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  • CAT 5 cable for install

    Just want some feedback on using Cat 5 cable for extending and OEM deck yo put in the glovebox. I know Richard Clark was making RCA cable using CAT 5 cable and there was a lot of discussion on this and even one of my friends from that forum in Real Life did some Cat 5 cables (toslink) and they seemed to work fine. My question is what problems could I run in to, using Cat 5 cable to extend the wires coming from an OEM deck install to extend this into the glovebox.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_5_cable

  • #2
    Well step one is succesfull. I extended the wires to the MID unit, with CAT 5 cable, long enough to put in the glove box. All function work, not a problem seen. Next step is to try to extend the factory raido harness with CAT 5 cable. I may use two cables, one for sound, one for everything else.

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    • #3
      The wires in a CAT55 cable are not rated for any substantial power. The power wires and speaker connections generally have a lot of current flowing through them. Using CAT-5 could very likely start a fire in your car. I wouldn't do it.
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      • #4
        Speaker and 12/3 exten.

        I bought a spool of 14/2 speaker wire (I had 10 ft runs) and 10 ft of 12/3 commerial wire. The spool was 50 ft cut 5 lengths for all but the PWR,grd, and yellow to battery, I used the 12/3 for those. Cat 5 is like 18 or 20 gauge to small for the amps for the sound. Unless u were going from head unit to amps?
        You might ask why the 12/3 add ons.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Arrow View Post
          The wires in a CAT55 cable are not rated for any substantial power. The power wires and speaker connections generally have a lot of current flowing through them. Using CAT-5 could very likely start a fire in your car. I wouldn't do it.
          Do you know what gauge the factory wire harness is? Like I said, it was a topic of discussion for many months by Richard Clark and several Electrical Engineers were discussing this wire for install. As for "starting a fire" please explain... I am using to extend the factory wiring harness, and pretty much low voltage, the +12 and ground are carried by their own wires, and the speakers wires carry low voltage signal, thus, the factory amp in the rear of the car in most BMW's.

          insaneramman: the speakers carry factory wires from the factory amp, I am not touching those

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DocNupe View Post
            Do you know what gauge the factory wire harness is? Like I said, it was a topic of discussion for many months by Richard Clark and several Electrical Engineers were discussing this wire for install. As for "starting a fire" please explain... I am using to extend the factory wiring harness, and pretty much low voltage, the +12 and ground are carried by their own wires, and the speakers wires carry low voltage signal, thus, the factory amp in the rear of the car in most BMW's.

            insaneramman: the speakers carry factory wires from the factory amp, I am not touching those
            DocNupe,

            I can only comment about the wiring. Someone else will have to confirm the details about the amps required to run your setup.

            Electrical wires have a tendency to heat up due to the resistance of the wire. The wire's resistance is affected by the gauge (or wire diameter) and the material used to conduct the current. You will be best off buying the largest wire with the most conductive metal. HOWEVER, that's expensive. I didn't do the research, but I would assume that you could find an online calculator or guide that would tell you what gauge of wire you should use for your particular situation.

            You can think of electrons flowing through your wire like water flowing through a hose. If you hook up a pressure nozzle on the end, reducing the diameter with which water can flow through. In your case, the flow of electrons has to be the same in order to produce the sound you require, so a very small wire has the force electrons through a tiny wire. Doing so will heat up the wire, melt the plastic sheath and it could start an electrical fire.

            Disclaimer: I studied this stuff in school but you should consult a professional on this issue!
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            • #7
              I don't want to confuse the topic any, but as a network administrator I use Cat5, cat5e and Cat6 all the time for power transmission, think POE. Below is from a wiki on the Standards of POE (802.3af IEEE standards) basiclly it is saying that the trwisted pair is capable of carring 15w of power (@~44v ,350 mA), all of my POE transmitters are 48V, and I know they use the 4th pair or wires 7 and 8 for the power transmission;

              Power over Ethernet or PoE technology describes a system to safely transfer electrical power, along with data, to remote devices over standard category 5 cable in an Ethernet network. It does not require modification of existing Ethernet cabling infrastructure.

              The IEEE 802.3af PoE standard provides up to 15.4 W[1] of DC power (minimum 44 VDC[2] and 350 mA[3]) to each device. Only 12.95 W[4] is assured to be available at the powered device as some power is dissipated in the cable.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Arrow View Post
                The wires in a CAT55 cable are not rated for any substantial power. The power wires and speaker connections generally have a lot of current flowing through them. Using CAT-5 could very likely start a fire in your car. I wouldn't do it.
                I agree..... On my install I also use CAT5 cable but its strictly for the use of my headphone jacks located in each door.

                I also use CAT5 to power all the access points for the hotel I work for and the power draw is very low. Your talking about doing audio, which when amplified is going to be 300 times more energy then a PC device being powered the same way.
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                • #9
                  My guess is that it "should" work. You are not using the wires to carry anything with a lot power. My only concern may be the gauge difference. The original harness is probably 20ga., most cat5 is 24. I wouldn't go to a smaller wire, especally for an extenstion. This would preclude the use of cat5, unless you were to use 2 wires for every 1 coming from the harness. I have no idea what gauge 2 x 24ga. is equal to, I'm sure you could find a calculator that will tell you. Hopefully that will be enough.

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                  • #10
                    Sorry, it was all electrical no sound. Just extending factory wires for the MID to put this unit in the glove box. I doubt there is any serious current flowing to the MID unit that controls the radio and receives on board display information.

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