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Author Topic: Solid versis stranded copper wire???????  (Read 4795 times)
jackhartjr
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« on: September 11, 2007, 08:02:37 PM »

Hi folks!
For those that have done conversions, which is better...and why...solid or stranded copper wire?
Also would 14 gauge work for most of the 40 foot runs to the engine, or go with 12 gauge?
Thanks in advance!
Jack
PS...any secrets to finding good wire out here?
I was in a Farm and Fleet today, they had 500 foot rolls of 12 and 14 gauge in solid and stranded.  $35.00 to $59.00 depending on the gauge.
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Jack Hart, CDS
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NCbob
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2007, 08:12:54 PM »

Hi Jack,

Without question stranded wire is by far the best for anything which moves, be it boats or buses. In fact tinned, stranded wire is the best available. It doesn't corrode and will last the life of the bus and then some as well as having the ability to carry more current (amps) than solid core wire.

My best source is Waytek Wire in MN. They have an on-line catalog and you will find more than just wire and terminals for your needs. Too, many of us who have almost completed our conversions might have bought more than we needed and have some extra available...I do and will be happy to offer what I have for anyone who might need it.

"Onward through the fog...." is my motto!

NCbob
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jackhartjr
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2007, 08:24:32 PM »

Hi Bob, I think you are coming to the "Non-Rally"?  If so please bring what you don't need, I'll bring cash! LOL Grin
Thanks a ton!
Jack
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Jack Hart, CDS
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Jerry Liebler
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2007, 08:31:35 PM »

There are differences in insulation as well.  Automotive wire is not suitable for 120 volt use, it's plain dangerous.  For 120 volt wire you should get 600 volt insulation and preferably wire approved under the National Electric Code.  If you are using individual wires you'll need conduit for the 120 volt 'stuff'.  Thnn stranded 12 guage in flexible PVC conduit is what I used for most of my 120 volt circuts.  I bought a 500 foot spool in black,white,green and red.  This did all the 120 volt and the 12 volt wiring.  I put the 12 volt in plastic cable wraps from the local auto parts store.  When using stranded wire you do need to make all connections with crimp terminals and they need to be crimped with a proper crimp tool, not a pair of superchamps.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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jackhartjr
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2007, 08:35:10 PM »

Hi Jerry, I should have said this is for the 12 volt stuff, not the house wiring.
For the 120 stuff it will be all house wiring.
Thanks for the reply.
Jack
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Jack Hart, CDS
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2007, 09:04:45 PM »

Jack,
    By house wiring I assume you mean 'romex' or plastic sheathed cable.  'romex' is solid wire and really not the best for use in a vehicle.  In using it just be sure to support it well with lots of staples,clamps or ties.  It is much easier to find proper boxes etc. for romex and you don't need crimp terminals with the solid wire.  I prefer the conduit and individual stranded wire method.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2007, 04:37:36 AM »

Be very careful when buying wire from the Cheap Charlie places. Many of them sell stranded copper, however you need to find tinned stranded copper. A world of difference. The un-tinned will corrode, the tinned wiill not.
Richard
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maria-n-skip
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« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2007, 06:52:08 AM »

From a more than casual observation.

  My bus has 12 g marine stranded wire to the Air conditioner. When I moved the breaker box I splices in with  solid copper
  for the connection to the breakers. They are both close to the same length and gauge.

  Result is the stranded is markedly warmer than the solid. (not hot just warmer.)

   Maybe I have missed something but.
   Don't undersize anything. If a wire feel warm try to figure out why.

   Still figuring

   Skip
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TomC
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2007, 08:57:02 AM »

I also used stranded copper running through light weight water tight conduit available from Home Depot (Home Depot, Camping World, etc is where I got the vast majority of my supplies-of which there are many stores nationwide).

I just recently had to replace one of my main 50amp breakers.  They were two separate breakers that I replaced with one double 50 for the generator.  The old one kept tripping, so I thought it was worn out since it is used for the gen/land hook up.  When I took it apart, the screw holding the wire was not very tight.  May have been the problem, but still replaced it.  With our mobile homes vibrating down the road, we should have a scheduled program to tighten accessible connections routinely to prevent problems.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
maria-n-skip
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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2007, 09:19:07 AM »

TomC,

   Do you tin the ends of your stranded wire?

  Skip
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TomC
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2007, 02:36:37 PM »

Did not tin the ends.  But used double wall crimp fittings.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2007, 09:36:22 PM »

I did a test- quite informal mind you- back a few years ago for the BNO folks.   Basically stuck various wire types (all 14ga) in my milling machine chuck n vice, and bent them all up and down with the quill in an equal amount until they failed.  The pictures tell the rest of the story i think.... Smiley

Answer: USE STRANDED and the more strands the better....

http://www.heartmagic.com/00WIREstory.JPG

cheers
Gary
« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 09:38:33 PM by boogiethecat » Logged

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Don4107
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2007, 10:40:30 PM »

Gary, Very informative test.  Something everyone should take away from this thread, as has been mentioned many times before, is that whatever wire you use it needs to be secure or it can and will fail.  If I was to drive my coach on our country roads with a wire that flexed going over bumps it would take me about 5 minutes to get 460 cycles!!!!! Shocked

That said my old bus was wired with romex and wire nuts by PO and never has caused a problem. 

Don 4107
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Don 4107 Eastern Washington
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JohnEd
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2007, 11:09:58 PM »

I was told a while back that the NEC did NOT allow stranded wire in motor homes.  I thought solid was a bad idea but the info was that the marine stuff was not approved.  I have enuf experience and education to know that stranded is superior where and vibration or induce movement is in the environment.  Period!  Still, the code is the code.  Can anybody straighten me out on this?

I don't know if the numbers are exactly correct but stranded cable will oxidize in less time than solid.  Ten strand 14 gauge will take one tenth the time to be eaten thru as opposed to solid 14 gauge.  I think the tinned stock would be worth the extra cash.

John
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2007, 04:31:03 AM »

JohnEd, The NEC is great for reference and safety, I think just about every wire in an automobile that "I" can think of is stranded!  I personally like the tinned marine wire, the NEC is probably confused because it's called "marine" wire! Just kidding!  Even with the price of copper today, your wiring is one of the cheaper components when converting your bus! I read in the paper just about everyday where the police catch some retard stealing copper! You would think its gold! 
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