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Cat 5 voltage capabilities?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by stryfe, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. stryfe

    stryfe Private E-2

    Hey guys...I'm thinking about useing cat 5 to run voice and power to a fixed mount sat phone. It's a 12v source and the unit draws up to 3A. Is this possible..or am I looking for trouble?

    Your advice is greatly appreciated.
  2. Mada_Milty

    Mada_Milty MajorGeek

    Wow, that's a fairly unusual request. According to my google search, category 5 cable can only handle 1A per conductor, so you would need to use 3 pins out of 8 to carry that kind of current without melting.
  3. Rikky

    Rikky Wile E. Coyote - One of a kind

    yeh network cable isnt any good for carrying current,its got a small diameter and is usually aluminium, a poorer conductor than copper,to get an idea of the thickness of cable you need check the stuff out in desklamp thats usually 3amp cable :cool:
  4. asturnacle

    asturnacle Private E-2


    a bit serious and joke all in one cat 5 for the dc,!! standby the fire dept !!current is all about the gauge and distance and type of wire, hence heat and voltage drop, control & audio maybe dc power good luck

    take a look at the NEC (national elec code), and local codes also consider lighting it likes ways in looking for ground, u probably need to add a lighting arrestor

  5. brownizs

    brownizs MajorGeek

    Uh guys, have you never heard of Power Over Ethernet devices http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_over_Ethernet Ethernet can carry up to 48VDC, 400mA. Most POE devices only push 5VDC/2.5A, or 12VDC/1A, so I see no problem with using Cat-5e for pushing 12VDC/3A.

    Now if we are talking about 120vAC, that is a different story, and can be done, with minimum amps on a 24awg wire.
  6. Mada_Milty

    Mada_Milty MajorGeek

    Brownizs is right, there is such technology, but according to your link, it takes 4 pins for 350mA?!?!?! stryfe requires 3A!! Sounds like that wire would melt FOR SURE!
  7. brownizs

    brownizs MajorGeek

    It would at 12VDC. Remember the lower the voltage, the higher the amps. Usually also, the rating on devices is the max it takes, not normal output. If powering a device, usually 18awg is used in these cases.
  8. prometheos

    prometheos Staff Sergeant

    Hi stryfe
    Underwriters Laboratory, insurance Companies, and your local fire marshall all recommend a minimum of 700 circular mils of wire diameter per amp transmitted. You would require 2100 Circular mils for your 3 amps. Your Cat5 cable has 8 wires, each measuring 24 awg. A 24 awg wire is about 400 circular mils. With 8 wires you could tie 4 together to make about 1600 circular mils. The other 4 will be tied together as well, to form the 12vdc return wire. From the fire marshall's point of view, you don't have enough circular mils. Since 1600 circular mils is about 18 awg, you could use 18 awg lamp cord which also has thicker insulation and will dissipate the heat better in an overload situation. This is one hookup I'd never leave unattended, and you've definitely got to fuse this project with a DC fuse - like a 3 amp car fuse. You should be ok with a ten foot length - anything more will cause too much of a voltage drop, defeating your purpose, and heating the wire even more. :)

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