View Full Version : small wire Q

Mike M
07-30-2008, 09:36 AM
As systems are engineered to support smaller wire (24v & LED's), is it okay to use solid wire at some point?

(e.g., as in irrigation wire for 24v controllers.)

It's my understanding that the stranded became standard for LV applications because it is easier to manage and lay flat in a trench. But with smaller wire, this becomes less an issue.

I also noticed the invisible fence pro's use solid wire, which is much more durable than the small stranded wire which comes with the consumer kits.

I think the solid wire would be more durable, and connections more reliable, with less worry of cut strands (especially with smaller wire).

David Gretzmier
07-30-2008, 03:14 PM
I've installed wireless dog fence, irrigation, low and high voltage cable in the ground. stranded is always easier to deal with, but as long as it is rated for the task, ( if you can discipher the writing on the insulation ) wire is wire.

07-30-2008, 05:41 PM
Using solid wire is a real PITA. If it was worth using then people would be using it. There is a reason everyone sticks with stranded and its becuase for what we do it is just better.

Mike you always got the questions!! I love it!! I will dig up my technical specs on the differences between stranded and solid. Just need to find them.

Mike M
07-30-2008, 08:17 PM
Joey, I know that the stranded is better, but I'm assuming "better" up to a certain point. Smaller stranded wire is not as great when stripping.

Mainly, my question is in regards to finer sizes. I'm curious, if from an efficiency point of view (value engineering, etc.) if an equal amp-load rated solid wire (vs. stranded) would be cheaper, more durable, or both.

I just happen to notice that the "memory" in the wire laying in the trench is really not a big issue when the gauge is finer. Maybe this is why the irrigation installs based on 24v use the solid wire. Same with the antennae on the pro-version dog fences.

07-31-2008, 10:28 AM
I am going to pull up some info today for you..........

Mike M
07-31-2008, 02:57 PM
Thanks, Joey!

07-31-2008, 04:20 PM
So I looked through my info and then I conferred with Vince w/ Paige and he and i both have agreed that the only differences in Solid and Stranded are the flexability and ease of use. Technical wise the wires are the same. So have it Mr. Murphy!!

Chris J
07-31-2008, 08:52 PM
I was taught that electricity travels around the wire, thus stranded cable was more efficient by having more individual wire for the elec to travel around. Guess I was dooped by this myth.

Mike M
07-31-2008, 10:58 PM
One thing for certain is the improved time and convenience of attaching wires to the terminals in the trans. Splices should be faster and with less problems of cut strands. I wonder if the solid wire (rated for outdoor burial) is cheaper?

It would be a little bit of a pain in single wire to lay two separate wires in the trench, but for chaining, just loop the circuit and keep one wire uncut until the last splice.

Don't mind me, just thinking out loud. I waste so much time with stranded wires at the terminals.

08-01-2008, 10:11 AM
The time saved at the terminal block and splices is a void point becuase you will spend that time trying to keep your stranded wire flat in your trenches when you go to bury it. The only time we use solid core is when we go inside with a wire or if I am retrofitting existing lamp posts to low voltage.

My advice is use the proper sized strippers and practice. If you strip the wire cleanly and twist the strands it shouldnt take you long at all. This is basic technique 101 here.

Mike M
08-01-2008, 06:38 PM
Billy, if the solid wire is such a pain to trench, and I'm talking about smaller wire, say 14, 16, or even 18, then why do the irrigation guys use it? I'm not trying to doubt you, I just want to know why they don't use stranded wire. I'm thinking it's because it's not so difficult to lay it down when you are using smaller wire. I could be wrong. Where's Gregg? He's an irritator, he should know.

I'm not so set on this, I'm just intellectually curious, minus the intellectually part. Okay, so I'm stupidly curious. Biz is so slow I can think up dumb ideas, like using solid wire. Maybe it's the heat.

Anyways, this whole topic came to mind when I cut a solid wire installed by a dog fence guy. If they use it instead of the stranded wire (as in the DYI kits), then why?