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Flexible cable for low-voltage DC power

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Michael Covington
Guest

Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:21 am   



I find myself building a lot of DC power cords for portable equipment. Where can I get some flexible round cable like what comes out of wall-warts and laptop power supplies? Speaker wire ("zip" cord) is not flexible enough and tends to acquire and hold kinks. I've used coaxial cable (RG-174), which is durable but a bit stiff. Microphone cable? Or what? All the laptop power supplies in the world have flexible but durable cables coming out of them -- what kind of cable can I buy that is essentially the same?


Guest

Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:38 am   



Michael Covington <mc_at_uga.edu> wrote:
Quote:
Where can I get some flexible round cable like what comes out of
wall-warts and laptop power supplies?


It might be too big, but look at some SJOOW (formerly SJO) at the
hardware store, or maybe SVT at the vacuum cleaner and sewing machine
shop. The smallest you will be able to get it is 18 AWG x 2 conductors,
and the outside diameter will be 0.2-0.25" (5-6 mm), but at least it's
easy to get.

> Microphone cable?

Might work. In my very limited experience, the stuff used on stage
tends to be about as thick as the smaller 120 V AC extension cords -
like 0.25"/6 mm OD or more - but thinner cable probably exists. You
might have to go to a local shop that does stage/theatrical sound and
lighting and ask to see what they have. (Or, check with the theatre
tech people at uga.edu.)

Quote:
All the laptop power supplies in the world have flexible but durable
cables coming out of them -- what kind of cable can I buy that is
essentially the same?


I have a late-2000s-ish power supply brick that puts out both +5 and +12
V DC at a total of 34 W (I am slightly skeptical of this number) and has
what is probably a fake UL symbol on it. Its output cable is a touch
under 5 mm, because it's got either three or four wires in it. This
cable is fairly succint:

AWM 2464 20AWG VW-1SC 80(deg)C 300V FT1

This cable probably isn't actually CSA or UL approved, but the AWM-2464
seems to be a useful search term, yielding hits like:

http://iq.ul.com/awm/stylepage.aspx?Style=2464

http://www.awcwire.com/mfg/general-cable/product/general-cable-foil-shield-multi-conductor-communication-cable-awm-2464-csa-awm

http://www.awcwire.com/mfg/general-cable/product/general-cable-foil-shield-multi-conductor-communication-cable-awm-2464-nec-type-cmg

Mouser even has some, on rather long spools:

http://www.mouser.com/catalog/catalogusd/645/2490.pdf

but they don't have anything smaller than 2 pairs (4 conductors).

Digi-Key has some, that run between $32 and $52 for 100 feet of
2-conductor, depending on gauge and color. They also have longer
lengths available. This link may or may not take you there:
http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en?pv316=10&FV=fff40019%2Cfff80153%2Cb0c00ff&k=2464&mnonly=0&newproducts=0&ColumnSort=0&page=1&stock=1&quantity=0&ptm=0&fid=0&pageSize=25
<http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en?pv316=10&FV=fff40019%2Cfff80153%2Cb0c00ff&k=2464&mnonly=0&newproducts=0&ColumnSort=0&page=1&stock=1&quantity=0&ptm=0&fid=0&pageSize=25>
or even
http://goo.gl/T9WueB

I have an early 1997 vintage 40-watt laptop power supply, too. The DC
output cable on it is about 0.125"/3 mm diameter. It says...

E88565 RU AWM 1186 80C VW-1SC 18AWG MS LL60008 CSA TYPE TR-64 90C FT1 18AWG

Even though I actually believe the power rating and UL listing on the
adapter itself, most of what's on this cable seems to be bogus. The
UL E88565 and CSA LL60008 ID numbers don't identify the maker - maybe
they are too old. Also, AWM-1186 should be for a single conductor wire,
not a cable. Oh well.

Standard disclaimers apply: I don't get money or other consideration
from any companies mentioned.

Matt Roberds

Michael Covington
Guest

Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:42 am   



Outstanding! That is a more helpful reply than I could have imagined. Many thanks!

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