Wire gauge for breadboard and protoboards

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by a4wanman, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. a4wanman

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 24, 2010
    Getting started with embedded projects. I've ordered basic supplies - breadboard, resistors, capacitors, ic sockets, etc. Ready to buy some solid hookup wire for breadboards and protoboards. Which is preferred for these boards - awg 22 or 24?

  2. Tahmid

    Active Member

    Jul 2, 2008
    While prototyping on breadboard, you'll be working with very small current in the order of tens of milliamps and probably hundreds of milliamps max. Both AWG 22 and 24 can easily handle it. So you can use either or even thinner. Just make sure that they can fit into the breadboard holes without too much force exerted, that they can be inserted smoothly.

    Hope this helps.
  3. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    0.8mm diameter single core is a good size for insertion and grip without stressing the contact springs too much.
  4. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    I like tinned 22 AWG solid for solderless breadboards. I precut and strip 3/4", 1 1/4", and 2 1/4" pieces in a variety of colors, which makes assembly much quicker and easier to inspect.
  5. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    For solderless breadboards you need 22AWG to make contact in the holes, not for current.

    For a soldered protoboard I use solid insulated 30 AWG (which strips nice and clean with a wire wrap tool) (yeah they are expensive but had it for decades now). Other tools should also work but this is fast. Tweezers are good too, as are either a magnifying glass or a microscope.

    I also keep some solid uninsulated 26 AWG around for power supply traces. This gets physically tacked down, either using extra pads or by placing on the component side, to keep it from moving and shorting.
  6. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    Unless I'm going to take a picture of it to show as an example, I go the cheap route.

    24 Gauge Category 5 cable. 8 24 AWG solid conductors in 4/2 colors (color + color and white) for nearly free!

    For board to board communications, I use the flexible jumpers with the 0.1" pins on each end (stranded cable).
  7. kubeek

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 20, 2005
    I once tried this, but the cable I bought had some really bad kind of insulation which basically melted on the whole wire when I soldered it, that waxy kind.
  8. nerdegutta


    Dec 15, 2009
    I've found this to suit my breadboards best.

    Bought it from Mouser
  9. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    Make sure you get "Plenum Rated", it doesn't burn/melt as easy. It's a bit harder to strip, but the insulation is good. It's around 1.5 times the price, but if you know of an office that is changing to zone wiring, a lot can be had for cheap to free. You only need a dozen feet to last a bit.
  10. WBahn


    Mar 31, 2012
    For my solderless breadboarding, I've found that 24AWG solid works very well. I bought some large (for me) rolls of black, red, and green a number of years ago. Except for short jumpers, I seldom reuse wire because I like to route my wiring flat against the board with as few crossings as possible in order to make troubleshooting and modifications easy. But, as a result, most of my connecting wires have several sharp 90 degree bends in them. If I reuse them, those get straightened out and I have a much higher likelihood of having a broken wire within the insulation at some later date. My time is much too valuable to spend tracking down those kinds of problems -- it wasn't always and, back in the day, I saved all those scraps for later use.