to comfortable. Then use OHM setting and check for essentially an open circuit on each combination of wire.

Once you have ruled out live active power, and open connections on each wire, use a ringer like a Fluke ringer/toner and trace the direction of the wire through the wall, potentially to its destination.

Now, if you DO find voltage (greater than about 60mV), or any ohm reading less than ..... 40Mohms, I would turn off breakers to see the voltage vanish, or if there is Ohms, look for physical items, like a security keypad, boxes/transformers/other physical items, or even open doors/windows with a switch sensor on it.

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I had a similar issue in a similar place at my house and they turned out to be extra wiring for Christmas/ Holiday decorations. Apparently, the previous owners were holiday decoration enthusiasts. I thought it was for the doorbell as well. One way to investigate that is by finding any other ringers in the house and seeing how they are wired.

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Do not leave them taped together as you have them now. Tape the ends individually since it is low voltage, it does not need wire nuts, but you do not know the conditions the wires are residing at on the other ends.

It is not a door bell wire, it may be an extension of one, but they are usually just 2 wires, it will also be in a line voltage box with a 120V wire in with it for a transformer setup if it was.

Although anything from me would be a guess, it may be a security wire or remote thermostat. Audio is a less of a chance.

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  • That's a poor picture—I did wrap them individually before taping together the bundle. I am remembering an ADT sign out front before we moved in. You might be on to something with the security system. – nathanziarek Sep 4 '17 at 19:09
  • If you believe it could be for an old security system, which I concur is VERY LIKELY (but still a guess), look around the house near doors and windows and attic/basement areas for a similar wire. In most cases, installers used the same kind of wire in numerous spots, so you could see even ONE more wire like this, it will help identify its origin. Also, you might find the other end :) -- basically new to you, start exploring. Also look for holes on the exterior that may have been for cameras or other externally mounted items. (even an intercom) – noybman Sep 4 '17 at 23:52

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