In electrical wiring projects, knowing your wire gauge chart is essential for determining the correct current-carrying capacity for your cables. Whether you are installing a pump in your garden pond, connecting a shed to your home, or running power to your greenhouse, choosing the right wire gauge size will ensure that you do not overload your circuit. Here is a quick and easy guide to help you determine the best wire gauge for your projects.
A wire gauge chart is a standardized system that represents the diameters of round, solid, nonferrous, electrically conducting conductors. Each gauge number is assigned to a specific diameter, and the smaller the number, the thinner the wire. The American Wire Gauge (AWG) system has 40 different gauge sizes, ranging from No. 36 to No. 0000, or 39 steps in between. Using the AWG wire gauge chart, you can easily find the diameters of round wires in both inches and millimeters. The AWG chart also provides information on the cross-sectional areas of round wires in kilocircular mils, square inches and millimeters, and resistance per 1000 feet and 1000 meters.
The wire gauge size is determined by a combination of factors, including the conductor’s thickness and the length of the wire. Thicker conductors can carry more current with less resistance, and longer wires tend to have higher voltage drops. In order to properly design your electrical circuit, you must take the voltage drop and the rated ampacities of each wire gauge into consideration.
In addition to diameter, a key factor in selecting the right wire gauge for your project is its ampacity. The ampacity of a wire is the maximum amount of electric current it can safely carry, and is defined as the voltage drop across the length of the wire divided by the cable’s current-carrying capability. Choosing a wire with a higher amperage rating than your needs can cause the wire to melt, which is dangerous and can damage your wiring system.
The simplest way to size a wire is by using the AWG’s own chart, which includes a table that correlates each number to the corresponding diameter and cross-sectional area of the conductor. This is the same table that engineers use when designing wires for a variety of applications. In more complex engineering projects, however, other factors such as the voltage drop, insulation temperature limit, thickness, thermal conductivity, and air convection must be taken into account when determining a wire’s amperage ratings.
Alternatively, you can use our online calculator to calculate the diameter and cross-sectional area of a given wire, depending on its AWG gauge number. The calculator will provide you with results for both the diameter in inches and the cross-sectional area in kilocircular mils, which can be much easier to read than a standard AWG wire gauge chart. To use the calculator, simply select the AWG wire gauge number and the type of wire you are measuring. Then, enter the diameter and the width of the wire in the boxes provided and click “Calculate”. The calculator will automatically convert your results to both the inch and mm dimensions. wire gauge chart