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I have 100' of 2x7 (14) individually insulated 18 ga. solid conductors( I think it is communication cable) I would like to use in lieu of 16 ga. stranded wire for a gate opener. Is it doable?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wait, is this 7x individually insulated wires in a 18 gauge cable, or is it 7x 18 gauge insulated wires in a larger gauge cable? \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Oct 10 '18 at 20:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the gate opener specify 16 guage or is that the wire present from an original install? If you use the smaller 18 guage, you should confirm that the lower ampacity and increased volt drop are not problematic. \$\endgroup\$ – K H Oct 10 '18 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The company specs stranded wire due to vibration. Your entire run need not be stranded. If you wish, you can add a junction box near the opener and use an acceptable stranded wire type to go from there to the part that vibrates, so probably a few feet of extension cord wire (cheap and heavily stranded) or stranded AC90(armored cable, often called BX). Because a battery charger circuit may carry considerable current depending on the battery and charge cycle, you may need much larger wires for a 100' run at 12VDC than for a 100' run at 120VAC. \$\endgroup\$ – K H Oct 11 '18 at 21:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you make a simple drawing of the parts of the system, the wires between them(eg "2x16ga stranded") and the physical distances? By the way it won't take you too long to learn about resistance if you need to. 7 18ga wires have the same cross sectional area as roughly 4.3 16 guage wires, so if you substitute 7 18 guage solids, you will be considerably better off for ampacity. For vibration, this will perform similarly to if you had 7 strand #10 wire. It will wear out more quickly than wire with more strands would and less quickly than solid of the same size, assume same alloy and temper. \$\endgroup\$ – K H Oct 11 '18 at 21:45
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If the wire is to be flexed, solid wire will be more likely to break. Otherwise, it shouldn't be a problem, unless you're carrying more than about 2 amps.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ yes, it's a jacketed bundle of 7 individually insulated 18 ga. solid wires. I'll be running it in conduit where it's exposed and direct burial for the rest (95%) I was thinking one bundle for the positive and one bundle for the negative for the 100' run. It charges the 12v battery in a gate opener. I either run 120v to the gate and put the transformer there or run low voltage from the source 100' away. \$\endgroup\$ – bassman Oct 10 '18 at 21:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Frankly, I missed the 100' run part. You may have voltage drop issues. Compare the resistance specs for the wires. \$\endgroup\$ – Scott Seidman Oct 10 '18 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ the opener specifies 16 ga. stranded, but I don't have that. I'm hoping this substitution can work. Trying to save myself about $50-75 \$\endgroup\$ – bassman Oct 10 '18 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand the resistance formula.I was hoping to work around that by twisting seven strands at the ends to effectively create two wires. \$\endgroup\$ – bassman Oct 10 '18 at 21:43

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