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KG's Supra24
12-07-2010, 11:18 PM
What is the optimal gauge for speaker wiring? What is the gauge needed for HLCD? What is needed for coaxials? And how much does it matter?

What is best? What is acceptable?

you da man
12-08-2010, 12:11 AM
I rarely used less than 12 gauge wire but I believe you can get away with 16 guage for under 75ft runs. I just think I would rather run more than less in speaker wire gauge

Brianinpdx
12-08-2010, 01:17 AM
KG - use a good 12Gauge and you'll be a happy camper. 14Gauge is acceptable. Anything less and you should question the reason for upgrades in the first place. I'm sure people have lots of fancy idea's but thats the core answer.

And if it makes you feel better, we had a Malibu at our facility that just had a retailer install either-net cable for speaker wire. *ahem, really! suffice to say, we set him straight.

-Brian
Exile Audio

sandm
12-08-2010, 09:00 AM
^^lots of the home audio guys are running whole house audio over cat6e, so I can understand how that could happen.

shouldn't if they know what they are doing, but I can see it :)

dusty2221
12-08-2010, 10:24 AM
Sandm, do you by chance remember what was ran factory in your 06 through the tower?

sandm
12-08-2010, 11:57 AM
lamp cord :)



it was a major brand, think it was stinger, but I seem to recall it was 16gauge and not their top end 16 gauge. I think it worked fine for the factory setup, but if you are planning on upgrading the system, the entire wiring, from speaker to rca was pretty cheap stuff and seemed like it was installed after the fact and not much thought put into it's placement around the boat. I will give them that it's 10x better than what I have found in ANY factory car install I have replaced tho...

I had to drill out the tower holes much larger at the pivot point when I installed the 12gauge that I replaced it with.

dusty2221
12-08-2010, 12:00 PM
Looks like re-running the tower wire just got added to the list.

KG's Supra24
12-08-2010, 12:07 PM
Well not exactly what i was hoping to hear but thanks. Were you able to fish the wiring pretty easily? I was hoping to just tie the 12 awg to the existing wiring and pull it through. Possible?

KG's Supra24
12-08-2010, 12:24 PM
anyone see a reason not to run something like this ...

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023901&p_id=4037&seq=1&format=4#feedback

this way i would only have to run 1 wire to each pair of speakers, once i get near the speakers i can cut the sleeve and keep just the amount of + and - i need to each speaker. Basicaly i would only need 1 run of this to each pair of speakers. The bow would be the only difficult part as they are spread much further apart.

KG's Supra24
12-08-2010, 02:15 PM
Also, i am using the stock roswell light/speaker bar. I'm assuming i will be running wire to a wiring harness and not the speakers themselves? Do I need to rerun the wires from the harness to the speakers?

This is where it starts going over my head ...

sandm
12-08-2010, 02:25 PM
I used the existing wire to pull a string through the tower. let it fall down into the inside, drill the holes larger for the bigger wire, then use a hook, or a small strand of stiff electrical wire to fish out the string to run the wiring.
you only have to worry about the wire at the pivot going up, the part going back down into the hull, the wire will feed real easy down that part. when you pull the factory molex plug off, that hole is big enough to support 2 wires with no bigger hole..

I, too, am using the factory roswell speaker cans in the bar that hangs down. I ditched the plug that they use and just ran the wiring out the tower and into the speaker bar, using grommets and wire loom to make it look "factory".

KG's Supra24
12-08-2010, 04:45 PM
sandm, i am prob going to pick your brain until you tell me to stop so feel free to at anytime. I am essentially doing the same install as you. Yes there is one minor difference and lets not say it outloud because we all know how its perceived.

Question: I am looking at my setup, which i dont have a pic of, but my wire runs from the tower hole and above the roswell, opposed to around it, like yours ...

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/sandm01/boat%20upgrades/hollowpoints.jpg[/QUOTE]

Where you not able to bend the 12 awg like that or did you attempt? If i need to post a pic of mine i will try to do so tonight.

KG's Supra24
12-08-2010, 04:53 PM
Here is what mine looks like ....

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/dusty2221/2010-08-03_19-34-44_93.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v235/dusty2221/2010-08-03_19-34-07_570.jpg

sandm
12-08-2010, 06:29 PM
I did not attempt to bend it above the bar. it looked much cleaner and more of a "factory" install the way I did it, again imo.. btw, mine was ran initally just like yours. hole in one end and plug on the other end. factory wire was ran above the speaker/light "bar" and plugged in just like yours.

once you pull that plug out, you should have a hole big enough for a grommet and 2 12gauge wires. I used this stuff:
http://www.knukonceptz.com/productDetail.cfm?prodID=KAR12SS

I did have to drill the hole much bigger in the tower at the top tho. string was a little hard to fish out of that spot, but amazing what a shopvac can do. pull a piece thru with your old wiring, then just stuff it in the hole up top while you drill, then use a vac to suck it back out again. I ran the speaker wire one at a time. run the first speaker wire with a string again for the second wire. at the bend going into the cabin, you can just run it down the leg from the bend and it will drop down thru the hull into the amp cavity. so will all the metal shavings from drilling the hole out bigger tho. be prepared to vacuum that several times as each time you "disturb" the speaker wire, you will get a few more metal shavings :)

good luck and ask away. that's what we are all here for...

KG's Supra24
12-08-2010, 08:05 PM
When y'all mentioned 12 gauge, were you strictly referring to towers or is that for in boats as well?

sandm
12-09-2010, 09:35 AM
probably hear a lot of different opinions on this, and ultimately length of run makes a difference on this one, but I went ahead and used the same 12gauge wire thoughout the entire install. I bought a spool and used it. there are some high quality 14 and 16gauge wires that I doubt most would be able to discern the difference, but the cost is quite minimal and doesn't require you to measure out each different gauge. buy one kind and go for it...

I did use a larger cable for the sub tho. not probably needed, but never hurts :)

KG's Supra24
12-10-2010, 05:13 PM
I pulled out the stock speakers earlier ... they were using 24 gauge to the tower!!

sandm
12-10-2010, 06:42 PM
wow. that's amazing.. you will be more than impressed with this upgrade once you are done..

not sure on the tower speakers you are running, but one word of advice if they are hlcd's with separate outboard crossovers: make sure you mount the crossover boards well and whatever you use, remember there are signal traces on the backs of the circuitboards. make sure that they can't ground out to the cans at all... some of the traces might have solder "knobbies" on the backside that will rub through foam mounting tape.
I ran into this issue with my bullets. ended up using several layers of foam tape to mount them to the fronts of the cans.

be sure and loosely fill the cans with poly fiberfil as well. they are real "tinny" sounding.

sandm
12-10-2010, 06:43 PM
oh ya.. pics please :)

KG's Supra24
12-10-2010, 09:20 PM
Thanks for the advice on the crossovers. I'll have to look up poly fiberfill, ha. I was planning to line the bottom of the cans with dynomat.

I will def post some pics. Hoping this will turn into an informative thread, along with the others that seem to be going on right now one budget system/installs. I was looking for something similar (step by step and considerations) last year but all i could find were full blown systems.

KG's Supra24
12-10-2010, 09:32 PM
Got discouraged building amp rack earlier so i took a break to check out the new in boat set up ..

Here is new vs old. not screwed in or in there perfect but it gives you an idea ....

Can you tell me which is which :)

sandm
12-11-2010, 10:59 AM
don't know which one is on the left, but if you are doing db651's as your in-cabin, you will love them. great speaker that sounds awesome with lots of power..

I believe that the dynamat is a good idea, don't know and maybe earmark will chime in, but get a bag of polyfil from walmart and loosely stuff the cans.

KG's Supra24
12-11-2010, 02:23 PM
The one on the left is bullet hollow point coaxial. They are replacing the polk db series which are going to dusty.

Only thing I worry about is having enough power to to push the bullets to their potential or if it is just wasted speaker without a big amp ....

mmandley
12-13-2010, 01:11 PM
Wires

Ok lets think about wires for a minute here.

Battery cable = wire 2 to 8guage depending on usage. Why because it caries lots of current < amps > and low Voltage.

Electical cable for the dash = wire 14 to 22 guage depending on application. Used to carry digital signals and 5 to 12v 5 to 15 amp to different components.

Stereo 0 to 22 guage. Used for all parts carries 1 to 50+ volts and less then 1 to several hundred amps.

Speaker = your biggest thing here is SOUND QUALITY because in the end thats all you care about how well does it sound right? Well speaker wires Carry Voltage to the Speaker and very low amperage.

The LOUDER you want that speaker the Larger your speaker line should be.

Wire any wire, the longer it gets the more it has Line Loss = voltage drop
If you are running speakers with only 50 Watts of power you might only see 5 to 9volts of power to it and you can get away with a 18 or a 16 wire and not notice anything different.

Now lets get to Moombas most common swap Polk DB651 runs about 100 watts of power and thats still good on 18 and 16 guage wire.

I swaped all my speaker wires out when i went to the new Exile SST interior speakers.

Subwoofer at the very least needs 16 and should be 14 but ideal is a high quality 12 guage cable.

My sub has easily 50vts going to it when im bumping my system pushing 2K to 3K watts on a steady bassis.

Towers are the same way you can get away with a 16 because thats easy to work with, 14 is ideal for most 1K watt tower systems.

I am running 14 in mine for the HLCDs because im pumping 1K watts and i want the cleanest sound out of them so i can enjoy it while boarding.

So many times i see, and i know Brian, Phil, and others see awesome systems but the worst wires. They cheaped out on the wires and so the entire system is failing.

Spend the money on quality wires, if you want quality sound. You can take a mediocure speaker and make it sound great with a solid amp and wires. Or you can take a great speaker and make it sound like crap with a weak amp and bad wires.

Closing and in short.

Battery to Power block 0 to 2 guage
Amps 4 guage
Cabin speakers 16 guage
Towers speakers 14 guage
Subwoofers 12 guage.

The more Power you need = the Bigger the wire you need.

KG's Supra24
12-13-2010, 01:38 PM
Alot of info there mmandley. Appreciate it. I ended up ordering wire just this weekend. I'll admit, I took the easy way out and just ordered a 100ft roll of 12 gauge. This way i dont have to measure out and buy a little of everything. I plan to just run 12 gauge to all the speakers and my plans are spot on with your other recommendations (batt to distr and distr to amp).

sandm
12-13-2010, 01:49 PM
can't go wrong with too big wire. as you mentioned, easier to run not having to measure off lengths. just run the wire and have at it..

remember, along with wire and component selection are how the wire is connected. solder-solder-solder...

KG's Supra24
12-13-2010, 02:14 PM
I dont think i will have to solder anywhere, right? If i run like we were just talking about from one speaker to the next speaker, where would a solder point be?

We may need one of Dustys drawings here ....

Razzman
12-13-2010, 02:50 PM
You don't neccessarily have to solder, I use sealed connectors. Some are resin filled and others heat shrink and when heated completely seal the connection so that no moisture can get to the connection.

Heat shrinkable terminals (http://order.waytekwire.com/scategory2/M50/320/350/Heat%20Shrinkable%20Terminals/Terminals%20And%20Connectors/)

dusty2221
12-13-2010, 02:55 PM
I love pictures and links. :)

KG's Supra24
12-13-2010, 02:57 PM
I should have some of the heat shrinking terminals, just finished rewiring the trailer lights about a month ago. Used them for that.

I'm still thinking this can be done by wiring the speakers together, though.

sandm
12-13-2010, 07:19 PM
an old car audio guy taught me to solder every connection. last thing you want is a connection coming loose due to some wake action and losing the stereo for the day :)

just my .02 do as you will...

dusty2221
12-13-2010, 07:34 PM
I need to get a new solder gun for this project. :)

mmandley
12-13-2010, 10:02 PM
KG 12 guage is more then enough for all the speakers good choice bro.

Dusty you can get a realy nice solder gun at the Harbor Frieght, i would recoomend the gun style that has 2 wires on the tip, this is a instant hot gun and cools down realy fast, that way you dont have a hot iron in the way all the time.

As for the connections, i soldered and heat shrank all the stuff under the cubby, ran straight line to all the other locations and the only place i have twisted is the tower speakers at the top of the tower due to wanting it easier to remove the cables because i knew last summer that this winter i would pull it all out for a more wireless look.

dusty2221
12-13-2010, 10:13 PM
That's the style I plan on getting. That's what I learned watching my dad use.

Razzman
12-13-2010, 10:34 PM
an old car audio guy taught me to solder every connection. last thing you want is a connection coming loose due to some wake action and losing the stereo for the day :)

just my .02 do as you will...

Hey no problem, to each his own. I've used shrink connections on the last three boats and eight or so systems i've done without one coming loose so far, they hold super strong.

Jet
12-14-2010, 11:54 AM
I have a stereo wire question. Just added a light-bar and a power/block next to the amp and speaker wires. Now I have engine whine coming through the speakers. Is there a way to fix this without rewiring the lights and or moving the power block?? Jet

here I am dusty..:twisted:

dusty2221
12-14-2010, 11:59 AM
about time.

Razzman
12-14-2010, 12:35 PM
Personally i would relocate it to an under dash location.

sandm
12-14-2010, 01:07 PM
Personally i would relocate it to an under dash location.

second that and make sure you have a solid ground of the appropriate gauge.

cab13367
12-14-2010, 07:16 PM
I dont think i will have to solder anywhere, right? If i run like we were just talking about from one speaker to the next speaker, where would a solder point be?

We may need one of Dustys drawings here ....

For the best possible electrical connection, solder the bare wires to the speaker terminals.

sandm
12-14-2010, 07:20 PM
For the best possible electrical connection, solder the bare wires to the speaker terminals.

x2 :)

mmandley
12-14-2010, 07:39 PM
I have a stereo wire question. Just added a light-bar and a power/block next to the amp and speaker wires. Now I have engine whine coming through the speakers. Is there a way to fix this without rewiring the lights and or moving the power block?? Jet

here I am dusty..:twisted:

Ok this is a little tricky as im trying to picture exactly what you did here.

Now are you positive you didnt have whine before the new upgrade?

Steps to try

Make sure the Stereo is grounded at the battery terminal not a ground block, also make sure the amps are grounded to the battery as well. If you are using a distro block for the amps it needs to be grounded directly to the battery.

If this is all done and you still have whine then you will have to disconnect the upgrades to see if thats truly causing the whine.

The main point is anything you add needed to have a solid ground and thats hard in a boat and normaly stereo whine is actualy due to the sterio ground not the added upgrades grounds.

cab13367
12-14-2010, 07:47 PM
stereo whine is actualy due to the sterio ground not the added upgrades grounds.

Mike is exactly right - I picked up a stereo whine somewhere along the way when I upgraded my stereo and as soon as I grounded the head unit directly to the battery instead of the distribution block under the dash, the whine went away.

KG's Supra24
12-21-2010, 11:47 AM
In an attempt to recycle some of the used materials, i was considering using the 24 awg I'm pulling out of the tower to run power and ground to LED lights.

Is 24 awg heavy enough to run LED lights? Most likely a flex strip or two. Based on my rationale (pulls WAY less wattage than speaker did), it should be plenty, but of course there is something I might be missing.

EarmarkMarine
12-21-2010, 01:00 PM
Right, LEDs pull very little current so a limited number of LEDs over a limited distance should be fine with 24 gauge. But, do this surefire check: Run two strips side by side with one having a short lead wire and the other having the longer anticipated length of wire. If you see no difference in brightness then you know for sure the wire is sufficient. If one is dimmer then you know to upgrade to say 18 gauge which would be the maximum needed for any length and quantity applicable to a towboat.

David
Earmark Marine