What gauge wire do I need?!

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Old 01-29-18, 12:18 AM
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Lightbulb What gauge wire do I need?!

I have designed out an LED array which runs 60 LEDs (20 sets of 3 with 120 ohm resistors) and I am not sure what gauge wire is appropriate for the job. The entire array draws 400 mA from a 12V source. I know since the array doesnt really draw a whole lot of power it shouldnt need too large of wires, but I am looking for the smallest size that I can, and would rather not risk lighting my projects on fire (the array is inlayed into wood). Can anyone help me out?
 
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Old 01-29-18, 12:25 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Wire for what...... going from the LED's to a power supply ?
You can use almost anything. 18-2, 20-2, 22-2 would even be ok.

It needs to be strong enough to take a little abuse. If you are using a power supply capable of a lot more current than you need..... install a fuse in your wiring near the transformer. A 2A fuse would be good.
 
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Old 01-29-18, 12:43 AM
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Look at the little wallwart power supplies and cell chargers...most of them are anywhere from 5-12V and supply up to 2.5amps...way more than what you will need. So the wire the size of one of those chargers cords would be more than enough.
 
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Old 01-29-18, 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by PJmax View Post
Welcome to the forums.

Wire for what...... going from the LED's to a power supply ?
You can use almost anything. 18-2, 20-2, 22-2 would even be ok.

It needs to be strong enough to take a little abuse. If you are using a power supply capable of a lot more current than you need..... install a fuse in your wiring near the transformer. A 2A fuse would be good.
Thank you, i am glad i found this site. I am sure it will come in handy!

So the wire is to connect the LEDs to the 12v power supply. All of the LEDs and wiring are set inside wood and sealed over with either epoxy resin, or rubber. (Im not sure which im going with yet). I know the LEDs dont put off much heat at all and that the wiring and all will be encapsulated so i dont need to worry much about it moving or getting damaged or wet. But being relatively new to using electronics within my wood projects I am just concerned with the safety of making sure the wireing doesnt blow and ignite the projects (some of which are gifts to others/products to be sold). Si I guess my next question is how important is the fuse? I had thought about putting one in before but i was unsure how necessary it was. Thank you for the help!
 
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Old 01-29-18, 04:58 AM
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How long is your wiring run? There are calculators online to help you choose what size wire. Just do a search for "low voltage wiring calculator". You must also consider the length of the wire as you can use smaller wire for shorter runs but as the length grows you need to go to larger wire sizes to minimize the voltage drop.
 
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Old 01-29-18, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dane View Post
How long is your wiring run? There are calculators online to help you choose what size wire. Just do a search for "low voltage wiring calculator". You must also consider the length of the wire as you can use smaller wire for shorter runs but as the length grows you need to go to larger wire sizes to minimize the voltage drop.
the total length of the positive run is about 40" in and the negative is about 15" long.
 
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Old 01-29-18, 02:22 PM
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Those are short runs. The wiring size is not critical.
 
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