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Old 01-07-2010, 08:43 PM #1
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Default Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

I've read a few posts here on LPF about "hidden" sources for wire for circuit building projects (like the DDL driver). Namely: Computer PSU's, Computer Monitors/CRT's, Computer Drive Cables (thin gray "ribbon" cables)....

Could you also use Ethernet cables? There are about 8 single wires inside those, right? Would those be suitable to use for DIY circuits?


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Old 01-07-2010, 08:48 PM #2
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveindelaware View Post
I've read a few posts here on LPF about "hidden" sources for wire for circuit building projects (like the DDL driver). Namely: Computer PSU's, Computer Monitors/CRT's, Computer Drive Cables (thin gray "ribbon" cables)....

Could you also use Ethernet cables? There are about 8 single wires inside those, right? Would those be suitable to use for DIY circuits?

Yeah CAT 5E Ethernet cable is great for such low-current applications.

I use the stuff regularly for my GDTs (peak 9A @ 100s of kHz), stuff will work great for your laser projects.
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:53 PM #3
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

Im always searcing about for bits of suitable wire and I got loads of CAT5...+1 Dave for the heads up.

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Old 01-08-2010, 02:55 PM #4
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brtaman View Post
Yeah CAT 5E Ethernet cable is great for such low-current applications.... stuff will work great for your laser projects.
OK, thanks for letting me know. I figure it's along the same concept as telephone wire, but you get more wires out of it!

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Im always searcing about for bits of suitable wire and I got loads of CAT5...+1 Dave for the heads up.
Thanks!
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:17 PM #5
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

Yeah its about the same as telephone wire, though I believe it is a lower gauge and offers lower resistance, though they could be the same, been a while since I ripped apart telephone wire so don't quote me on that one.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:33 PM #6
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

Wouldn't a lower gauge (or smaller) wire offer a HIGHER resistance ?



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Yeah its about the same as telephone wire, though I believe it is a lower gauge and offers lower resistance, though they could be the same, been a while since I ripped apart telephone wire so don't quote me on that one.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:43 PM #7
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

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Wouldn't a lower gauge (or smaller) wire offer a HIGHER resistance ?
Well it depends on how you perceive the "lower".

Numerically the lower the gauge number the larger the diameter of the wire, for instance AWG 8 is a couple mm thick while AWG 40 is about as thick as a single hair.

But it can go both ways I think... "lower" can infer, lower gauge meaning thinner. Higher gauge meaning thicker.

You yanks like to complicate wire size. (I just go by numerically lower or higher, basically the inverse of what is happening)
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:13 PM #8
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

I believe ethernet cable is 4 pairs of 24awg single strand bare copper. This means it's slightly more difficult to solder and does not like to be bent a lot. It would be rated to carry about 1.5A. It CAN handle quite a bit more, but it may get hot and waste power.

In a word: yes, it works.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:19 PM #9
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

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I believe ethernet cable is 4 pairs of 24awg single strand bare copper. This means it's slightly more difficult to solder and does not like to be bent a lot. It would be rated to carry about 1.5A. It CAN handle quite a bit more, but it may get hot and waste power.

In a word: yes, it works.
I think you are spot on regarding the gauge value, but not the single strand part. Don't know if its different for you guys in North America, but every CAT5 i've ripped apart has been multi stranded, otherwise winding a GDT with it would be a REAL hassle and the cable itself would be much less malleable making a hassle to use.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:25 PM #10
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

I think Wiki explains some things:

Category 5 cable - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:28 PM #11
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

Well, it explains not all cat 5 cables are the same thing.

Personally i prefer stranded cable for most applications, and i only use solid core wires on breadboards (stranded cable doesnt insert well into them unless solder coated).

The cat 5 cable made with stranded wire (patch cables, but sometimes long rolls too) provides very nice wires for electronics projects. The one with solid cores is virtually useless as the wires will break in time when being handled.

Telephone wire comes in many varieties as well, but if you have the good stuff, it provides wires very similar to stranded cat 5, with the added benefit of nicer colors (red and black for positive/negative is handy).
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:17 PM #12
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

Hmm, most of the CAT5 I've encountered is solid-core. The wires shouldn't break with regular use because you're not supposed to bend it more than a certain amount according to network cabling standards.

As for its use in projects, I find it about 2 gauges too small for breadboarding (24 vs 22), though some ethernet wire is made in 22 gauge. It is nice hookup wire, especially since it is already in pairs and color-coded, but also a pain to strip the wires of as they are sometimes too small. Maybe I'll try using the cable making tool for stripping my wires next time.
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:11 PM #13
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

I cant believe you guys are really discussing this. Wire is so cheap. If you can afford diodes, driver boards, and batteries, I'm sure you can buy some wire instead of ripping a cable apart LMAO. Why even chance using recycled CAT wire LOL?
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Old 01-16-2010, 04:43 PM #14
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

Ah well, because its simply available stuff? Like the couple of meters left over from installing a line somewhere... no need to discard perfectly good cable and buy some other imo.

As fas as i know many electronics enthousiasts mainly use recycled wire, even those working at fairly complex circuits... its probably a habit that stuck in the electronics community, even though a roll of fresh new wire isnt expensive at all.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:13 PM #15
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

And recycling wire is green. Something I believe TJ is a proponent of.

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Wire is so cheap.
He ain't kidding. I used to work at a wire factory and we threw away tens of thousands of feet a day sometimes for reasons like the color being a bit off.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:17 PM #16
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Default Re: Wire Sources: Wire from Ethernet cable?

Well, i dont think you technically throw it away with the trash, but that it gets recycled for the copper - seems to be quite valuable in bulk quantities these days (couple of dollars per lb).

There have been numerous copper thefts in the news - even to the point where people got killed trying to steal wire and transformers that were still connected to the grid (good for darwin awards i suppose).
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