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macminn

Lighting - Electrical question

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I'm hoping someone can answer this for me. I'm not the greatest with electrical stuff, so need some help. I have my led lights (one tupe and 2 1157's ready to go into my portable. I have the switches, connectors, etc. to hook them up. A couple questions came up: I orignally was going to use coiled phone cords as suggested elsewhere on this forum, cheap, and easy to wrap around poles, etc. I don't know if there's different quality of those, but the one I picked up at fleet farm is hard to work with, the copper wires are miniscule, have to be smaller than 22 gauge. I don't know how I can strip them, and there's no way to use a quick connect spade type thing for them.

Question 2, I just got done hooking up a home theater system and have a whole bunch of speaker wire laying around. It's 16 guage, heavy vinyl cover on it, can I use that?

Thanks much in advance,

Mac

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Mac, IMO you'd be better off using the speaker wire. I'm an electrician, and can say that the 16 ga. speaker wire will be much easier to install crimp on spade terminals. The insulation on the speaker wire will handle the 12 volts safely and 16 gauge wire is good for about 8 amps of load. The 22 ga. wire would only be good for about 2 amps or so. To figure out how many amps your lighting circuit will draw, add up the total wattage of all the bulbs you plan to use and divide that by the volts (12). Hope this helps.

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Sparky,

Love the nickname, thanks for that, I'll go with the speaker wire. It does have a very heavy vinyl covering on it. Someone said I should put a fuse inline. Can you help me out with that? Do I just go to Radio Shack and get an inline fuse, wire it to the positive terminal? What size fuse do I use?

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Mac, Always install a fuse on any electrical circuit. It should be the first component installed on the positive terminal of your battery. Even with only a 12 volt battery supplying the power there is more than enough amperage available in the battery to melt the insulation off the wires, cause a fire, or damage your battery. Ideally, size the fuse 15% larger than the amperage of the lights, but not larger than an 8 amp fuse (thats what #16 wire is rated at). Hope this helps.

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According to my 310.16 it says that THHN (90 degree C. column) #16 is good to 18 amps. In this case I'd still fuse it at under 8 amps just because the draw will be so small. Not trying to start anything, just want to clear things up.

Where do you work at Sparky88? It's nice to see another electrician on board here.

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mnfishinguy, I'm an electrical contractor in Sioux Falls, SD. How bout' yourself? BTW, I used table 400.5A.(13A) But not knowing what type of insulation the speaker wire is I errored to the conservative side and figured 8A would be safe for sure. Are there any other electricians out there that you know of?

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Sparky,

I'm not an electrician per se but I am an electrical designer for a packaging machinery company.

Bob

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I carry both a journeyman's and a master's license. I work out of IBEW local 110. Just completed my 16 credits this weekend to renew my licenses! uggh.

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i am a journyman i live in st.cloud and currently work in the cities at a pasta company installing new equip and maintenance tec, any way its hard to get a actually rating for speaker wire since its not in the code but 8amp fuse should take care of what you need

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Yes, without knowing what the letter designation on the speaker wire is a person dosen't know for sure, but I'm sure that 8 is fine.

I'm a local 292 electrician and do most of my work at the MSP airport (not for the MAC, for a subcontractor). Currently taking the high voltage cable splicing class and Master upgrade class.

There are a few of us here, another guy by the name of Sparkyaber who I believe is a 292 guy as well.

How's the work picture down there?

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It is good too see a few other sparkys around i was beginning to think i was the only one. i also work out of Sioux Falls LU #426. work is a little slow right now but within the next month things should be picking up.

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