Sometimes it’s good to sort out your electrical junk drawer. If you say you don’t have one, I don’t believe you! After all, we all have junk of wires, either electrical or speaker, lying around aimlessly in our house. But, besides electrical ones, can you really use a speaker wire as a power wire, primarily for 12v power? Well, keep reading to find out your answer.
Like me, if you’ve access to a 12v power supply but are unaware of which wire to use? You’re probably wondering if you could use speaker wires to serve the function. However, it does look similar to an electrical wire. But can you use it to power appliances and electrical devices, especially 12v power?
It’s okay if you’ve no clue about what’s the deal is with speaker wires. I mean, I was in the same boat when I first encountered the same query. But, after researching and testing, I was amazed to see it worked really well!
In short, Yes. You can use speaker wires to power 12v appliances, but you also need to consider other factors like compatibility, wire gauge, maximum and minimum voltage capacity, resistance, etc.
So let’s dive in to get more insights on the topic!
Does Speaker Wire Carry Power?
Yes, the speaker cord carries power. However, it is different as it comes directly from the amplifier. Therefore, it can be used as a power cable in low-voltage appliances. Moreover, the speaker wires are made up of pure copper and insulating materials that are helpful in power transmission. So, they can be used as a 12v power supply and can withstand up to a maximum of 30 Watt of power.
Can speaker Wires be Used for 12v power?
Yes, you can freely use speaker wires to power 12v appliances. It works well on low-voltage appliances as a standard power cable would. Just check its gauge, and you’re good to go.
In most cases, we need to foresee the correct wire sizes. Because when you multiply volts with a high or low amperage, it gives you a power load that helps you to consider whether the wire is ideal for that electronic device or not.
How Much Power Runs through a Speaker Wire?
A speaker wire’s power is not that much since they are not attached to the wall plug directly compared to regular wires connected to external circuits. Instead, the Speaker wire’s power depends on the current supplied via the amplifier, which is connected to them.
Moreover, it also depends upon the wire size, resistance, and inductance. For example, a larger number of gauge wires often require less power, and vice versa.
What is Special about Speaker Wire?
Speaker wires are used for speakers, and no doubt can be used as a power cable. There isn’t much difference between the speaker wires and electrical wires, except for resistance and insulation.
They are made up of pure copper and covered with perfect insulation. It means they are safe and durable.
Additionally, they don’t carry that much electricity to electrocute you; they can handle up to 30 volts. So, if you’re looking to power a 12v appliance using a speaker cord, you aren’t making any mistake.
Understanding Wire Gauge Concept
A wire gauge refers to its diameter, and we often determine the wire’s gauge depending on its diameter. Moreover, the wire gauge decides the amount of current you can transfer from any wire. As speaker wire usually has a lesser wire gauge, it can only be used to power less-voltage appliances or consume less current.
More current or electricity can pass through a cable of thick diameter, as this type of cable has less resistance. The standard to measure wire sizes is known as American Wire Gauge System (AWG). On average, a speaker wire size varies from 10 to 22 AWG. However, most of the systems use 14, 16, or 18 AWG.
Similarly, in speakers, optimal sound quality is due to the power load, which ultimately depends upon the thickness of the given wire. The more it is, the higher current will pass and vice versa.
Now, if we relate wire gauge with amperage, the ohm load should correlate to the wire thickness, right? So, therefore, the shorter the wire, the thinner it needs to be and vice versa to maintain and preserve the sound quality.
What Can Electrical Devices be Connected with the Speaker Wire?
No! Speaker wires are not confined to speakers only; you can use them for other purposes, too. However, they are primarily made to work within the audio and music industry, but never mind using them for other lighter appliances.
Speaker wires can be used anywhere around your house, in low voltages, to provide power to any of your desired devices or appliances. For instance, it can provide power to hard-wired devices, doorbells, security sensors at homes or offices, lighting at landscapes, door openers of garage and thermostats, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here’s a list of the most relatable and commonly asked questions that might be popping up in your mind, too. Let’s check them one by one!
What is special about speaker wire?
Speaker wires are made of pure copper, and as copper tends to oxidize, it’s covered in a transparent insulator to prevent that. It has three main electrical features, namely inductance, capacitance, and the most important of all, resistance. They have lower resistance, which enables them to carry more power.
Speaker Wire for Power Cable
Yes, speaker wires can be used as power cables but not with too many power outlets. It would be best if you were careful about using it with an outlet of 110 or 220. But if you connect it to very high resistance, you can make it work, as it will lessen the current that will eventually prevent the wire from heating up.
Speaker wire vs. electrical wire
Both the wires are pretty much of the same nature except for insulation. Speaker wires have transparent insulation revealing their pure copper color, and they handle low voltage currents. Whereas electrical wires have brown, red, black, or any different color to correspond and represent to a different wire, their voltage may vary from high to average. As a result, speaker wires are not really a fire hazard, and electrocution is rare in this in opposition, while electrical wires are high current-carrying wires that can shock you to an extreme extent causing fatal consequences.
What electrical devices can be connected to the speaker wire?
The speaker wires mainly deal with low voltage appliances, primarily LED bulbs, thermostats, television, doorbells, ceiling lights, fan, adapters, etc. As far as any 12v powered devices are considered, they all can easily be powered through speaker wires. If you are still unsure about using them, go and test them right now!
What voltage can the speaker wire handle?
It usually depends on the resistance and the power amplification of the speaker wire. Speaker wires usually handle low voltages and can handle up to 30 volts easily. These voltages are so small that they will not even shock you.
What wire is used for 12v?
As per the American Wire Gauge system (AWG), it is crucial and essential for us to use the correct wire size. If the right wire size is not used, it may be a safety hazard. Furthermore, as our homes are powered with 240 volts of electricity, we need to use the correct wires of appropriate diameters.
Can Speaker wire and electrical wires be used for 12v power?
Yes, you can use both the wires for 12v power. However, the main difference lies in their insulating materials. Electrical wires are mainly considered high current-carrying wires and thus can easily shock you and cause a short circuit. Also, they are not as functional as speaker wires on the low voltage supply.
How much power is through speaker wire?
The maximum electrical load speaker wire can withstand around 13-20 Amps, depending upon the resistance. It can’t carry much power as it is not directly plugged into the wall circuit. The amplifier usually supplies the current for it. As for our case, a speaker wire can easily carry up to a 12v power supply.
Can I use speaker wire for amp power?
Yes, you can definitely use a speaker wire for amp power while considering its wire gauge. And as long as it lies in the range of 12v power, then there’s no problem using it.
You can put 13 amps for 16-gauge wire, 15 amps for 14-gauge wire, and 30 amps for 10-gauge power. Thus, it is evident that a larger number of wire gauges require less power, and a smaller number of wire gauges require more energy.
Can I use speaker wire for 12v LED lights?
Yes, considering the wire gauge, you can use speaker wires for 12v LED lights. Once you keep the resulting voltage drop and current in mind, they are a perfect fit. LED lights have little power consumption so we can use such cables for them. However, it also depends upon the type of speaker wire you’re using.
Can I use speaker wire as a ground?
The ground wire often carries current with a slighter higher intensity, and using a speaker wire with it can be dangerous. This is because Speaker wire contains a small gauge, which can melt the wire if a large quantity of current flows through it. However, you could use speaker wire if you had a large enough gauge.
Is an 18-gauge speaker wire good enough?
In most cases, using an 18-gauge speaker wire works fine with home or car speakers. Similarly, 18AWG wire is good enough for powering 4-ohm car speakers up to 50W and up to 100W for 8-ohm home stereo speakers. While for higher power systems, using a 16-gauge is a better option.
Can speaker wire cause a fire?
Yes, but the chances are slim to none. As these wires are not rated for high voltage usage, therefore, when exposed to such situations, they can cause malfunctions such as electrical fires. Mainly, speaker wires are well insulated, so they don’t harm any connected device and avoid overheating and causing the fire. In most cases, the short circuit also prevents danger. If I conclude, chances for a fire are extremely rare as they are low voltage power cables and are entirely safe for use.
Is it safe to cut speaker wire?
Yes, it is safe to cut speaker wires. But do not cut speaker wires when they are directly connected to an amplifier output or a power source. Make sure to switch off all the electrical devices before you start cutting the wires.
You can use wire cutters or scissors to dissect the wire. It requires some skill and practice to cut your speaker wires perfectly; however, it’s not that difficult. A clear and focused mind combined with hands can do the magic. Now, after you cut the wire, strip off the insulation from your wire. Always unplug it before you start your dissection!
Is speaker wire the same as lamp wire?
Years ago, people were using lamp wire with their speakers. And why not? Because both the wires are pretty much the same, having a similar gauge size, around 14-16 gauge. So, you can use speaker wires in LED lamps and lights.
In this modern era of technology, keeping yourself up to date about the functions and features of electrical cables or any other wires, including speaker wires, is crucial. For example, I know you probably had wondered about the function of a speaker wire, as nowadays, they are common in our homes.
So, to help you, I’ve discussed a brief guide on, “Can you use a speaker wire for a 12v power?”
I hope it’s now clear for you and you’ve got your answer now!