WIRE INTRODUCTION
--- Part Category: Electric Wire ---
Electrical Home Repair Hardware Section
Complete reference, encyclopedia and consumer guide
for do-it-yourself, diy, homeowners and building contractors
From The Illustrated Hardware Book by Tom Philbin
Descriptions and explanations of about 500 common store items including electrical and plumbing materials for home improvement, repair, remodeling, construction, house projects with little known how-to tips and information

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WIRE INTRODUCTION

2-0 copper wire, electrical 
hardware

Wires for electrical purposes are called conductors, simply because they conduct electricity. Actually, wire is a misnomer, because you don't buy bare metal. Rather the wire -- the metal -- comes covered with insulation, usually plastic. The conductor may consist of either solid metal or twisted strands; solid conductors are used in most house wiring, while the stranded conductors are used in conduit wiring and other applications where flexibility is important.

Conductors are always copper (at one time aluminum was used, but this was found to be a safety hazard).

Wire is commonly spoken of in terms of a number, or gauge, that refers to the diameter of the wire. The larger the number, the smaller the wire. No. 38 wire, for example, is a little thicker than a human hair; No. 18 wire is about the diameter of the head of a pin; No.2 wire has the diameter of a lead pencil. And it keeps getting bigger, with the number designations changing to 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, and so forth.

The bigger the wire, the more current it can carry. You will normally be concerned with relatively few wires. Those commonly used in house wiring are numbers 14 and 12; numbers 18 and 16 are common for extension cords; number 14 is used for heavy-duty appliance cords.

Insulated wire is also classified by letter according to type of covering or insulation used, but these designations normally need not concern the do-it-yourselfer.


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ELECTRICAL HOME HARDWARE SECTION
Description of Contents

Introduction
Boxes
Circuit Breakers
Conduit
Cord Sets
Fuses
Lamp Parts
Light Fixtures
Plugs
Receptacles
Switches
Taps
Wall Plates
Wire

OTHER HARDWARE SECTIONS
GENERAL HARDWARE SECTION
PLUMBING
ADHESIVES, PATCHES & MORE
SAFETY


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The Illustrated Hardware Book
Content Copyright © by Tom Philbin 1992
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