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Old 11-28-2012, 03:12 PM   #15
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Just talked to another electric supply and they also said it would be hard to find outdoor UV cable and he said "it ain't legal" here in CA. It is hard to imagine that is so, as I know that I've seen overhead cables strung many times here. Maybe that was only done under older codes though. They did say they special order some other stuff he couldn't remember what it was called for some solar guys though.

I've just checked West Marine's website and they have some stuff that looks promising -- they have 6-2, 8-2, and 10-2 "safety marine cable" for $5, $3, and $1.63 per foot respectively. Separately, the have just "duplex cable" that is about the same price. I don't know what the difference is between that and "safety" cable. They also have single conductor cable in #8 and #10 for $1.20 and $0.74 respectively.

The local store says they have a good selection in stock.

The cable is made by Ancor and I can't find specs that say UV resistant but I've seen some marketing copy on some websites that says it is....

"Ancor produces a wide line of specially designed marine grade electrical products engineered for the demands of marine environment and elements faced out on the water. It is important to remember that marine electrical systems are much different than standard electrical wiring. All parts in the wiring process must be waterproof, UV ray and corrosion resistant, as well as strong enough to stand up to extreme vibration and flexing. Ancor wiring components exceed these standards."

This is starting to sound like a good option that I might be able to get locally.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:59 PM   #16
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Wierd. All three of the Home Depot stores near Palo Alto where I live carry SOOW cable, in lots of different gauges and conductor configurations.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:28 AM   #17
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Yeah they only seemed to have the SJ variety here in Palm Springs and then only down to 10 gauge I think.

I ended up with marine cable as described from West Marine. (Trying to attach pic of selection from phone.) I'm very happy with it though it was expensive. Everything they have is uv rated. I got the 8-2 cable for about $3 per foot. In reality, only 6 feet or maybe less will be exposed so it would be possible to have a junction/combiner to transition to other cable just inside or right before the inside drop.

I have also been thinking about using trempro to attach it to the roof and another cable type might have worked fine if it were embedded and covered in it. That sounds potentially messy so I'm unsure about the idea.

Tomorrow will be running the cable and not sure how that will go and if trempro is the right way to adhere... And not sure what I am going to face with the fridge vent. Hope it all makes sense when I start poking around. If anyone has advice, please share!
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:26 PM   #18
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Just wanted to correct myself about the wire types at Home Depot. The chart there is in fact different than Lowes and a pic is attached. They do have the SO type wire. It looks like it is 3 and 4 conductor but does go down to 6 guage. Didn't check the price though since I already went with marine cable.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:35 PM   #19
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One note about the marine cable. It is finely stranded, much more finely than what I think was some 8 gauge THHN cable I bought previously at Home Depot for my truck. That makes it pretty flexible. I would guess that the SO cable is pretty flexible too since it is kind of a power cord type application.

I vaguely recall reading in my research that electricity flows on the outside of the conductors or something so I wonder if the fine strands are better for that? I suppose there may be a purpose to choosing heavy strands over fine but maybe not and it is just a quality thing. [EDIT: upon further research it seems it may just have more to do with how flexible the cable is.] Maybe there is also a difference between AC and DC in how it travels on the wire and if fine vs thick strands matters. Of course, household wiring is generally not stranded for common romex runs and that is AC. [EDIT: I researched this concept of power flowing on the outside a bit more and it is called the "skin effect" and applies more to AC than DC]

The welding cable I got for the 12 volt run between the solar controller and the battery bank is also finely stranded.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:07 PM   #20
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One more little note -- although the Ancor brand #8 cable from West Marine was about $3 a foot, it was two conductor so it looks like it wasn't too much more expensive than the #10 single conductor wire sold by solar merchants online ($1 to $2 per foot for single conductor). Northern Arizona Solar has an outdoor rated #8 two conductor for $2.26/foot.

And West Marine had #8 single conductor cable for a bit over a buck a foot too.
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