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Help, solid wire Vs Stranded wire?

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  • Help, solid wire Vs Stranded wire?

    Hi all, This is my first post on this site.
    But basically i am installing a car stereo and have some questions.
    since i am a Electrical App I have access to different types of wire and so forth.
    Now I am wondering if it is O.K. to use #14 or #12 solid copper wire to hook up my Subs. I plan on hooking up a 1000 watt amp to two ten inch Clarion subs. I have access to lower guage wire too, I am wondering also if it O.K. to use #8 Wire for the AMP leads from battery and for Ground wire.
    I know that I could just buy "Proper Speaker and Amp wire" but it is expensive, especially if i can get that stuff for free from work.
    I just would like to know if anybody has done this before without issues?
    Please help me decide if i should use this wire from work, or just pony up the cash for the stuff from a car stereo store.
    I did ask them if it was o.k. to use solid Copper wire, I was given the "Oh no, You need to spend 100 dollars on this special Monster cable for your amps and speakers, You can't just use solid copper wire!!"
    I know most salesman will tell you what they need to to get you to buy their products
    That why I am here.
    Please help me separate the facts from fiction?

  • #2
    Originally posted by bushwickbill View Post
    Hi all, This is my first post on this site.
    But basically i am installing a car stereo and have some questions.
    since i am a Electrical App I have access to different types of wire and so forth.
    Now I am wondering if it is O.K. to use #14 or #12 solid copper wire to hook up my Subs. I plan on hooking up a 1000 watt amp to two ten inch Clarion subs. I have access to lower guage wire too, I am wondering also if it O.K. to use #8 Wire for the AMP leads from battery and for Ground wire.
    I know that I could just buy "Proper Speaker and Amp wire" but it is expensive, especially if i can get that stuff for free from work.
    I just would like to know if anybody has done this before without issues?
    Please help me decide if i should use this wire from work, or just pony up the cash for the stuff from a car stereo store.
    I did ask them if it was o.k. to use solid Copper wire, I was given the "Oh no, You need to spend 100 dollars on this special Monster cable for your amps and speakers, You can't just use solid copper wire!!"
    I know most salesman will tell you what they need to to get you to buy their products
    That why I am here.
    Please help me separate the facts from fiction?
    the most important thing in low volt / high amp systems is that the current "walks on the surface" of the copper. the real power cable consists of thousands of twisted copper fibres in an oxigen-free plastic shield to maximize the real surface...

    you can test your cable: if it is thick enough, then will not kill the amp/subs in a minute. connect it (with full length 5-6m power+ plus GND-), put the gain to lower level and check the voltage on the battery and in the trunk on the amp (with and without running engine, with and without running music). if the difference is not too much between battery and trunk (voltage drop is not higher than 0.1-0.2V), then put to higher level the gain and check again. if the difference is not higher than before, the cable looks ok! if you can, check it with oscilloscope too - this will show the real low and high peaks at the end of the cable!

    other important thing is the plastic shild - stability, temperature, scratching on metal edges etc - use bandage ribbon in every frequented place!
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    • #3
      Never mind all the technical stuff about where the current runs and all that. Solid copper cable will break sooner or later with vibration. Up to you whether you go for all the fancy oxygen free stuff or not (I don't) but stranded will last far longer anywhere that there is movement or vibration.
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      • #4
        Stranded wire
        - has less electrical resistance (as so nicely put by FPeter above)
        - is less likely to break
        - is more flexible and easier to work with

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        • #5
          I'm sorry, but from a scientific basis you are getting somewhat confused advice above.

          The skin effect, i.e., current flowing on the outer surface of a conductor doesn't have any meaningful effect until well above audio frequencies.

          If the solid core wire will be subject to routine flexing, i.e., wires running from the body into a door or otherwise attached to something that moves (engine?), then multi-strand is definitely less subject to fatigue failure. However, if it's run in a static route then the only real reason to avoid solid core is it's difficulty in installation.

          Speaker wire has only three components of interest. In simple terms these are: resistance (larger gauge is better up to some point), inductance (avoid loops in your wiring) and capacitance (avoid differences in the distance between signal wires - not a problem with typical speaker wires since they come made up in pairs).

          Pay some attention to quality connections - that is an area frequently overlooked.

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