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Old 07-14-2017, 07:40 PM   #1
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Lamp Wire: Just gauche? or plain unsuitable?

So I needed two 16 gauge conductors to run ground and power to a little license plate light. I had some 16 ga I could have run, but I wanted the tidiness of a bonded two conductor. It looked light the right stuff at home depot, on the back roll there. Turns out it's 16 ga lamp cord, and I take a few feet anyway, assuming it would do the job. Lamp cord seems to have a lot more of, and stiffer, insulation than what I had in mind. Any reason I should bypass the lamp wire in lieu of a real 2-conductor bonded wire (not even sure where to buy it)? Will it be damn-ably gauche to use lamp wire?

thanks!
anne
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Old 07-15-2017, 08:18 AM   #2
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Lamp cord will certainly work, however keep in mind that if the wire rubs on metal and wears through the current sourced by the batteries is usually enough to have the wire go up in smoke rather instantly if it's not fused properly...that's why you want fuses located near the battery and not a the end of a run. Personally I'd use something else with tougher insulation.

...not sure what you mean by "bonded"......

I've used 2 conductor rubber jacketed power cord cable (like what's on a power drill, circular saw) etc. It's gives you a flexible rubber jacket, plus the insulation on each conductor. I used that for my solar panels until the last upgrade where I used 12ga solar wire purchased from ebay.

Also, in addition to the garden variety 12V rated wire, you can get wire rated at 300V and 600V, the difference being the insulation thickness. We don't need 300 or 600V rating, but you want some insulation.
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Old 07-15-2017, 08:54 AM   #3
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If you decide to mail order some wire, these guys have great gear (a whole lot more than wire) and are always veryfast, even if you have them make custom cables for you.

https://powerwerx.com/


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Old 07-15-2017, 09:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by achop View Post
So I needed two 16 gauge conductors to run ground and power to a little license plate light. I had some 16 ga I could have run, but I wanted the tidiness of a bonded two conductor. It looked light the right stuff at home depot, on the back roll there. Turns out it's 16 ga lamp cord, and I take a few feet anyway, assuming it would do the job. Lamp cord seems to have a lot more of, and stiffer, insulation than what I had in mind. Any reason I should bypass the lamp wire in lieu of a real 2-conductor bonded wire (not even sure where to buy it)? Will it be damn-ably gauche to use lamp wire?

thanks!
anne
Lamp cord is fine if properly secured as should any wiring be, electricians tape and/or tie wraps. I do prefer stranded, colored automotive wire (better insulation, as has been mentioned). Bonded together is not necessary I'd be more concerned to have the wires jacketed with a plastic wire loom where exposed. All this stuff is easily found at any auto parts store.
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Old 07-15-2017, 09:20 AM   #5
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I would recommend using "SO" cord or something similar. It's rated for wet locations, UV resistant and can handle physical abuse. It also comes as a "cable" with all kinds different wire gauges and number of conductors. More expensive but worth it IMHO. Most lamp cords will become brittle over time and exposure to the elements and the insulation will fail leaving bare conductors to short out. (Professional electrician, amateur driveway van builder)
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:05 AM   #6
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I would recommend using "SO" cord or something similar. It's rated for wet locations, UV resistant and can handle physical abuse. It also comes as a "cable" with all kinds different wire gauges and number of conductors. More expensive but worth it IMHO. Most lamp cords will become brittle over time and exposure to the elements and the insulation will fail leaving bare conductors to short out. (Professional electrician, amateur driveway van builder)
"SO" Good stuff
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Old 07-15-2017, 03:04 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the great advice! And thank you for that mail order link, herb. If I weren't traveling almost immediately, I might use that but will surely use it in the future. I've been going to a convenient O'Reilly's but they don't seem to have much available to my liking in the automotive wiring department. Maybe I will try autozone or something, or does someone know of a chain that usually carries SO cable? the wire will be running from inside the rear door to outside the rear door through the gasket in the door. Hence, a durable insulation would be key for long life :-). Aside from my need to build everything overkill, this harness only has to last me a couple of weeks, in truth :-)

Also, by "bonded," I meant two conductors "attached" to each other, so I can tuck 'one' cable out of sight rather than two.
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Old 07-15-2017, 04:52 PM   #8
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McMaster carr sells all flavors of SO cable.

There is a decoder ring chart at the top of this web page.

https://www.mcmaster.com/#so-cable/=18ii3xk

The power tool cord I've been using is SOOW.....rubber outer jacket....
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