Can I use 18 gauge wire for LED lights?

Asked By: Zilda Brendlein | Last Updated: 14th May, 2020
Category: automotive auto parts
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Small gauge conductors are not very practical
Yes, Holladay replies, but remember that 360 milliamps at 50 volts equals just 18 watts, enough for one or two LED lamps. “At 24 volts that is only 4 amps. So you could certainly get away with 18-gauge wires for that application.

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Also asked, what gauge wire should I use for LED lights?

Due to the low-current nature of most LED light systems, most of the wire you find lying around should do the job. There are, however, a few considerations you should make to ensure what you've got will fit the bill.

Wire Ampacity.

Size Ampacity (A)
16 gauge 18
18 gauge 16
20 gauge 11
22 gauge 7

Also Know, can I use Bell wire for LED lights? It would be better to use stranded speaker or bell wire. The alarm cable is only designed for low currents and may not be suitable for your LED lights.

Furthermore, can I use 18 gauge wire for lights?

The 18-gauge wire inside a lamp cord is rated for a maximum current draw of about 5 amps. That's more than enough for a typical 120-volt lightbulb -- or even several of them. If the same bulb runs on 12-volt power, however, you should upgrade the cord to 16- or even 14-gauge to avoid voltage drops and dim lights.

What wire do you use for 12v lights?

Wire The Light Strands Into A Switch If you're using 100W or less of lights, this wire should be 14 AWG. If your switch has spade terminals, use a spade connector. If it just has wires coming from it, use a butt connector to join it to the wire. The second wire will run to your lights.

31 Related Question Answers Found

Can I use speaker wire for LED lights?

Yes, but stranded wire has slightly higher dc resistance compared to the same gauge of solid (while doing much better at high frequency). If you can use WIRE HANGERS as speaker wire(lol), you should have no problem using speaker wire as a low power wire.

Can LED strip lights be wired in parallel?

How to wire LED strip lights in parallel. The key to installing LED tape in lengths longer than 5m is to wire your LED strips to your transformer in parallel. You can wire multiple strips back to one single transformer – just as long as the total wattage of your LED tape doesn't exceed the transformer's output.

How long can you run LED strips?

120V LED Strip maximum length is 164ft (50 meters). 24V RGB & RGBW maximum run lengths are 23ft (7 metres).

What is the voltage drop of an LED?


Typically, the forward voltage of an LED is between 1.8 and 3.3 volts. It varies by the color of the LED. A red LED typically drops around 1.7 to 2.0 volts, but since both voltage drop and light frequency increase with band gap, a blue LED may drop around 3 to 3.3 volts.

How do I calculate wire size?

Divide the voltage running through the cable by your target current. If, for instance, 120 volts will act on the cable, and you want 30 amps to run through it: 120 / 30 = 4. This is your target resistance, measured in ohms. Multiply the cable's length by its material's resistivity.

How many watts can a 18 gauge wire handle?

Never use more than 75 watts at 120 Volts. American Wire Gauge (AWG), is a standardized system used since 1857 predominantly in North America for the diameters of round wire. Increasing gauge numbers equals decreasing wire diameters. (22 gauge is thinner then 18 gauge).

What gauge wire should I use?

The minimum wire size for a 30-amp, 240-volt circuit is 10-gauge, but to prevent poor performance because of voltage drop, you should consider upgrading to 8-gauge if the outlet is far from the panel. For a 50-amp circuit, you need a 6-gauge wire at a minimum.

How many watts can 16 gauge wire handle at 12 volts?


12 Volt Wiring: Wire Gauge to Amps
Amps @ 13.8 Volts LENGTH OF WIRE American Wire Gauge (AWG)
0-4 ft. 10-13 ft.
0-10 16-ga. 14-ga.
10–15 14-ga. 12-ga.
15-20 12-ga. 12-ga.

What gauge wire do I need for 220 volts?

If you're wiring a 220v, 20-amp outlet to run power tools, you can use the same 12-gauge wire you would use for a 110-volt, 20-amp circuit. Remember that the cable must have an extra hot wire. If the appliance draws 30 amps, you need a different type of receptacle, and the cable needs to be 10-gauge.

How many watts can 12 gauge wire handle?

Basic wire sizing guide for US 120 and 240 volts
Gauge Amps Watts
#14 12 1440
#12 16 1920
#10 24 2880
#8 32 3840

How many watts can you run on 16 gauge wire?

Matching Extension Cord to Load
Extension Cord Wire Gauges, Amperage Rating, and Wattage
Wire Gauge Amperage Rating Wattage Rating
#18 5 Amps 600 Watts
#16 7 Amps 840 Watts
#14 12 Amps 1,440 Watts

Can I use 2.5 mm cable for lighting?

You can use 2.5 mm² cable of course. In large buildings sometimes 4 or 6 mm² cable is used on the feeder runs, and near the light fittings the cables are branched off in J-boxes to 1.5 mm² to go to the light fittings, to compensate for voltage drop. These light circuits are often controlled through contactors.

What is 14 gauge wire used for?


14-gauge wire is the smallest allowed for the permanent wiring of a circuit. It is rated as able to carry up to 15 amps of current. 12-gauge wire is the next size larger and is allowed to carry up to 20 amps.

What cable do I need for lighting?

Lighting circuits are generally run in 1mm2 two-core-and-earth cable, but particularly long circuits can use 1.5mm2 cable to compensate for the drop in voltage experienced on long cable runs.

Can I use thermostat wire for low voltage lighting?

When inside a wall, the wire must follow the rules for 'conventional' wiring; thermostat wire will not do. The National Electrical Code (NEC) has been revised in recent years to detail requirements for low voltage lighting. Your local library probably has a current copy of the code.