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What wire to use for a prototype board? Answered

I am trying to build a couple of prototype boards (the kind with lots of plated holes), but I cannot seem to find the right wire. I want to solder the wire to the board, not use insulated wire-wrap, but any wire I try is either too thin, too thick, or is hard to solder.

In the past I used resistor leads, those seem to be perfect for the task; now I want to buy some specific wire, but I am struggling to get a good search term I can use to find a roll of a similar wire.

Do you have any hints on where I could buy a suitable wire for a prototype board?

Thanks!

Tags:help

Discussions

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Artuino

7 months ago

I would prefer to use LAN cables for prototyping jobs as you have mentioned. Those wires are thin yet durable and manageable. I guess it can be bought at any computer stores sold per meter or reels.

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eduperez

7 months ago

Some very solid advice here, thanks everybody!

I have tried to use 30 AWG solid wire before, but it is way too thin. Then I did some research: 1/4 w resistor leads tend to be about 0.5mm, similar to 24~25 AWG, right? Shipping prices at eBay for even a small 25ft roll are exorbitant; I think I will try to buy locally, but thinks so specific seem hard to find around here.

I am also considering going straight to on-demand manufactured PCBs: given the price of shipping just the wire, this seems like a viable alternative now.

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Toga_Dan

7 months ago

ive got some wire from the dollar store. some of it is insulated, some not. its plated steel wire. not perfect for low resistance, but youre going how far? a few inches? resistance is pretty negligible with low current for these distances. this wire is stiff enough to press into a hole easily . and its cheap.

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iceng

7 months ago

JOANN Fabric and Craft Store sell gold and silver spools of easily solderable wire 20,22,24,26 to 28 gauge a lot cheaper then bell wire, bare or tinned copper wire..

Granted craft wire has a larger resistance but that rarely affects the average circuit function..

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seandogue

7 months ago

22 -30ga is what people have been using for the past 30-40 years Anything larger is usually problematic. It's what I started using in the early 1980s and I still use it today. (I use other wire too, but for small boards and breading board it's perfect.

Solid core is often much easier to use since it doesn't fray. 3M 22ga bread-boarding wire is nice as it's already cut to length. Comes in a variety of lengths. Try Digikey.

For longer lengths, like wire that comes from a board and goes to panel-mount switches etc, 24ga stranded wire is nice. It can be purchased in 100 ft lengths for a modest cost.

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Jack A Lopez

7 months ago

Have you tried using the insulated, 24 AWG, solid copper, wire found inside Cat5 networking cable?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_5_cable

The reason I ask, is because most people who own a computer, also happen to have a spare piece of Cat5, lying around. So this kind of wire is usually easy to find, as junk.

By the way, if you have some wire lying around, and you are wondering what AWG gauge it is, the big table in Wikipedia's page titled, "American Wire Gauge",

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_wire_gauge

can help you figure that out, provided there is some dimension of the wire you can measure directly, like its diameter.

I mean, if you can describe your wire in terms of its AWG size, that will be more specifically meaningful to others, than describing it with phrases like, "too thick", "too thin", etc.

Regarding the phrase, "hard to solder", I suggest staying away from wire sold as, "magnet wire",

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnet_wire

because the insulation on that kind of wire cannot be simply stripped off, using wire strippers. Some other ritual, like sanding, or burning with flame, is required to remove the so-called, "enamel" insulation, from magnet wire.

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randofo

7 months ago

The insulated wire I used for such a board is 22 AWG. I imagine you want something in that range (24 / 22 / 20 / 18).

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FriedZombie

7 months ago

you could try to search for artistic copper wire with the thickness you like, those are without isolation.

But then again it is easy enough to solder just those leads or other stuff to the vero board, I'm usually not too picky about it. (and it still looks nice)

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SimonRob

7 months ago

I remove entirely the plastic part of a simple wire (with only 1 copper wire on it) it work perfectly