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How many item / elements can I run over CAT5?
Last Updated: 02/08/2013
The DMX + Power over CAT5 system is an inexpensive and simple system but there are limits to what it can be used for.  This knowledge base article explains the limits of CAT5 cable as it relates to power drop and consumption.
First a bit of an anology - We've all used garden water hoses.  Water hoses come in different diameters (the same thing as wire gauge) and lengths.  We know that using a hose with a diameter of 1/2" will not put out as much water as one with a 3/4" hose.  Additionally, most of us have had to assemble more than one hose together, extending the overall length of the hose.  This too results in less pressure (electrical voltage) and less water output (electrical current) from the hose.  This occurs because there is friction inside the hose between the water iteself and the walls of the hose and as the water is pushed down the hose, the friction, every so slowly, reduces the "speed" of the water coming out at the end.
So, pressure loss or a drop in voltage in the case of wiring is a result of the diameter of the wire (gauge) and the length of the cable/wire.  What we need to do is determine how much power is being used and over what distance the power will need to travel to the place it is used to determine the ultimate level of power drop that shows up as a drop in voltage.  So, for example - your power supply puts out 12v DC, what will be the voltage of that wire after a given distance?
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