What kind of wire is most suitable for HV low-current applications, where the allowed maximum is 25 kV and 5 W?

By type of wire I mean core and type of insulation.

As far as I can guess, even if the wire is thin it will not create much heat, because of the very low current and low resistance (especially if copper core is used), but silicone wires will leak static electricity (And that's a problem) if it's not thick and I would prefer thinner wire if possible. On the other hand PTFE wires aren't usually rated at >15 kV But perhaps coated wires is what I should be looking for?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Sounds dangerous \$\endgroup\$
    – user94729
    Sep 10, 2018 at 9:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mikey It's not really. But it is harmful compared to low power electronics, evidently. \$\endgroup\$
    – Edenia
    Sep 10, 2018 at 9:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ As far as I know, silicone wires is the way to go and will fit your 25kV specs as required. I don't have any alternative I can offer right away.. \$\endgroup\$
    – Weaverworm
    Sep 10, 2018 at 10:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you considered automotive sparkplug wire? Well insulated, and deals with the relatively high temperatures close to the engine. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Sep 10, 2018 at 10:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ If there's an automotive repair shop or parts store, you might just ask them. They may have a roll of wire they use (repair shop) and could sell you a few meters. The parts store might also have a roll they use to sell the wire by the meter for people who have to make their own custom cables. Tell them what you are doing, and ask if they can sell you a few meters of sparkplug wire. They might even be so amused by your project that they give you the wire, or make you a special price. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Sep 10, 2018 at 11:03

2 Answers 2


Since your question isn't getting much attention, I'm going to go ahead and expand my comments into an answer.

You need a type of wire rated for high voltage. Temperature doesn't seem to be important, but flexibility is.

The correct thing to use would be silicone insulated wire rated to higher than your expected voltage. Like this stuff, for example.

That's just an example. You can get it in different ratings and sizes from various manufacturers and sources.

An alternative for hobbyists would be automotive sparkplug wire.

It can be bought by the meter (or foot) at automotive parts stores, or (maybe if you ask nice) from automotive repair shops.

If you don't need long pieces, you can scrounge used sparkplug cables from the junkyard (or ask a repair shop.)

Most sparkplug wires are of the "resistor" type. I seem to remember that you are working on some kind of electric "joy buzzer" gizmo, so resistor wire may be a good thing.

Resistor sparkplug wire has one down side, though. You cannot solder it.

You will need to use the crimp on brass connectors. You can solder to the brass parts after they are crimped on.

If you repurpose used spark plug wires, you will usually have a connector at each end.

If you buy new sparkplug wire, you can try to get wire core (like I linked to) rather than the resistor wire you will find in used sparkplug wires. You can solder that rather than using the crimp on connectors.

If you try to buy new sparkplug wire, and can only get resistor sparkplug wire, then you will need some connectors. Buy them where you buy the wire (or scrounge some old wires and pull the connectors out.)

Resistor sparkplug wires don't really contain what you would think of as wire.

It uses a string that is impregnated with carbon. This gives it a high innate (built in) resistance without having a seperate resistor.

They use this stuff because it causes less radio interference when the sparkplugs fire.


If you want a thinner wire, get a shielded HV cable: It has inner insulation (between the electrode and the shield) which is just thick enough to withstand the voltage, and the shield deals with electric field which otherwise requires a thick layer of insulation to prevent ESD.

Common HV insulation materials include silicone and different varieties of polyethylene. Shielded HV cables with silicone insulation don't have ESD problems AFAIK.


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