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  1. #1

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    Sizing electrical wire 12V

    I picked up a couple of fans and a battery today from the surplus store. I didn't buy any wiring because the guy told me I could use what I have [24 gauge] The two fans total 1.5 amps and I figure about 10 feet round trip. Now I just did a little searching and it seems I need thicker wire. Is that right? The leads on the fans are even thinner then the wire I have.

  2. #2
    jimgalli's Avatar
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    Are these going to be "hard wired" in as permanent fixtures like a vent fan in a bathroom? If so, yes you do. What drives the wire size in that case is the circuit breaker at the far end that turns that circuit off. If it's a 20 amp breaker you need #12 wire. If a 15 amp breaker you need #14 wire. If you're simply plugging them into an existing household outlet, any old zipcord is fine. 24 sounds a little light perhaps.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

  3. #3
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimgalli
    Are these going to be "hard wired" in as permanent fixtures like a vent fan in a bathroom? If so, yes you do. What drives the wire size in that case is the circuit breaker at the far end that turns that circuit off. If it's a 20 amp breaker you need #12 wire. If a 15 amp breaker you need #14 wire. If you're simply plugging them into an existing household outlet, any old zipcord is fine. 24 sounds a little light perhaps.
    When plugging 1.5A 12VDC fans into the wall (assuming the 120VAC North American standard), I'd suggest using the thinnest possible wire you can find. It will then act as a fuse and if it melts quickly enough, may protect the fans.

    Lee

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    With low voltage direct current the concern is voltage drop.

    The best and cheapest wire for 12 volts is sold at places like Canadian Tire or your local trailer parts dealer and is used for trailer wiring. It is usually available in 1, 2 3, and up to 5 conductor and can be "unzipped" into smaller groups.

    Don't pay any attention to the small wire size on the fan - they didn't worry about voltage drop over a few inches.

    Don't forget that lead-acid batteries product hydrogen gas if charged rapidly so make sure you have ventilation - wouldn't want ya to go BOOM!

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    Hello Nick,

    Jim is absolutely correct about the wire gauge for household amperage.

    However, your 12 volt battery setup is a little different. You will have 12 volts, 1.5 amps and 18 watts. (Multiply amps times volts to get watts.)

    Check out the American Wire Gauge table on this website: http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm

    It calls for a minimum wire size of 20 gauge for your amperage. Your 24 gauge wire is rated only for 0.577 amps. I would allow for a margin of error and go with the popular 16 or 14 gauge.

    I was an electronics technician in the US Coast Guard. Just another example of your tax dollars at work. ;0)

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    So what guage do I need then?

    Jane this place seemed cheaper then Canadian tire. Most of the stuff was even new -)

    It's a sealed battery is it still going to vent? Not much of an issue I can take it outside to charge. I figure the battery will only need charging about once a year. It's a wee bit bigger then the load really needs.

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    Thanks John. I'll see if I can find something like 14 guage for a little extra safety.

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    Nick, if you can go with gauge 16 (used in auto-wiring).
    Mama took my APX away.....

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena
    I picked up a couple of fans and a battery today from the surplus store. I didn't buy any wiring because the guy told me I could use what I have [24 gauge] The two fans total 1.5 amps and I figure about 10 feet round trip. Now I just did a little searching and it seems I need thicker wire. Is that right? The leads on the fans are even thinner then the wire I have.

    Considering your stated amperage and DC voltage, you'll be fine with 20 guage wire

  10. #10
    jimgalli's Avatar
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    Thanks for not being too rough on me....I missed the 12V in the title:~)
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

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