# Can I pull 2 amps through 22 AWG stranded wire?

I have a spare cable with four stranded 22 AWG-wires in it. My intention is to run 5V at 2A max (~0.9-1.0A normal) through two of them and I'm trying to find out whether this cable will suffice.

Reading on Wikipedia about AWG I find that 22 AWG has an "ampacity" of 7A. But, the table also mentions "60 C" and "Ampacity, at 20 C insulation material temperature rating, or for single unbundled wires in equipment for 16 AWG and smaller", and I'm not entirely sure about what this means.

Does the table mean that 22 AWG can handle 7A, and when that happens the temperature will go up to 60 C? If not, what are these temperatures in the table?

My cable will be 10-15 cm long. Not longer than 20 cm, and the average current through it will be around 0.6-0.9A but for some occations (short circuit or the like) the current will go up to 2A. My over current-protector cuts all supply when the current reaches 2.5A

So; will 22 AWG stranded cable work here, or should I look for another?

• yes, 22awg is fine for that, esp open-air. the problem would be the wire over heating and/or voltage drops. are you experiencing either? Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 11:58
• You have four strands of 22AWG. Put two in parallel for each (supply and ground.)
– JRE
Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 12:08
• 60°C in the table is the temperature rating of the wire. 20°C is the ambient temperature. Current through a wire raises the temperature at the surface of the conductor due to resistance heating. For wire rated at 60°C, the insulation material will start to break down at temperatures greater than 60°C. Therefore, the current must be limited to prevent the heat from building up. Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 15:01
• This is a great reference, for this type of question: engineeringtoolbox.com/wire-gauges-d_419.html Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 20:29
• The temperature rating is really only for motors. Motors have a temperature rating on them that shows how they increase in temperature as they exceed their service factor. I usually only use the higher than 60deg derating when looking at overloads on circuits with motors rated higher than 60deg. (Which I almost never run into) Commented Sep 7, 2022 at 19:17

Let's say the wire is 30 cm long because there is a per-foot value for resistance. The table in the Wikipedia article says that will have a resistance of 16 mΩ.

Let's calculate the power dissipation: (2 A) * (2 A) * (0.016 Ω) = 0.064 W.

You've got two wires carrying the current (there and back), and they are a bit less than 30 cm long, so the maximum total dissipation will be about 0.1 W.

There will be no problem. (Also, I am not a qualified electrical engineer.)

• 16mohm is for a solid 22 AWG core though, not stranded. I don't know how to find the cross section area of a stranded wire (as the text above the table suggests).
– bos
Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 12:15
• @bos From the same wikipedia, a bit further down: "AWG gauges are also used to describe stranded wire. In this case, it describes a wire which is equal in cross-sectional area to the total of all the cross-sectional areas of the individual strands; the gaps between strands are not counted. When made with circular strands, these gaps occupy about 10% of the wire area, thus requiring a wire about 5% thicker than equivalent solid wire."
– dim
Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 12:24
• There are effects in electrical conduction which mean that a solid and stranded cable do not have exactly the same properties, even when they have the same total cross-sectional area at the strand level. I believe it's actually stranded that's a little bit superior in terms of current carrying.and heating. Commented Mar 18, 2021 at 14:13
• Stranded wire with a given cross section will have lower resistance than solid wire specifically for alternating current due to "skin effect" (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_effect). Multiple small strands have more surface area than single large strand with same volume (or more circumference than single conductor of same cross sectional area). But DC doesn't have this effect, so DC only cares about bulk volume/cross section. Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 13:41
• @BobHy The maximum frequency for 100% skin depth for 22 AWG solid round copper is 42 kHz: Electrical Characteristics of AWG Copper Wire. So, probably not a factor for the OP. Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 14:03