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Old 01-06-2011, 10:50 AM   #1
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Landscape Wire

I was at home improvement store today and was looking at wire for the 12 volt system. They had 12-2 and 14-2 landscape wire for $0.37 a foot and about $129 for 500 feet. This seems like a good price. Can this be used in the trailer? It seems like the perfect solution to running pairs to everything. I asked the associate and he said that because it is rated for 12v and outdoors I should have no problem using in the walls of the trailer. The only downside I can see is that both wires are black although one is clearly marked with grooves. I guess the lack of different colors would make it difficult to do quick visual checks. Anyone see any issues with using this wire?
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:44 AM   #2
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I think as long as you keep it away from grease and oil and don't use it in an engine compartment it should work ok.

I always use colored tape on the ends or wire labels if you are making multiple runs. Don't forget to grommet all the wall penetrations.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:37 PM   #3
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It is best if it is stranded. It will take the vibration better.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:39 PM   #4
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I hate to bring this up but landscape wire will hate vibration especially where you terminate a wire.

Automotive wire has a supple insulation and the new code rated wire has a mylar wrap for both weather proofing and flexibility, plus there is probably a silicone or wax base lubricant among the strands to keep them pliant and resilient. Remember Copper work-hardens, the more the metal is manipulated and bent the more its crystalline structure gets brittle.

Landscape wire copper is probably the lowest grade they can get away with, plus the hard plastic armor it is in probably penetrates the standing instead of being simply a sheath covering it.

If you are very thorough in putting the wires in flex conduit and extra careful in separating and stripping back the insulation then clamp-anchoring each wire down withing a couple of inches of the connection (should be done anyway) and meticulous in performing a crimp on the lugs, and adding a heat-shrink cover across the lug-to-insulation gap... you still have landscaping wire that was meant to be stock-still until it corroded open...
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:07 PM   #5
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This is a stranded wire. I found this link that has some of the technical specs on the wire. I do not plan on using conduit.

Coleman Cable 552670508 500' Low Voltage Cable 14/2 - Black
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:14 PM   #6
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If this is not suitable does anyone know a source for 14-2 or 12-2 wire. I will probably be doing a lot of wire fishing and I thought pairing wires would be easier.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:20 PM   #7
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What you are looking at is ZIP cord. It barely makes a good extension cord. The coating will harden and crack after a while. It will also chafe, requiring special attention to any areas that may rub on the edge of metal or wood.
I have 44 years in aircraft wiring and cabeling and IMHO I woud reject this cable as an option for the interior walls of a towable unit.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:40 PM   #8
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Automotive grade.

12 AWG RED/BLACK ZIP WIRE | AllElectronics.com

I used this to wire the 2meter radio in my Jeep. Don't remember where I bought it but this is the type of wire.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:43 PM   #9
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don't forget stranded wire is better connected with crimp fitting, household screw on connectors don't work with vibration, they loosen and can catch on fire when connector has enough volts and amps to arc.
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:04 PM   #10
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Once again great advice from the forum. I will go with the zip wire is everyone agrees, it is only slightly more expensive. Thanks all.
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:25 PM   #11
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I use and recommend boat cable. A web search on "boat cable 14-2" should provide plenty of examples.

Boat cable is a sheathed cable assembly similar to type NM used in residential dwellings. Unlike NM it is stranded and uses insulation and jacket materials that flex and lower temperatures. It lacks the 3rd grounding conductor present in NM which is not useful in 12vdc applications.

The problem with the zip cord style materials, even the somewhat higher quality material you found at allelectronics,com, is that the insulation deteriorates, leading to problems. The plastic stiffens over the years especially with exposure to heat and sunlight, and then can crack, particularly in cold weather. I just replaced some zip cord in a kitchen lamp in someone's stick house the other day. The heat of the bulb had caused the insulation to deteriorate and crumble away in the last inch or so before the socket. That's the kind of thing that happens.

The jacketed cables are made of longer lasting plastic and the presence of the jacket provides an additional degree of protection.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
I use and recommend boat cable. A web search on "boat cable 14-2" should provide plenty of examples.

Boat cable is a sheathed cable assembly similar to type NM used in residential dwellings. Unlike NM it is stranded and uses insulation and jacket materials that flex and lower temperatures. It lacks the 3rd grounding conductor present in NM which is not useful in 12vdc applications.

The problem with the zip cord style materials, even the somewhat higher quality material you found at allelectronics,com, is that the insulation deteriorates, leading to problems. The plastic stiffens over the years especially with exposure to heat and sunlight, and then can crack, particularly in cold weather. I just replaced some zip cord in a kitchen lamp in someone's stick house the other day. The heat of the bulb had caused the insulation to deteriorate and crumble away in the last inch or so before the socket. That's the kind of thing that happens.

The jacketed cables are made of longer lasting plastic and the presence of the jacket provides an additional degree of protection.
I don't think that you need to go as good as boat cable, but it really is nice to work with and good quality stranded and tinned. I used it on mine for both AC and DC systems and bought it from http://sailorssolutions.com. It costs more, but trailer systems are pretty simple and we're generally not using a lot of wire.

-steve
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:39 PM   #13
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I've been searching myself. I'll probably buy here,
www.DelCity.net
I googled 12 guage primary wire
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:00 PM   #14
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Check http://order.waytekwire.com - I've picked up four or five times from their will-call desk and was very impressed with select items price, quality and solid managers.
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