Types of wire

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by prodigy2k7, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    I know there is solid wire and threaded wire and different gauges...
    But what about stuff like "speaker wire" (for speakers/music output) etc...
    What am I looking for?
    I need 16 gauge and 22 gauge wire but not sure what exactly to get... I dont wanna get some wire for speakers if its wrong lol...
    What should the wire be made out of? Copper? etc..
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Copper wire is standard. I think the only other material is aluminum, but that's hard to solder.
    The two types are solid and stranded. Stranded is better if the wire needs to flex repeatedly, like pickup wires inside locos. Solid is good if the wire has to stay in place. Stranded wire of a given gauge is larger than solid. You have to use the next number up on the wire stripper.
    Speaker wire sems to be stranded wire. The stuff I have has one copper and one silvery wire in it so you can tell them apart. (most wires have a way to tell which side is which -- usually the shape of the insulation.)
    I've used speaker wire when I had surplus. I wouldn't get it if it costs more than lamp cord of the same gauge.
  3. radar

    radar Member

    you need to get solid wire made of copper dont get speaker wire it may be that one of the "strands " is aluminum!
  4. prodigy2k7

    prodigy2k7 Member

    Ill probably get solid for buses and stranded for feeders...
    The atlas "layout" wire is silver colored...
    I assume its aluminum then? lol..
    I was going to use that for my switches since I already have some of that...
  5. radar

    radar Member

    Im not sure but the atlas wire might be "pre-tined" copper if it solders easy it copper
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Most "silver" colored wire is pretinned copper. I don't think aluminum wire has been available since it was found to cause house fires from overheating.
  7. DixonRobertson

    DixonRobertson New Member

    I used 12/2 house wire for busses and 18/2 "bell wire" for the feeders. Both are solid, both are copper, both came from Lowe's. The house wire is black and white (after you strip the jacket and the ground wire), and the bell wire is red and white. Even as me sight bedims, I can tell the color difference. I also find solid wire easier to solder. YMMV.
  8. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

    I think that is generally true at the consumer level, but aluminum wire is still used by electric utilities for high voltage distribution, and so I'm told, household drops to the meter panel in some cases.

    Uninsulated solid aluminum wire is available to anyone. It is sold for mechanical applications, rather than electrical.

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