Yes, speaker wire can be used as electrical wire for 12V power! Using speaker wires to connect your light bar is something that many people consider. Well, spoiler alert- you can actually use speaker wires for this purpose. But there are some things to consider and precautions to take. We will talk about that subject in this article.
Like any other wiring type, you need to handle and connect the speaker wires with safety measures to avoid risks and accidents. In fact, if possible, I don’t suggest using them at all for some heavy-duty light bars. But it is not impossible, and if professionally done, the setup can totally work without any issue.
What Are Speaker Wires?
Speaker wires are basically a similar item as the basic electrical wires. However, the obvious difference is that the former uses transparent covers, while the latter uses opaque ones.
But there are other differences as well. Speaker wires were generally used for transferring electrical current within speakers. So, they can transmit electricity with lower voltage compared to electrical-wires.
They are also thinner in most cases. Because of this, too heavy-duty projects are not ideal with speaker wires as they won’t be able to handle the load and burn or catch fire. However, LED lights use a low voltage on vehicles. It mostly stays within 10-24V, which is within the capability of speaker wires.
Using Speaker Wires for Light Bars
Since speaker wires have the same conductive materials as electrical wires, they are interchangeable for light-duty works.
But it is also possible to wire LED lights using them. When using speaker wires instead of the regular ones for LED bars, you are likely to connect the bar to the main power source. Because of the low voltage and amp of LED bars in most cases, it is totally possible to use these wires here.
However, you cannot take any random speaker wire to use in the connection. There are some factors that need checking, as some of them are better than others.
Guide to Choose Speaker Wires for LED Light Bars
The initial factor you need to check when choosing a speaker wire for your LED bar is the gauge. They come in different gauges. A higher gauge can transfer less electricity than a lower gauge. For LED bars with low wattage, let’s say 120W, you can go for 16 gauge.
But LED bars that are highly powerful, like 240W or higher, may need 12 gauge. But if your light bar has more LED power than 240W, I don’t recommend using speaker wires. You don’t want to risk your vehicle and yourself in the process.
Aside from that, you can also look at the material for the wire. The best ones are made of copper alloys as they are highly conductive. It is easy to check as you can find their materials in the product descriptions.
A typical speaker wire spool can cost you anywhere from $10 to &25. There are different factors that determine their price. For instance, if you pick copper ones, you may need to spend more.
It also depends on the length, gauge, and quality of the wire. But overall, you can see that they are cheaper than the regular electrical wires.
- Make sure to check the gauge of an electrical wire before using it on LED bars. Don’t use it if the bar is more powerful and uses more than 10 amp.
- Don’t use speaker wires for the LED bar if you have no experience wiring other lighting parts in your vehicle.
While speaker wires are suitable for LED light bars, there is some stuff you need to consider before using them. You can only use them for LED bars with low power that draws less current. Some of them can use 16 amp or higher, which are totally unsuited and unsafe for speaker wires.