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bell ringer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a speaker wire problem somewhere in my my wiring so figure I will just run new wire and stop chasing it. BUT the smallest wire run per ABYC is 16awg, which is what is currently installed, and that just seems a massive over kill.

What says the ever wise and knowledgeable SN members? Is standard speaker wire OK??
 

bell ringer
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Damn I found a chart about wire size, runs, and impedance. Now my brain hurts.
 

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Are there really ABYC regulations for speaker wire? It doesn't carry any significant current and doesn't need to be fused. I've used regular speaker wire before, but don't do that. It really turns black and corrodes quickly. Maybe OK for a few years if in a dry run, but it isn't much cheaper than 16AWG marine from a discount place. Just run tinned 16/2 or 18/2. Regular speaker wire is 16AWG, I think.

Mark
 

bell ringer
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The wire on my speakers is much less than 16
 

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The 16 gauge requirement is only for AC and DC power wiring. It does not apply to sensors and speakers. It is in the "scope" statement. That said, tiny speaker wire degrades performance and is kind of fragile. 16AWG is probably reasonable.
 

1968 Columbia 50
Columbia 50
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Honestly I use this stuff, cheap-ish in cost, and hopefully never have to do it again~which is big in my book. 16 Ga. is overkill, but at $19 I don't sweat it.

I am somewhat a fan of bluetooth speakers, being able to move one into the cockpit is nice, but charging or replacing batteries is a hassle to me, since they usually die mid-use when I don't want them to.
Amazon.com: GearIT 16 AWG Marine Speaker Cable (50 Feet), Boat Tinned Copper Wire, 2 Conductor Duplex Wire, Electrical Grade, Oxygen Free OFC, 50 Ft : Industrial & Scientific
 

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I have never, and will never, have speakers in the cockpit. Other people should not have to listen to my tunes, and sound carries on the water. In the cabin, closed up and not too loud, OK.
 

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Volume control works. We regularly have background music in the cockpit that people can converse normally over and can't be heard off the boat itself. Lots of people around us in most anchorages have/do the same, and we can't hear the music on the boats next to us unless we board them. For sure, I annoy more people playing guitar in the cockpit than our stereo does.

Apparently, none of the boats in Miami have working volume controls.

Mark
 

bell ringer
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
and it just .......................................................................... drifts away
 

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Background music as a concept is kinda weird... but ubiquitous. I find the background music in the produce market( and most other stores) annoying...Who likes "elevator music"??? I suppose because I don't like the "genre". If they need to do music, I would prefer classic or jazz.... as I am not a big fan of "pop" music from the 50s on. I'll take Sinatra almost anytime.
I find loud music on other boats offensive... no different that a large wake in an anchorage... selfish, inconsiderate and narcissistic.
 

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With speaker wire larger gauges are used for sound quality. Undersized wire will cause signal degradation which may or may not be noticeable to the listener. If you have good quality speakers and a good quality source, then you should use good quality wire too, particularly on a boat where the runs are longer than in the average car.

We have fairly high quality speakers in our cockpit, and we often put music on in the background, particularly if we are in a busy anchorage or docks. It creates a "bubble" that cancels out outside noises like generators, dinghy engines and other people's music. The great thing is that because the speakers are mounted down low, the sound is contained in the cockpit. As soon as you get a few feet away from the boat you can't hear it at all.

I do agree, one should not turn their music up so loud that everyone around you can hear it. In my experience that's more of a powerboat mentality.

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With speaker wire, like power wire, it's a current thing. You only need fat wires if you are running a lot of watts (loud). If you keep it low, you won't need much wire to prevent distortion.
 

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As far as charging direct current / 12v or similar devices... Consider have one "charging" circuit... always on and connect your devices to that when you are not on board (or on board). You can also include a buck type transformer for something like 19v... and have various receptacle types... USB... mini phone plug etc.
 

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Let's say you have 50 watt going into a 4 ohm speaker which is a sort of worst case for current.

P=E*I and E=I*R
P=(I*R)*I
I=鈭(P/R)
I=鈭(50/4)
I=3.5 amp
 

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The great thing is that because the speakers are mounted down low, the sound is contained in the cockpit. As soon as you get a few feet away from the boat you can't hear it at all.
Ours are mounted the same with the same results. The boats in Miami have the large bullet shaped ones mounted high up in the arches with head units that start at 11 and go up.

It is possible to have stereo music only on one's boat and no further. Unless you boat in Miami, that is.

Mark
 

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Ours are mounted the same with the same results. The boats in Miami have the large bullet shaped ones mounted high up in the arches with head units that start at 11 and go up.

It is possible to have stereo music only on one's boat and no further. Unless you boat in Miami, that is.

Mark
The wake board boats are the worst! Their systems are DESIGNED to broadcast over the water.

There ought to be a law!

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A boat is still really small. Compare it to a house, for example, and not a car. We have a relatively large boat with two largish amplifiers (40A fuses), a 12" subwoofer, 4 speakers in the cabin, and two speakers in the cockpit. The 4 4 ohm cabin speakers and 2 4 ohm cockpit speakers get 50W each, and the 4 ohm subwoofer 100W. All are wired with 16AWG wire. Turned up to volumes that will blow out the windows, there is still no distortion to (my) human ears. There just isn't that much amperage going through. A large house might be different, but a boat is still really small runs comparatively.

Mark
 

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With speaker wire, like power wire, it's a current thing. You only need fat wires if you are running a lot of watts (loud). If you keep it low, you won't need much wire to prevent distortion.
Yes, that is technically true, but using undersized wire results in greater losses. In other words, you will need to turn the volume up higher, and consume more power, to achieve the same volume. It is probably not a big deal to most people, but at the same time, why skimp on wire size when it only costs a few dollars more to go with a larger size.

AWG 18 is about as small as you should go for a 50w system and a run of less than 20'. The factory speaker wires to the cockpit on my boat are AWG14.

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A boat is still really small. Compare it to a house, for example, and not a car. We have a relatively large boat with two largish amplifiers (40A fuses), a 12" subwoofer, 4 speakers in the cabin, and two speakers in the cockpit. The 4 4 ohm cabin speakers and 2 4 ohm cockpit speakers get 50W each, and the 4 ohm subwoofer 100W. All are wired with 16AWG wire. Turned up to volumes that will blow out the windows, there is still no distortion to (my) human ears. There just isn't that much amperage going through. A large house might be different, but a boat is still really small runs comparatively.

Mark
Distortion doesn't come from the speaker wires, it comes from the amplifier except in extreme cases. Mostly undersized speaker wire results in sound attenuation.

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