Steel cables play an indispensable role in a number of rather diverse fields of applications. They are extensively used in suspension and stay cables bridges. It is important to be able to detect as precociously as possible the defects affecting their performance. They can present a healthy aspect over their observable lengths and be damaged in the hidden parts (anchorages). In this present study, Acoustic Emission (AE) is used in order to detect and to locate broken wires in the anchorage zones. The study of the behaviour of a broken wire in a cable under dynamic bending contribute to understand the origin of AE source and to discuss the necessary conditions of vibrating for detection. In this case, the phenomene source of AE is related to interwire friction caused by the redistribution of elastic energy on the recovery length of the broken wire and the repetition of the process joining-slip between wires. AE parameters are very influenced by the change of surface conditions, contact strength between wires and the recovery length of the broken wire. Several cables are evaluated in different surface conditions i.e. corroded, dry and oiled.