CL2 vs. CL3 - what's the difference? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-06-2006, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi:

I am getting ready to buy some in-wall speaker cable for our HT addition, and according to many of the seller's sites (such as Bluejeans and Cables to Go) both CL2 and CL3 are OK for in-wall use. Just what is the difference?

Thanks

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post #2 of 8 Old 06-06-2006, 09:13 AM
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Did a little diggin'...

"What is the difference between CL2 and CL3?"

CL2 is the designation for Class 2 Circuit wire and CL3 is the designation for Class 3 Circuit wire. Both are regulated under NEC Article 725. They are both used for remote-control, signaling, and power-limited circuits. In plain English that means that CL2 and CL3 are types of multi-purpose wire used for things like security systems, speaker wire, intercom systems, nurse call buttons, and more.

The difference between the two is that CL2 is rated for up to 150 volts while CL3 is rated for up to 300 volts. (NEC 725.71 F) According to NEC 725.2, CL2 offers some protection from electric shock while CL3 offers a bit more because it is rated to carry more voltage.

CL3 may be used in place of CL2, but not the other way around.


Found here:
http://fourpair.blogspot.com/2005/02...2-and-cl3.html

Also found some info here:
http://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/inwallrating.htm

Bud
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-06-2006, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
The difference between the two is that CL2 is rated for up to 150 volts while CL3 is rated for up to 300 volts
OK! Thanks! So what that means fo our uses (speaker wire and such) is that there is no difference since we are well below those voltages.

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post #4 of 8 Old 06-07-2006, 08:47 AM
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Actually, the two specs are somewhat complex and relate more to fire safety than electrical safety. In practical terms, the difference is that some jurisdictions require the newer CL3-rated cable for in-structure applications.

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post #5 of 8 Old 06-07-2006, 04:10 PM
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I thought CL3 was plenum-rated, whereas CL2 was not.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-08-2006, 08:47 AM
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No. Plenum is a sub-rating. It would be CL2P or CL3P. Riser is another sub-rating: CL2R or CL3R.

You don't want to use -P rating in a non-plenum application anyway. The jacket is stiffer and prone to kinking, and it's more expensive.

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post #7 of 8 Old 06-08-2006, 10:04 AM
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DMF: Good to know.

Looking at the Blue Jeans Cable site, their 12 gauge speaker cable is CL3R, but their 10 gauge is CL2R. If CL3 indicates a higher voltage rating, why would the thinner wire handle more voltage?
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-08-2006, 10:44 AM
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It's not that the wire can handle more voltage. It's that the plastic coating around the wire protects against that much voltage arcing through it. The rating is for the wire jacket, not the wire inside.

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