Steel wire for electrical.

Greetings,
I have previously used small wire for doorbells, intercoms, security systems, etc. and have experienced some degree of wire damage at tenants' hands simply due to the physical strength of the wire. I could switch to romex but I don't really want to pay for it and fear it might confuse someone into combining a high and low voltage system. Where can I get solid ~12 AWG insulated steel wire? I remember being able to purchase a 1 mile spool of 12.5 AWG galvanized steel wire for electrical fences for under $50. What I want probably weighs too much to economically ship off the Internet. Where can I find it locally at a reasonable price and if nowhere then perhaps if someone could refer me to a cheap Internet sight?
Thank you for your time, William
PS: Is there some reason why this is a bad idea?
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I would not run steel wire. There are many stranded wire confightations for low volt wiring. I suspect you only need 2 wires, so simple 18 AWG twisted pair should be more than adequate for your needs. You can get heavier gauge, but conduit or "smurf tube" may be better protection of the low volt wiring.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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Not 12awg but the telephone co runs lots of copper flashed steel wire in outdoor runs. Tough stuff, and the linemen will usually give you the stuff they take down since you obviously only need short pieces.
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Greetings,
Thank you all very much for your replies. I have decided to just use 12 awg copper because I already stock it for use with EMT/RMT until I luck upon a source for insulated steel wire. I see linemen from time to time and I will ask about the copper flashed steel the next time I see them.
Thanks again, William
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snipped-for-privacy@wdeans.com wrote:

Run one steel wire for strength, but not powered and run the copper wound around the steel. I don't think you would be happy with using steel as a conductor.
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Joseph Meehan

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18ga solid or stranded copper is pretty tough. You're going to find it very difficult to get multi-strand insulated steel wire of a suitable size.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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I wonder whether stranded copper instead of solid copper would resolve your issues. Perhaps also a heavier gauge of copper with sturdy insulation (#14 THHN, e.g.) would do the trick.
snipped-for-privacy@wdeans.com wrote:

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This is Turtle.
the only place I can think of that uses insulated steel wire is the army. They have WD-1 which is about some #16 steel insulated wire. You can check at army surplus stores and get them to look for you some. they would come in a 5 miles spool and one spool would probley do you.
TURTLE
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Greetings,
This sounds like exactly what I need! I solute you TURTLE!
William
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If you're that desperate, you could always use insulated clothesline.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Steel wire would have a much higher resistance than copper. That makes it unsuitable for electrc use in general. Also, you are more likely to get corrosion at the connections (rust) than with copper.
Stretch
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Stretch wrote:

Greetings Stretch,
I mainly want the steel wire for low-power applications such as doorbells and security systems so I can easily compensate for the increased resistance with increased wire size. The reason I want to use the steel wire instead of the tiny copper wires currently in use is to increase their physical strength, reducing damage, reducing costs to repair said damage. I could always use a large enough copper wire but that would be cost prohibitive. For instance, if I currently use an 18 awg cu wire and wanted to increase strength I could substitute a 12 awg steel wire or a 10 awg cu wire (cu is not as strong as steel). I didn't do the math with the example above but you get the point. I would probably use something like noalox on the connectors to combat potential rust.
Hope this helps, William
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" snipped-for-privacy@wdeans.com" wrote:

I really can't imagine that physical damage that would break Cu wouldn't also tear up steel wire as well unless it is also of significant size. What sort of thing are you finding being done?
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It strikes me that 18ga Cu is tough enough to suggest that it's being broken on _purpose_. If that's the case, going to heavier wire and/or steel is an arms race you'll lose.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Chris Lewis wrote:

....
That's the type of thought that inspired the question...seems likely to simply be going to transfer damage from a relaively cheap/easy fix to something likely far more of a pita/costly...
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Typical scenario:
3 story home has security box with keypad by front door. 24 windows each have a pair of wires running to them from the security box wires are stapled along the molding 0.5 mile of wire in house for security system - 55 ft avg run*24 windows*2 wires (if the average run seems high remember that going up a door across the top and then back down is 16 feet alone (7+7+2))
It may be the tenant's fault but I always get back the house with a break somewhere.
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Steel is about 11.5X less conductive than copper, so 7 ga steel would give you a similar resistance, 0.144" vs 0.043" diameter. How would you insulate it?
Nick
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snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

Greetings Nick,
12 ga steel is sufficient for security applications, doorbells, etc.
The purpose of my post is to find a location to purchase low cost insulated steel wire. If I wanted uninsulated wire I would just purchase electric fence wire.
Thanks, William
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