1
\$\begingroup\$

With wire awg, a larger number means a smaller wire. What is the proper convention for making comparisons between wire awg? For example if you you say it a wire needs to be larger than 12awg, is that more or less copper? Should the word larger/smaller be avoided and lower/higher used and clarification be asked when they are used?

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just say "bigger wire" instead of "bigger AWG". \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 22:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I always go "A larger gauge than 12AWG". Those familiar with AWG know this will be 11 or "smaller". Those that don't know it needs to have a larger diameter than 12AWG \$\endgroup\$
    – user16222
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 22:18

2 Answers 2

1
\$\begingroup\$

I see the point of confusion but have never given it much thought. Lower/higher is a LOT more confusing than larger/smaller.

If someone said "larger/smaller than 12AWG", to me that would mean more/less copper, so a numerically lower/higher AWG. I probably think this way since "larger" and "smaller" have physicality to them; A wire can be physically larger or smaller. In short, "AWG" is synonymous with "size" or "diameter".

If they said a "higher/lower AWG", that would give me pause unless the context was clear. "The current is too high, you need a wire gauge." it really doesn't matter what the relative adjective is. You know what it is trying to say. But I don't think I've had anyone communicate AWG to me using this method.

But you probably should just say wire/conductor diameter.

\$\endgroup\$
1
\$\begingroup\$

I would use "heavier" or "lighter" instead.

According to Wikipedia:

The diameter of a № ''n'' AWG wire is determined, for gauges smaller than 00 (36 to 0), according to the following formula: $$ d_n = 0.005~\mathrm{inch} \times 92^\frac{36 - n}{39} = 0.127~\mathrm{mm} \times 92^\frac{36 - n}{39} $$

It's hard to see where the difficulty lies if you can raise 92 to fractional powers in your head. :^)

\$\endgroup\$
3
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not so easy, mostly. 36 gauge is easy though. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 22:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SpehroPefhany "Hmmmmm. You haven't sized your wire properly. You need an easier AWG." \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 22:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Thicker/thinner" would also work. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 23:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.