American wire gauge

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American wire gauge (AWG) is a standard wire gauge system used predominantly in the United States and Canada for the diameters of a single non-ferrous, solid, round conductor.[1] Increasing gauge numbers give decreasing wire diameters.

Single core and stranded

The cross-sectional area of each gauge is an important factor for determining its current-carrying capacity and resistance. The AWG of a stranded wire is determined by the total cross-sectional area of the conductor. Because there are also small gaps between the strands, a stranded wire will be about 5% thicker than a solid wire with the same AWG.

AWG/Metric wire size equivalents and ampacities

In Europe, wire size is expressed as the number of strands and cross sectional area in mm2. For example. 7/0.2 means 7 strands of wire each 0.2mm diameter. In America the AWG numbering scheme is applied not only to individual strands but also to equivalent size bunches of smaller strands. For example. 24 AWG could be made of 1 strand of 24 AWG wire (1/24) or 7 strands of 32 AWG wire (7/32). Standard metric wire sizes do not correspond exactly to American wire sizes. The table below provides approximations of the closest equivalents for the wires most commonly found in the audio industry. The rated ampacities are just rule of thumb.[2][3]

AWG Conductor ø (mm) AWG stranding Metric stranding Max A for wiring Maximum A for power Examples/ typical uses
34 0.16 0.33 0.056 Verowire aka magnet wire.[4]
33 0.18 0.43 0.073
32 0.20 1/32, 7/40, 19/44 1/0.2, 7/0.08 0.53 0.091
30 0.25 1/30, 7/38, 19/42 1/0.25, 7/0.1 0.86 0.142 Commonly used size for single core Kynar insulated wire wrap wire and PVC insulated 'wire wrapping wire' for matrix board prototyping.[5][6]
28 0.32 1/28, 7/36, 19/40 1/0.315, 7/0.125 1.4 0.226 IDC flat ribbon cable
26 0.40 1/26, 7/34, 19/38 1/0.4, 7/0.15, 19/0.1 2.2 0.361
25 0.46 1/25 14/0.12 2.7 0.457
24 0.53 1/24, 7/32, 19/36 1/0.5, 7/0.2, 19/0.12, 30/0.1 3.5 0.577 General purpose hookup wire.[7][8]
Slightly too thin for solderless breadboard wire.[9]
One wire from ethernet twisted pair.[10]
23 0.56 1/23 14/0.15, 32/0.1 4.7 0.729 General purpose hookup wire.[7][8]
22 0.64 1/22, 7/30, 19/34 1/0.6, 7/0.25, 19/0.15, 30/0.12 7 0.92 General purpose hookup wire.[7][8]
Single core, ideal for solderless breadboard wire.[9]
Low current PC wires.
21 0.72 14/36 13/0.2, 55/0.1 9 1.2
20 0.81 1/20, 7/28, 19/32 16/0.2, 44/0.12 11 1.5 Hookup wire for higher current.[8]
Slightly too thick for solderless breadboard wire.[9]
18 0.98 1/18, 19/30, 33/32 19/0.25, 24/0.2, 96/0.1 16 2.3 ATX PSU to motherboard.[11]
16 1.30 7/24, 19/29 19/0.3 22 3.7 Loudspeaker cable.[12]
14 1.63 19/27, 73/32 28/0.3 32 5.9 Loudspeaker cable.[12]
13 1.78 35/28 50/0.25, 140/0.15 35 7.4 Loudspeaker cable.[12]
12 2.05 41 9.3
11 2.26 56/0.3, 512/0.1 47 12

References

1. ^ ASTM Standard B 258-02, Standard specification for standard nominal diameters and cross-sectional areas of AWG sizes of solid round wires used as electrical conductors, ASTM International, 2002
2. ^ Metric/AWG wire size equivalents
3. ^ Wire gauge and current limits including skin depth and strength, PowerStream Technology
4. ^ Vero Technologies manual wire wrapping tool 34AWG, RS Components Ltd.
5. ^ Which Solderable bread board / Copper Strip Board?, Mod Wiggler Forum, May 2023
6. ^ "Wire wrap" thin prototyping & repair wire, Adafruit Industries
7. ^ a b c Music From Outer Space
8. ^ a b c d Wires and wherefores by Christopher Roper, Maplin-Electronics, Dec 1982, pp. 42-43
9. ^ a b c Make: More Electronics by Charles Platt, Wiring, p.26
10. ^ a b What gauge of single strand wire works well with breadboards?, Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange, May 2012
11. ^
12. ^ a b c Best gauge for speaker wire, Infinity Cable Products