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Unread 08-13-2008, 08:39 PM   #1
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Default 4 guage and number of strands

I see a lot of cart owners upgrading their cart harnesses to 4 guage wire, and another cart owner asked me interesting question that I did not have an answer for:

"If 4 guage wire is better than 6 guage, then a higher number of strands would be better as well. But, is there a limit to the number of strands in 4 guage wire that you can use for cart drive motors?"

More strands = more current carrying capability. But, more current means more heat. Will higher strand count, 4 gauge wire, stand up to the demands of constant high current cart motors? What is the normal strand count for 4 or 6 guage wire used on carts?
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Unread 08-13-2008, 08:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: 4 guage and number of strands

Most people think current flows "through" a wire but thats not true. Current flows "around" the wire on the outside. The more surface area a cable has the more it can carry but at the same time more surface area will dissipate more heat. Cable heat is usually not a problem unless your connections aren't any good or your just pulling too many amps in the first place....at which point something in the system has to be changed or things will start melting. I use finely stranded welding cable for the ones I sell, generally the more flexable the cable the more strands it has.

Strand count will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some stockers I have seen have very few strands.
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Unread 08-13-2008, 08:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: 4 guage and number of strands

I think the welding cable is 200 plus strands
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Unread 08-13-2008, 08:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: 4 guage and number of strands

The stuff I use has 374 strands. You have to watch what you buy because some cable has 4 gage worth of insulation and 6 gage worth of wire....As I have recently seen.
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Unread 08-13-2008, 09:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: 4 guage and number of strands

I have seen some cheap sets on ebay for ~$15 a set, but these are only battery cable sets and low strand count (~20). There are another 4-6 cables between the controler and motor that need replaced as well.

The conversation started with 4 guage power cables for high power audio amps..., these can have >1000 strands, and with respect to carts..., would these higher strand count wires convey current "better", or with less resistance (as Roady indicated, more surface area). My concern was extended use and high current means heat (again disipated with greater surface area), but still heat. Still not sure.
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Unread 08-13-2008, 09:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: 4 guage and number of strands

Yes, the more the better. There may be some heat but it's not going to be because of the number of strands, some is normal. Pulling hills, heavy loads, pulling trailers, etc. If you generate too much heat from a cable you have other issues that need attention, whether it be a connection, short or too many amps period for the components. In this case the more strands = more heat is irrelevant. Its not going to be measureable by hand.
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Unread 08-13-2008, 09:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: 4 guage and number of strands

Just to throw another thought into the discussion on heat...I know that in AC practices regulations are in place to limit the number of conductors allowed in a given size conduit or space (box). Limited by calculated heat generated during use. I know, this is AC! but if AC generates heat that requires air space to dissipate then how about DC with all of these conductors inside one insulated cover?
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Unread 08-13-2008, 09:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: 4 guage and number of strands

You answered your own question. "Allowed in a given sized conduit". There is no airflow over the cable to dissipate heat. AC runs are generally long runs.(longer than a golf cart) The longer the run the more resistance. the more resistance the more heat.

You could take a 6 gage battery cable at 8" and it be fine.....now lengthen it to say.....150' and it would probly get hot and melt. Same principle.
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Unread 08-13-2008, 10:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: 4 guage and number of strands

I knew that
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Unread 08-13-2008, 10:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: 4 guage and number of strands

Even though you have a straight piece of copper wire..., there is still a measurable amount of resistance per linear measurement..., fancy way to say the same thing roady did.

Aluminum wire has greater resistance than copper, which has greater resistance than gold, which is why the best conductors are gold plated (remember current travels along the surface, not the core).

So, Roady mentioned that wire guage can be measured by the condictor(s) diameter..., or the conductor+insulator diameter. Any way to tell which was used? Is there a standard or alpha numeric identifying code associated with either measurement method?
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