What is AWG – Wire Gauge
American Wire Gauge (AWG) is a wire gauge standard based on the diameter of the wire. The diameter of the the wire chosen for RC models and quadcopter is important, because it determines how much current should go though. As you might know wider diameter wires (thicker) can handle more current.
I found that the higher strand count, the more current it can handle and the more flexible silicon wire is, which is best for RC applications.
What AWG wire should I choose?
Two ways to decide.
1. Simply work out what the maximum amp draw is, and look it up in this table. This is the continuous max current. The amp requirement can be larger for our hobby since we choose wire according to peak current (at 100% thorttle, which don’t normally last more than 10 seconds in most cases I guess?)
So generally this is the rules that I personally follow.
13AWG Wire - 100A 14AWG Wire - 80A 16AWG Wire - 50A 18AWG Wire - 30A 20AWG Wire - 20A 22AWG Wire - 10A
2. Use whatever gauge is on the component you’re using. For example if the batteries have 14awg wire, so I use 14awg to go from battery to power distribution. If the ESCs have 18awg power wires, so my power distribution is a bunch of 18awg wires connected to that 14awg. This way usually works and provides suitable wires for the components you are using.
Max Currents are different from source to source?
The “max currents” you read off of various tables are often different. They represent the maximum current for which the heating and losses are below a specified level, and each industry has different standard and specification. For RC quadcopter, the above table should be good enough.
Does Voltage matter?
Voltage is not relevant for our use in RC as the wire is designed nominal voltage of 600V and tested at 2000V.
Some More Tips
The chart above is based off of decent quality copper wire. Cheap, low quality wire might not be made of copper but brass or aluminium, which could have a bad effect on the max current it can conduct. The consumers would not know this unless electrical tests are done on the wires. Therefore, make sure you buy the wires from trustworthy sellers.
Also Limitation in amp draw of the wire does not account for any limitations on the attached connector. As an example, 22 AWG wire is good for up to 10 amps, but the JST/BEC connector is limited to 5-6 amps.
More Info and Discussion
We have a similar topics on the forum if you fancy more information.