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Notes on Wire


Selecting A Wire
Typically, the feed wire to a group of Tri-Clusters or MicroStars should be 20 gauge wire. 22 gauge can be used for long runs to individual lights or groups up to 5. The type of wire is dictated by the environment of the application. Moisture, UV exposure and temperature will determine the appropriate type of wire and its insulation. Depending on the application, speaker wire, bell wire, phone wire and low voltage control wire can be used. The lights should always be connected in parallel with correct polarity. Butt and closed end connectors can be used as well as soldered connections.

Protection of the connections to avoid corrosion should be considered in adverse environments. The MicroStars have a life cycle of about 100,000 hours so depending on usage, might ultimately have to be replaced. Because of this, care should be given in the installation to allow excess wire for light removal and replacement.

Berkeley Point sells Belden cable #8442, which is a twisted pair of 22 gauge tinned and stranded wires, individually insulated and then both contained, in an outer jacket. This is great wire for the Tri-Cluster and MicroStar installations in marine and outdoor applications where corrosion may be an issue. Bell wire and low voltage control wire can be found in most hardware stores and these types of wire are fine for most residential and architectural applications.

If you have any uncertainties or questions please get the advice of someone with the proper electrical background or contact us prior to your installation.

Learning Center Wire A group of Tri-Clusters or MicroStars
Wiring a Tri-Cluster or MicroStar is quite simple with a basic understanding of electrical circuits.MicroStars and Tri-CLusters need to be wired in parallel. If you use a red wire from the + side of your power supply and a black wire from the negative side (ground), as long as only red wires are connected to red wires and black to black, you can't go wrong.

If you string MicroStars or Tri-Clusters together with a common feed line (+ & -) from the power source, "T" each MicroStar lead into the corresponding color wire on the feed line.

In image above, feed wire comes to MicroStar and then continues on to next MicroStar. These crimp connectors were filled first with silicon caulking and then the stripped wire ends were pushed in and crimped.

If you cluster some MicroStars or Tri-Clusters, connect all red wires to the red feed wire and all black to the black feed wire. If this isn't clear, contact us or someone with electronic skills and make sure you understand. If the polarity on a MicroStar or Tri-Cluster is reversed, no damage will occur but the LED will not light.

Wire gauge is typically 22 gauge or larger. Phone cable, bell wire and other low voltage control wire is acceptable in MicroStar or Tri-Cluster circuits. Either solid or stranded wire will work. Tinned wire is preferable in marine or corrosive environments.

Connections may be soldered or crimped. If the connection is in a moist or wet environment, care must be taken to seal and protect the connection to avoid corrosion or shorting of the circuit. There are many methods and any electronics supply or chandlery can assist you in determining the best and most cost effective method for your application.

Switches
All types of switches may be employed with MicroStar systems; standard on-off, photo cell, motion detection, relays, float switches, etc. The capacity rating of the switch must exceed the total current of the MicroStar or Tri-Cluster system but unless you are using a sub-micro switch or hundreds of MicroStars and Tri-Clusters, most switches have significant excess capacity for LED systems.

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