Depending on the size of your display you’re likely going to need a lot of wire and cable. This will be used for providing connectivity to and in between your light strings, for running power and power injection and for data. There are a number of different wire and cable options to choose from and there isn’t a one size fits all for everyone. Some cables are also harder to work with than others. Many different choices and colors. Below are what we’ve chosen to work with and it’s a fairly standard choice amongst others in the lighting hobby. We calculate our total wire needs based on our display layout of props and controllers in the Planning phase.
- Cat5e Ethernet Cable – This is the cable we use to run our DMX connections from our controllers to DMX devices. This is also the cable we use to run our ethernet connections carrying our E1.31 (DMX over Ethernet) data stream as well as any ethernet connectivity between controllers, ethernet switches and the Raspberry Pi running the Falcon Player for our show
- RJ-45 Plugs – These are the plugs we use to crimp on to the ends of the cable listed above. These plugs will crimp on to either solid or stranded Cat5e and work very well
- 18 AWG Wire – We like the 18 gauge wire as it isn’t too thick, it’s easy to manage, and carries the signal strong and a decent distance. We buy it in two versions, the 18/4 version to carry data, power (+/-) and clock (if you need it) and the 18/2 version purely for power (+/-) injection. You can find both options selectable for purchase here. This isn’t the cheapest but it isn’t the most expensive either…this is actually competitively priced even with the cheaper wire options. We like to use the purest copper wire to provide the best connectivity. You can go with cheaper Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA) but you’ll get shorter effective distance. So in the end the extra few bucks is worth it!
- 10 AWG Wire – We use this for connecting to our controllers and power distribution units from our power supplies. We use two colors, Red Silicon 10 Gauge Wire and Black Silicon 10 Gauge Wire. We use the silicon wire because it is softer and much easier to manage!
- SPT1 Wire (Need to find the link from christmastlightshow.com) – This is the wire we use for all of our AC elements to run back to our AC controller