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I bought some single strand wires hoping to prototype on the breadboards. Unfortunately it was too small to properly fit into the breadboard holes.

So my question is which gauge fits well on those small holes of breadboard?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Not sure if you mean the diameter wire, but I'm using Ø 0.2 mm², which works fine for me. I also use dealextreme.com/p/… which are sometimes a bit hard to push into the breadboard, but nothing a bit of patience, fiddling and feeling for mechanics can't fix. \$\endgroup\$ – jippie May 11 '12 at 9:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ What is meant is American Wire Gauge (AWG). Also, "single strand wire" is usually referred to as "solid conductor" or just "solid" (as opposed to "stranded"). So, for example, individual Ethernet wires are known as "24 AWG solid wire". \$\endgroup\$ – Mike DeSimone May 12 '12 at 12:05
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Plain single stranded copper wire works fine in these breadboards. That's what I primarily use. I find 22 guage is about right.

Fancy specially made jumper wires may be more reliable in the long run, but cutting a piece of wire off a roll and stripping the ends is easy and quick. You can do that many times for the cost of one jumper wire.

A while ago I bought a set of pre-cut and pre-stripped wires for this use from Jameco. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Having the wires ready to use is nice, but they stupidly decided to bend the stripped ends at right angles right where the insulation ends. That makes them difficult to use except for the ones that only go 1, 2, or 3 holes. As I cut and strip more jumper wires from a 500 foot roll of #22 wire, I put them into the box the Jameco kit came in according to their lengths. Over the years, the stripped ends of a few wires have broken right at the end of the insulation. This happens quite rarely, so the trouble to cut and strip a new wire is nothing.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The 1, 2 and 3 hole ones are very nice.The larger sizes of premade ones though are indeed tricky to use. Generally I leave the bends in the ends, and put a bend or a curve in the middle of the wire such that the wire lays flat against the breadboard, but has an indirect route from point A to Point B. That seems to work pretty well. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Cathcart May 11 '12 at 16:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ I see now your comment on tcrosley's post. Yeah, in dense layouts that does not work very well. Ideally when layouts get dense you just connect more boreadboards together, and spread the circuit out, but in practice that's not always feasible. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Cathcart May 11 '12 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I used to do the "suit off a roll" thing. After about four projects, I had a box full of wires of random lengths, all kinked in various ways. Another problem I had was that, if I found a problem in the circuit, the wires had formed a "rat's nest" directly over the circuit, making it hard to get to the problem and fix it without knocking other wires out. So there really is a balance that must be struck. \$\endgroup\$ – Mike DeSimone May 12 '12 at 12:11
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AWG22 or AWG24 generally work well. i personally prefer AWG24. Anything bigger than AWG22 can mangle the breadboard connector (I've had to unmangle some). Anything smaller than AWG24 may not connect reliably.

When you cut the wires, cut on an angle, not straight across the wire. This gives you a needle point on one side, and makes insertion easier. (Hypodermic needles are constructed this way for precisely this reason.)

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RadioShack sells a jumper wire kit for use with their solderless breadboard. I'm not recommending that to you, since you are outside of the U.S., but using that as an example -- the wires are 22-gauge.

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ It looks like they also bent the wire at a right angle at the end of the insulation like in the Jameco kit. That is useful for the short lengths where you are directly jumpering 1, 2, or 3 holes, but it is annoying for the longer length. You don't use them that way. It looks like somebody's idea of how you use breadboard wires, not from someone that's actually used them. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 11 '12 at 14:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, they do bend the ends like you described. Actually that doesn't bother me, as I tend to lay the wires down flat on a breadboard. I mentioned the RadioShack kit for those in the U.S. since you can get it locally without having to deal with mail order. Some people may find the pre-cut wires more convenient (at a cost). \$\endgroup\$ – tcrosley May 11 '12 at 14:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Laying down wires flat is nice in theory, but is usually impossible in a dense layout. That's why longer wires "loop up" more. At least that's how it works for me. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop May 11 '12 at 14:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd argue that if you want density, you should move to wire wrap. Lots less problems with stray capacitance. But yeah, these kits are really intended for the simpler designs, like basic op amp circuits. Laying wires flat helps minimize stray inductance... but again, does it matter? \$\endgroup\$ – Mike DeSimone May 12 '12 at 12:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ ... You didn't seriously think I was suggesting trying to push 30 AWG wires into a bread board? Aargh. No, I said "you should move to wire wrap," as in getting wire wrap sockets, wire wrap wire, tools, and perf boards, and jettisoning the solderless push-in-wires stuff. Less capacitance, far more layout flexibility and density, and the finished assembly might even be installable, so you don't have to rebuild it. \$\endgroup\$ – Mike DeSimone May 12 '12 at 22:15
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0.6mm diameter single/solid core wire works great for breadboards. This is the same as the diameter of a typical 1/4W resistor lead. In AWG terms, 0.6mm is between 22 AWG and 23 AWG.

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Although both 22 AWG and 24 AWG solid-core wire works well, my preference is to use 24 AWG.

There are several reasons but the main reason is so that the contacts in the breadboard don't stretch or otherwise become deformed.

You won't notice the stretched contacts until you go to use a component with small diameter leads. 1N4148 diodes are where I notice stretched contacts - the diode lead just isn't tight in the contact.

I make my own breadboard jumper wires from standard 24 AWG telephone wire. Your friendly telephone installer is usually happy to hand out 25-pair off-cuts anywhere from several feet long to as much as you can carry.

Don't strip the jacket from the cable until you have cut it into the desired lengths. That gives you 50 pieces of that length.

After I have stripped the insulation from the individual wires, I use a pair of scissor-type wire strippers (Miller 101) to cut the very tip of the stripped wire at an angle. That makes inserting the wire into the breadboard very easy.

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Using just plain wires is never an optimal solution. Breadboards require that you push in some solid copper, but solid copper wire is difficult to route. You should just buy a set of Jumper Wires, like this:
http://www.pololu.com/catalog/category/68

And I think you can probably get them for less.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Plain wires (with the right thickness) work fantastic (at least in my experience). \$\endgroup\$ – Telaclavo May 11 '12 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alright. I see it all other answers and comment, it's probably also a matter of taste.. \$\endgroup\$ – Cees Meijer May 11 '12 at 17:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ It depends. One problem with plain wire is that the tip can bend, and then you need to replace the wire. You also tend to have wires of a lot of random lengths when you're done. \$\endgroup\$ – Mike DeSimone May 12 '12 at 12:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Plain wire is not optimal? Huh? Cost and convenience factor into optimality. Prefab wire kit for breadboard seems a bit excessive to me...like something a rich noob would do who has never worked with one. \$\endgroup\$ – neuronet Aug 28 '16 at 13:10

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