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,
PS: Is there some reason why this is a bad idea?
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)
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.
Free men own guns, slaves don\'t
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Hope this helps,
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
wires are stapled along the molding
0.5 mile of wire in house for security system - 55 ft avg run*24
(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
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.
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