# What is the different between speaker and power wire

#### mrel

Joined Jan 20, 2009
185
Hi
(1) What is the different between speaker wire 10 gauge and power wire 10 gauge.
(2) Is 10 gauge copper clad aluminum wire good for solar panel use.
(3) A copper clad aluminum wire can you actually see the aluminum in the copper wire.
(4) when you don't have 10 gauge copper wire can you double two 12 gauge wire to make thicker gauge to equal 10 gauge wire.

mrel

#### MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
2,196
I would not use aluminum wire anywhere that safety is a concern, such as any wires that carry enough power to start a fire if connections get loose or dirty. It's not even allowed by our building codes anymore where I live. You should calculate the gauge wire needed by considering both the current and length of the wire. In regards to speaker wire, I would look closely at the insulator around it to be sure the insulator is suitable for your use. Is it rated for the voltages that you'll be using, any exposure to elements (heat, sun, etc..), service life before it gets brittle, things like that.

#### nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,260

#### ebeowulf17

Joined Aug 12, 2014
3,307
Regarding question number 4, two number 12 wires can certainly share current and together they'll handle more current than a single number 10, but there is a potential safety consideration.

With a single number 10 wire, and assuming proper use of fuses and/or circuit breakers, you can protect the wire from ever handling more current than it can safely carry.

With two number 12 wires, and the same over-current protection devices, if one wire gets cut or disconnected somehow, you now have the full current running through just one wire, with the risk of overheating it.

Theoretically, if you use parallel wires to share the load, you should provide fuses or breakers on each wire, protecting them each for their rated current independently, not as a group.

#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,498
(1) What is the different between speaker wire 10 gauge and power wire 10 gauge.
Just in case it wasn't clear, there is no distinction in wiring based on the application. A 12 gauge copper, stranded wire could be used for speakers or for powering a lamp. The wire doesn't know or care whether you are using it for speakers or for power. Plenty of folks have repurposed old extension cords into speaker wires, for instance.

I'm not denying that different kinds of wire are preferred for different applications.

#### ebeowulf17

Joined Aug 12, 2014
3,307
Just in case it wasn't clear, there is no distinction in wiring based on the application. A 12 gauge copper, stranded wire could be used for speakers or for powering a lamp. The wire doesn't know or care whether you are using it for speakers or for power. Plenty of folks have repurposed old extension cords into speaker wires, for instance.

I'm not denying that different kinds of wire are preferred for different applications.
Although there are differences in insulation material and thickness which matter for certain applications. Wire sold for speaker use may not have insulation suitable for high voltages.

#### wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,498
Although there are differences in insulation material and thickness which matter for certain applications. Wire sold for speaker use may not have insulation suitable for high voltages.
Yeah I struggled to convey the point. If a wire meets all the requirements of the job, it doesn’t matter what you call it. I guess my radar goes up whenever I hear “speaker cables”. That implies all the hocuspocus crap.

#### ebeowulf17

Joined Aug 12, 2014
3,307
Yeah I struggled to convey the point. If a wire meets all the requirements of the job, it doesn’t matter what you call it. I guess my radar goes up whenever I hear “speaker cables”. That implies all the hocuspocus crap.
I'm with you 100%

#### MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
18,461
Just in case it wasn't clear, there is no distinction in wiring based on the application. A 12 gauge copper, stranded wire could be used for speakers or for powering a lamp. The wire doesn't know or care whether you are using it for speakers or for power. Plenty of folks have repurposed old extension cords into speaker wires, for instance.

I'm not denying that different kinds of wire are preferred for different applications.
There may be a very big difference between speaker wires and power wires, and that difference is in the insulation.power wire is rated for specific voltages, while speaker wire needs no such rating. Power wire can be safely used for speaker connections but I would not consider using speaker wire for power except in a life-critical emergency situation. That is what makes the difference, and it is a serious difference.

#### MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,457
But yet almost all external mains wire is aluminum. the wires on the power poles down the street, the wires from the pole to the breaker panel in the house and the high tension wires from the power generators, all aluminum.

But MrSoftware is right, for electronics it is bad, can't be soldered.
Hi,

Very good point for sure.
I got some copper looking wire from a dollar store one day, could not solder it. What junk, i threw it out and i think i used one piece for rope

#### MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
2,196
I acquired some wire that was silver and springy. You could bend it nearly 90 degrees, let go and it would snap right back (the stripped wire strands). No matter how tight you twisted it, it would spring back to untwisted the moment you let go. It also would not take solder at all. I have no idea what it was made from, but fortunately I've only run across it once. It was low power application (ran on 9v battery) so maybe it was metal coated plastic or something?