What kind of wire?

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
Post Reply
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 2:12 pm

What kind of wire?

Post by thejunkyardcatalyst » Thu May 04, 2006 2:18 pm

I am running out of hobby wire I aquired while I was in school. It was part of the lab fee so don't get the wrong idea. Anyways, its been a while and I was wondering what is the best solid wire to use for building projects and where I can get it. I would like to get multicolored spools if possible because I found it easier to keep track of.

Robert Reed
Posts: 2276
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:01 am

Post by Robert Reed » Thu May 04, 2006 4:48 pm

Your question covers a lot of ground. I prefer 22 gauge stranded for off board circuit wiring. For onboard, I like 24 gauge wire. For power wiring, generally 16 gauge wire,and thats usually sufficient because of the short lengths involved, however once you get into the outside world you then have to consider amperage and distance involved for any particular project. Have you priced wiring lately? A complete set of solid color wires in #22 and #24 stranded and solid will run you more than $200. I try to stick with a few basic colors and scrounge up the rest wherever I can find it. One cood source for #16 wire is stripping down old extension cords.

User avatar
Posts: 1289
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Northern Illinois

Post by jollyrgr » Thu May 04, 2006 5:32 pm

If you are not concerned about the color, get CAT 5 from the spool ends. When a 100ft box has less than 100ft on it these are many times recycled. Possibly some wiring shop will have these around for the asking.

I happen to work where I know the telecom guys. My multicolor wire/cable was in very low supply and I was using CAT 5, Cat3 etc. for my wiring projects. One of the guys had a 15 foot section of 100 pair wire he was going to recycle. Well I happened to recycle it for him; into my projects! And it made him happy as he didn't have to haul it out to the recycler.

There are thousands of feet of old phone wiring that get stripped from remodel projects in older buildings. Possibly a six pack to the demo guys will allow you to check the dumster for what you need.

Then there is always the phone remodel wire at the local big box remodel stores. The two pair will have RED BLACK GREEN and YELLOW. This stuff is only a few bucks for a 100ft roll.
No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. But billions of electrons, photons, and electromagnetic waves were terribly inconvenienced!

Posts: 488
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 1:01 am
Location: Missouri

Post by JPKNHTP » Thu May 04, 2006 5:49 pm

-God Bless

User avatar
Posts: 2050
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:01 am
Location: Seattle

Post by philba » Thu May 04, 2006 8:05 pm

I use cat 5 wire, too. Use a drill to unwind the twised pairs - it goes fast.

Dean Huster
Posts: 1263
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Harviell, MO (Poplar Bluff area)

Post by Dean Huster » Sat May 06, 2006 11:08 am

I was very fortunate to be around when they were "deinstalling" a system at the USNSGA-Hanza on Okinawa when I was there. In the dumpster was about 100 feet of 50-pair cable, each pair fully shielded. Each wire was #22 tinned solid wire, including a shield drain wire for each pair and each pair was a solid color. In all, I had all ten EIA colors available. It was wonderful for use on solderless breadboards.

The #24 wire used in CAT-5 and telephone IW cable isn't quite as durable and reliable for solderless breadboard connections as #22, but it'll work. Look out for any computer installations or tear-outs as well as those of phone companies or communications companies.

Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).


Posts: 4
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 2:12 pm

you people rule

Post by thejunkyardcatalyst » Mon May 15, 2006 2:10 pm

thanks your help saved me some money.

Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 1:01 am

Post by JohnDay » Tue May 16, 2006 10:49 am

Another good source is old printer cables and serial cables. The conductor is often pretty lightweight, but it is generally pretty good for 'in the box' type wiring and you can pick them up at flea markets for next to nothing.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 33 guests