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Is #12 wire really #12?

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Is #12 wire really #12?
Posted by ndbprr on Friday, January 17, 2020 9:01 AM

#12 wire is used for code approved house wire yet the DCC wire I see appears to be much smaller while having the same designation. Are there two #12 wire designations?

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 17, 2020 9:14 AM

 #12 is #12. Not sure what you mean by "DCC wire" - I just use #13 THHN from the big box store. Don't confuse insulation thickness with the conductor size - typical #12 house wire would be 12/2 ROmex, which has a thicker out insulation enclosing two further insulated conductors for hot and neutral plus the usually bare ground wire. - 3x #12 conductors in there. 

 That type of cable is not often used for DCC because it's difficult to get to the individual conductors for ever feeder drop. By the time you slice enough openings in the outer jacket, you might as well just have the two internal wires, in which case buying two different colors of single conductor is probably cheaper.

 Pluse "hose wire" is almost always solid. FOr pulling through holes int he benchwork and stringing along under the layout, I find stranded to be MUCH easier to work with. The THHN spools are available in both stranded and solid.

                                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, January 17, 2020 9:36 AM

Bare solid copper wire, that is, wire without insulation surrounding it, has a 0.0808 inch diameter if #12 AWG (American Wire Gauge) compared to #14 AWG which is 0.0641 inch diameter. It is interesting to note that Imperial Wire Gauge is thicker than American Wire Gauge.

According to wire gauge charts. the outside diameter of bare stranded wire is larger than the outside diameter of bare solid wire.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, January 17, 2020 11:13 PM

ndbprr
Are there two #12 wire designations?

Well mite, it's loik th' volume knob that goes to eleven, y'know...loik is it really eleven or is it still only tin? Smile, Wink & Grin

Wine

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, January 18, 2020 7:46 AM

ndbprr
#12 wire is used for code approved house wire yet the DCC wire I see appears to be much smaller while having the same designation. Are there two #12 wire designations?

.

I don't think there is any such product as "DCC wire".

.

#12 stranded wire, normally used on layouts is slightly larger than #12 solid wire, but both have the same amount of copper. I doubt you would notice the difference without a caliper or precise gauge of some sort. My very high quality Matco wiring tool has strippers for solid and stranded that are slightly different.

.

If you are looking at inusulation diameter, that could be very different, but means nothing to us building layouts.

.

If your #12 "DCC wire" is smaller than other #12 wire, I might suggest that you were had by a seller. It should be the same.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by davidmurray on Saturday, January 18, 2020 8:41 AM

I'm Canadian not American. not a lawyer, not a consumer advocate.

It would seem to me that advertising/selling wire as #12 AWG if it is lighter would soon result in alsorts of legal trouble.

As pointed out household cable is coated with extra insulation.

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, January 18, 2020 11:52 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
ndbprr
#12 wire is used for code approved house wire yet the DCC wire I see appears to be much smaller while having the same designation. Are there two #12 wire designations?

 

.

I don't think there is any such product as "DCC wire".

.

#12 stranded wire, normally used on layouts is slightly larger than #12 solid wire, but both have the same amount of copper. I doubt you would notice the difference without a caliper or precise gauge of some sort. My very high quality Matco wiring tool has strippers for solid and stranded that are slightly different.

.

If you are looking at inusulation diameter, that could be very different, but means nothing to us building layouts.

.

If your #12 "DCC wire" is smaller than other #12 wire, I might suggest that you were had by a seller. It should be the same.

.

-Kevin

.

 

Nothing to do with the original post which has been well answered, but I sold MATCO TOOLS for seven years back in the 1980's.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by IRONROOSTER on Saturday, January 18, 2020 7:34 PM

rrinker
That type of cable is not often used for DCC because it's difficult to get to the individual conductors for ever feeder drop. By the time you slice enough openings in the outer jacket, you might as well just have the two internal wires, in which case buying two different colors of single conductor is probably cheaper. 

Having some #12 Romex from an old project years ago, I stripped off the outer insulation and use the 2 insulated wires - goes pretty fast once you get the hang of it.  (Not sure yet what to use the bare ground wire for.)  Works well with my 3M "suitcase" connectors.

rrinker
Pluse "hose wire" is almost always solid. FOr pulling through holes int he benchwork and stringing along under the layout,

I prefer the solid, but then I don't pull it through the bench work, I use safety cup hooks.  Wire is easy to put in place and easy to temporarily unhook to attach feeders using 3M connectors.  It lets me do the feeders sitting in chair in the aisle.

Paul

 

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
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Posted by richg1998 on Sunday, January 19, 2020 11:07 AM

Every modeler should have a dial caliper. Measure the wire diameter.

I bought a cheap one back in the 1970's to build some gear boxes using NWSL gears. It was about ten dollars. Metric conversion was easy.

Rich

 

If you ever fall over in public, pick yourself up and say “sorry it’s been a while since I inhabited a body.” And just walk away.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, January 19, 2020 11:53 AM

I'm waiting to hear from the OP as to where he got this "DCC wire".

Mike.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Sunday, January 19, 2020 3:44 PM

Hello All,

I too suspect it's the thickness of the insulation and not the diameter of the wire- -given the same type- -stranded or solid.

When I was an electrician our installations were considered temporary.

The wire we used to feed the lighting and sound systems was 4/0 (four-aught).

For a 100-foot coil it was 100-lbs- -one pound per foot.

One year the code changed and all 4/0 was required to be double shielded. That extra shielding added 50-lbs per run and increase the thickness of the cable. 

The inner conductor was still the same size but now each 100-foot coil weighed 150-lbs.  

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, January 19, 2020 4:17 PM

jjdamnit
One year the code changed and all 4/0 was required to be double shielded.

.

We must be in similar cicumstances. We had to replace all our 4/O cables around 15-20 years ago with better insulation.

.

About this time, I saw an article on making large trees using large cable as the tree armature. The timing was perfect, and I got lots of 4/O cable pieces to become trees for nothing.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by mfm37 on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 4:33 PM
Sheldon, did you know Joe Kloiber? He was my MATCO dealer.
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 5:49 PM

mfm37
Sheldon, did you know Joe Kloiber? He was my MATCO dealer.
 

Yes I did, he had the territory right next to mine. I had south east Baltimore and Dundalk, Joe had Rosedale, Parkville and the Northeast areas of the city.

My father had southwest Baltimore, Brooklyn Park, Arbutus, etc.

I sold MATCO from 1983 until 1989, it was a great learning experiance, but in the end it was really not for me. My father had gotten into it in 1980 as his "retirement" business, and retired in 1987.

It was and is a great product, but the company was going thru a lot of growing pains then, which led to my father and I both deciding it was best to move on.

I was pretty young, only 23 when I started. It did do one thing, it set me on a path of not working for other people for much of the rest of my life.

I am 62, I have been working since age 18, 44 years. I have been self employed 29 of those 44 years......

Sheldon

    

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