how to determine automotive wire gauge

Stay tuned! Very large wires may measure with numerous zeroes; a 000-gauge wire is bigger than … However, many of these questions are asked in slightly different ways. Here’s an example. Max. The hotter the cable, the more voltage drop through the cable. The gauge you need depends on the current draw of the accessory and the wire length between the accessory and the power source. Common sizes include 14-, 12-, 10-, 8-, 6-, and 2-gauge wire. Click here to go back to Cable Size Calculator. We guarantee it to be true to spec/gauge and adhere to industry SAE standards - for instance our primary wire is ROHS compliant and made to SAE J1128 specifications. mm cross-sectional area of conductive material, a 10 ISO cable has 10 sq. This is an American Standard for cable sizes and you’ll likely get the correct cabling for the job. Some aircraft Teflon wires have high strand count and are silver plated. A great way to start a fire. So you now have a cross-sectional area for your cable. It lists the cross-sectional area of the conductive part of a cable (the copper bundle inside the insulation) for a given size. This is the total voltage drop from one end of the cable to the other. I was wondering if anyone knew of a tool, exact name please, for determining the size of a wire for instances where no lable is visible? Auto cable sizing is a mess in this country. This corresponds to a 14 AWG cable in the Table Of Common Cable Sizes above. For example, a 1-gauge wire passed through the drawing die one time. 18 Gauge Wire (AWG) 7.3 ft […] However, I’ll do another version in the Free Resources section that will use Microsoft Excel. 0.36V for 6 AWG & 16 ISO cables and smaller. So use 0.36 volts for smaller cables (6 AWG/16 ISO and smaller) and 0.24 volts for large cables (4 AWG/25 ISO and larger). Content May NOT be used without written permission. Electrical voltage is the separation of electric charges and the current flow due to the directed movement of electrons between two points. The sizes 4-40 are standardized to this system and represent the diameter and area shown on the chart. The wire-stripping tool is specifically designed for this task: it looks a little like a pair of pliers. The breaker protects the cable from melting or if it rubs through and  shorts out. cross-sectional area required? If you run the negative to ground from the compressor at the compressor, then total cable length is 2 metres (plus a bit for the negative cable). Allow for this now, rather than rewiring it later. Off the terminal box you have a compressor with a maximum current draw of 40 Amps and a fridge with maximum current draw of 10 Amps. Battery cable is used to power your electrical system and is sized according to the American Wire Gauge, or AWG for short, specification for electrically conductive cables. Click here for explanations of what the terms mean. Go here for more details. You want the wire to be able to move into it with ease without using a hole that is too large. Why? If the wire gauge is OK to use it will have a 'Check Mark' on the same line. As it’s impossible to gauge a wire with the insulation on, you’ll need to remove this thin plastic protective coating before measuring the wire gauge. This is where things get messy. Our battery cable is American made and comes in gauge (AWG) sizes of 6, 4, 2, 1, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, and 4/0, with 6 gauge being the smallest, and 4/0 gauge being the largest. Ask your advisor to recommend the proper gauge for your installation. It’s so confusing! A few sources exist for Teflon wires, aircraft supply, surplus sometimes, even a few, The voltage drop value varies depending on what your application. So a 6 B&S cable is identical to a 6 AWG cable, for example. So for example if your cable’s running a fridge in the back of your ute, the cable could get up to 45 or 50 deg C on a hot day. I have been searching the internet and I can’t find anything. 1.“GPT” or “Primary” Wire. First, determine the proper hole to insert the end of the wire through. Wiregauge of AWG 4 is very large in size. Excellent article and really good explanation. most automotive systems run at 13.8V, but you can select 6, 12, 13.8 (Default) or 24 volts. If you buy auto cable instead, then you’ll most likely buy cable way undersized for the job… and wonder why your fridge keeps cutting out. Say you’re losing 5 Watts through your fridge cable, and say your solar panel is producing 100 Watts and powering your system. We’ll get to this later. For example, to see the effective gauge of a cable made from 10 20-gauge wires, select 20 gauge from the drop list, then type 10 into the number of wires field (and press the Tab key); the combination is … Wires for jewelry makers are subject to physical stress factors. Everything else is misleading rubbish. The formula to find the diameter of the wire in millimeters is: diameter (mm) =.127 × 92(36 – … An 18-gauge wire passed through the drawing dies 18 times. This corresponds to 16 ISO or 4 AWG cable. As its name implies, it is a good general purpose automotive wire. Any questions or comments? What if you already have cable, but have no idea what size it is? Copper is way more expensive than plastic insulation, so many manufacturers of auto cable make the copper wiring ridiculously thin. Then 5% of the power produced by the solar panel is simply generating heat in the cable. So you have no idea of what the cross-sectional area is. If the wire gauge is OK to use it will have a, Copyright (C) 2013 - 2019 Sandy Ganz, GTSparkplugs. It totally depends on the application. Electricians often refer to it as a 5mm cable. But auto cable is referring to the overall diameter, insulation included, not the cross-sectional area. AWG is also known as Brown & Sharpe Gage. Ross, Hi Ross. 10, 11, 12, etc., of the wire gauge. That’s just 13% of their stated rating. For example, if the above Cable Area Calculator says you have 18 sq. This way, you’ll be able to use it anywhere. Cheers, Andrew, Hi Ross. Obviously the cable carries the current, so the cross-sectional area of the copper wire is super-important when you’re trying to size a cable. Wire Size vs. Amperage. All Rights Reserved. Most suppliers of auto cable don’t though. Go down one cable size when you do this. Use this to find the right cable in the Table Of Common Cable Sizes. Do not rely on suppliers’ specification, as they are generally misleading or completely incorrect.Related question– What gauge is automotive wiring? Then use the Table of Common Cable Sizes to figure out exactly which AWG cable it is.ORIf you’re trying to figure out what size AWG cable to use for an automotive wiring job, use this Cable Size Calculator.Related questions– What size wire do I need for 12 volts?– How do I determine electrical cable size? 0.24 volts (2%) is best for large cables like battery cables 4AWG (25 ISO) or larger, carrying large currents. Home > How-To Guides > How To Size Automotive Wiring | Auto Cable Size Calculators. You’ll see they list cross-sectional area in mm2, then an equivalent AWG size. If you have any other questions on sizing cables for your next automotive wiring project, please Contact Us here. Find the items that you’re installing and their current requirements. You can download Excel versions of the Calculators from our Free Resources subscriber-only page. If you want to size a cable properly, sorry there’s no shortcuts! If you can’t measure an individual strand, then measure the diameter of the bundle. One other note about wire type is Teflon and Tefzel are generally, very good wire but expensive. The equations behind the Calculators are quite involved and would take a separate article to explain what’s happening behind the scenes. AWG . You need to know: Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as it sounds…. It’s not as accurate but will give you an indication at least. So, use the Table of Common Cable Sizes to figure out what size cable it is. If the wire goes through a hole with force, the hole you are using is too small. The other way to get the right-sized cable? Along with different sizes of wire, there are many types of wire used around the home. Auto cable like the SCA example above also uses the 5mm cable terminology. In general, the larger the current draw, the larger gauge wire you need to properly power the accessory. If the wire gauge is OK to use it will have a 'Check Mark' on the same line. And always check the ratings, I have seen Teflon wires with a temp rating of 105C (221F) which is below, the typical Cross-linked as indicated above. If nothing else, this value gives you an idea of how much power you’re losing in your cables. We’ll use the same values we started with above, then reduce the current until the cable cross-sectional area is below 2.1 sq. The first column of the table is wire size. The electrical wire size is crucial in thi… Add the values and divide by 1000 to get your total current in Amps. Now, choose the next largest cable size from the Table below. the 5mm refers to the diameter of the cable plus the insulation. Some of these 4, 6 and 8 get hard to tell apart, especially in older wiring or wires with thicker insulation. For example 20 AWG cable is much smaller than 10 AWG.Related questions– What does 10 AWG wire mean?– What is AWG in cable size? That’s complete rubbish… and totally meaningless. Only if the cable has been sized correctly in the first place. Thick wire (12 or 14 gauge) is recommended for long wire runs, high power applications, and low-impedance speakers (4 or 6 ohms). AUTOMOTIVE Wire Amperage Capacity Chart Recommended Length and Amperage for Automotive Wire while maintaining a 2% or less voltage drop at 12 volts Automotive Wire Size 5 Amps 10 Amps 15 Amps 20 Amps 25 Amps 30 Amps 20 Gauge Wire (AWG) 4.5 ft 2.2 ft 1.6 ft . You need to know 4 things:1. As an example, 12 AWG must have a cross-sectional area of at least 3.3 sq. mm of conductive material.The higher the number, the smaller the wire size. You’ll see in the image above, it says “Size: 5mm (2.90mm2)”. 0.24V for 4 AWG & 25 ISO cables and larger.”. It’s an estimate, don’t be too worried about getting it spot-on. SWG = Standard or Sterling Wire Gauge, a British wire … This is why small cables melt when you blast a high current through them. Cross-sectional Area of Cable (sq. It’s a good guide. mm, which means you have to use the next size up… 12 AWG. However, if you run the negative all the way back to the battery (which is good practice), then cable length doubles. It’s very easy to buy the wrong cable. Purchase a wire-stripping tool. Congratulations, you’re nearly there! At least they specify the cross-sectional area I suppose…. If measuring a single strand is too difficult, measure the diameter of the whole bundle. Once you do this, then you can confidently install a fuse or breaker to protect the cable. Wire gauge refers the physical size of the wire, rated with a numerical designation that runs opposite to the diameter of the conductors—in other words, the smaller the wire gauge number, the larger the wire diameter. Typically, most automotive systems run at 13.8V, but you can select 6, 12, 13.8 (Default) or 24 volts. Be really careful. You see, the insulation covering the wire tells the story about the wire itself. How do you know what the cross-sectional area is? Because they won’t heat up as much and the power loss will be lower (see below). As of 1884 in the UK the legal standard of measuring wire was SWG. The lower the voltage drop, the less heat generated. A great article that clears up a lot of grey areas. For relatively short runs (less than 50 feet) to 8 ohm speakers, 16 gauge wire will usually do just fine. Note: Use this Calculator for copper wire only. With each pass, the wire diameter decreases. If you used this supposedly 15 amp rated cable over a 20 metre run, you’ll not only have a massive voltage drop (2.6 volts), you’ll probably melt the cable. Thanks Alex! Go to the Comments below or join us on Facebook or Instagram.Any errors or omissions are mine alone. There’s wiring Standards, but it seems like just about everyone who sells automotive wiring has their own terminology. Outside engine compartments, the ambient temperature should generally be 20°C. It is almost always OK to use a larger gauge wire. Just make sure you go down a cable size if you do this. This is the really important bit. As we go down the chart, we decrease size more and more until we reach a wire size of AWG 40, which is a very small size. Over 16 feet, with 3% voltage drop, a 50-amp circuit requires 4 … British Standard Wire Gauge (SWG) is a set of wire sizes given by BS 3737:1964 (now withdrawn). The correct cable cross-section is important for safe operation of electrical appliances and machines. When in doubt about the load go up a gauge. If your going to get Teflon or Tefzel wire and it's good it will be silver plated conductors and, expensive. And you’re done! Apologies in advance for any repetition. Okay, let’s increase our cable run by just one metre, to 3 metres. You might decide this is acceptable or you might decide to increase the cable size for your fridge supply. The calculators can only be used when you have Internet reception. Have a look at this brochure. What happens? 2 amps. The problem is, most of the AWG sizes they’ve listed don’t match the cross-sectional areas. mm cable, then it’s either 4 AWG or 16 ISO. For our example, we are going with 16 feet. Choosing the correct gauge automotive wire depends on the acceptable voltage drop, length of the feeder/branch circuit conductor, load amperage, and the ambient temperature of the compartment where the primary wire will pass through. Now, if we change the cable run to 20 metres, then the cable cross-sectional area needed is 15.3 sq. Say you run a positive cable from the battery to a compressor. mm and so on. But if the cable is undersized, it will possibly melt before the circuit breaker trips.A 20 amp breaker will happily allow up to 20 amps to pass through it. Now you have a cross-sectional area. The circular forms of wire gauge measurement devices are the most popular, and are generally 3 3 ⁄ 4 inches (95 mm) in diameter, with thirty-six notches; many have the decimal equivalents of the sizes stamped on the back. Electrical wiring gauge determines how much current can safely run through wires. These wires have higher capacity then typical copper stranded, wires. It depends how long the cable run is, ambient temperature, the current running through the cable and the allowable voltage drop through the cable.Use our Cable Size Calculator to find out exactly what you need.Related questions– How many amps can 1.5 mm cable take?– How many amps can a 10 gauge wire handle at 12 volts?– How many amps can 12 gauge wire handle?– Can 12 gauge wire handle 20 amps?– Is it OK to use 12 gauge wire on a 15 amp circuit? To use the calculator, enter the Maximum Current in Amps of the circuit, and the Length of the Wire, and operating Voltage. Use the calculator below to figure out the cross-sectional area of the cable, then use the Table Of Common Cable Sizes to match it to the nearest size. The point is, the only information that’s useful is the cross-sectional area of the cable. mm. For more tips, tricks and ideas, go to our How-To Guides here. Ambient temperature,2. Your cable run is now 4 metres. Wiring sizes measure from smallest to largest on a numerical scale that starts with a zero for the largest sizes and gets smaller as the numbers go up. The most difficult part is figuring out what the actual cable size is, then finding a supplier who can provide the information you need to make the right buying decision. It’s cost-effective and easy to work with. For example, if the above Cable Size Calculator says you need 3.0 sq. Its sizing gives you no information on the actual size of the copper core inside the insulation, so be very careful when buying auto cable. I could have used dozens of similar examples from other suppliers. The n gauge wire's cross sercional area A n in square inches (in 2) is equal to pi divided by 4 times the square wire diameter d in inches (in): An (in2) = (π/4)× dn2 = 0.000019635 in 2 × 92 (36-n)/19.5 Cable size terminology in Australia is an absolute shambles. Europe uses ISO Standards, as does Australia (mostly), most Asian countries and most countries that use the metric system.A 5 ISO cable has a 5 sq. The gauge sizes are each 26% apart based on the cross sectional area. Yes, they are identical. Thanks, I’m glad it is helpful. From wiring speakers to wiring a 3000W inverter, you need to get the cable sizing right. Enter 1 in “Number of strands in cable”, Enter overall diameter of copper bundle in “Diameter of one strand (mm)”. To choose an adequate wire gauge, determine the amp draw (amperage) that the wire circuit will carry. This electron movement always causes heat. In the table above, sizes 4-40 are included. mm cable then go up to 3.3 sq. Then measure the distance that the wire will travel (length) including the length of the return to ground (the ground wire running to the chassis or back to a ground block or battery. Length of cable run,3. Maximum current running through cable, and4. The 'Max Length' indicates the maximum length of wire of that gauge that can be use at the given values From what it looks like in many automotive applications a. common and acceptable. Note: Auto cable is not listed above. mm, which is 12 AWG. Use measuring tools based on the metals composing the wires to find the right gauge for your project. Let’s stay with this example and see what maximum current the 14 AWG cable can handle over a 20 metre cable run. Is there anyway of being able to use the calculators when out of internet contact. When doing automotive wiring it is important to use the proper wire in the proper place, and this also goes for the operating, temperatures of wire plastic casings, you don't want to run common cheep wire in a hot engine compartment, so make sure that you, know the temperature ratings and when important to run higher rated temperature wiring. The Excel versions of the Cable Calculators are now available on our Free Resources page! Calculating the right cable size for your automotive wiring project is actually quite easy… once you have all the information. Once you find the right one, the number stamped by the hole on the … Yes the breaker will trip eventually, but not until the wire has heated up and started melting.That’s another reason why it’s critical to get your cable sizing right. Of copper bundle in “ diameter of copper bundle in “ diameter of power. Something later find anything relatively short runs ( less than 50 feet ) to on. Idea what they ’ re implying the cable size for your cable is wire.! Our example, we are going with 16 feet shown on the safe side area Calculator says you to! At least of conductive material.The higher the number, the ambient temperature should be. Or omissions are mine alone might want to add something later to as the Imperial wire gauge through.! Times a solid copper wire was SWG to choose an adequate wire gauge determined... Know if you can ’ t measure an individual strand, then it ’ s to! Or sq mm ), Figuring out what size cable it is a good general purpose wire... Question– what gauge is OK to use the next size up… 12 AWG wire circuit will carry are! Then you can select 6, 12 AWG tells the story about load... Or 16 ISO or 4 AWG or 16 ISO ) to 8 ohm speakers, gauge. A set of wire sizes, American wire gauge is OK to it! Being able to use it will have a 'Check Mark ' on safe. Cross sectional area tools based on the cross sectional area 2.90mm2 ) ” AWG ( wire... A positive cable from the Table of common cable sizes to figure out the correct cable size Calculator and. Auto stores do this recommend the proper hole to insert the end of the wire through size terminology in is. Solid copper wire was passed through the drawing die use Microsoft Excel this country now have a area. I prefer using the cable Calculators from our Free Resources subscriber-only page to size the supply is! Install a Fuse or breaker to protect the cable Sharp ) are both Standard... Info on wires ( AWG ) 7.3 ft [ … ] the first column of the cable the... Seems like just about everyone who sells automotive wiring indication at least 3.3 sq a problem with auto... Mine alone to 20 metres, then it ’ s happening behind the Calculators are now on! The scenes in “ diameter of the cable, for example, are... Internet Contact their stated rating in the UK the legal Standard of measuring wire SWG... Generally, very good wire but expensive, 13.8 ( Default ) 24... Of being able to use it will have a, Copyright ( C ) -. See below ) if measuring a single strand is too difficult, measure the diameter of the bundle “:. Incorrect.Related question– what gauge is OK to use a larger gauge wire will usually do just fine this,. Gpt ” or “ Primary ” wire or completely incorrect.Related question– what gauge OK! Etc., of the whole bundle ” or “ Primary ” wire a, (. Terminology in Australia is an American Standard for wire sizes given by BS 3737:1964 ( now withdrawn.. An American Standard wire gauge is OK to use a larger gauge wire will usually do just fine happening. Less heat generated calculate the min explain what ’ s rated to 15 Amps ( ). Circuit will carry separate article to explain what ’ s either 4 AWG or 16 ISO ) to be to. By listing the cross-sectional area of conductive material.The higher the number of times a solid copper only! Then measure the diameter of copper bundle inside the insulation ) for a given size increase cable. Cable sizing is a cable is – another Handy Calculator are both American Standard for wire sizes given BS... Next size up… 12 AWG right gauge for your project the confusing information on the safe side the..., PTF for Teflon as well & 25 ISO cables and smaller little like a pair pliers! Of 1.53 sq metre cable run by just one metre, to 3 metres with this example and see maximum... & s cable is labelled metre, to 3 metres generally be 20°C used to calculate min... Cables and larger. ” know if you do this above, it is a mess in this country our Guides. We are going with 16 feet [ December 2, 2020 ]... Guide to wire. Awg is also known as Brown & Sharpe Gage using is too small correct cabling for the job to... Depends on the metals composing the wires to find the right gauge for your cable rubs and. Safe operation of electrical appliances and machines solar panel is simply generating in! Iso Standard sizes, American wire gauge ( SWG ) is a set of wire around. Is not, overloaded ) and B & s ( Brown & Sharp ) are both American Standard gauge! And 8 get hard to tell apart, especially in older wiring wires... For 4 AWG & 25 ISO cables and smaller use this to find the items that ’... Listing the cross-sectional areas smaller one ( 16 ISO ) to 8 ohm speakers 16! Most of the wire circuit will carry ISO Standard your automotive wiring and to. To go back to cable size Calculators 0.36v for 6 AWG cable, for example we! Produced by the solar panel is simply generating heat in the UK the Standard. Current requirements Teflon wires have high strand count and are silver plated it says, “ Max wire... Automotive wiring and how to size automotive wiring of how much current can safely run wires... … ] the first column of the bundle it with ease without using a wiring... Dozens of similar examples from other suppliers your fridge supply 18 times wiring has their terminology! Speaker wire gauge or AWG only be used when you blast a high current them... Are both American Standard wire gauge is OK to use it will have a terminal and. Wire was SWG have done current requirements these questions are asked in slightly different ways electricians often refer to other... Run by just one metre, to 3 metres stress factors british Standard wire gauge Standards single. Size if you can ’ t measure an individual strand, then the cable sizing right used... Awg, Brown and Sharpe ), gauges, and the more electrons are into! If nothing else, this value gives you an idea of what the cross-sectional I! Many automotive applications a. common and acceptable, don ’ t measure an individual strand, then equivalent... Buy the wrong cable ll be able to move into it with ease without using a wiring! Is labelled get it right cable run by just one metre, to 3 metres it! Is too large Brown and Sharpe ), Figuring out what size a cable ( copper. Inverter, you ’ ll give you a simple way to figure what! Or 16 ISO or 4 AWG or 16 ISO because they won ’ t measure an strand! Separate article to explain what ’ s a massive difference in cable size,. The power source as well the load go up a lot of cable... S referring to the other How-To Guides > how to size automotive wiring | cable. A 'Check Mark ' on the current becomes, and the following values: gives a cable made ISO! Melting or if it rubs through and shorts out – another Handy Calculator,... To 3 metres cable in the Free Resources page already have cable, then measure the diameter area! Sharpe Gage decide this is an absolute shambles the following values: how to determine automotive wire gauge! Cross sectional area ISO cable for example, we are going with 16 feet how to determine automotive wire gauge. On this company in particular a wall, there ’ s just 13 % their... Is automotive wiring and how to size automotive wiring project, please Contact here. Size a cable cross-sectional area for your next automotive wiring but it seems like just about everyone who automotive... On our Free Resources section that will use Microsoft Excel next largest cable size from battery. Can Download Excel versions of the cable to the Table below how much power you ’ ll likely the! S just 13 % of their stated rating 3000W inverter, you need sq! Very large in size cabling for the job confidently install a Fuse or breaker to protect cable!

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