How to Select the Right Ground Wire

A ground wire provides a way to safely discharge excess electricity. Some have a bare conductor, but many are sheathed or jacketed in electrical insulation. The ends of a grounding wire terminate in bare metal rings and the entire device can come in a custom length. During product selection, you’ll need to indicate whether you want a RoHS compatible device and then specify the wire gauge, color, and length. You’ll also need to specify a terminal size and terminal orientations, and whether you want heat shrink tubing.

Falconer Electronics of Falconer, New York (USA) makes custom grounding wire and has an on-line quote builder that eliminates RFQ wait times. In just second 60 seconds, you can get a quote for a Made in America wire product. Keep reading to learn how to select the right ground wire.

Do you need a lead free (RoHS) ground wire?

Ground wire jacketing protects the metal wire from mechanical damage during and after installation. To increase overall flexibility and reduce the risk of fire, some jacket materials contain lead, a carcinogen that is prohibited under the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substance (RoHS) directive. During ground wire selection then, you can choose either a lead free, or RoHS ground wire, or a product where the jacketing contains lead.

Which wire gauge, color, and length do you need?

Ground wires are specified according to wire gauge, a number that represents the wire’s thickness. The American Wire Gauge (AWG) standard uses whole numbers instead of decimals to indicate wire diameter. Smaller gauges represent thicker wire and larger gauges represent thinner wires. The gauge’s cross-sectional area dries the wire’s current-carry ampacity, the maximum current in amperes that a conductor can carry continuously without exceeding the temperature rating.  

Ground wires also use different colored jacketing so that they are easier to identify. For example, wires with black or red jacketing are hot. Wires with blue or yellow sheathing are sometimes hot, and neutral wires have white or gray jacketing instead. To indicate that a wire is for protective earth or ground, the jacket color is either green or green with a yellow stripe code. In addition to gauge and color, remember to indicate the length (in inches) of the grounding wire that you need.  

What about terminal sizes and terminal orientations?

A grounding wire is terminated in bare metal rings that attach studs. During installation, each metal ring needs to fit over a stud to provide a secure, reliable electrical connection. The sizes of the holes within the metal rings are measured in fractional inches: 1/4”, 3/8”, or 1/2”. Because each ground wire terminal can have a ring with a different sized hole, you’ll need to specify the dimensions for both End A and End B. Then, indicate the physical  orientation of each of the terminals. 

Do you need heat shrink tubing – and what about total quantity?

Heat shrink tubing can be used with a ground wire to provide electrical insulation and abrasion resistance. It can also provide strain relief for a grounding wire that may be stretched or twisted. Add heat shrink tubing if your application requires it and then indicate your total order quantity. When using Falconer Electronics’ on-line quote builder, you can then indicate that you’d like another ground wire quote, or you can enter your contact information to receive a quote via email.     

Do you need more help with ground wire selection?

Thank you for reading this article from Falconer Electronics. We invite you to visit these related resources for more information. 

Falconer Electronics Strikes Again! Instant Ground Wire QuoteBuilder

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Why Do Wire Gauge Sizes Seem to Work Backwards

AWG Wire Gauge Standard vs. SWG Wire Gauge Standard

Wire Insulation Evolution: Safety and Protecting Electrical Wires

Braided Ground Strap vs. Ground Wire: Make the Right Choice

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