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  • Topic: What's smallest wire size u can use?

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    • September 9, 2021 7:48 PM EDT

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      What's smallest wire size u can use?

      I'm battery-izing my other Big Howler with Phoenix sound and the 20 gage wire I used before I installed the battery, is annoying cause it clutters things up and is sometimes hard to string around and under stuff like the Rail Boss receiver. I noticed that many of the other wire sizes are smaller, even some that came with the loco (the track pickups, headlight, etc) and am wondering how small can I go? It seems the Rail Boss battery adaptor, which is have along with their battery, seems to be 20 gage (I know, it's spelled gauge, but gage is ez-yer) and I get them using it since that's the main source of power to everything. But for chuff, whistle, bell, etc, is 20 necessary? BTW,  I Googled wire size and current draw but figuring that out is too much like work. So, what size, gize (gals too, but it don't rime).

       

    • September 10, 2021 12:13 AM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
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      I've got lots (literally rolls) of small gauge wire that is SUPER HIGH QUALITY that I got from a deceased NASA engineer.  This stuff is really good and flexible.  You can hold a soldering iron against the insulation and it won't even melt through.  You strip it by running a razor blade around the perimeter then pulling off the piece or it holds together if you use dykes.  It is silver in color so it is either "silver" wire, or pre-tinned.  You are welcome to as many feet as you think you may need.  I'm doing open house for the garden railroad on Sat 9/11 (1-5) if you want to come by and pick some up.

    • September 10, 2021 1:14 PM EDT

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      Thanks, Todd. If I'm there I'll take advantage of your kind offer. Sounds like good stuff, though.

    • September 10, 2021 1:44 PM EDT
      • Fort Myers Beach & Annapolis, Florida & Maryland
         
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      But for chuff, whistle, bell, etc, is 20 necessary? BTW,  I Googled wire size and current draw but figuring that out is too much like work. So, what size, gize (gals too, but it don't rime).

      Joe, I am often surprised at how small the wire is inside our locos. When you consider that length has a lot to do with the current draw and capacity, you can appreciate that 1 ft of 20 gauge can carry a lot of current before it expires. Chuff, bell, and LED lights do not need much current, so the smaller wire can be used.  Smoke generators are power hogs though, so keep them to 20g or bigger.

       

      ____________________________________

       

        Pete

    • September 10, 2021 3:12 PM EDT

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      Pete. Thanks, good advice. I done throwed away my smoke generators so no problem. FYI I've crammed my latest Rail Boss into the 10-wheeler tender, so the easier it is to snake the wrire around stuff, the better it is on my, umm, temperament (can you say #%$&?). 

    • September 11, 2021 6:06 PM EDT
      • Gig Harbor, WA
         
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      Joe,

      I'm all battery operated.  This is what I generally use for wire.  22g for main power off of the battery, 24g for single motors and smoke, and 26g for led lights.  All wire is stranded and if in a pair it is twisted to help minimize noise that could cause  electrical  interference.   I'm fussy about neatness in my wiring so most is done in what they call square runs in bundles and held with plastic wire ties.

      ____________________________________

      Paul Burch

      Sierra Cascade & Pacific RR

    • September 11, 2021 6:51 PM EDT

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      Paul,

      That's exactly what I wanted to know--specific wire sizes. Yeah, I like what my best buddy calls, "a clean install," and try to be neat. But then I run out of patience. Ironically, as people say when they mean coincidentally, your taxpayer dollars paid for my electronics education, back in the day, and while I'm capable of fine work, I'm not always "down" with it. Did I tell you I hate to solder?

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