GREAT content from creator Kenneth aka crazykenkid on the caraudio.com forums. CLICK HERE for the original post from 2006 to see further discussion.
Today I will be testing 14 different brands of 1/0 power wire. The brands I will be testing are brands that I have found in builds on this forum and have been recommendation to test by other members on the SSA forum. Lately on the forums I have been noticing people asking a variety of question in regards to 1/0 wiring as in to flex and a comparison of different brands of wires and how thick each wire is in comparison to other brands. So I thought it was time for side by side wire comparison of different brands of wire that I have commonly found in use or have been suggested to me by others.
A little background about myself I have done about five different builds on my old 95 grand-am, each new build included a new level of difficulty on the install and build. From a simple sealed box, all the way up to a 6th order tapered horn box, along with fibreglasses door panels to accommodate two pairs of components, also I have done a fair amount of sound deadening. I have worked in the Mould trade at varies shops for the past 4 years now. At a Mould shop we build Mould to be used in plastic injection of primarily, but not limited to, car parts. We have also built a number of tools for rubber maid, air plane companies, small toys, along with plastic forks and spoons also.
In the excel chart included, near the end, those costs were a bit higher than usual as I didn't purchase the wire in bulk but I purchased it from a 3ft stand. Now with that being said as you purchase more wire the cost per foot will decrease.
In all the pictures of the wires flexing I used a beat up Kent State pen to use as a reference so that each wire will be compared to the pen and the pen is mainly there to show as a reference. Worthy of mention, if you pay close attention to how the wire lays, after the knot, you can easily see which wires are a bit tougher to use. For example of this notice the Street Wires and the Q-Power wire, notice how the Street Wires lays are after the knot, they nearly fall parallel with each other, while as the Q-Power flexes out nearly as long as the pen.
I will be using a dial vernier(caliper) to do take all my measurements from the under listed wiring, to compare OD of the over wire, and the OD of the conductor , along with how thick each jacket is. I have also included percentages as those are a bit easier to understand.
from left to right! (or in the first pic right to left)
Welding Supplies (provided by Sir-Lancelot not tested yet)
here is how I got my dimensions, I was using Raptor Wiring in this picture.
as you can see I used a vernier to get the Outside Diameter (OD) and the CON OD (Conductor Outside Diameter), I then subtracted those to find the Jacket thickness, then I found how much of the OD was the Jacket and how much of the wire was the conductor.
Please note Monster cable and how they have a piece of plastic running though center! With this center piece of plastic in the wire it makes it more difficult to bend and the center piece was added to the jacket as it isn't conductor and it wasn't helping the conductor .
These wires will all get a under average, average or above average rating based on three different factors, such as conductor percentage(the average being 63% of the wires I tested) bend-ability and cost(average cost being $3.6 per foot of the wires I tested). So for example if a wire is bendable, cost is good, and the conductor percentage is over 63% the wire will get an above average rating, and if the wire is bendable, but the cost is higher, and the conductor percentage is under 63% the wire will get a under average rating.
Knowing the jacket thickness would help show us why some wires are harder to bend then others, but the bend-ability will also depend on how stiff the jacket is.
When doing the bend tests in the below pictures I tried to be fair and apply the same amount of force to each wire when I was bending and knotting them.
ALSO very important in this part of the review, it is very subjective and should be treated as such and taken as such.
1. EFX Scosche, this wire I would consider to be an average in bend-ability and cost was on the higher side and the conductor OD was over the average 63%.
2. Monster, this wire I would consider to be the worst of all for bend-ability and the cost was on also on the higher end and the OD was the greatest of all the wires compared today most likely due to the center core piece.
3. Sound Quest, this wire I would consider to be an under-average wire due to the lack of bend-ability as you can see how the knot is so big also the conductor OD undersized and the cost was higher.
4. Xscorpion, this wire was one of my favourite wires to use but it will get an average rating due to its price tag per foot but its bend-ability was great and its conductor OD was under the average of 63%.
5. Rockford Fosgate, this was again my most favourite wire to use as its bend-ability was amazing, and the conductor OD is the third highest, the only negative this wire has is its price tag.
another upside to this wire is the strands are Pure-Crystal Oxygen Free wire, notice it has a silvery colour to it and it looks
6. Tsunami, this wire has bend-ability in its corner as bending this wire was smooth and required very little effort, but this wire gets and under average rating because of its price and under average conductor percentage.
7. KNU KCA, this wire I am not 100% sure on how to rate it because for one it is CCA, its flex is off the wall, the conductor OD percentage was the highest of all the wires tested, and it was one of the cheapest wire I tested. SO technically it could get all 3 points, but the wire been CCA would that be considered a negative make this wire just average?
8. KNU Kolossus, this wire is the one brand of wire I have used in all my builds to date and I like it second to the RF wiring. The Kolossus wiring has one of the best flexibility out there and the only negative it has is the price which is over the $3.6 per foot.
9. Stinger HPM, yes this is the legendary pinnacle of wiring out there the HPM wiring from stinger but due to my research I would give it a under average rating because the price was very high, and the conductor diameter is less than the average percentage point and the flex of this wire was the only highlight of this wiring.
10. Raptor, this wire yields a average rating as this wire has the flex, has the price factor but the conductor OD is under the average percentage by a good 10%.
11. Cadence, this wire gets a above average rating as it has the flex, the conductor OD is over the average conductor plus the cost of this wire is the second cheapest as it rounds out to $2 per foot.
12. Q-Power, this wire will get a under average rating as per my standards of wire as the flex wasn't quite up to snuff, and the conductor percentage wasn't there and also this wire had the smallest overall OD of all the brands, the only positive for this wire was the price tag!
13. Street Wires, and lastly this wire gets an average rating as it has the flex, and the conductor percentage but it doesn't have the price factor.
14. Welding Supplies coming very soon!
With all the above being said I would like to sum it all up in another excel table.
As you can see half the wire brands were able to make it past my grading scale as 7/13= 53.8% passed!
So basically in my opinion I would recommend the Cadence wiring based off of my subjective review of the wires as stated previously above. If you want to go OFC or the KNU KCA if you want to go CCA! and another close runner up I would like to recommend is Rockford Fosgate or KNU Kolossus! My recommendations have been based on my results and my person use of the above mentioned wire.
Based on these sites as references each site basically says the conductor OD should be about 0.32 inches, and as we can all see all the wires tested are over that diameter so all the wires should have gotten a +1 for that but my review was based on wires vs wires not the standards but we can use the standards as a good reference to base everything off of!
Not So Subjective:
The reason why the above is a bit suggestive is because with this method you can't account for the individual strand size, count and construction of how the copper was packed into the jacket, which could make the conductor OD a bit smaller due to packing. So to help eliminate this issue a bit I picked up a nice tobacco scale and set it to Oz. That way I would be able to measure accurately the amount of copper which is in each wire brand. Also keep in mind that the KNU KCA and Q-Power is CCA strands.
As you can see in the below pictures I cut the copper out of the jackets and placed it on the scale to get a reading on the scale. The first pic is of EFX Scosche and the second picture is of Monster.
From there I also measured the diameter in inches of an individual strand of copper. As you can see in the pic this strand is a good 0.005" OD, and keeping in mind a piece of hair is about 0.003" thick.
From there I took a bunch of strands and placed them on the scale to achieve a reading of 0.01 Oz. Once I got that reading I counted all the stands. On average there was about 25 strands but for some it was a good 50 strands. So I took 0.01 divided by the number of strands to get the weight of each individual strand then divided that by the overall weight of the overall total weight to get a potential amount of strands per brand. As you can see that number is close in some cases and is far off in others. So then I thought I could compare that number to the amount of potential strands by using the cross sectional areas of the strands vs. the overall CON OD.
But as you can see those two numbers didn't like each other very much and finding the amount of strands was a bit tricky. So take the amount of strands at face value which isn't very much and let me know what you think.
Also if you notice in the last pick I also found how much money I can potential get from a scrap yard if I turn all the strands in for some cash. I based my copper price off of June 1st price of copper per pound. As you can see on that day copper was selling for about 4.10$ per pound. So I took all my Oz and summed them up then divided by 16 (16oz = 1lb).
and all the extra hallow jackets!
I took a look on a few other sites to see how much copper should be found in each run of 1/0 wire, here are the two sites I used:
on each site it says 316-327lbs per 1000ft so I took an average number of:
0.026lb/inch converted to Oz= 0.416Oz/inch
So as you can see only three different brands of wire were able to meet and or surpass that rating. Part of why the other wires failed to meet that rating could be due to the tolerance of the scales being used or maybe the number given could be the copper plus the jacket, or even the number could have been for a solid core rather then strands, and due to being in strands there could be a slight variation in weights. For the most part the wires that are close to the 2.49oz mark are most likely close enough for government work. But with that being said the cables that are way off it would tell someone to steer clear of that wire.
If anyone gets a hold of the XS power wiring or Shoc audio wiring, and has an extra's foot or so laying around please let me know as I would like to test it out!
I hope you guys have enjoyed this post, and I hope it makes your life a bit easier to pick a brand of wire! If you have any questions please post them or p/m me and if you need some big 3 wiring let me know!
I would like to say thank you to Aaron(denim), Brad(Impious) and Mike(95Honda) for their help in editing this with me and helping me bring out what needed to be said and other points I missed.