Where to buy wire? Lots of local trouble ...

sidpost

New Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2021
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29
Location
Texas, USA
Are there good online storefronts or alternative shops (like welding suppliers) to buy wire for my solar panels and related gear?

I need two runs (2 wires * 2) with one pair ~25ft long and the other pair ~35ft long plus all the interconnects between controllers, inverters, etc. I will be pushing ~22amps at ~200V and I am thinking 10 gauge wire but, I may be able to get by with 12 gauge.

Approaching $3/ft in rolls is what I am finding locally if it is in stock, which seems awfully high. About a month ago I bought a 100ft roll of 10/3 outdoor rated for $170 when my water well went down due to a bad electrical panel in an old farmhouse and some gopher action. So, I'm hoping it is just some local "supply and demand" action at local builder supply places (Home Depot, Lowes, hardware stores, etc.) and I might be able to find more normal pricing somewhere else. Somewhere else could be online or at an alternative supplier. In terms of local options, when I do find something in stock, it is typically just a single roll of random wire for hundreds of dollars.

TIA,
Sid
 

anadiner

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
300
Are there good online storefronts or alternative shops (like welding suppliers) to buy wire for my solar panels and related gear?

I need two runs (2 wires * 2) with one pair ~25ft long and the other pair ~35ft long plus all the interconnects between controllers, inverters, etc. I will be pushing ~22amps at ~200V and I am thinking 10 gauge wire but, I may be able to get by with 12 gauge.

Approaching $3/ft in rolls is what I am finding locally if it is in stock, which seems awfully high. About a month ago I bought a 100ft roll of 10/3 outdoor rated for $170 when my water well went down due to a bad electrical panel in an old farmhouse and some gopher action. So, I'm hoping it is just some local "supply and demand" action at local builder supply places (Home Depot, Lowes, hardware stores, etc.) and I might be able to find more normal pricing somewhere else. Somewhere else could be online or at an alternative supplier. In terms of local options, when I do find something in stock, it is typically just a single roll of random wire for hundreds of dollars.

TIA,
Sid
Well I do Ebay and make sure the seller has reviews selling wire. OFC is pricey but cabling is something I reuse. U know, like next year there may be new products that put mine to shame so if I upgrade, can keep same cables.
 

anadiner

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Aug 10, 2021
Messages
300
Well I do Ebay and make sure the seller has reviews selling wire. OFC is pricey but cabling is something I reuse. U know, like next year there may be new products that put mine to shame so if I upgrade, can keep same cables.
Btw I do make sure disconnects are UL Listed (safety issue)
 

chrisski

Photon Sorcerer
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Aug 14, 2020
Messages
2,333
I use Wire and cable your way: https://www.wireandcableyourway.com. Wire and cable your way comes in within a week. I've also used Amazon.

I do not like the idea of custom made cables. It's more of an inability for me to measure things accurately than a hit on whoever makes them. Particularly hard was figuring the placement and lengths of my panels before they were on the roof. Even after I secured them to the roof, I thought I'd use 60' of cable but used 90'. Also have to make sure the pre-crimped connectors will fit through whatever hole they are supposed to.
 

JimStLaurent

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Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Messages
13
Marine grade, stranded, tinned copper should work well in both you outside and inside cable environments.
And it's extremely flexible, exterior wires would want to be house in weather proof conduit.
I've used https://www.batterycablesusa.com/tinned-marine-grade-battery-cables with good results.
They carry Marine Grade stranded tinned copper wire by the foot. Bad news is 8 AWG is smallest gauge they carry. But the good news is 78 cents a foot. Their crimp connectors are tinned copper and almost twice as thick compared to what the big box stores carry. Cost difference for two 6AWG lugs with 3/8holes is $1.30 vs $8.50. They don't gouge you on shipping either.
 

anadiner

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I use Wire and cable your way: https://www.wireandcableyourway.com. Wire and cable your way comes in within a week. I've also used Amazon.

I do not like the idea of custom made cables. It's more of an inability for me to measure things accurately than a hit on whoever makes them. Particularly hard was figuring the placement and lengths of my panels before they were on the roof. Even after I secured them to the roof, I thought I'd use 60' of cable but used 90'. Also have to make sure the pre-crimped connectors will fit through whatever hole they are supposed to.
I like the custom idea also but found by buying cables last, I dont limit myself my location. U know, like um I cant put that there cuz cable not long enough.

Downside is I get all setup and ready then gotta wait on cables. Thats aggravating.

So I just keep a big roll of x y z around even the hate self-crimping.
 

anadiner

Solar Enthusiast
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Aug 10, 2021
Messages
300
View attachment 62125
This is the pv wire I purchased was free shipping
Im in process of picking new cables cuz still examining panels.

I really those cables u listed... UL Listed... before I check it out, are u pleased with them? Any issues like shipping, false product, etc?

Is the wire UL marked... some arent when buying a roll?
 

Jgb3

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
149
Im in process of picking new cables cuz still examining panels.

I really those cables u listed... UL Listed... before I check it out, are u pleased with them? Any issues like shipping, false product, etc?

Is the wire UL marked... some arent when buying a roll?
I won’t know till next week when it gets here
Marine grade, stranded, tinned copper should work well in both you outside and inside cable environments.
And it's extremely flexible, exterior wires would want to be house in weather proof conduit.
I've used https://www.batterycablesusa.com/tinned-marine-grade-battery-cables with good results.
They carry Marine Grade stranded tinned copper wire by the foot. Bad news is 8 AWG is smallest gauge they carry. But the good news is 78 cents a foot. Their crimp connectors are tinned copper and almost twice as thick compared to what the big box stores carry. Cost difference for two 6AWG lugs with 3/8holes is $1.30 vs $8.50. They don't gouge you on shipping either.
best to get something that doesn’t need to be in conduit if you can cause that doubles your price 1” pvc conduit is about $1 per foot
 

Jgb3

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Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
149
Im in process of picking new cables cuz still examining panels.

I really those cables u listed... UL Listed... before I check it out, are u pleased with them? Any issues like shipping, false product, etc?

Is the wire UL marked... some arent when buying a roll?


6306FCA6-6214-46EF-B408-1ABB2EBEC0AC.jpegC0068A84-D463-4DC4-96D5-F58D7BB7157D.jpeg
Ordered it on a Friday shipped on Monday arrived Thursday
 

anadiner

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Aug 10, 2021
Messages
300
Thank you for the update. I was looking a wire earlier today. Quick shipping is s major plus. Im still struggling to decide on panels. Ordered a couple portables earlier so I can at least finish up... have batteries, 2 inverters and several controllers.

Thanks again for the input. Im looking to order battery cables asap... trying figure out how to fit 0 gauge in tiny controller slot. Wth is the trick to that...
 

sidpost

New Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2021
Messages
29
Location
Texas, USA
Why use wire that is too big for your controller? Carrying more current than your controller is built to handle isn't going to work out very well for you.

Typically, controllers are sized to accept wire that carries the current they support. Connecting batteries with big wire is different than trying to stuff it into a controller.
 

anadiner

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Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
300
Why use wire that is too big for your controller? Carrying more current than your controller is built to handle isn't going to work out very well for you.

Typically, controllers are sized to accept wire that carries the current they support. Connecting batteries with big wire is different than trying to stuff it into a controller.
Its quite a common problem. 1st thing to do when a 'kit' arrived or anything with cabled is to ditch them.

There are accessible charts online that show the actual gauge required to pull x amps (current).

Thing is: u cant over-gauge. Im saying:
- X sends out y amps.
- Use wire that carries y amps.
Note: u can use bigger wire that could carry more amps but never use a wire that cant carry the ampage.

Dangerous. I fall on the side of safety with cabling BUT gotta get a safe controller. UL listed preferably.
 

sidpost

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Mar 27, 2021
Messages
29
Location
Texas, USA
My point was messing with a controller to install an oversized wire gauge you don't really need. Sure, a larger gauge wire is generally better if weight and cost aren't a problem but, you don't really need a large wire to run small amperage levels.
 

HRTKD

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Apr 24, 2020
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Somewhere South of Denver
My point was messing with a controller to install an oversized wire gauge you don't really need. Sure, a larger gauge wire is generally better if weight and cost aren't a problem but, you don't really need a large wire to run small amperage levels.

To this point, my Victron solar charge controller's technical specification lists the maximum wire gauge for the PV input and battery output at 6 awg. I made sure to use wire that wasn't any larger than that, which as you said would be a waste, unless there was a very long run of the wire.
 

chrisski

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Aug 14, 2020
Messages
2,333
unless there was a very long run of the wire.
THat’s a real problem with a 50 amp controller and a 35’ RV if you want to parallel panels. Large voltage loss on a 12 volt system approaching 50 amps with all panel parallel. RV roofing has a lot of shading. Aside voltage loss if the insulation is rated at 60 C and 55 amps, why would I want to risk my wired getting hotter than that when roof temps are 135 - 155 F and then the wire goes down through conduit. 50 amps may raise the temp.

Sure there’s things you could do like get 90 C or 105 C rated wire, but I still want to avoid losses.

Some people don’t care about voltage losses. I do.
 
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