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Is there a standard that gives the hole and pad size for soldering a wire to a PCB?

The IPC-7251 standard gives hole and land diameters for a given lead diameter. But because the finished hole diameter is 0.25 mm bigger than wire, these holes are difficult to get stranded wires into without them unraveling.

I cannot use a connector for this application.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In general soldering stranded wire to a PCB sucks. Besides being hard to get through the hole, if you snip off excess it makes a shower of tiny wire strands. It can also be hard to clean flux off the board since if you get too aggressive the soldered stranded wire can have some strands peel away from the main body of solder, and those should be snipped off. \$\endgroup\$
    – NateS
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 14:22

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A general rule of thumb would be to make your hole diameter (after plating) approximately 10% larger than the diameter of your wire. However, this will often lead to very small diameter differences. For example, 18AWG 16/30 stranded wire has a diameter of 0.046 inches (1.17mm). This value +10% gives you about 1.29mm, which is a difference of 0.12mm.

Generally your best bet is to twist the end of the stranded wire to help prevent it from unraveling. You can increase the hole size to an extent, but it depends on your application, plating, type of wire, solder, current, etc. how much you can increase it before you run into issues. Personally I probably wouldn't go beyond 20%.

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