12AWG vs 14AWG IEC

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TES3S

Well-Known DJ
Sep 18, 2016
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141
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Los Angeles, CA
#1
I can't find a 12AWG in a long length, and I am trying to avoid multiple extension cables.

I could buy a normal power cable that is 12AWG, and then buy one of these adapters--
1ft IEC 320 C14 Male Plug to NEMA 5-15R 3 Prong Female PC Power Adapter Cable | eBay - (https://www.ebay.com/itm/1ft-IEC-320-C14-Male-Plug-to-NEMA-5-15R-3-Prong-Female-PC-Power-Adapter-Cable/112209176261?epid=569178151&hash=item1a203026c5:g:lYkAAOSw44BYL-Un)

Wonder if it's a wash using one of those adapters, as it would be the same just running a 14AWG cable with no adapter.

Also, if I do run multiple extension cords, is there a voltage drop when connecting cables together?
 

steve149

Urbane Legend
Sep 26, 2011
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#2
I've been buying bulk cable from this vendor .. 250 foot reel - 12/3 SJOOW 300V BLACK | eBay - (https://www.ebay.com/itm/250-foot-reel-12-3-SJOOW-300V-BLACK/323193656157?hash=item4b3fd7d35d:g:bX4AAOSwB-1Y3o2u)

you don't want to use smaller gauges at the beginning of a run .. you'd still be limited to it's current capacity (which is 15A for 14 ga) .. If you're plugging into a 15A standard outlet, then no issue.

You get a power drop (voltage x current) on long lengths of cable .. whether you get voltage drop depends on the load. For 12 gauge, you lose about 10% of the power at 125 ft. For 14 ga, you lose 10% at around 80 ft. So the longer you go, the lower gauge you want to minimize loss.
 

rickryan.com

DJ Extraordinaire
Dec 9, 2009
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#3
I ran about 75 feet this past Saturday and used 14 gauge extension cable for that. I was running off an inverter generator and was able to adjust the power output so that I had a perfect 115 at the end of my extension. In those cases, I usually drop back to a single sub, along with 2 powered tops.
 

TES3S

Well-Known DJ
Sep 18, 2016
260
141
45
Los Angeles, CA
#4
Thanks, Steve.
If I am understanding correctly, using an adapter on either end of the cable is no good?

What exactly happens (effectively not a 12 gauge anymore?) if I use a 12 gauge cable with the adapter shown above (18 gauge)?
 

steve149

Urbane Legend
Sep 26, 2011
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#7
Thanks, Steve.
If I am understanding correctly, using an adapter on either end of the cable is no good?

What exactly happens (effectively not a 12 gauge anymore?) if I use a 12 gauge cable with the adapter shown above (18 gauge)?
It all depends. 12 gauge is rated to 20A and 14 Ga is rated to 15A. Both will handle more than that for peaks. So if you are running a "standard" rig that is pulling maybe 6-10 amps, it really wouldn't matter, as 14 gauge is sufficient anyway.

My rule of thumb .. less than 25 feet or so, 14 ga .. up to 100-150 feet, 12 gauge .. longer than that you need 8 or 10 gauge or you need to find a closer outlet .. :)
 

TES3S

Well-Known DJ
Sep 18, 2016
260
141
45
Los Angeles, CA
#8
right, I understand 12 gauge is rated to 20A and 14 Ga is rated to 15A, but when using the adapter on the end, am I effectively dropping down in gauge?

The adpater I posted is 18 gauge, so if used with a 12 gauge cable, now what?

I am not really running more than 75 feet.
 

steve149

Urbane Legend
Sep 26, 2011
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#10
right, I understand 12 gauge is rated to 20A and 14 Ga is rated to 15A, but when using the adapter on the end, am I effectively dropping down in gauge?

The adpater I posted is 18 gauge, so if used with a 12 gauge cable, now what?

I am not really running more than 75 feet.
The adapter will limit the constant current you should draw, as it will heat up quicker if it is on the circuit side. If it's on the gear side, as long as that item only needs 10A or less, probably fine. It all comes down to how much current you're pulling .. and through what gauge wire for how long.

So probably NOT a good idea to use that jumper to go out of say a sub, and then add 100' of extension cord to drive a load pulling 15 amps. If it's from a sub to a top 6 feet away, probably fine.
 

TES3S

Well-Known DJ
Sep 18, 2016
260
141
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Los Angeles, CA
#11
ok, so I guess there is no good way to know how much the adapter will limit the current on the circuit side.

I am going to assume that if using a 12 gauge cable and then an adapter on the circuit side, even at 75 feet, I am fine, but the cable might be limited on current, only handing 10amps?
 

steve149

Urbane Legend
Sep 26, 2011
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#12
ok, so I guess there is no good way to know how much the adapter will limit the current on the circuit side.

I am going to assume that if using a 12 gauge cable and then an adapter on the circuit side, even at 75 feet, I am fine, but the cable might be limited on current, only handing 10amps?
Not so much how much it will limit it .. it's where it's placed in the chain. If it's at the end of a 100' extension and then plugged into a device .. not much effect. If it's at the beginning of a chain (as it would be here to the next device) .. it will be a limiting factor .. how much would depend on the load you pull through it. Stay under 10 amps and you should be fine.
 

steve149

Urbane Legend
Sep 26, 2011
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#13
The IEC daisy chain socket you plug this into is ALSO probably limited by the internal wiring in the device (speaker or amp) and might a factor .
 

TES3S

Well-Known DJ
Sep 18, 2016
260
141
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Los Angeles, CA
#14
I have adapters for multiple cables for different situations.

Do I have this right--

Is it worse to plug the adapter on the side going into the circuit (wall) vs the side going into the speaker?

or wait, do I have this backwards?

I thought that if I plug any 18awg 1ft converter adapter on the circuit side (going into the wall), it would absolutely have a negative impact and limit the current of what was 15 amps on a 12 gauge cable.
 
Last edited:

steve149

Urbane Legend
Sep 26, 2011
20,221
28,535
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Prospect, CT
#15
I have adapters for multiple cables for different situations.

Do I have this right--

Is it worse to plug the adapter on the side going into the circuit (wall) vs the side going into the speaker?

or wait, do I have this backwards?

I thought that if I plug any 18awg 1ft converter adapter on the circuit side (going into the wall), it would absolutely have a negative impact and limit the current of what was 15 amps on a 12 gauge cable.
If it's just an extension, the powered device and the little whip .. makes no difference (you're still pulling the same current through the whip), but overall I'd say it's worse with the 18 ga whip at the start of the cable, as it limits the current draw on the entire cable .. with the whip at the end, can always put a multitap and pull more total amps through the extension.

Either way, use a 12-14 ga whip and less issues.
 

djtaso

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Apr 4, 2017
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#17
Agreed^^

Personally I have everything plugging into power conditioners by my console, and those conditioners get plugged to the wall. So my actual equipment never needs a run more than 20ft to my console area and those are 14awg extension wires. The conditioners use 14 or 12awg extensions to plug to the wall outlets depending on the length of the run. Over 50ft I definitely use 12awg.
 
Likes: maestro

TES3S

Well-Known DJ
Sep 18, 2016
260
141
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Los Angeles, CA
#18
b/c my power distro that was built uses an IEC for power. I could order a new one with proper power con, but looking for other alternatives.

I think this is what I am going to do--

Use a 12gauge IEC to Edison power whip, and use a regular 12 gauge extension cable to plug into wall.


My equipment also never sees more than 25ft to the DJ station, but then you have to power it to the wall from the distro.
 
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rickryan.com

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Dec 9, 2009
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#20
Agreed^^

Personally I have everything plugging into power conditioners by my console, and those conditioners get plugged to the wall. So my actual equipment never needs a run more than 20ft to my console area and those are 14awg extension wires. The conditioners use 14 or 12awg extensions to plug to the wall outlets depending on the length of the run. Over 50ft I definitely use 12awg.
Rabbit trail ahead...........I had to run off a generator this past weekend. I've heard that you should never use a power regulator when running off a generator. I ran power directly from their distro to power my rig. I then used a kill-a-watt meter to adjust the output of the generator to 115v. Does anybody know?