Buying wires can be challenging if you don’t have any prior knowledge. When choosing speaker wire for your car, the biggest challenge is ensuring you get the best. So, if you are looking to purchase a new amplifier and need an amp wiring kit, this post will tell you all you need to know about wires.
When it comes to high current wiring in a vehicle, two major types are used, the OFC and the CCA. Firstly, there are some differences between these wires, and not all wire gauges conform to the domestic wiring standards. Here’s what you need to know about the CCA and OFC and how to choose the best one for your job.
CCA Power Wire or OFC Amplifier Wiring
CCA is a short form for copper-coated aluminum. It is made up of copper such as OFC but appears lighter in weight than the pure copper wire. You need a thicker aluminum wire since aluminum conducts about 60% of the electricity compared to copper.
CCA power wire has a thin coating of copper even though it looks like copper at a glance. Although the copper coating helps, it is not as good as pure copper wire and produces more heat. It is a significant and better upgrade over the aluminum wire but is inferior to the OFC.
To safely and effectively use the CCA power wire, you must use a heavier gauge to carry the same load. Do not substitute CCA wire for copper wire to avoid burnt wires and a fire. Again, CCA has less flexibility, is more prone to corrosion, and the strands can break when overly flexed.
This makes it hard to work with. However, if weight isn’t an issue, the CCA power wire may be useful in AC wiring or powering your light bar.
The term Oxygen-free copper wiring (OFC) is overused for all solid copper conductors. It is excellent for your car because it produces less heat and reduces the strain on your car’s system. More so, with the OFC wiring, there’s minimal oxidation. This helps to reduce the current-carrying efficiency of the wire.
Worth mentioning is the abuse of the name OFC. There’s no way to know if the solid copper conductor you are using is oxygen-free.
Car Audio Power Wire
It is recommended to use only stranded conductors in mobile applications or anywhere a conductor may be exposed to vibration or movement. Never undermine the importance of good quality wire when installing a car stereo.
The Size of the Car Audio Wire
Your car audio wire size is of great importance. Since the conductor has a specific diameter, it either meets it or doesn’t. The American Wire Gauge (AWG) standard is used in the electronic industry. The steel sheet industry gauge is also essential for specifying material thickness. However, it is unnecessary in a car audio since some labels can be misleading. And, many times, there’s no way of knowing how big it is other than measuring it.
Car Audio Power Wire: The Challenge
As earlier mentioned, when you look at car audio wiring, there’s no way to know what you are getting with a CCA amp kit. Some manufactures make high-quality CCA wires that function in the same capacity as solid copper. The downside to using the wrong wiring is that the wire will not fit into many connectors or terminal blocks.
However, considering the long-term benefits, it pays more to stick to OFC. Solid copper wire resists corrosion much better than CCA wiring. Unprotected CCA power wire can fail quickly, especially in areas where road salt or brine is used during winter. We recommend choosing a solid copper wire to get the best from your audio system.
The good news is with The Consumer Technology Association, there is a specified standard for wiring called CTA-2015 (previously CEA-2015) specification. It defines the minimum standard of wiring applicable for mobile electronics. Sticking to brands that follow the CTA-2015 standard ensures you get the best wire for your car audio. The specifications include:
- The wire must be stranded, solid copper
- The number of strands for a given AWG wire size
- The area of the wire and maximum resistance
What you Should Know About Fusing
It is crucial to get the correct fuses. They are often purchased with an amp wiring kit but can also be bought separately. Always ensure the fusing on your power wire is available. It is located close to the car battery and prevents the car from burning if an accident occurs.
Variations in the Quality of Wire
A car’s electrical system is built to handle a specific load, and an upgrade can pressure the wiring. The quality of your wires can significantly impact how well they conduct electricity to deliver power and audio signals to your equipment. Some cables in your car’s electrical system may be of low quality, and in this case, a ‘Big 3 upgrade’ is required to bring them up to 2 or 1 gauge.
Likely Effects of Using the Wrong Wire
Asides from being unsafe, using non-standard wires for your car audio system can result in unpleasant sound changes. Although these changes can be minimal, they can appear over time.
4G Vs. 8G Wiring
These are the most popular car audio installations. If you consider upgrading your amplifier in the future, we recommend the 4G wiring. It is thicker and effectively carries more current compared to its 8G wiring cheaper counterpart.
It is essential to note that the longer the wiring, the thicker the wire has to be. Buying 4G wire ensures you get the best and don’t have to worry about replacing it later.
Finally, proper sizing is critical. It is unsafe to run current through a wire that can’t handle it or under power an amplifier. We have a team of experts to take you through setting up your car audio system. We can help you make the best choice for your car’s audio system. Contact us now for more information.