Correct Wire Size/Gauge for Repairs ?

I need to replace some wires on an e-unit that I am installing in my 736... I bought the e-unit used and it looks like it has the original wires, but they are a little too short, and need to extend or replace them.

I'm looking at purchasing some 18 gauge wire in different colors, judging by the size hole on my wire cutters, anything smaller, like 20 gauge, seems too small.

I may need some wire for future train repair projects, so this one on Amazon looks good to me.

I may check the local stores, but I have found the hardware and Home Depot stores to be limited more to 16 gauge or larger.

Any recommendations of various size wire for most engine & car repairs ?Amazon 18 gauge Colored Wire

Ken H in OH

Life is one hole after another...

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Most tend to use larger than necessary wire when re-wiring components in a locomotive.  I use very flexible wire, size 22 and buy it from Amazon. The number 22 flexible wire is also excellent for rewiring  from the pick up rollers to  lighting inside of passenger cars and cabooses,  also from the pick up rollers to the whistle  mechanisms in tenders.

Also, if I am extending the length of an existing wire such as you plan to do on the e-unit, I cover the connection with shrink tubing rather than electrical tape. The shrink tubing is permanent while the electrical tape is not only difficult to apply neatly,  but bulky and overtime will start to come apart.

Jim

I'll check out the 22 gauge... the Amazon 18g I was looking at also comes in 22.

Not sure my current wire strippers are good enough for anything smaller than 18, so I may need to upgrade them with a pair that has the overlapping blades, like the Klein 1010.

Definitely going to be ordering some various sizes of heat shrink tubing too... hard to find the smaller sizes at the local stores too.

Thanks guys... still glad to hear anyone else's input too !

 

Ken H in OH

Life is one hole after another...

O Gauge Jim posted:

Most tend to use larger than necessary wire when re-wiring components in a locomotive.  I use very flexible wire, size 22 and buy it from Amazon. The number 22 flexible wire is also excellent for rewiring  from the pick up rollers to  lighting inside of passenger cars and cabooses,  also from the pick up rollers to the whistle  mechanisms in tenders.

Also, if I am extending the length of an existing wire such as you plan to do on the e-unit, I cover the connection with shrink tubing rather than electrical tape. The shrink tubing is permanent while the electrical tape is not only difficult to apply neatly,  but bulky and overtime will start to come apart.

Jim

I also use the super 22 gauge flex wire on my prewar rebuilds. Not like the original cloth covered wire it has a silicone jacket (buy mine in black) and over 100 strands of the twisted wire. Very flexible and will last. 

If you are worried about the current draw check your loco with a amp meter and see what it draws and also google the current capabilities of the wire.

RonH

Don't Junk it, Make it Work!

 

Superflex is also available in the cloth covered push back wire.  If you are rewiring something older that used cloth covered wire, you can use the push back wire and there is no need for strippers.  After you are done soldering the insulation can be pushed back over the bare wire all the way up the solder joint leaving no bare wire to cause problems in the future.

I like to get wire from Jill at Miniature Lamp Works and support vendors who specialize in the hobby.

Miniature Lamp Works
        8644 La Tremolina Lane, Whittier, CA 90605
        P/F: 562.693.3043
        jill@miniaturelampworks.com 

AirMojo posted:
Trainman52 posted:

I've had an Ideal wire stripper for almost 50 years.  It is great!!  https://www.amazon.com/Ideal-4...ts=p_72%3A2661618011

The Ideal stripmaster looks like a good pair to have... I assume they handle the small wires okay, like the 22 ?

I have a set of these, but I don't really know where they are.  While they're fine for some situations, in close quarters I find them very kludgy and hard to use.  I reach for the HANLONG TOOLS HT-5023-R strippers, they work very well and they're quick and easy to use.  For larger wire, I have a similar type of tool I got at Harbor Freight, they have held up for years.

gunrunnerjohn posted:
AirMojo posted:
Trainman52 posted:

I've had an Ideal wire stripper for almost 50 years.  It is great!!  https://www.amazon.com/Ideal-4...ts=p_72%3A2661618011

The Ideal stripmaster looks like a good pair to have... I assume they handle the small wires okay, like the 22 ?

I have a set of these, but I don't really know where they are.  While they're fine for some situations, in close quarters I find them very kludgy and hard to use.  I reach for the HANLONG TOOLS HT-5023-R strippers, they work very well and they're quick and easy to use.  For larger wire, I have a similar type of tool I got at Harbor Freight, they have held up for years.

I use a old reliable type stripper and do not use the stops as I have about 40 plus years using it, just take getting used to.

RonH

Don't Junk it, Make it Work!

 

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I have a couple of those Ron, but you have to set them for each wire size or just wing it.  I like the ease of having the wire size and just hacking away.

John H posted:

The product description says 30 thru 10 awg.

No, that particular one says 10 to 22... which would suit my needs... but some comments said they had problems with smaller sized wires... but some people just have problems with everything...

Ken H in OH

Life is one hole after another...

https://www.jameco.com/z/JE-20...15889.html?CID=MERCH

 

I like these myself and ounce you set them for the wire size you need and get it adjusted right works perfect every time. also like the other guy said ounce you get use to using them without setting the screw u can actually get very good with them getting a good clean skin and not cut any extra strands.

https://www.jameco.com/z/GTA-0...le-Gauge_175098.html

these are also very great and work perfectly automatically but are more expensive!

https://www.jameco.com/z/AX103...35482.html?CID=MERCH

now these are very sharp and are just regular wire cutters but with practice you can cut just the insulation without nicking the wires on stranded wire. and there not very expensive $7.95 and good quality!

Alan

I also used Ideal wire strippers for about 50 yrs. Used them for rewiring motorcycles, cars, and my trains.  When ordering them, make sure they have the proper size stripping blades/dies you need.  The blades/dies will range in different sizes/gauge wires.

 

 

RonH posted:
O Gauge Jim posted:

Most tend to use larger than necessary wire when re-wiring components in a locomotive.  I use very flexible wire, size 22 and buy it from Amazon. The number 22 flexible wire is also excellent for rewiring  from the pick up rollers to  lighting inside of passenger cars and cabooses,  also from the pick up rollers to the whistle  mechanisms in tenders.

Also, if I am extending the length of an existing wire such as you plan to do on the e-unit, I cover the connection with shrink tubing rather than electrical tape. The shrink tubing is permanent while the electrical tape is not only difficult to apply neatly,  but bulky and overtime will start to come apart.

Jim

I also use the super 22 gauge flex wire on my prewar rebuilds. Not like the original cloth covered wire it has a silicone jacket (buy mine in black) and over 100 strands of the twisted wire. Very flexible and will last. 

If you are worried about the current draw check your loco with a amp meter and see what it draws and also google the current capabilities of the wire.

For the distances used within a locomotive, you won't have a long enough piece of wire to have significant resistance.  Consider that the total current flow ( except for the ligth bulb) that comes through the third rail flows through either the field coil of the motor or the coil of the E-unit.  The wire in those coils is much smaller than #22.  If several feet of very small wire can stand the loco current, a few inches of #22 isn't going to have any problem with that current.  Therefore, the current draw of the locomotive  isn't useful for answering this question.

RonH posted:
O Gauge Jim posted:

Most tend to use larger than necessary wire when re-wiring components in a locomotive.  I use very flexible wire, size 22 and buy it from Amazon. The number 22 flexible wire is also excellent for rewiring  from the pick up rollers to  lighting inside of passenger cars and cabooses,  also from the pick up rollers to the whistle  mechanisms in tenders.

Also, if I am extending the length of an existing wire such as you plan to do on the e-unit, I cover the connection with shrink tubing rather than electrical tape. The shrink tubing is permanent while the electrical tape is not only difficult to apply neatly,  but bulky and overtime will start to come apart.

Jim

I also use the super 22 gauge flex wire on my prewar rebuilds. Not like the original cloth covered wire it has a silicone jacket (buy mine in black) and over 100 strands of the twisted wire. Very flexible and will last. 

If you are worried about the current draw check your loco with a amp meter and see what it draws and also google the current capabilities of the wire.

I would like to second the notion of using silicone insulated wire. First the down side The silicone insulation is not as resistant to abrasion but once in place inside our locomotives it does not rub so much especially if you are careful how you route it. Second it is much more flexible, easier to handle and fish through twisting paths, and does not get stiff when cold. My third and favorite point is it is much more heat resistant. In the event of a short it can reach 482°F before the silicone insulation fails as opposed to 221°F for PVC insulation. If you have to route it through the bottom of a frame against a sharp edge you can add a short piece of heat shrink in the area that rubs. Or do as I do and modify the truck mount so that wires can pass through the pivot point of the truck. I have ordered super flex silicone wire from multiple sellers on ebay and it is not significantly higher than PVC. Below are a couple of links to AWG wire size / current capability charts.  Note that multi strand wire cannot carry the same current as solid core copper.          j

https://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm

https://www.multicable.com/res...f-copper-conductors/

https://www.engineeringtoolbox...re-gauges-d_419.html

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