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  • Question about wire to connect to battery

    This may be a dumb question, but in looking at people's installs, when connecting the power supply to the car's battery it seems that most people use a big thick red shiny wire, commonly found in Amplifier installs from car audio places. I'm using a Carnetix P1900 connected to a Mac Mini and figured that 8AWG wire would be the appropriate gauge wire.

    In trying to find wire, it seems that the only place I can find that thick red wire is in an Amp hookup kit from best buy. My girlfriend's step dad is an electrician and I asked him for some 8 guage wire and he gave me a big spool. It says 8AWG printed on the shielding (which is black and much thinner than the red wire I mentioned). Is this wire safe to use in my car? I'm trying to avoid paying upwards of $60 for that Amp hookup kit, so if I can use what he gave me that would be great. If not do I have to bite the bullet? Any suggestions where to look for the thick red wire I mentioned? Thanks!
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  • #2
    Well I got my wire from Circuit City. They have a car audio department (yeah, right...), and they have big spools of wire and you can buy the correct length. Usually either really shiny thick red or black colours.

    Also car audio shops will have it eve nplaces like CarToys or something.

    As for the wire that you have, if it says 8 guage, then it should be even if the insulation isn't as thick.

    Also maybe going one size thicker is a good idea incase you want to add other stuff later.
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    • #3
      Thanks a lot! One more question thought, when you say go one size thicker, are you talking go up to something like 6gauge wire, or do you mean get an 8guage wire with thicker insulation? Thanks again!
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      • #4
        the wire that you got from your gfs dad doesn't have nearly as many strands as the specific car audio wire you see people using.

        This means that it will not be nearly as flexible and thus will be harder to work with.

        The insulation might not be as thick, as was already mentioned. As such, I'd be careful where you route the wire. The car audio stuff is usually pretty thick because the car environment is one of the harshest environments out there. The thicker insulation helps to protect the wire from all of the abrasive things in your car, as well as the fact that since the wire IS in the car, it will move around. This gives you a bit of a larger margin of safety.

        In short, it is ok to use that wire, but you need to be smart about how and where you route it.

        When he says go thicker, he's saying go up a gauge in wire.

        So that in the future, when you upgrade (nearly everyone does) you don't have to rip your car back apart to run new wire.
        Jan Bennett
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        Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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        • #5
          I'd also wonder if the 8 ga wire you got from an electrician is solid wire vs. stranded. I imagine that electricians usually work with the solid stuff, versus the stranded, more flexible, solderable stuff you'll usually find in auto applications.

          Edit: (aww, Red beat me to it)

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          • #6
            Thanks a lot guys (and girl)...I really appreciate the solid answers! Red (and kev), I think you're right there's not too many strands, and it's also a very hard wire, and isn't nearly as flexible as say a USB cable. I think I'm going to shell out the extra money for the car wire and play it safe, just in case. At this point I plan on installing everything at once and don't really see myself adding anything that would require extra power. However, I do work in IT, so I know that scalability is something to always account for!
            iDub Status:

            99.99% -- It's alive!!!...the extra .01% is because it'll never be completely "done."

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            • #7
              yeah, the wire you got is not for car audio... it works, but just harder to route. you should be able to buy wire from any car audio store or online at places such as partsexpress.com. they sell by foot. remember you need to put an inline fuse near battery. they may have power wire only amp installation kits such as http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=263-173 , as you don't need the RCA cable.

              and for computer 10 AWG probably thick enough... computers don't pull high current surges as amps do.

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              • #8
                Thanks, I have the inline fuse and have incorporated it into my plan for the install. I want to go with 8AWG just to be safe.
                iDub Status:

                99.99% -- It's alive!!!...the extra .01% is because it'll never be completely "done."

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