Stranded vs Solid core wire for electronics projects?

So if you are just getting into electronics you will certainly need some wire to complete your projects. What type of wire do you need? Well that depends on what type of projects you are going to work on. However for general purpose low voltage DC circuits you can probable get by with just a few spools of wire.  Generally speaking you will need a couple spools of solid core wire and a couple spools  of stranded core wire. I usually recommend 20 to 22 gauge wire for small DC circuits. 22 Gauge solid core wire works great for jumper wires on a standard bread board.  So what is the major difference between solid core and stranded core wire you ask? Well for low voltage DC circuits the only major difference is in the physical characteristics of the wire. Solid core wire is rigid and will usually retain the shape you give it. Stranded core wire is flexible and will not retain it’s shape but will allow your project to flex with out breaking.  You will need a few different colors of stranded and solid core wire. I recommend that you pick up red and black to start with as those are generally standard colors for DC circuits.  When you get into AC circuits you will start to experience the skin effect where at higher frequency’s the current travels mainly on the surface of the wire and thus you can drive more current though stranded core wire because the surface area is cumulative.  That being said you will not experience that when working with small DIY DC electronics projects.



stranded and solid core 22 gauge wire

stranded and solid core 22 gauge wire. You will notice that the two spools on the left are stranded and tend to unroll from the spools rather easily where as the two spools on the right are solid core and tend to stay rolled up.


solid core 22 gauge wire

solid core 22 gauge wire tends to retain its shape quite nicely


solid core 22 gauge wire used as a breadboard jumper

solid core 22 gauge wire works perfectly for breadboard projects


stranded 22 gauge wire

stranded 22 gauge wire works well but is less breadboard friendly


A variety of wire spools for electronics projects

You will eventually end up with lots of spools of wire in a variety of colors and gauges.

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