Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wire Choice

Wire Choice

Wire comes in an variety of shapes and forms. There are several key considerations when choosing wire: current capacity (resistance) and mechanical strength being the primary ones that concern us here.

Above all, we recommend that you use stranded wire, rather than the solid wire. The stranded kind is much more tolerant of mechanical movement. It will permit many more flexes before breaking than the solid kind.

Wire Gauges 30, 22, 18, 16 Next to a Quarter.

In the US at least, wire is graded according to the American Wire Gauge (AWG) standard. You can see from the photo above that different wire gauges are considerably different in size. We recommend the following:

AWG 30 - for wiring of very low current electronic signals over short distances where there is absolutely no mechanical movement of the wire. Resistance is 4/1000'

AWG 22 - is excellent for all kinds of hook-up wiring. Not too small to break all the time, and not too heavy to restrict movement. Useful when the current doesn't exceed an amp or two. Very commonly used in long runs of low current twisted pair cable. Resistance is 16.20/1000'.

AWG 18 - quite heavy wire for high current use - up to 10A perhaps. Resistance is 6.3/1000'

AWG 16 - very heavy duty wire for high current use - beyond 10A. Resistance is 4/1000'


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