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If you cut open the wire of a pair of headphones, say Apple Earbuds, there are a whole bunch of different cables inside that look (more or less) uninsulated.

enter image description here

My understanding of Electronics is that if two uninsulated wires touch, then the circuit will not work. So how come my headphones work fine?

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    \$\begingroup\$ The colored stuff "painted" onto the copper wires is the insulator. \$\endgroup\$ – brhans May 6 '15 at 14:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ They're probably enamel coated. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Young May 6 '15 at 14:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ The only two uninsulated wires in that picture are both grounds anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – R Drast May 6 '15 at 14:17
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  1. ONE of the conductors can be uninsulated. It takes TWO uninsulated wires touching to make a short. In some cases the ground wire is uninsulated to save cost, bulk, and keep the cable as flexible as possible.
  2. Some insulation is very thin and looks like the color of bare copper. Your "right headphone" example is most likely one of those. You can check this easily with a ohmmeter or continuity tester. Hold the probes a few mm apart on the wire. If it is insulated, there will be no connection (infinite resistance).
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    \$\begingroup\$ you beat me to it! \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 May 6 '15 at 14:38

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