When the idea for installing LED lighting, most people would think it’s a job for top professionals. That is not entirely true; LEDs use low-voltage currents through a transformer. However, if you’re installing 12-volt LED lights, keep a few things in mind while choosing a 12v cable for led lighting. This article will explain how to choose a 12v lighting cable and recommend the best cable for 12v lighting.
Our top choice for the best cable for 12v lighting is the Aotorua gauge red-black cable. It has a high-quality PVC conductor, excellent conductivity, mechanical strength, and anti-aging, acid, and alkali resistance. It can also be used in a broad range of applications from 12V to 330V DC, all single-color LED strip lights and low voltage cables, and low-loss home or automobile radio installations.
When connecting landscape lights using 12v wires, it is important to know the difference between these cables. The two types of cable are stranded wire and solid wire. This will help you determine which cable you need for your wiring. So, what is the difference between stranded vs. solid wire?
What is stranded wire, and how does it work?
Stranded thin wires come in bundles that are insulated and compressed without conductive materials. It is easy to use a stranded wire because of the flexibility to bend and fit into tight spaces. When comparing solid wire, stranded wires are more flexible and often used indoors because they don’t sever or split.
What is Solid Wire, and how does it work?
Solid wires are thicker than stranded wires and are also heavier or bulky. Solid wire use or handles more current than stranded cable and is mostly used outdoors because it can withstand different weather and are durable.
Is it better to use stranded or solid wire?
Solid wire and stranded wires are the two most common types of wire. A plastic insulating jacket surrounds a single solid conductor in the solid wire, generally copper. Rather than having many conductors in a single bundle, stranded wires have an insulating jacket covering the whole bundle.
Even though the stranded wire is bendable, it may not be easy to manipulate. It needs some soldering to make it strong enough to be inserted into a cable. However, the wire with a solid wire is more malleable and easier to join. Therefore, it is preferable to utilize the solid core wire for your LED lights since it is more convenient.
Performance is the main difference between stranded and solid cable. Stranded cables display 20 to 50% greater attenuation than solid copper conductors due to insertion loss (20 percent for 24 AWG and 50 percent for 26 AWG). In addition, stranded conductors have a greater DC resistance than solid cables because their cross-section is not entirely copper.
Solid cables are better electrical conductors with more consistent electrical properties. In addition, because they have less surface area than stranded conductors, they are considered more robust and less prone to vibration and corrosion.
How to Determine the Correct Wire Gauge
- Determine how many feet of wire you’ll need to connect an LED strip as the first step in this procedure.
- Determine the maximum possible current across the wire.
- Then, add the entire length of LED strips connected to the power source and multiply this by the watts per foot to get the total wattage.
- An LED light, for example, uses roughly 4.4 watts per foot of light. So, over a distance of 16 feet, multiplying 4.4 by 16 yields a power output of 70.4 watts.
- The total amps, or current, is obtained by multiplying the total wattage by 12. Divided by 12, this amounts to 5.87 amps or 70.4% of the available wattage.
- To determine the proper wire gauge, please see the chart below.
- An amp is located at the junction of two feet. When using 50 feet of cable and five amps, the wire gauge should be 10.
- Remember that the wire itself pulls current, so if you are using a longer wire, be sure to pick a thick one.
- A lower digit in the numbering system indicates thicker wire.
If you’re using colored wires or cables, you’ll also want to consider the color of their insulation. The color of the wire encapsulation is frequently a good indicator of what sort of wire is within.
- Insulation in black or red implies a live or hot wire is present.
- A cable or wire with a white or brown cover implies a neutral wire or cable.
- There is a ground wire inside if the cover is yellow or yellow-green.
It’s important to note that electricity can go through a neutral wire, so use caution while working with them. Also, before beginning any installation, turn off your circuit breaker or light switch.
Most individuals would recommend a solid-core 18-gauge wire, but if you want your wires to fit into most holders or terminals, you’ll have to choose between this 18-gauge wire and a much smaller cable, although the price difference is tiny. This cable size can handle far more than the typical system.
Wiring connections might be useful for installing many 12v LED lights with dimming capabilities. Still, with 12V DC Connectors, you may make any low-voltage DC wire connections with simplicity and safety. Both positive and negative wires can be connected using these connectors. You may also use them for fishing boats, mobile homes, RVs, buses, automotive, solar, and wind systems, among other applications. With these connections, you may end up tangled wiring once and for all.
What is the best cable for 12v lighting?
Below are some of the best cables for 12v lighting; they have some of the highest customer reviews and are built to last.
1. AOTORUA 100FT 14/2 Gauge Red Black Cable Hookup Electrical Wire
Premium conductors and high-quality PVC provide excellent conductivity and mechanical strength, are flame retardant, anti-aging, acid, and alkali resistant, and have dampproof properties. This Premium cable is suitable for use with any single-color LED strip light, including low voltage single-color LED strip, light bulb, or lamp.
This 12v cable has a voltmeter on it. For various DC electrical hookups, red and black wire is frequently employed. The cable is simple to strip and trim to any required length. The wire is pre-wrapped around a durable plastic spool, making distributing the wire simple and quick.
2. TYUMEN 40FT 18 Gauge 2pin 2 Color Red Black Cable Hookup Electrical Wire LED Strips
The AWG LED strip extension cable from TyumenDirect is appropriate for all single-color LED strip lights, low-voltage LED strip lights, light bulbs, and lamps. It can be used for various DC electrical hookups, like low voltage cables, 12V DC, 24V DC, low-loss in-home or automobile radio installations, and other applications.
The cable is well protected against moisture, and it is simple to use the peel-and-cut method. As a result, you can easily use it in the house, automobile industry, schools, churches, auditoriums, and other commercial settings. There are 40 feet on each spool; the real length is 41 feet, which is one foot longer than specified; the stranding structure makes it flexible and easy to install; you can trim it to any length depending on your needs.
3. LEDLightsWorld 12V Low Voltage Wire, Outdoor Landscape Lighting Cable
You may use this 22 AWG extension cable to run 80-300V electricity, and we recommend utilizing it for 12V, 24V, and 5V LED lights and other applications. For example, it is recommended that you use this extension cable for connecting LED strips to a 12V or 24V power source while creating a magnificent LED light display. Red and black electrical wires with a black protective coating are moisture-proof, chemical-resistant, and made of high-quality materials.
They are made of tinned copper and are commonly used in the wiring of low-voltage electronic devices. You may also use them to connect LED light bars or other lighting connections, among other things. It is simple to assemble, and soldering the wire may provide you with a stable connection.
4. FIRMERST 14/2 Low Voltage Wire Outdoor Landscape Lighting Cable
You can use this with 30 volts or less. It is flexible and easy to strip. It is waterproof, dust and dirt resistant, and rated for direct burial. In addition, it can withstand prolonged sun exposure and is weather-resistant. It is made from flexible copper conductors with higher conductivity and lower resistance than copper-clad aluminum.
Copper has lower resistance than other metals, minimizing the danger of fire caused by overheating the cable. Copper is also significantly stronger than aluminum and will not crack or shatter easily during installation.
This lighting cable is suitable for low-voltage outdoor uses such as accent lights, path lights, spotlights, garden accessories, outdoor speakers, and solar panels.
5. Wirefy 12/2 Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Wire
Outdoor accent, landscape, security, and specialized lighting applications using Wirefy’s low-voltage landscape wires. This wire can be exposed to the sun or buried below. A temperature range of -4F to 140F is recommended. When utilized in various climates, landscape wires don’t need special shielding, sheathing, or pipes. Instead, water, sunlight, and fungi are protected by a PVC jacket.
It comprises two completely annealed bare-stranded copper conductors with PVC insulation. The flat, duplexed wires enable easy installation and splitting. Strip the ends of the wire once it has been cut to the necessary length. Remember to provide slack in the cable between the lights so that freezing/thawing does not produce excessive stress. Wire nuts should be waterproof.
We have now determined that the top choice for the best cable for 12v lighting is the Aotorua gauge red-black cable. This is because it has a high-quality PVC conductor, excellent conductivity, mechanical strength, and anti-aging, acid, and alkali resistance. We also looked at the different types of solid and stranded wires. Stranded wires are more flexible and carry low voltage, while solid wires are heavier and carry more voltage or current.