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Electric wire


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Just curious what everyone uses for wire to hook up their hobbiest controllers. The wire gauge?, multi-conductor?, ect's, that is run from the controller to the lights. I have heard 16&18 extention cords, lamp wire, even 22awg wire. Interested in all the different sizes everyone use, goods and bads.

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I used 14 ga, I would suggest at least 16 gauge particularly if you have a controller with a heat sink. That way you have flexibility in the future to add light strings without the need to rewire. I mounted actual receptacles for my 1st, but I may go to the female pigtails on some. I think the price was pretty reasonable from LOR for the 3 wire pigtails. A plus if you ever want to plug in a grounded extension cord.

Charlie

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I think the determining factor for your cabling needs would be how much current are you planning to draw from each channel and for the supply cable, what is the total current of the board with all the lights on.

Example: If you are only going to be using only LED's then some cheap speaker wire would be fine. If your going to be switching a couple 150 watt spotlights per channel then a somewhat heavier gage would be prudent.

For more information on current vs wire gage, I refer you to a previous post on this topic.

http://planetchristmas.mywowbb.com/forum25/3070.html

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If I recall correctly Chuck Smith used speaker wire in his display. I know I got some spools of it from Radio Shack on clearance and it looks just like extension cord wire.

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Actually crazykid 16/2 speaker wire is rated for 10amps while 18/2 is rated for 7. Since you can not put more than 8amps on any one channel of LOR then the 16/2 would be fine. I use extension cords and cut off the male ends and they are 16/2 cords. But I make long run cords from 16/2 speaker wire. So does a lot of people on PC.

Now if you are talking about the power cords that will supply the power to your controller then I would go with much heavier. Something that will handle 20 amps for each side.

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Sorry, I must be thinking of landscape lighting wire. That is rated for low voltage. I guess you lean somthing new every day about Christmas here on PC:D

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crazykid1234 wrote:

Sorry, I must be thinking of landscape lighting wire. That is rated for low voltage. I guess you lean somthing new every day about Christmas here on PC:D
It is all relative, as long as the dielectric can provide adequate insulation between the conductors there is really not an issue. I would have no problem putting 120VAC through landscaping wire. Send me a sample of your cheapest Zip cord, speaker wire and I will connect it to my 15KV hi-potter, and would be able to tell you when the insulation actually breaks down. I would be willing to bet it is a value some what higher than one would expect.
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I bought some lamp cord wire at Lowes and made some wiring harnesses for my 16 small x-mas trees. The longest run is about 50 feet down to 6 feet per side (16 total). Each of my trees have 450 lights on them. I did not have any problems at all with it this year and I gave it a test to see if it was heating up, and it wasn't. I plan on getting more of it this year to make more harnesses. Sure makes wiring easier when you just lay out the harness and then make your connections, as compared to laying out 16 different extension cords.

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cghargis wrote:

I bought some lamp cord wire at Lowes and made some wiring harnesses for my 16 small x-mas trees. The longest run is about 50 feet down to 6 feet per side (16 total). Each of my trees have 450 lights on them. I did not have any problems at all with it this year and I gave it a test to see if it was heating up, and it wasn't. I plan on getting more of it this year to make more harnesses. Sure makes wiring easier when you just lay out the harness and then make your connections, as compared to laying out 16 different extension cords.
Do you have any pics of this harness? What wire is used from controller to the harness if you do not have 16 extension cords? I just purchased 200' 16awg lamp cord for $20 from a store closing sale. We love pics.:]
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I have a 16 channel showtime controller, so it came with the short channel leads with female ends. I bought 16 of the 6 foot extensions cords (found this to be cheaper than buying male and female plugs) from Lowes and the lamp cord spool. I just measured the run I needed and cut the longest wire then subtracted 6 feet then cut the next one , then subtracted 6 feet again for each of the next pieces. when I had them all assembled, I taped them together at intervals with electrical tape. make sure you numbe the male and female ends as you build each wire so you know which one is which. The harness is put away for the year and I don't have any pictures, so ,my apologies for that. Each harness hass 8 wires in it and runs about 50 feet to the longest point.

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  • 2 years later...

How much are you spending on the speaker wire?

I purchased my SPT-2 wire from Americord. Price per foot with shipping was less than .13 a foot. I did order 7,000 feet of it on a single spool - it weighed in at 285lbs :shock:


As for the vampire plugs - Novelty Lights

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I used 8 conductor 18ga, .38 a foot in whole spool quantity. This should handle 5 amps, with occasional peaks of 6 amps. Connection to the controller will be CPC connectors (currently hardwired), and the connection at the display element end is a 'weatherproof' outlet stake, either 6 or 3 outlet (from the Target after Christmas sale). I like the stakes because they keep the plugs sheltered from rain, and off the ground.

For 6 outlet stakes, there is a common return, so I keep it to 1 amp or less per channel. For 3 outlet stakes, they have individual returns, so each channel can be up to 5 amps. Since I tend to group things in sets of 8, each set only requires 2 cables. I wanted 1 cable and 16 ga, but finding 10 conductor wire AND 8 outlet strips (at an acceptable cost) proved beyond me.

The stakes use strips of copper between moulded posts to provide power to the plugs. I snip the strips at appropriate points, fold the ends around the posts for support, and drill a small hole in each (if necessary, some holes are already there) to solder the wire into. The only difficult thing was to figure out WHERE to cut each strip to provide maximum support to each strip.

Worked fine this first year; can't say yet about durability.

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