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Making DIY Power Cables: Wire Gauge and Standards.

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#1 MysticChimp


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Posted 30 September 2017 - 05:26 AM

Hi Guys,


Is anyone here familiar with the wire standards and gauges required to do a complete custom build.


I'm fine with the building just need to source the correct materials and I'm not an electrician so the various wire gauges and standards are a little overwhelming.


As far as I can tell so far. (I'm in the UK) AWG, the American Wire Gauge, is the start point and determines the thickness of the wire, with 18AWG being the apparent standard for a 24 pin power cable. Whilst the smaller thickness yet higher numbered 20 or 22 AWG being used for fans.


Is there anyone here that understands this stuff, if not can anyone point me to a resource where I could learn more about it.


Many Thanks



Edited by hamluis, 30 September 2017 - 07:15 AM.
Moved from System Building to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.

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#2 hamluis



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Posted 30 September 2017 - 07:20 AM

You might look at THIS.



#3 MysticChimp

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Posted 30 September 2017 - 08:43 AM

Hi Louis, 


Thanks I've read many of those articles and visited endless sites. The problem is not really content. I can visit the Wiki for AWG, what I really need is someone with enough knowledge that I can ask "...is this wire ok if not why not,.." someone to help me interpret all of the content.


For example, I have established since my original post that 18 awg is indeed a good wire for 24 pin psu. However, should it be solid core or multi strand if so why? What about cross section diameter? I know that is a consideration but whats the minimum and maximum for pc power. 


Heres an example of some wire choices and why its so confusing for me.


Alpha Wire EcoWire Series Red, 30m MPPE Hook Up Wire, 0.81 mm² CSA Flame Retardant, 600 V 18 AWG


Alpha Wire Black, 305m PVC UL1007 Hook Up Wire, 0.81 mm² CSA Flame Retardant, 300 V 18 AWG


These are two almost identical wires but not quite, is one better than the other, are they both acceptable for psu power, if so why or why not etc etc.


So really just looking for someone with enough knowledge that can answer a few questions so that I don't have to just guess. Or do something because someone told m too, rather than actually knowing why.



#4 britechguy


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Posted 30 September 2017 - 10:27 AM

The only thing I can add is that I have yet to encounter any solid core wire being used in PC wiring.  It's all been stranded.


Even in thin (very thin) wire the way a wire will (or won't, in the case of non-stranded/solid core wire) bend easily and then generally spring back to its pre-bent position is a clear indicator of the type of wire you're dealing with.  When you've got thin stranded wire it's really the insulation that's got the "shape memory" going on.  Unstranded wire will hold the shape you bend it to, including its insulation, even in fine gauge wire.


A lot of telephone wire that was and is used for land line phones as the building wiring is non-stranded and if you snag a piece of this and strip off the outer insulation and play with the thin wires contained within it will give you a decent idea of what thin non-stranded wire behaves like.  The same is also true for the wiring for door bells and you can find that in virtually any big-box hardware store, but I believe the gauge is a bit thicker than telephone wire.

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#5 mjd420nova


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Posted 30 September 2017 - 11:20 AM

I would consult with a licensed electrician to help you understand what is needed for your application.  Going on what is already installed may not meet the current code and the addition of any circuits would mean the entire system needs upgrade to the new code to allow for the expansion proposed.  I've seen this in many homes and an un-licensed person will add what's needed, exceeding the limits and creating internal circuit faults.  Phone and cable wiring is an open code in that the wires are not intended to carry any current and seldom have any protection unless a user has a surge protector inline.

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