What wire gage to use?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by gofar, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. gofar

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 31, 2015
    Keep in mind I'm a bleeding beginner, having learned to solder and wire up a few components with connector wires on a prototyping breadboard.

    Now, I need to solder some wires to my Maxbotix sonar sensor. There seem to be gzillions of different types of wires out there. What is the most versatile wire type and gage to keep around for my projects?

    Thanks :)
  2. lmarklar

    New Member

    Apr 23, 2015
    It all depends on your projects.

    Heavy amperage projects are going to need 14+ gauge wire. Low amperage you can run 24 gauge ect. You'll have to figure out what you want before you can size the wire. It's handy to have probably 24, 18, 16, 14 and 12. At least that's what I try to keep around. I've found that one spool of each is at least enough for you to use for testing to figure out what size you need to purchase for the rest of the project!
  3. gofar

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 31, 2015
    Ah. More complicated than I thought. My projects for now are all arduino based, so low amps ( I would think....). I happen to have 26 available. Would that be fine for connecting sensors?
  4. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    Probably, but in my opinion that's quite small. If you plan on ever using a breadboard, which I highly recommend for building your projects, I believe they are designed for 22 Ga hookup wire. (Not stranded.)

    If you build something that moves, or has a part that moves when you use or work on it, stranded wire would be better for that. The single conductor wire is stiffer and will not stand up to repeated stress.

    Sticking to copper or tinned wire will make soldering much easier for you. The wrong wire chemistry can make soldering almost impossible.
  5. MaxHeadRoom


    Jul 18, 2013
    For breadboard use you can use single stranded, one source is Telephone cable from H.D. etc
    For off board use then cat5 stranded conductor can be used, these are only recommended for test or prototype development.
  6. dl324

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 30, 2015
    For low current connections, I use 30 gauge.
    Depends on application. Current capability is one important factor. I use 700 circular mils/A; 22 ga is about 700 circular mils. For breadboarding, use 22 ga so you don't stress the contacts.