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Hey folks,

I'm just getting into the LED rgb flood decorating. Would it it be safe to power my floods or ribbon using Cat5 with Ethernet connectors?

I have seen a few setups like this thru some forums but just wanted to get some feed back first.


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Can it be done? Yes ... Should it be done? Up for debate ... Would I do it? No (at least not anymore)..


That being said, I did use CAT5 to power my RGB North Poles last year. I did not have any issues, but I did notice that all the connections had turned black either from arcing or corrosion. I replaced all of it with 4 conductor 18ga wire and 4-pin waterproof connectors.


In your research you will find all types of information on how much current a single cat5 wire will carry and you will see examples of twisting a couple of pairs to increase the capacity. Problem here is that if something happens to one of the paired wires, more than likely you will now be carrying way to much current on a single wire which can (will) lead to a catastrophic event.


Please note, I am specifically not citing wire sizes or capacities (except for my own personal reference to what I used). I am NOT an electrican, or an Electrical Engineer and I don't want to mistakenly misquote a wire size or rating.


My dad always taught me to use the "right tool for the job".. In this case (in my opinion) Cat5 is not the right tool..



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I am not real thrilled with putting 12 or even up to 24 VDC on Cat 5 wire. But no way in heck would I ever think of putting 120VAC on cat 5 wire. The insulation is not thick enough to prevent break down and arcing between wires. Also 24 ga wire is going to have some serious current limitations. I dont have a book before me and kind of lazy about doing a google search. But I wouldnt think you could even get 1 amp through it.

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