# Can I use an Ethernet-cable in my DIY rpi project and run 5V / 8A through it?

I'm building a light installation and would love to use a sleek fabric-wrapped cable. As I need at least 5 cables I thought of using an Ethernet-cable as they come in nice forms and shapes.

The problem is that I'm powering some 144LEDs (https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-dotstar-leds) which require 8A at 5V.

Based on this (https://networkengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/43734/what-is-the-voltage-used-in-ethernet-lines-utp-cables) I assume that it wouldn't be an issue. But as I don't want my project to become a fire hazard of some sort I want to make sure that "misusing" an Ethernet cable won't be an issue.

Any help would be appreciated.

• Welcome! How far from the power source will you be? The main problem with high current, low voltage applications is power loss in the cable. – awjlogan Mar 17 at 14:17
• Did you work out the voltage drop at 8 A on the length you are considering? You should be able to find an online calculator. Don't forget to include the return path. – Transistor Mar 17 at 14:17
• Consider ambient temperature. If the connections are subject to 70°C, they could fail, possibly starting a fire. 5v*8A = 40W. You could use a higher voltage, say 24vDC boost converter. 40W = 24v*x --> x = 1.6A (plus losses) across the cable, then buck this down to 5v for the LEDs. – rdtsc Mar 17 at 14:57
• Better to run 40V@1A through it. (24V@1.7A is a good compromise) – Brian Drummond Mar 17 at 15:02
• You can't put 8A through ethernet cable. Supply 48v through the cable, and put a 5v output converter at the point of use. – Neil_UK Mar 17 at 17:14