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I have a project that runs on 5V and should draw a maximum of around 500 mA. There is an existing CAT5 cable running conveniently to this project. I'm considering powering the project by using two of the wires in the CAT5 (which I assume is 24 AWG) by connecting it to a 5V - 2A power supply.

Is this safe? Is the amount of power my project draws (500mA) the determining factor for safety or the rating of the power supply (2A)?

Testing shows there is no problem with voltage drop-off.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What's the cable length? \$\endgroup\$ – Justme May 31 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Be aware of volt drop too. \$\endgroup\$ – SomeoneSomewhereSupportsMonica May 31 at 21:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ google poe or power over ethernet \$\endgroup\$ – jsotola May 31 at 22:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Very conservative ampacity for AWG24 is 2.0-2.1A. We are using CAT5 in our 24V system with 2 conduits per pole and 3A fuse at injection point. \$\endgroup\$ – Maple Jun 1 at 7:46
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The maximum current capacity of a cable should be defined in its datasheet.

Is the amount of power my project draws (500mA) the determining factor for safety or the rating of the power supply (2A)?

It is determined by the current that the source can deliver and the allowed current from te datasheet.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I've never seen maximum current rating in CAT5 datasheets. They are designed for low voltage communication after all, not for power transfer \$\endgroup\$ – Maple Jun 1 at 7:31

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