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I bought 22 awg wire from the same seller twice at different times. When I bought it the second time, I noticed that one of the wire including the insulation is noticeably larger. Does this 100% mean that the wire gauges are different, or is it possible that both wires have the same number of strands but one has thicker insulation resulting in a larger diameter wire?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Insulations can be different. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 3:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ is it possible that both wires have the same number of strands but one has thicker insulation ... what is stopping you from comparing the wire you purchased? \$\endgroup\$
    – jsotola
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 3:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ How can I compare? I don't have a caliper. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 4:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ wrap it 20 times round a screwdriver and measure with a ruler \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 6:12

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The AWG only tells you the total cross-sectional area of all the strands (or that of a single strand). The conductor diameter can vary slightly with the number of strands.

The number of strands and the insulation thickness is not part of the AWG designation.

For example, this catalog sheet shows 4 different possibilities for stranded AWG 20 wire (solid is not included):

10/30, 19/32, 26/34, and 41/36.

The finest stranding is 41/36 which is 41 strands of AWG36 wire. Because the strand diameters are rounded to even AWG numbers (and, of course, must be integer number of strands) there are slight differences in the cross-sectional area from the ideal.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So is it likely that both wires are 22 awg? Also are pictures like this misleading if number of strands is not a factor? a.pololu-files.com/picture/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 4:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ The insulation has no effect on the AWG number. If the copper part is about the same total diameter then they are likely both AWG22. Also, many, if not most, wires are marked with the gauge and voltage rating and temperature rating. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 4:53

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