Looking for wire source and type

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adamsdp

New Member
I am getting ready to wire my layout and wanted to see where others have sourced there wires for powering their layout. I looked on Amazon for 14-16 gauge wire and didn't see any solid wire. Nearly all the wire I found was stranded and tinned copper. I remember reading somewhere that solid wire is preferred for ease of soldering? If that isn't a big deal, there are plenty of choices of stranded wire. Any advice will be appreciated. Thank you!
 

santafewillie

Same Ol' Buzzard
I don't know where you are located, but I go to a wholesale electrical supply house and buy it by the reel. For smaller quantities, you should be able to get those sizes at your local Home Depot, Menard or Lowes. House wiring is generally solid so they should have plenty.
 

Topherisme

Chris wants more hobby time!!!
By my reading: Stranded is best for buss wire as more easy to work with shaping it under the layout, solid wire 22 gauge or so for soldering the feeders…. Got lucky, my work throws out all kinds of stuff, been repurposing all the electric wire for myself, easily collected hundreds of dollars worth so far, 12, 14, 16 gauges mostly, but plenty of wire for feeders too…
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
stranded wire produces less loss of voltage due to skin effect.
Electricity travels along the surface of wire, or skin. A solid piece of wire has a very limited skin surface to carry electricity. If you use stranded wire of the same thickness, each strand carries electricity which spreads that skin effect out quite a bit.
 

wvg_ca

nerdlinger
stranded wire produces less loss of voltage due to skin effect.
Electricity travels along the surface of wire, or skin. A solid piece of wire has a very limited skin surface to carry electricity. If you use stranded wire of the same thickness, each strand carries electricity which spreads that skin effect out quite a bit.
yes, stranded wire has less 'skin effect', but that is for AC signals only, and in very high frequencies , a DC layout would suffer no skin effect and a DCC layout would have a skin effect [due to the relatively low frequencies] of a diameter larger than the wire, in effect close to null .. same as the argument .. sorry ..
 

Alcomotive

Grandson of ALCO Bldr
stranded wire produces less loss of voltage due to skin effect.
Electricity travels along the surface of wire, or skin. A solid piece of wire has a very limited skin surface to carry electricity. If you use stranded wire of the same thickness, each strand carries electricity which spreads that skin effect out quite a bit.

Interesting, I am not an electronics guy but do understand some things. I never thought of this. So if there is a voltage AND amperage loss if you go solid? So if you have the same gauge wire in both stranded and solid (and same length), you will have less voltage/amp drop or loss on the stranded wire? Is that correct?
 

NYC_George

Well-Known Member
Interesting, I am not an electronics guy but do understand some things. I never thought of this. So if there is a voltage AND amperage loss if you go solid? So if you have the same gauge wire in both stranded and solid (and same length), you will have less voltage/amp drop or loss on the stranded wire? Is that correct?
I have used 18 gauge solid wire for the very start dating back to 1997 and have had no trouble with any voltage drops or similar electrical problems. I did use some 12 gauge solid wire for a short distance to make sure the helix was properly powered not sure if I needed it or not, but I removed the helix because I thought it took up to much floor space so I'm back to all 18 gauge solid wiring.
George
 

Smudge617

Well-Known Member
I have used 18 gauge solid wire for the very start dating back to 1997 and have had no trouble with any voltage drops or similar electrical problems. I did use some 12 gauge solid wire for a short distance to make sure the helix was properly powered not sure if I needed it or not, but I removed the helix because I thought it took up to much floor space so I'm back to all 18 gauge solid wiring.
George
I as understand it, using solid or stranded wire on a short distance from it's start point, (around 30-40 feet) wont make any difference, only on longer lengths would you start to see a measurable deficit.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
Interesting, I am not an electronics guy but do understand some things. I never thought of this. So if there is a voltage AND amperage loss if you go solid? So if you have the same gauge wire in both stranded and solid (and same length), you will have less voltage/amp drop or loss on the stranded wire? Is that correct?
Yes, that is correct because the multi strand provides more overall surface area for voltage to flow.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
yes, stranded wire has less 'skin effect', but that is for AC signals only, and in very high frequencies , a DC layout would suffer no skin effect and a DCC layout would have a skin effect [due to the relatively low frequencies] of a diameter larger than the wire, in effect close to null .. same as the argument .. sorry ..
Well, OK. So do you wire your layout with 22 gauge solid?
 

wvg_ca

nerdlinger
i don't remember if the feeders were stranded or solid, i think stranded as they were old printer cable ...the bus line itself was 10 gau solid.. it was what i had laying around
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
When I built my current layout, I went with 12 gauge stranded for power bus and the DC accessory bus(es) from the converted computer power supply. The cost really wasn't much more than lighter gauge wire, and I know I have plenty of capacity. For the track feeders I'm using 18 gauge solid wire, and 18 gauge stranded for connections to the edge connectors on the Tortoise switch machines. I used solid for the track feeders because it's easier to feed solid wire through a 1/8" diameter hole that's going through 2-3/16" worth of material!
 




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