Choosing the Correct Wire Gauge for your 12V LED Lights

Plashlights Offroad Lightbars Hunting

Deciding on the correct wire size for your lighting project is very important since a wire that is too small can overheat and possibly start a fire.  Plan your project.  Do it Once, Do it RIGHT!

The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) publishes charts with valuable detail to help experienced boat builders and installers determine what wire size they need. Although these charts are an excellent resource, they are a bit intimidating. We have tried to simplify this for installers and boat owners alike.

It is just as important to use a quality marine wire, as specified by ABYC standards, as it will always be stranded rather than solid, and always tin-plated copper. In addition, the DC Wire Selection Chart shown below assumes a wire insulation rating of 105°C. A lower rating will decrease the current-carrying capacity of the wire.

Choosing the Correct Wire Gauge:

A)  Locate the AMPS required of your light either on the instruction in the package, on our website, or by contacting us at PlashLights directly.  Our products, as most electrical products, include a rating label; or you can find the amperage rating in the documentation that came with the product.

Then on the side of the chart locate SYSTEM AMPERAGE (AMPS) .

B)  Find the TOTAL SYSTEM LENGTH (in inches) along the top of the chart.

Note: the total length of the circuit is the roundtrip distance from power source (usually the battery) to the product and back.  In a typical 2 wire system (Red / Black) the total distance would be doubled.

C) Intersect SYSTEM AMPERAGE with TOTAL SYSTEM LENGTH to identify the wire size required.


12V LED Wire Gauge Chart with max length and wire size


*** When installing numerous lights, such as on a top drive hunting vehicle, it is recommended to place a 2nd battery close to the lights.

If you have any questions of need any help, please feel free to contact a PlashLights representative.

Toll Free: 855-661-1002

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