S@ktreez420 I’m back a little sooner than expected. No problem about the rail, I just noticed you didn’t mention it the 2nd time around. If you’re pretty confident you can build the rail, you’re gonna be in good shape. It’s not very difficult, but will definitely be the most labor intensive part of the project. Mounting the cobs and wiring the driver will be much easier than you’re probably expecting. After the first one or 2, the last couple will literally take no time at all.
So back to the wiring. I said 18 awg mtw. Not much to this… the 18 awg is the size of the copper. If you’re not already aware, the copper gets bigger as the awg # gets smaller. All the way to zero anyway, then they become 1/0, 2/0 and so on. Outside of being an electrician you probably won’t ever have a reason to work with anything bigger than say 8 awg so don’t really worry about that to much. So basically comes down to bigger wire is good for more current (amps). The 18 awg is typically rated for 7 amps. There are some correction factors for long runs of wire or extreme temperature, but nothing like that should come into play on the average light build. The typical 15 amp circuit in your house will be wired with 14 awg for reference, that’s 2 sizes bigger than the 18. For this build a 20 awg would probably do, but there’s no sense in being any closer to your rated current draw.
The 18 is plenty workable and will give you a little safety factor. You wouldn’t want to go to the 16 awg in this case though, because it doesn’t fit great into the connectors on the cob. 18 should be good for just about any of these projects that I would advise on. so no harm in buying bulk and saving money. The mtw is simply the type of insulation used. There are several different types, so don’t sweat this much. It’s a very common type of insulation used in industrial controls. Hence the reason I have a large spool of it at my disposal haha. Your wire doesn’t need to be mtw, or any specific insulation. I would look for these specific features.
18awg copper (tinned is fine means the strands are fused with solder like substance)
Good for 600 volts
Rated for 90 degrees Celsius
This should be available on amazon from 10 to 500 ft rolls. I’m guessing $20ish for a hundred foot roll. Maybe more or less, haven’t shopped there for it but you should definitely expect the price per foot to go down with larger quantity. Something to keep in mind if you plan on doing another. But I would get 25 foot roll at the least.
The so cord is just another type of cable. It will have multiple individually insulated wires inside of it. Can usually be bought by the foot at local hardware store or Home Depot, or by the roll. It’s literally bulk extension cord without the ends. You will see this labeled as 16/3 type so. The 16 is the size of the individual wires, and the 3 represents the number of individual wires within the cable. If you decide to go with so cable or just cut the ends off an extension cord, here’s what you need to think about to determine how much you need. Are you going to remote install the driver outside of tent?
If you answered yes- get enough so cord or extension cord to run from the driver to the outlet you plan to use. Measure exactly how you plan to run it. Tuck, turn, or whatever you plan to do then add a couple feet. If you want to eventually run multiple drivers off this cord size it to 14/3. Then measure from your driver location to the tallest point you can hang your light. If you plan on running your cable up the corner of your tent or wherever, make sure to measure for it. Then add the height of your tent (or as low as you plan to be able to lower the light) and add a couple feet to that too. Get this length in 16/2. 16/3 is fine you will just have an extra wire, but the 16/2 should be cheaper. Also, add 2 more wago connectors. I didn’t think about this aspect earlier, sorry.
If you answered no and plan on mounting driver directly to the frame. Measure from driver to outlet you plan on using accounting for tucking and tying your cord, then add amount you plan on being able to lower light plus a couple feet. This can be 16/3. If you plan to run another driver off this same cable in the future, get 14/3 now as well.
In either case, if you opt for so type cord, you will also need a male end to hook up to the cable and plug into your receptacle. A cheap one is around 3-4 bucks. If you go this route, spend an extra couple bucks and get one that looks sturdy, your cobs will last a long time. You’ll want your cable to ad well.
I’m gonna be completely honest, the cheapest here will probably be buying a large extension cord and cutting it into 2 pieces. But we’ll see what you come up with for lengths first.
Probably a lot of babbling there. If I have time, maybe I can draw a picture tomorrow if you’d like.