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Thread: Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

  1. #1
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    Default Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

    After many years of static displays, 2011 will be my first year with a DIYC computer controlled display. As such there are many first time decisions to be made. Iíve already decided Iím going to centralize my controllers (Renard SS 24s) so the big question is how get the power to the lights. 95% of my lights are LED and anything added in the future will be LED not incandescent (early planning assures Iíll be well under the 2 amp limit per channel).

    Iíve decided I donít want to go the extension cord route (I like the idea of exact length cords) so I know Iíll need A LOT of wire. I like the idea of extra insulation so Iíve decided on SPT2. The question is what gauge? If money were no object, itís a no brainer, Iíd go with 16 gauge. However 16 gauge is about double the cost of 18 gauge and because all of my lights are LED, I think 16 gauge may be overkill. However 16 gauge feels a lot beefier compared to 18 gauge.

    Whatever I choose, Iím going to live with it for many years to come and I donít really want a mix of 16 and 18 gauge; I really want only one gauge so I can purchase the same vampire plugs everywhere. So based on others experience, is 16 gauge worth the extra money? Or is that a waste of money based on the needs of the display?

    I appreciate any thoughts...

    Mike

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

    16 is more versatile in the sense that it can carry more current than 18. However, it's thicker, stiffer and often does require different plugs than those for 18. If you think there's a chance (greater than 50%) you'll ever need the higher current-carrying ability, then I'd go with cable that can handle it. If you think there's little chance (maybe 25%) that you'll need it, then I'd go with 18.

    Personally, I use 18 throughout and when I need bigger cables (main trunk lines) I just use the appropriate ones for it. The 18gauge SPT is used to go off the mains to the controllers, and no controllers use more than 5 amps, so 18 works fine.
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    Default Re: Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

    I to use Renards sprinkled in the yard for my display. I used premade extention cords or I made my own with 16ga. SO cable bought off of ebay. For my channel outputs I used mostly SPT-1 wire. Think about the loads. SPT-1 can carry twice the amperage of the triac. Plus, 99% of my channels have less than 1 amp load on them.

    Now with most of your display being LED, it is a no brainer. Use SPT-1, save the money and buy more lights!

    James
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    Default Re: Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

    Quote Originally Posted by james70818 View Post
    I to use Renards sprinkled in the yard for my display. I used premade extention cords or I made my own with 16ga. SO cable bought off of ebay. For my channel outputs I used mostly SPT-1 wire. Think about the loads. SPT-1 can carry twice the amperage of the triac. Plus, 99% of my channels have less than 1 amp load on them.

    Now with most of your display being LED, it is a no brainer. Use SPT-1, save the money and buy more lights!

    James
    But but he was asking about gauge not shielding/jacket )

    And I'm a newb and all, but I just prefer the sp2 wire. Love how it fits/seals in the slide on plugs etc. Just prefer the sp2.

    Now the question however is 16g vs 18g. I run all LED's and ran 18g

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    Default Re: Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

    As Mike always says:

    You can't be too good looking, or have too big of a conductor.
    -Mike
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    Default Re: Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcqr View Post
    as mike always says:

    You can't be too good looking, or have too big of a conductor.
    roflmao!!!!
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

    Like the Dirk, I used 18ga without a problem. I purchased a 1000 spool and cut wire to length.

    I have a couple of heavy duty extension cords that feed junction boxes in the yard and this has worked well.

    Dean

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

    As always, terrific comments thanks! Based on everyone’s feedback, I’m going with SPT2 18 gauge. I didn’t think the larger wire is necessary, just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I’ll save a lot compared to 16 gauge, and I’ll sprinkle larger wire only if necessary (Other than the power going into the controller, I can’t imagine when I’d need it) Now I can buy more lights!

    Mike

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

    depending on shielding 18awg is rated for 800-1100 watts if your going to exceed that go with 16 or better...if under then 18awg
    is perfect

    as recommended spt2 has a better seal with the connectors....i have heard many people say spt1 is just fine , spt2 is better and spt3 is the best( it can be used for underground applications)
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wire; 16 or 18 gauge?

    Check your local Lowes bulk wire section. I found 16/2 landscape wire on clearance for $0.09/foot in mine.
    http://doityourselfchristmas.com/for...970#post146970

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