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  • Can regular 0 gauge wire work?

    I need to upgrade my amp kit from 4 gauge to 0 gauge. I was wondering though If I can simply go to Home Depot and use that type of 0 gauge wire, or does it have to be for the car? Unlike most people, I actually run my AMP kit wire under the car, and I noticed 0 gauge from Home Depot has a flat black coating that matches the undercarriage. I know some of you are saying, why not run the wire through the car, and or, aren't you worried about fire? Its to thick, and I am worried that I will have issues with EMI and if the wire were to over heat, it will not burn inside the cabin. If its out side, I don't have to worry about EMI, nor do I have to worry about fire, if it does burn I can drive into a water puddle or the wind will blow it out. Not that it would ever burn in the first place. Also my truck is long, so the run is long. When I installed the 4 gauge kit, I had to buy 2 of them to reach from the engine to the back. Also my install is huge with so many speaker, USB and other cables already taking up most space.
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  • #2
    this is one of the very few audio things that you must get the auto-grade wire.

    the home depot '0' gauge is meant to carry ac voltage, and is never meant for dc, and would be imposible to run anywhere.

    auto grade also has more conductors that will help carry the power farther, and is easier to run because it is more flexible.

    also, make sure that you get oxygen free copper wire, and not the new junk called cca, or copper coated aluminum-- the only advantage to it is that it costs less when you buy it.

    with the install that you are doing, it might not hurt to have 2 or 3 runs of 0 gauge just to make sure that you are never in a situation where the wire gets warm.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
      this is one of the very few audio things that you must get the auto-grade wire.

      the home depot '0' gauge is meant to carry ac voltage, and is never meant for dc, and would be imposible to run anywhere.

      auto grade also has more conductors that will help carry the power farther, and is easier to run because it is more flexible.

      also, make sure that you get oxygen free copper wire, and not the new junk called cca, or copper coated aluminum-- the only advantage to it is that it costs less when you buy it.

      with the install that you are doing, it might not hurt to have 2 or 3 runs of 0 gauge just to make sure that you are never in a situation where the wire gets warm.
      Thanks for the insight. Maybe I should explain my setup. I will most def go with auto grade, I didn't think about the AC/DC situation. The flexibility I didn't care to much about, I wanted it to be stiff.

      First from the battery it goes to a fuse, then to the bottom of the driver seat. Then a 0 gauge 3 way splitter is used to run to another fuse that leads to a 4 gauge wire to the PC. Then on the last port on the splitter, it goes to the rear to a 4 way 4 gauge splitter. One 4 gauge line goes to one of 3 PDX amps. The last 4 gauge line is for the 3 M4-ATX and a few other devices like rear camera, and thats about it. Do you still think I would need two 0 gauge runs. I mean I know people that run monster audio systems and I have never heard of a dual run?!
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      • #4
        thinking while i am typing:

        thewizard has 3 runs of '0' gauge...

        do the pdx series take a 4 or 8 gauge wire? i can't remember...i think they take 8...

        a pdx will take a 8 ga wire each, the m4(s)will really only need something like a 10 ga each, teh rear camera should be able to use 16 ga..

        so you would need 3-8 gauge, 1-10ga, and 1-16ga for camera? then you might be fine with one run of 0, but 2 will only hurt your wallet, and could help later.
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        • #5
          Okay okay okay, it doesn't work SO much like that. The more connectors, the better -- yes. The better the copper, the better -- yes.

          However, you can use Copper Clad Aluminum if you want! It handles a ton of amperage. You can also use the Home Depot wire IF it has enough strands.

          The thing about wiring is that it is VERY VERY difficult to actually tell the difference. I've done countless hours of research on this (and still went with auto grade wire, for the record), and I decided that it is NOT that important. Speaker wire is the only iffy part, and thats because some people insist they can hear the difference. If you have the resources, do a quick test.

          The reason you might want more strands for this type of run is that the resistance should be lower. Resistance is your enemy in power runs.

          You COULD get away with other wire if you wanted to. You would probably never notice a difference once it's installed. Lots of strands though, don't want a ground loop.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
            thinking while i am typing:

            thewizard has 3 runs of '0' gauge...

            do the pdx series take a 4 or 8 gauge wire? i can't remember...i think they take 8...

            a pdx will take a 8 ga wire each, the m4(s)will really only need something like a 10 ga each, teh rear camera should be able to use 16 ga..

            so you would need 3-8 gauge, 1-10ga, and 1-16ga for camera? then you might be fine with one run of 0, but 2 will only hurt your wallet, and could help later.
            The PDX has an option for 4 or 8 gauge. I think the bigger 1000 watt units take the 4 gauge. I am running the 500 watt versions so technically 8 gauge will work, but I feel more comfortable with 4 gauge. For the other devices I have distrubution blocks for all of that. I am not concerned to much with the wallet, but more on space. One reason I went with the PDX is because I hear the power draw is better that you dont need as thick of wire. They are also more effecient. So I figured one 0 gauge would work. Basically I have the potential to be pulling about 2280.00 watts, if I add the front PC, 320 watts, plus about 50 watts in devices. So 2650.00 watts of potential draw. i doubt I will hit that though.
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            • #7
              I've never understood the difference too well myself lol, I've got about 15m of 230v 5a household wire running in my van powering 3 cameras (reverse, cargo area and slide door)... Worked out fine and cost me next to nothing compared to automotive cable.

              I guess it's all down to the amps required, the cameras use less than 1 amp combined (guessing), so there's very little load... Where as a higher power demand could generate a lot of heat as well as being exposed to excess heat from various sources in the car/van... This is where household cable could cause problems as the shielding maybe less resistant to heat.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by colin View Post
                Okay okay okay, it doesn't work SO much like that. The more connectors, the better -- yes. The better the copper, the better -- yes.

                However, you can use Copper Clad Aluminum if you want! It handles a ton of amperage. You can also use the Home Depot wire IF it has enough strands.

                The thing about wiring is that it is VERY VERY difficult to actually tell the difference. I've done countless hours of research on this (and still went with auto grade wire, for the record), and I decided that it is NOT that important. Speaker wire is the only iffy part, and thats because some people insist they can hear the difference. If you have the resources, do a quick test.

                The reason you might want more strands for this type of run is that the resistance should be lower. Resistance is your enemy in power runs.

                You COULD get away with other wire if you wanted to. You would probably never notice a difference once it's installed. Lots of strands though, don't want a ground loop.
                So your saying the more strands i get the lower EMI issues I will have? I know with my previous install I had to use GLIs on all my audio channels. I am hoping that me running high grade speaker wire, and being carful how I run electrical will eliminate the need for GLIs.
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                • #9
                  If you can find out the manufacturer of the welding lead wire at your local welding shop, you can find out what type of wire it is... Welding lead is the ONLY other type of wire I'd suggest contemplating.

                  However, my best suggestion would be to check with KnuKonceptz... I've used them before, and know tons of other people from another forum who use them regularly, and have never had an issue. (I've only used their mobile stuff wire/distro blocks/fuse holders) Personally, I'm sold on their products.
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                  • #10
                    Welding wire works very well and is the cheapest feasible option. I would never even consider using household wire in a vehicle, it is a completely different animal that will not adequately carry a heavy DC load regardless of how much of it you run. It is designed to carry high voltage rather than low voltage, and high voltage loads operate with lower amperage, the opposite of a car audio system. In my particular case my system is capable of pulling an unbelievable amount of amperage, and the 3 runs of "0" gauge is to help keep the voltage drop to a minimum. Voltage drop is an amplifiers worst enemy, it will cause the amp to heat up faster, cause noise in your system, cause other electronic and electrical parts of the vehicle to fail sooner, and last but not least,,, cause your amplifier to make less power than the amplifier was rated to produce.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by thekl0wn View Post
                      If you can find out the manufacturer of the welding lead wire at your local welding shop, you can find out what type of wire it is... Welding lead is the ONLY other type of wire I'd suggest contemplating.

                      However, my best suggestion would be to check with KnuKonceptz... I've used them before, and know tons of other people from another forum who use them regularly, and have never had an issue. (I've only used their mobile stuff wire/distro blocks/fuse holders) Personally, I'm sold on their products.
                      I went to the audioshop and bought 0 gauge wire for about $7.50 a foot. I know thats expensive, but I only bought enought to do one section. The cable was from a brand called Stinger, its thick as h3ll!!!!!! Is stinger a good brand? I notice online its still fairly pricey. I do like the knukonceptz wire, its only 1.75 a foot also. I guess the rest of the run (20 feet) will come from them. Thanx for the link.

                      Here is a link to the Stinger cable. http://www.hifisoundconnection.com/S...id/0/SFV/30046

                      Originally posted by thewizard View Post
                      Welding wire works very well and is the cheapest feasible option. I would never even consider using household wire in a vehicle, it is a completely different animal that will not adequately carry a heavy DC load regardless of how much of it you run. It is designed to carry high voltage rather than low voltage, and high voltage loads operate with lower amperage, the opposite of a car audio system. In my particular case my system is capable of pulling an unbelievable amount of amperage, and the 3 runs of "0" gauge is to help keep the voltage drop to a minimum. Voltage drop is an amplifiers worst enemy, it will cause the amp to heat up faster, cause noise in your system, cause other electronic and electrical parts of the vehicle to fail sooner, and last but not least,,, cause your amplifier to make less power than the amplifier was rated to produce.
                      Do you think I will honestly need more then one run with my setup? I really dont think so.
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                      • #12
                        Nope, you will not need more than one run for your setup. I still like to play with mine once in a while, hence the massive overkill.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by thewizard View Post
                          Nope, you will not need more than one run for your setup. I still like to play with mine once in a while, hence the massive overkill.
                          Do you have pix of your setup? Im curious to see that. Also I see that KnuKonceptz wire is Aluminum clad (90%) and copper (10%). The stinger is 100% copper. Is copper better?
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by HiJackZX1 View Post
                            Also I see that KnuKonceptz wire is Aluminum clad (90%) and copper (10%). The stinger is 100% copper. Is copper better?
                            Copper is better, but at half the price the CCA is often tempting. Another problem that people don't realize is that CCA has to be oversized to carry the same current as Copper (OFC). By oversizing the wire you loose insulation material which is very important when it comes to high power applications. And when installing underneath your car, the extra insulation in OFC will allow it to take more abuse than CCA would. Did you ever think of using some pvc to make a protective conduit under your car?

                            This pic shows CCA vs OFC, both are 0ga.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HiJackZX1 View Post
                              So your saying the more strands i get the lower EMI issues I will have? I know with my previous install I had to use GLIs on all my audio channels. I am hoping that me running high grade speaker wire, and being carful how I run electrical will eliminate the need for GLIs.
                              If you are worried about noise, its a good idea to also have a run of ground cable along with your power cable (same size for both). This will allow you to have a common ground point which is a good way to assure you don't have any ground loops.

                              I believe bad grounding leads to more engine noise than EMI from the power cable.

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