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stingers - how small a gauge?

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Bob Cole
stingers - how small a gauge?
on May 18, 2012 at 5:36:39 pm

I know it's better to err on the side of caution, but I suspect that I've been carrying around extension cables that are far heavier gauge than I really need. (Result: excess baggage charges, and carrying fewer runs of cable because they are so bulky and heavy.)

I'm wondering how small a gauge I can get away with, safely, for 25' runs of stingers for a variety of loads: 200 watts, 500 watts, 700 watts, 1500 watts. I would guess the answer is 200 watts: 16 ga., 500-700 watts: 14, and 1k and up, 12. I've looked up the answer online, but I'd appreciate a "real world" answer as well.

Thanks!

Bob C


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john sharaf
Re: stingers - how small a gauge?
on May 18, 2012 at 6:12:11 pm

Bob,

#12/3 SJO (water resistant) is a standard "stinger" cable in use for lighting work, but technically is rated only at 9.3 amps. In practical use it's common to load the circuit until the 15 or 20 amp breaker blows, so anything less that #12 wire is inadvisable. Furthermore you can expect voltage drop with heavy loads at longer distances, more so with thinner wire. Best practice is to use heaviest wire, calculate load and occasionally feel the cable and connectors for warmth!

JS



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Bill Davis
Re: stingers - how small a gauge?
on May 21, 2012 at 5:39:55 am

John is right, but I have to say that as both color balanced fluorescents and LED units continue to improve, we may get the added benefit of being able to schlepp smaller gauge cable around.

My LED units came with 18 gauge power cables (18 footers!) that make it a real joy to transport them.

I'm probably saving at least a pound per cable over my old stingers.

Which is REALLY nice when it comes time to travel.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Bob Cole
Re: stingers - how small a gauge?
on Jun 13, 2012 at 5:47:58 pm

Thanks John and Bill. I should have explained more fully: when I am working as a one-man-band, lighting and shooting, I'm also traveling by air to locations and watching every ounce. I totally get John's point about the 12 gauge being preferable. But in those situations, being able to get away with a thinner gauge helps me to carry more cables and other useful things.


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