14-2 line, can I branch off with a 12-2 line?

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Old 08-09-12, 03:07 PM
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14-2 line, can I branch off with a 12-2 line?

Greetings all.
Electrical 101 kinda question: I'm wiring in a media box (electrical, hdmi, coax) for a new flatscreen tv and components. The existing electrical outlet I'm going to tap off is right below, and has the standard 14-2 romex line to it. I don't have any 14-2 laying around for the short line I need to wire up to the new box and was wondering if I use an extra piece of 12-2 that I have laying around will work ok (yellow exterior coating).
I'd presume that it is ok because the amount of power coming through the 14-2 is the limiting factor... but is there any issue with loss of signal strength for the new HD TV (LCD/LED, 60" Samsung).

Thanks a ton for any comments.

ps. I can easily grab a chunk of 14-2 when I'm at the store, and the wall is open, so it won't be tough to swap out. Just wondering if there is any electrical reason why this is a bad idea/not allowed. It's just more convenent to use the 12-2 b/c it's available right now.
 
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Old 08-09-12, 03:24 PM
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Until a Pro weighs in...it seems like as long as the circuit is protected by a breaker for the lowest capacity wire...it's ok? Of course the other way round is totally wrong.

I know I've seen stuff wired with 12 on a 15A breaker.

Just to be sure...wait for an expert.


Not sure why you mentioned signal strength...what does that have to do with current carrying?
 
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Old 08-09-12, 03:35 PM
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My thinking on the signal strength was only having "X" electrical current (for lack of a better word) 'spead out' over a bigger/thicker line. If, somehow, that would then decrease the signal strength for digital media.

I highly doubt it has any effect, but thought I'd ask just in case (seeing as how I'm by no means an electrical genius). And the fact that I've got acces to people way smarter than me when it comes to knowledge on topics like this.
If there's any issue with signal strength I'm sure it would be d/t the low volt line (hdmi, etc.) and RF interference if it's by an electrical run. But I'm aware of that, and have taken steps to ensure they are separated enough.
So I have a feeling I'm asking an un-question, but I'd rather ask and look stupid than to not ask, and then have to rip my wall open again (once I get it closed up).
 
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Old 08-09-12, 03:37 PM
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You'll be fine with the 12-2. Where problems arise is when someone opens up a junction box or switch or receptacle and they see 12 gauge wire, they assume it is protected by a 20 amp circuit. Just leads to confusion. You absolutely cannot do it the other way around, as 14 gauge wire is not rated at 20 amps.
 
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Old 08-09-12, 03:41 PM
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As long as the cables are separated by the recommended amount (12" I believe...or crossing at 90 degree angles if required)....power lines shouldn't affect data lines....esp digital lines.

Use better coax and quality data cable.

Again...Pro's will be around...
 
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Old 08-09-12, 03:47 PM
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12-2 is fine in your case, and it sounds like you already know, you have to use the overcurrent protection sized to the smallest wire. In your case 14ga - 15amp.

Electricity does not spread out over wire size so it is a non factor.
 
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Old 08-09-12, 04:04 PM
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Perfect answer Tolyn. And yes, fully understand the 15 amp limit with it being fed by the 14ga wire.
Kinda figured that electricity didn't spread out over the wire, etc., but just wanted to make sure (esp. b/c my wife would harrass me to no end if our awesome new tv, surround sound system had a basic wiring issue so it couldn't ever be fully appreciated).

.. thanks to everyone (Gunguy45 and Chandler)...also helpful.

t
 
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