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Unread 03-28-2013, 09:24 PM   #1
sAe23
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Autozone 10 AWG wire w/o insulation rating

Should I trust it?

I'm hooking up an aux fuse panel in the passenger compartment to power the various accessories I use.
I also will be hooking up an external stereo amplifier that draws 31 amps max and was planning on using this same wire until I notice the missing info

I've looked at more than a handful of Ampacity charts and found as many different ratings for 10 AWG wire. MOST show different ratings depending on the rating of the insulation (temp and voltage).
Some charts say 10 AWG is only good for up to as little as 10-15 amps, and others say it's good for over 40. Sigh.

This Made-in-China wire only has "10 gauge" printed on the insulation. I Googled the P/N and company name and found no other info.
Should I trust it to power a 30 amp circuit?
TIA

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Unread 03-29-2013, 10:04 AM   #2
mschi772
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Some guys don't care at all about little details like this and will say that wire is wire. I personally wouldn't use it. I stick to quality GXL or SXL cross-link automotive wire in the engine compartment. Heck, if I'm feeling really anal and spendy, tinned wire for marine applications is the way to go for corrosion protection (probably of little to no concern in CA). Passenger compartment--they'd be overkill.

How long are you running this wire? Length matter as well. Is the wire that you have the Dorman stuff with PVC insulation? Autozone's website shows Dorman wire and Painless wire. Here is a link to Dorman's own product catalog with a chart on like the 2nd page. http://dormanproducts.com/flipbook/2...calcatalog.pdf
If it's the Painless cross-link stuff, I'm sure they have their own chart somewhere, but it's almost certainly fine.
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Unread 03-29-2013, 10:07 AM   #3
CCKen
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Depends if the wire is in a bundle or in free air, length of the wire, and conductor temperature rating of the wire, etc.

Here's a chapter out of the FAA Advisory Circular AC 43.13-1B that has charts and other data you can use. Chapter 11, Section 5, Electrical Wire Rating.

That chicom wire you have my not even fit this data.

http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/list/AC%2043.13-1B/$FILE/Chapter%2011.pdf
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Unread 03-29-2013, 10:34 AM   #4
JWELK
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All good questions. 10 Gauge wire has X for ampacity period. The insulation rating determines where you may use the wire. Some is good for oil/grease. Temperature is probably the most important factor in an auto. Oil/grease for a boat etc. You need to have SAE rated wire. This will have the temperature specs needed. It also states the wire will be sufficiently flexible to be able to work with. Household 10 gauge even if it is stranded is difficult to route. Most of us use welding cable, if you have any doubts go to your local sound store, they will have the good stuff. 10 Gauge can handle a great deal of current. If it chafes and shorts, it will release large quantities of the magic smoke, ( a bad 'ting mon) before your Jeep burns up.
Now add all the things you are going to connect to this panel, let's say the full load is 43 amps. Now determine the length of the wire, say 10 feet. Next you need to determine what voltage drop you want over that distance. Voltage drop will cause lights to be dimmer, the stereo will no longer generate 1 KW and the base may drop out.
So let's say you go for a 3% voltage drop. There are a number of sites that give make the calculations for you, this is one. "http://www.solar-wind.co.uk/cable-sizing-DC-cables.html".
As you can see, 10 feet @ 43 amps needs a bit more than 10 gauge. The wire can and will carry 10 amps but the voltage at the other end will not be 12 volts. There are other sites that will calculate what the voltage drop will be. Your starter for example can tolerate maybe a 50% voltage drop and still start the car, that is why 6 or 4 ga will suffice for a 120 amp or so load.
Hope this helps and made it a bit clearer.

Regards,

Jim W
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Unread 03-29-2013, 01:00 PM   #5
sAe23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mschi772 View Post
[snip]
How long are you running this wire? Length matter as well. Is the wire that you have the Dorman stuff with PVC insulation? Autozone's website shows Dorman wire and Painless wire. Here is a link to Dorman's own product catalog with a chart on like the 2nd page. http://dormanproducts.com/flipbook/2...calcatalog.pdf
If it's the Painless cross-link stuff, I'm sure they have their own chart somewhere, but it's almost certainly fine.
I estimate 15' for the fuse panel run and maybe 20' for the stereo amp, depending on where I enter the passenger compartment and how I route the wires.
I don't think it's the Dorman stuff, but their page was favorite-able
O'reilly has the part number as Dorman, but Autozone doesn't specify the brand. The Spool label has "Best Parts Inc." on it.

My local Frys has some 10 AWG wire, but last I looked they only had black.
I still need to see what Home Depot sells, or drive 15+ miles to the nearest dedicated electronics store :/
May be a good excuse to take the motorcycle for a spin
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Unread 03-29-2013, 06:43 PM   #6
mschi772
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Del City and Waytek are great places to buy wire, but they have some pretty big minimum orders--might be more wire than you'll ever want to use. Crutchfield is also a fantastic place that sells wire for car audio applications, but I'm not sure how their prices are on wire. Monoprice is a downright awesome place to buy lots of wire/cable/electronic hardware, but I'm not sure if they sell automotive primary wire or not.
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Unread 03-30-2013, 08:47 AM   #7
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You will have to determine how much current you'll be drawing with that aux hookup to see if 10g will work or not.

On the amp, it's a little more complicated. While the amp might be rated to draw 31 amps, it's only going to do that at ear-bleed levels, and probably even then only for very short peaks. OTOH, the voltage drop you get across the supply wire to an amp can really "trim off" the peak power of the amp, which can be important if you like it loud. The reduction in power available isn't linear with voltage drop, but (more or less) the square of the voltage drop. In the end, better wire ends up being a pretty cheap modification for most amp installs if they're not right by the battery to start with. You could always just install the 10g wire, then test it to see how much the voltage drops at full volume. You can always run multiple parallel 10g wires, which works just as good as a single, larger wire.

I recently installed a 1,000 watt DC to AC inverter in my GMC motorhome. Inverters are notorious for being fussy about supply voltage, and the existing 4 gauge wire that ran from the "house" batteries in the right front to the DC distribution in the left rear just wasn't coming close to working right. I could fire up the inverter, but any load more than a few hundred watts would put it into protection mode. I ended up running very flexible 25' of 1/0 cable (about as big as my middle finger), then about 7' of stiffer 2/0 cable under my coach, and now I can run my microwave or my vacuum cleaner with impunity (both draw about 7 amps AC which would probably mean about 100 amps DC). That was probably overkill, but now I have only a small fraction of a volt of voltage drop between my batteries and inverter, and know that the system is as efficient as it can be (a good thing because I often run the 'fridge off the inverter when driving long distances, since it saves gas and works better than when it's in 12VDC mode).
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Unread 03-31-2013, 01:03 PM   #8
sAe23
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I returned the Autozone wire and got some better wire at Home Depot.
I also changed my mind and got some 8 AWG wire to do the amp hookup.
I just need to order the connectors as no local merchant carries them
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Unread 03-31-2013, 02:48 PM   #9
JWELK
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To save yourself a great deal of trouble, I would run separate cables red and black to the amp directly from the battery. Full rated side terminal batteries are great for this. Fuse this accordingly, 50 Amps or so. The black wire is needed as the sheet metal in your Jeep (or any car) is not really rated for this level of current. This will make your aux fuse box easier to manage.

Regards,

Jim W
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