Using Radio Shack offerings as a bench mark (http://www.radioshack.com/category.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&category%5Fname=CTLG%5F011%5F010%5F000%5F000&Page=1)
What should I be looking at when buying wire for wiring project in the car?
Up until now, I've gone to a hardware store or radio shack, when I ask "is this suitable for car applications" the response usually comes back "yeah, it should be, I guess".
Now I need to extend my underbody LED's wires by 3 or 4 feet I figured I should try to do it properly.
Any EE's (or wannabe EE"s) want to give me the laymans guide to AWG, Gauge, Volt levels etc.
10-18-2005, 02:46 PM
The thickness of the wire varies on the application. If the circuit doesnt use too many amps, then go with a thin cable. Im using 14 ga that I bought from Lowes to extend the power/ground wires for under-dash kit by 1-1.5 feet. Im not studying to be an EE but hopefully engifineer can enlighten us with his degree of expertise.
10-18-2005, 02:54 PM
I was going to pick up some 12 Gauge Hookup Wire (http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&category%5Fname=CTLG%5F011%5F010%5F003%5F000&product%5Fid=278%2D565).
I brought some last night on the way home, but is turned out to be the single wire type? Which I just assumed was the wrong type.
10-18-2005, 09:44 PM
For LED's, you can use as thin a wire as you want since they dont draw enough current to cause any issues. Make sure that if you are going to run any long wires that you fuse them, because at that point the thickness of your wire does matter. A thin wire that gets grounded is going to do one of two things, melt and catch fire, or blow a fuse. Blowing the fuse is preferable. Same thing with where you are running the wires. If it looks like you are going to be running the wires over some sharper metal, you might want to pick a thicker wire just because it has a thicker jacket.
I found this table online somewhere.. its pretty common.
You can see a 16 gauge wire supports 15 amps, which at 14 volts (15*14) is 210 watts, or more than enough to power a head unit. LED lights use way less than one amp, like in the 100 milliamp range, so its not something to worry about.
In the same example, if you were to ground out a 16 gauge wire, capable of handling 15 amps, and your fuse was a 30 amp fuse, your wire would probably heat up and melt the plastic coating before your fuse blows. The fuse would blow though, because at that point you would probably be pushing over 30 amps too. If it was connected straight to the battery, then the wire would melt and probably catch fire.. (burned up my 76 cadillac dash that way a few years back)
10-18-2005, 09:47 PM
Oh yeah.. second part of your question.. Solid vs. Stranded. both will work in perminate applications. If you are planning on moving the wire around alot, then use stranded, its more flexible and doesnt break as easily. Breaks in solid wire are a pain to find, though solid wire can handle more current for a smaller gauge wire.
10-18-2005, 10:50 PM
This is good 18 gauge wire http://www.oznium.com/stinger-primary
10-19-2005, 07:38 PM
for most applications I've found that radioShack wiring has been suitable.. I'm yet to use cathodes so I don't know waht would be good..
10-19-2005, 08:08 PM
people can knock radioshack as much as they want. but their rca's have been the 100% best value for the money i've found as far as rca's go. i have 3 12 footers in my car and wouldn't have it any other way. lol. my poor car has soo many different brands of wire. alot of scosche , tiny bit of stinger and a fair amount of streetwires.
10-19-2005, 09:24 PM
Lots of people seem to think that spending more gets you better quality. That is true in almost all cases, you get what you pay for right? The reality is that the quality component is only marginally increased, and the functionality aspect stays pretty much the same.
A regular $2 dollar set of rca cables will probably have more inductive properties than the $30 monster cable, but unless you are running your cables on top of your neon transformer, you probably wont notice it. As far as gold plated ends go, the regular steel rca ends are more likely to oxidize and degrade over a period of 10 years.. but since you’re really not doing anything except pushing a few milliamps of current through them, the probability of loosing your signal or having it noticeably distorted is extremely low..
Power cable is the same, 2 gauge wire is 2 gauge wire, you really arent going to miss the 2 or 3 amps of current carrying capacity in most applications between a cheap brand and a high end brand. Typically really nice wire has more strands of purified metals where as cheaper wire may have some impure metals and fewer strands of copper wire. Unless you are running a highly stable power source through the wire, your end result will be the same.
The only high end power equipment I buy is the fuse block, simply because I dont have any other options in my area.. I get all of my wire from the auto parts store, and most of my audio cables, fuses, and wiring adaptors from discount electronics shops..
10-20-2005, 12:35 PM
Soem great advice here, I have to say actually that the Oznium stuff is pretty cheap once you break it down to $/feet.
Oznium: $24 / 500 feet
Radioshack: $4 /70 feet
Only thing is I guess, I'll probably never have 500 feet of wire in my car.
10-20-2005, 02:30 PM
you never know... only 25 bucks for 500 ft... hmmm