Copper cable

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Cable Diameter Standards

Area (metric) Diameter American Wire Gauge Ampacity Typical Use
0.08 mm² 0.32 mm AWG28 0.8 A Wires inside a data cable
0.10 mm² 0.36 mm AWG27 1 A Thin hobby wire (home electronics for up to 30cm)
0.14 mm² 0.40 mm AWG26 1.3 A Cat5 UTP, Flexible hobby wire
0.25 mm² 0.50 mm AWG23 / AWG24 3 A Cat6 FTP, breadboard wires, Thicker hobby wire
0.50 mm² 0.80 mm AWG20 / AWG21 5 A Low voltage power cable (e.g. for phone or doorbell or powering electronics)
0.75 mm² 1.0 mm AWG18 / AWG19 10 A Power cable between outlet and device
1.5 mm² 1.3 mm AWG16 12 A Thin power wire in walls (black wire for switches)
2.5 mm² 1.6 mm AWG14 15 A Normal power wire in walls (power, zero and earth wire)
6.0 mm² 2.5 mm AWG10 30 A Thick wire in electric panel (groepenkast)

The metric area is the advertised area, equivalent of mm² copper. The actual diameter, when translated from AWG specification may differ.

The ampacity is the sustained current that can be transported through the wire without exceeding its temperature rating. In this case, the Ampacity at 60°C is given. For higher acceptable temperatures (75°C or 90°C), multiply by 1.5. Peak currents may be 10 times larger if they are short enough (< 10 seconds).

Note that the thickness of the cable is determined by the current (amperage), not by the voltage or power. So a lower-voltage installation requires thicker cables than a higher-voltage installation with the same power consumption. The current (in Ampere) can be calculated by dividing the Power (in Watts) by the Voltage of the appliance.

The thickness of the insulation depends on the voltage, and is not mentioned in this table.

Other considerations

solid or flexible. A solid core is often used for fixed wiring, and for breadboard wires. Flexible wire contain multiple small strands and is used for flexible cables.
copper of CCA (copper cladded aluminium). Copper is considered slightly better. CCA is cheaper and is consider good enough.

Network Cabling

Ethernet Category Max. Frequency Max. Transmission Speed (@ Max. distance) Cable type Number of wires Remark
Cat3 16 MHz 10 Mbps @ 100m UTP 2 Obsolete. Used for voice.
Cat5 100 MHz 100 Mbps @ 100m UTP 8 (4 used) Obsolete. Replaced by Cat 5e.
Cat5e 100 MHz 1 Gbps @ 100m 10 Gbps @ 45m UTP 8
Cat6 250 MHz 1 Gbps @ 100m 10 Gbps @ 55m UTP or STP 8
Cat6a 500 MHz 10 Gbps @ 100m STP 8
Cat7 500 MHz 10 Gbps @ 100m S/FTP 8


Systematic Name Old name Cable protection Wire-pair protection
U/UTP UTP None None
U/FTP STP None Foil
F/UTP FTP Foil None
S/UTP Braiding None
SF/UTP S-FTP Braiding and foil None
F/FTP FFTP Foil Foil
S/FTP SFTP Braiding Foil
SF/FTP Braiding and foil Foil
U = unshielded
F = foil shielding
S = braided shielding (outer layer only)
TP = twisted pair

When shielding is applied to a collection of pairs, it is usually referred to as screening, hence STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) is sometimes abbreviated to ScTP (Screened Twisted Pair).

Further Reading

For UTP cabling: