KB347: American Wire Gauge

This article was last updated on May 14, 2012, 7:38 p.m. | Print Article | Leave Feedback

American Wire Gauge (AWG) is a U.S. standard set of wire conductor sizes.

The "gauge" is related to the diameter of the wire.

The higher the gauge number, the smaller the diameter and the thinner the wire.

Typical model railroad copper bus wiring is AWG number 12 or 14.

Connecting wire is often 20, 22, or 24.

European color coded wiring practice often calls for "9" gauge wire, or approximately 3mm diameter wire.

They also use smaller wire for runs from stationary decoders to individual devices.

The smaller the diameter the wire, the more resistance; this means that a larger diameter bus wire can carry DCC signal further than a smaller wire.

AWG
Diameter (in)
Diameter (mm)
10
0.1019
2.59
11
0.0907
2.30
12
0.0808
2.05
13
0.072
1.83
14
0.0641
1.63
15
0.0571
1.45
16
0.0508
1.29
17
0.0453
1.15
18
0.0403
1.02
19
0.0359
0.91
20
0.032
0.81
21
0.0285
0.72
22
0.0254
0.65
23
0.0226
0.57
24
0.0201
0.51

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