Wire size... ? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Wire size... ?

What size wire do you use when installing DC lights?
Thanks...
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-30-2012, 07:10 PM
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Re: Wire size... ?

What kind of lights? What is the distance, you have a bigger voltage drop in dc then you do in ac .
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-31-2012, 07:42 PM
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Re: Wire size... ?

Divide your wattage by your voltage, = amperage, and use the wire size larger then that.
14 for 15amp
12 for 20 amp
10 for you have too many lights there...

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wire size... ?

Each run from the fuse box panel will probably be 30' tops. I have to see what the watts are on the lights. They came with the camp and haven't been installed yet.
Thanks for the help...
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wire size... ?

The lights are 12 watts.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 05:37 PM
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Re: Wire size... ?

rough calculations in my head is 8 of those lights would equal 1 amp and using the 80% rule using 14 awg wire on a 15 amp breaker you could have up to 12 amps on that circuit or 96 of those lights and 30' not enough to worry about.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 07:06 PM
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Re: Wire size... ?

Why are you running DC? Is this all off battery power?

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wire size... ?

Yes... this will run off a battery with a fuse panel.
Thanks for the help...
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 04:33 AM
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Re: Wire size... ?

You might want to rethink that, with size 14 wire I wouldn't go over 3 lights (that's 36 watts or 3amps). With 4 12watt lights you would be drawing 4amps and with #14 wire the recommended maximum safe circuit length is only 18ft. Once you start to get into the 15 to 20 amp range you will need #10 or even #8 size wire. That's the big problem with 12v systems running circuits of any length. My suggestion is to use a DC to AC inverter to switch to a standard 120v system and then you can use #14 wire safely. The other benefit is you can run standard lights and appliances and easily switch to a generator if or when the batteries die.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 05:15 PM
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Re: Wire size... ?

Each way has it's advantages and disadvantages.

A friend built a house which remained off the grid for the first five years. He wired the house normally as if for 120 volts, but put 12 volt light bulbs in the fixtures and a bank of batteries in the basement which were connected to a small wind mill and a solar panel. flip the light switch in the wall and the light went on in the ceiling. When he switched to grid power all he had to do was connect the main box to the power company and change to 120 light bulbs. Unless you want separate dual voltage systems, wiring for 120 once makes sense. If the 12 volt is permenent then you want different wire, so folks coming along later can identify the difference and won't tie them into each other.

He also had several 12 volt appliances, coffee maker, electric saucepan, tv etc. he made up a 110 plug to 12 volt socket extension cord to run the appliances until he went with the grid power.
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