wire gauge

When The Voltage Drops

Voltage drop explains how the energy of a voltage source is decreased as electrical current flows through the passive elements (elements that do not supply voltage) of an electrical circuit. The issue becomes important when the length of wire becomes elongated. A common analogy used to explain voltage, current, and voltage drop is a garden hose. Voltage would be the water pressure supplied to the hose. Current would be the water flowing through the hose. And the inherent resistance of the hose is determined by the type and size of the hose, just like how type and size of an electrical wire determine its resistance.volt

Excessive voltage drop can cause loss of efficiency of light, motors, and appliances. This could result in lights that are dim with a decreased life expectancy for motors or appliances. To avoid excessive voltage drop, select a wire size that will minimize voltage drop. You need to know the length of the wire run and the amp load or current that will be on the circuit. To determine amps, add up the wattage of all electrical devices that will be on the circuit and divide that total by the voltage of the circuit, 110 or 220. Continue reading When The Voltage Drops

A Knight In Shielded Wire

knightShielded wire may conjure up images of a brave and noble wire wearing armor to scale a castle, slay the dragon and rescue Princess Plug-ella. That could make a wonderful children’s book. However, that is not the case now.  Although shielded wires may not wear armor, it does provide protection, especially in the face of electromagnetic interference.

Electromagnetic interference, or EMI, refers to any electromagnetic disturbance that can inhibit the working of electronic devices. For example, if you have ever placed your cell phone too close to your computer, it probably emitted a static sound. This interference can temporarily or permanently (depending on the device) impact an electronic device. This is very important for people who rely on radios for communication.  If there is too much interference, it can be impossible to hear important updates. Continue reading A Knight In Shielded Wire

Wire Harmonization

singerBefore you start warming up your vocal cords, let me set the record straight; wire harmonization has very little to do with a capella groups and barber shop quartets. Instead, wire harmonization focuses on a standard developed in Europe to bring together wires from different companies.

Wire harmonization refers to a European process where several European standards are merged into one. Since Europe is densely populated, as well as divided into many countries, harmonization was developed in order to bring together standards, making it easier to wire electrical devices across the continent. Continue reading Wire Harmonization

Amps in Relation to Wire Gauge

SJT wire blueAs my philosophy professor once told me, logic is a fickle thing.  What we often think makes perfect sense never actually does. Those who’ve toiled with justice, love, and the American Wire Gauge system know exactly what I’m talking about.  But no worries; Quail Electronics will explain it all, from wire gauge to the right amperage.  In a previous post, I addressed how the larger the AWG number, the smaller the wire actually is.  This also influences how much amperage is allowed through a wire. Continue reading Amps in Relation to Wire Gauge

Difference Between Jacket Types – Brrrrrr!

wiresWell, we all know you have your parkas, pea coats, or even your 80’s stylish windbreakers but do you know the difference between the jackets on your wire? Choosing a cable jacket for your wire can be just as important as choosing a jacket for the snow, the rain, or even one to protect you from a fall on your motorcycle. There are many different types of jackets used for the outside of the wire, all helping it stay protected from different elements. It could be oil, fire or even the nasty weather.


Let’s start with the material used for wire jackets. They can go mainly into two categories:  the Thermoplastics and the Thermosets. Thermoplastics are more popular as they are lower in cost to produce and lighter in weight.  Thermosets are more flexible and offer heat resistance.  The most commonly used is PVC which is part of the Thermoplastic category. It offers great flexibility for your cord and are typically used for general purpose wire.  Next we have silicone rubber which offers great flexibility and heat resistance up to 2500°. Silicone rubber belongs to the Thermoset category. Continue reading Difference Between Jacket Types – Brrrrrr!

American Wire Gauge vs. International Wire Size

If you grew up in Am1 CONDUCTOR_GREEN_YELLOWerica, meters and millimeters are basically a foreign language.  When I used to read a ruler growing up, I didn’t bother using the centimeter side. Actually, I didn’t even know why it was there. Thinking about it, the one on my desk now doesn’t even have centimeters (I should probably fix that). However, if you grew up on the other side of the pond (or anywhere else for that matter), the metric system is alive and well.

Well with International and North American wire size, it can be just as confusing. For North America, I never understood why as the wire got larger, the number got smaller. Why is 18 AWG smaller than a 10 AWG? Well, back in the day the gauge was determined by how many times the wire had to pass through the drawing dies. The smaller wire, such as 18 AWG, is going to have to pass through more times than the 10 AWG. Actually, makes sense, right? Continue reading American Wire Gauge vs. International Wire Size