Attributes needed to Identify wire/cable

This is a basic guide that lists the different attributes needed for us to locate a wire/cable based on a description. This may seem pretty simple, but there are quite a few different important factors to consider when picking wire/cable for an application.

How many conductors do you need? This refers to how many different wires the cable is made up of. If there is just one conductor, this would be considered “single conductor cable” or “Hook up wire”. For multiple conductor cable, you have the option of twisted pairs which is selectable in the “Number of Conductors” filter.

What wire gauge do you need? This refers to the diameter of the wire. Here is a handy conversion chart for convenience: How to convert Wire Gauge to Metric System

What conductor strand do you need? This one isn’t as necessary as others, but the important part here is to determine whether the conductor you need is either solid or stranded. Most wire used in electronics is stranded, so if you just need something general purpose that is what you will be looking for. There are multiple different specs for stranded, and they are determined by the following format: Number of conductors/size of the conductors. For example, if the conductor strand is 7/32, you will have 7 separate 32AWG wires within one conductor. In the photo below, you will see what it would look like.

732 stranded wire

What voltage rating do you need? This refers to the max amount of voltage the wire can withstand before experiencing failure.

What length do you need?

What materials do you need? This applies to both the conductor material and the jacket/insulation material. Most conductor materials are copper, but can be a number of other options such as constantan, or other alloys. Most insulating materials are a plastic of some kind. Some plastics don’t classify as RoHS so if your application calls for a RoHS spec, make sure to select the “RoHS compliant” box under “Environmental options” to filter the non-RoHS compliant options out.

It is important to note the color, and the size of the insulation/jacket as well, though these are more preference based specs.

The last thing to really worry about is the operating temperature. This refers to the ideal temperature range the wire can operate in before experiencing failure.