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Stranded wire is often specified using two numbers in the format A x B. For example, 16 AWG wire might come with a 19 x 29 strand count.

What do the first and second numbers mean?

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2 Answers 2

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Vicatcu is right, the first number, being 19 is clearly the strand count. Common stand counts are 7, 10, 19, 26, 41, 65.

The second number is the gauge of each strand. If you look up a table of AWG wire sizes, you'll see that 20 gauge wire has a cross sectional area of 0.518mm2, making a total cross sectional area of 19*0.518 = 9.842mm2. AWG 16 has a cross sectional area of 1.31mm2.

Therefore I conclude that you mistyped the number. Perhaps you meant 19/29? AWG 29 is 0.0642mm2. 19 of those makes up 1.22mm2, which is very close to AWG 16.

I more often see the strands specified with a / rather than a x. E.G. 19/29.

Looking at a chart of available stranded wires, I see that 19/20 is an offered size.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree, I was just inputting the data into the MiscEl wire calculator and got the same results as you have (19x29 = AWG 16) 19 strands of AWG 20 = AWG 7.3. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oli Glaser
    Jul 15, 2012 at 21:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice catch-- I did mistype the strand count and corrected the original question to read: 19/29. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 16, 2012 at 1:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is possibly the most confusing material on the subject. A very simple answer to the A?B question is ruined by careless responses That serve to confuse. Nobody ever calculates the strand areas when tables are available & a multi strand table option is actually referenced here. \$\endgroup\$
    – user93580
    Dec 5, 2015 at 1:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a forum for answering questions about Electrical Engineering. Showing how the values are calculated is exactly the right level of answer. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19, 2017 at 18:56
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My wild (but logical) guess would be that 19x29 strand count, 16 AWG wire implies a composition of 19 strands of 29 gauge wire woven into a fabric that constitutes an effective 16 gauge wire.

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