Wire Harness Manufacturing Terms, Tools and Tips of the Trade

Wire Harness Manufacturing

Wire Harness Manufacturing is our foundation. It’s in our blood. Dating all the way back to 1985. The Team at Falconer Electronics Inc. (FEI) takes tremendous pride in manufacturing amazing products for our customers. In addition, as a Wire Harness Manufacturer, assembling and delivering superior products is our mission. Actually, we are wire harness geeks so we call it our Crusade.

Well, if you are new to the Wire Harness Assembly process, our team created this helpful Wire Harness Manufacturing guide below.

Let’s get started………..

The Wire Harness Manufacturing Guide includes:

  • Wire Harness Manufacturing Terms
  • Tools
  • Tips of the Trade
  • A Wire Harness Manufacturing Measuring Guide 

 

Try Our Custom Wire Harness Estimator

Receive an Estimate Sent Directly to Your Email Within Seconds

 

Wire Harness Manufacturing IPC/WHMA-A-620 Standard 

Wire Harness Manufacturing

Consequently, as an IPC Certified Wire Harness Manufacturer, we follow strict industry standards.

Additionally, to learn more, click on this link: “IPC/​WHMA-A-620A Requirements and Acceptance for Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies”.

The Wire Harness Manufacturer’s Association and IPC (Association Connecting Electronics Industries) combined forces to create the “IPC/​WHMA-A-620A Requirements and Acceptance for Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies” which is an amazing resource for Wire Harness Manufacturers. 

The IPC/WHMA-A-620C serves as the only industry-consensus international Wire Harness Manufacturing Standard for the performance and acceptance of cable and wire harness assemblies. 

Therefore, this industry standard provides criteria for commonly used wire harness assemblies.  Consequently, the standard sets a “collection of visual Quality Acceptability Requirements for Cable, Wire and Harness Assemblies.” 

All of the Wire Harness Manufacturing Terms below are from the IPC/WHMA-A-620.

Wire Harness Manufacturing Terms and Definitions

  • American Wire Gage (AWG): A standard system for designating wire diameter. Primarily used in the U.S.

  • Bellmouth: The raised portion at the front and/or back of the wire barrel crimp that provides a gradual entrance and exit for the wire strands without causing damage.

  • Birdcaging: Wire Strands that have separated from the normal lay of the wire.

  • Braid: Woven bare metallic or tinned copper wire used as shielding for wires and cables and as ground wire for batteries or heavy industrial equipment. Also, a woven fibrous protective outer covering over a conductor or cable.

  • Cable: A group of individually insulated conductors in the twisted or parallel configuration under a common sheath.

  • Cable Assembly: A cable with plugs or connectors attached.

  • Conductor: An uninsulated wire or the conductor of an insulated wire suitable for carrying electrical current.

  • Conduit: A tube in which insulated wires and cables are passed.

  • Connector: A device used to physically and electrically join two or more conductors.

  • Contact – The conducting part of a connector that acts with another such part to complete or break a circuit.

  • Continuity: A continuous path for the flow of current in an electrical circuit.

  • Crimp: Final configuration of a terminal barrel formed by the compression of terminal barrel and wire.
  • Crimp Height: The measurement of the overall wire barrel height after crimping the terminal.

  • Current: Total current is the combination of resistive and capacitive currents. Resistive current is present in both AC and DC DWV tests. Additionally, the capacitive current is present only with fluctuations in applied voltage (Ex: AC testing).

  • Dielectric: Any insulating medium that intervenes between two conductors.

  • Double Crimp: The process of two or more mechanical crimping operations on the same location in a single terminal.

  • Ferrule: A short tube. Used to make solderless connections to shielded or coaxial cable. Also, a terminal crimped onto the stranded wire to allow insertion into terminal blocks.

  • Grommet: A rubber seal used on the cable side of multiple contact connector to seal the connector against moisture, dirt or air.

  • Harness: A group of wire and cables, usually made with breakouts. Furthermore, with a rubber or plastic sheath tie them together. A harness also provides interconnection of an electric circuit.
  • Insulation: A material that offers high electrical resistance making it suitable for covering components, terminals, and wires. This material also helps to prevent the possible future contact of adjacent conductors and a resulting short circuit.

  • Insulation Crimp: Area of a terminal, splice or contact formed around the insulation of the wire.

  • Jacket: An outer covering, usually nonmetallic, mainly used for protection against the environment.

  • Lanyard: A device attached to certain connectors that permit uncoupling and separation of connector halves by a pull on a wire or cable.

  • Multiple-Conductor Cable: A combination of two or more conductors cabled together and insulated from one another and from sheath or armor where used.

  • Polarization: A mechanical arrangement of inserts and/or shell configuration that prohibits the mating of mismatched plugs and receptacles.

  • RF Connector: Connector used for connecting or terminating coaxial cable.

  • Ribbon Cable: A flat cable of individually insulated conductors lying parallel and held together by means of adhesive film laminate.
  • Strain Relief: A technique or item which reduces the transmission of mechanical stresses to the conductor termination.

  • Stress Relief: A predetermined amount of slack to relieve tension in component or lead wires.

  • Terminal: A device designed to terminate a conductor that is to be affixed to a post, stud, chassis, another conductor, etc., to establish an electrical connection. Some types of terminals also include ring, tongue, spade, flag, hook, blade, quick-connect, offset and flagged.

  • Tubing: A tube of extruded non-supported plastic or metallic material.

  • Wire: Slender rod or filament of drawn metal.

  • Wire Ties: Bundle wires into separate groups. Also, separates wires from other wires in the harness. Furthermore, they are useful in holding a wire in a specific direction.

Types of Wire Terminals 

Wire Harness Manufacturing

The Definition of a Wire Terminal:

A device designed to terminate a conductor that is to be affixed to a post, stud, chassis, another tongue, etc., to establish an electrical connection.

Wire Terminals come in many different shapes and sizes. This is due to the size of the wire and screw. Also, there are several types of terminals.

Types of Wire Harness Manufacturing Terminals Include:

Wire terminals are available in insulated as well as non-insulated. Yet, the insulation provides a protective cover. Therefore, serving as a non-conductor. Furthermore, the type of project that is being done will determine if you need insulated or non-insulated terminals.

The insulation spares the wire from water and moisture as well. Also, it protects against extreme heat or cold. Wire insulation is typically available in vinyl, nylon and heat shrink.  Non-insulated terminals provide much more economic value with its low cost. Also, they are commonly used when extra protection is unnecessary.

When purchasing various Types of Wire Terminals, make sure that your purchase meets industry standards as well as project requirements.

Wire Terminals

Ring Terminals

Types of Wire Insulation

A ring terminal is a round-ended terminal that easily allows a screw or stud to be attached. Ring terminals also called ring connectors, come in various sizes. It is crucial that the ring terminal is compatible with the wire gauge and stud size. Ring Terminals are either crimped or soldered to the wire. Available in insulated or non-insulated.

 

Spade Terminals

Spade Terminals are also called spade connectors or fork terminals due to the shape of the terminal. A spade terminal is available in various sizes depending on the gauge of the wire and stud size. Additionally, the open-ended spade terminal is convenient to use allowing easy attachment or removal from the screw. Especially for wire harness projects that are tight on space for installation. They are also available in insulated or non-insulated.

 

Hook Terminals

Similar to the Spade Terminal, Hook Terminals are also convenient to use with an open end (imagine a tiny version of Captain Hook). Likewise, these terminals are produced as insulated or non-insulated. Hook Terminals offer a simplistic yet durable connection for a variety of projects as well.

 

 

Quick-Disconnect Terminals

A quick-disconnect terminal provides convenient and reliable usage while also offering an easy connect and disconnect between two wires. They are commonly found in auto, industrial and consumer products. Products can be insulated or non-insulated. Quick-Disconnect Terminals additionally deliver a stable and durable connection.

 

Bullet Terminals

Types of Wire Terminals

Bullet Terminals (also called bullet terminals) make an easy, reliable and secure connection. It is simple to disconnect as well. Bullet terminals also connect with the male and open-ended round female connectors creating a high-quality connection. Therefore, the connection with bullet terminals helps prevent corrosion and other potentially harmful materials from entering a wire harness.

 

Butt Terminals

A Butt Terminal connects or terminates single or multiple wires. Butt Terminals help prevent abrasion and cutting. Additionally, this extra protection helps keep out moisture, corrosion, and other negative elements. Butt Terminals serve as a simple solution to extend wires due to the ability to mate and connect wires. Simply install each wire on the open end of the connector, then crimp both ends of the terminal to secure the connection.

 

Ferrule Terminals

 

Fastening, joining, sealing, or reinforcing wires to each other. Ferrule Terminals can be used in many different applications. This is due to the many different types.

Flagged Terminals 

Flag Terminals also called flag connectors to offer a convenient and secure connection. Flag terminals work well in tight spaces as well as when a quick-disconnect is too large. Provides a quick and easy connection and disconnect. Also available in insulated and non-insulated.

 

 

Terminal Insulation Type 

Insulated

  • Partially Insulated- Usually on ring or fork terminals. Used mostly to prevent crossing/ shorting of the wires. This is done by preventing contact with other wires.
  • Fully Insulated- Mostly on Quick Connect/ Disconnect terminals. Fully insulated terminals are mostly used to prevent contact. This contact is between terminals. Therefore, the wires would not be in contact with each other in small spaces.

Uninsulated

  • Terminals that need to be crimped in place. Also, terminals that need to be soldered in place. Usually, are finished with heat shrink tubing.

Wire Types 

  • Stranded: When a wire needs to be flexible with a product.
  • Flexible Ground Braid: Grounding connection between two terminals. Still has the ability to move or vibrate.
  • Ribbon Cable – Gray: Usually used to make connections between electrical devices. Devices such as computers, DVD players, or hard drives.
  • THHN – Solid: For a fixed application. For example, traveling through the straight formed conduit.
  • THHN – Stranded: For an application where a flexible wire is needed. As in placing wire around corners or in power boxes.

Wire InsulationWire Harness Manufacturing

Wires can be found… seems like… everywhere. Any electrical product that demands a current flowing will typically require a wire (or cable). Even when you hear something is “wireless”. In this instance wires power the device sending a signal. Electricity traveling through wires bring each of us tremendous joy and pleasure.

Examples of electronics containing wires:

  • Computers
  • Internet routers
  • Also, music players (MP3 and iPods)
  • Communication devices (Cell Phones)
  • Vehicles
  • Appliances

Actually, can you imagine surviving a single day without electricity? Well, in the early stages of electricity, currents did not travel so safely through wires. Thankfully electricity now travels safe and sound through wires protected with wire insulation.

The explosive growth of electrical products well over a century ago drastically increased the use of wires carrying electricity. Unfortunately, uncovered or exposed wires were responsible for dangerous situations.

Furthermore, exposed wires led to electrical shocks or fire. However, the addition of a non-conductive cover was a brilliant move to protect and strengthen wires. The application of Wire Insulation protects wires greatly reducing potential hazards and threats.

Let’s take a look back at wire insulation in the early stages. 

Wire Insulation Evolution

Due to increasing demand for electricity in the 19th century, electrical products needed a solution to protect wires from potential hazards. The solution needed to be affordable and efficient.

Insulation became the viable and effective answer. Insulation serves as a non-conductor. The Insulation also separates and protects wires within a wire harness assembly. Especially since it is a nasty world out there with many detrimental elements that can cause harm to non-insulted wires.

To save the day, an insulated jacket protects each wire from the elements keeping the wire cozy and safe. Like insulated terminals, wire insulation also protects from moisture and extreme temperatures.

Thankfully wire insulation today is much more efficient. It is also, effective and affordable.  For example, thermoplastic high heat-resistant nylon coated wire (THHN wire) is low in cost. It is also lightweight. Due to these factors, it is an extremely popular wire insulation option.

In addition, loose wire also needed  organization. Therefore, the wire harness assembly has become necessary. It is much more efficient in harnessing loose wires. This is opposed to a “free for all”. Especially for electrical consumer goods and the auto industry both of which exploded in demand during the early 20th century.

Check out this cool video on porcelain insulators. Thanks to Thomas Edison Tech Center:

Wire Insulation for Wire Harness Manufacturing: Five Common Types

Wire insulation is critical. Especially, in wire harness manufacturing. This is due to the way most harnesses are made up of wires. These wires are attached to each other. Without the insulation separating the raw strands of wire from each other wire harnesses would short out. This could cause damage due to contact.

There are five types of wire insulation that are most commonly used for wire harness manufacturing applications. All of them have similarities. However, they are used for different types of projects. Therefore, below we have listed each of these insulation types. Also listed is what they are best used for.

1) Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) 

Found in all of the major types of wire and cable.

Examples include:

  • Low voltage building wire insulation and jacketing.
  • Low and medium voltage equipment cable jacketing.
  • Also, control cable jacketing.
  • Indoor telecommunications cable.
  • Automotive wire.
  • Finally, flexible Cords.

PVC is fire and scratch resistant. Therefore, PVC can resist flames, oils, and sunlight. As well as, ozone pollution. Furthermore, these attributes are why it is considered a “general-purpose” material.

2) Fluorinated Ethylene-Propylene (FEP)

This is a melt-processible copolymer. It is made of tetrafluoroethylene and hexafluoropropylene. Also, FEP has dielectric properties in addition to chemical inertness and heat resistance. This is as well as, being weather resistant. Also, it is tough and flexible.

3) Polyethylene

Is lightweight, water-resistant, and is chemically inert.

 Different types of polyethylene:

  • Low-density (LDPE).

  • Linear low-density (LLDPE).

  • Medium-density (MDPE).

  • High-density (HDPE).

  • Chlorinated polyethylene (CPE).

  • Cross-linkable polyethylene (XLPE).

Polyethylene is a perfect choice for insulation of wires that will be used in projects that are considered “high voltage”. Especially for things involving radio frequencies, or audio projects. Due to its low dielectric constant, there is a decrease in electrical loss. Also, polyethylene’s low dielectric constant allows for a low rate of electrical charge being stored.

4) Nylon

Is a very flexible wire insulation. Also, it is usually extruded over softer insulation compounds.

Several Key components:

  • Tough.
  • Strong abrasion.
  • Additionally, it is chemical resistance.

5) Thermoplastic Rubber

Has the ability to stretch to moderate elongations. Also, it will return to its near original shape. Therefore, creating a longer life. Furthermore, it has a better physical range than other materials

 Properties of Thermoplastic Rubber:

  • Higher processing speeds.
  • Wider usable temperature range.
  • In addition to, excellent heat and weather resistance. As well as, age resistance without curing.

 

Wire Harness Manufacturing: Wire Colors 

Black:

Hot/ Positive.

White:

Common/ Negative.

Green: 

Ground.

Red: 

Secondary Line: Hot/Positive.

Blue, Yellow, Brown: 

Available for customer’s personal choice. Furthermore, it is used to connect one point to another.

 

Wire Harness Manufacturing Tools 

Wire Harness Manufacturing

Crimping Tools

With over 30 years of wire harness manufacturing experience, we have accumulated an impressive arsenal of crimping tools. When crimping wires and cables for our customers it is critical to utilize the proper tools. These tools allow our team to execute jobs with accuracy and efficiency as well as in a safe manner.

This is especially important due to many projects requiring crimping wires by hand. Furthermore, when producing wire assemblies for prototypes and small volume runs, handheld crimping tools sure come in…well… handy.

It is extremely important to look over the entire assembly when selecting the proper tool. For example, a basic pliers-style crimp tool can fit various wires, connectors, and terminals. Also, matching the right size tool is imperative when terminating wires.

A fantastic brand with Wire Harness Manufacturing is Molex. They are a global leader in the manufacturing of high-quality electrical tools. Molex serves as a market leader in components and other equipment. Our team trusts and relies on Molex tools on a daily basis. 

The team at Molex declares they solve challenges “through our collaborative process, we take a multi-dimensional approach that brings together engineers, product designers, and manufacturers to ensure the design cycle is smooth and seamless.”

Below is one of the “Bad Boys” from Molex that our team loves to use when tackling tough projects:

Pneumatic Crimping Tool

Not interested in crimping wires by hand? Or do you have a large amount to crimp? No problem. Pneumatic crimping tools are extremely beneficial and efficient. Additionally, a pneumatic tool allows you to work hands-free due to air power. These tools are also fast and accurate. All qualities that will drastically increase your production.

We recently welcomed a new addition to our team. The Pneumatic Crimping Press pictured below. The “Plug’n Play” Pneumatic Press looks fierce, doesn’t it? It is ready and raring to CRIMP!! Especially ideal for wires requiring interchangeable crimping dies:

 

Tips for Successful Wire Harness Manufacturing 

  • The crimp does not break the insulation.
  • Also, the crimp fully wraps around and supports insulation (also cannot expose an opening greater than 45 degrees).
  • Insulation does not have puncturing to the point where tabs penetrate the wires.
  • Crimp tabs are in contact with the top of the insulation.
  • Insulation is flush with the crimped wire.
  • Additionally, identifying damaged insulation that reveals wires.
  • The wire, connector, assembly process, as well as insulation, are all compatible.

Wire Harness Manufacturing

Wire Harness Manufacturing: Crimping Wires Do’s & Don’ts

The IPC/WHMA-A-620  standard provides the necessary guidance on crimping wires. Consequently, this standard shows what is acceptable along with what is considered defective. Here are a few examples of Do’s and Don’ts:

Do’s

  • Insulation crimp tabs fully wrap and support insulation
  • Additionally, the insulation fully enters and extends past the insulation crimp tabs
  • Wires must be in solid working condition – also cannot have scrapes, nicks, severing or other damages
  • The connector retains the wires
  • Center the crimp indent
  • Insulation crimp must provide a minimum side report of 180 degrees

Don’ts

  • Wires should not have deformities- Flattening untwisting, buckling, or kinking
  • Insulation should not show any signs of pinching, pulling, fraying, discoloration, or charring
  • Also, the insulation crimp needs to fully support and wrap insulation without causing any damage or breaking the insulation
  • No broken insulation- This can expose wires causing safety issues and potential hazards
  • Wire not secured by crimp
  • Contact has visible cracks and fractures
  • Also, no Birdcaging – Wire Separation

These are just a handful of the requirements.

To learn more about the Wire Harness Manufacturer’s Association and A-620 Standards, please click here.

Wire Harness Manufacturing Quality Control  

Wire Harness Quality Control is paramount at Falconer Electronics. We perform testing on cables and wire harness assemblies for every order. Therefore, quality control strongly impacts the bottom line with the wire harness assembly process. Also, our well-guided wire harness quality control and a solid test system prevents unnecessary errors, stress and lost profits.

High accuracy during the assembly process is the key to maintaining competitive pricing and reliability. We take every step to ensure accuracy at the time of assembling and producing the wires. Instituting a strict wire harness quality control system during production brings significant benefits to our customers.

Wire Harness Manufacturing Testing Check List

Safety First! Wire Harness Testing requires extreme caution. This is due to it involving live wires. Unfortunately, electric shock and burns can turn a great day into a really bad day quickly. It is mandatory to use personal protective equipment on the job such as safety glasses when testing a wire assembly.

When performing Wire Harness Testing, our quality control department strictly follows the IPC/WHMA-A-620 Standard. Most importantly, this standard is a collection of visual Quality Acceptability Requirements for Cable as well as Wire and Harness Assemblies.

Wire Harness Manufacturing Checklist for Testing Wires:

  1. Accurate Labeling
  2. Check for Damaged Insulation or Defective Wires
  3. Continuity
  4. Correct Wire Gauge
  5. Also, Check for Proper Crimps
  6. Free of Moisture as well as Corrosion
  7. Optimum Wire Placement Within Connectors
  8. Pull Test
  9. Test for Broken Wires
  10. Finally, Test for Shorts

Deming Values for Continual Improvement

Going old school, we are also big fans of 20th-century management guru Dr. Deming. Dr. W. Edwards Deming created 14 points for management with a quest for continual improvement. Especially since Dr. Deming is credited with being the master of quality improvement. Particularly with his work in Japan during the 1950’s.

The Deming Institute continues the incredible legacy of Dr. Deming.

Furthermore, one of the core values at the Deming Institute states:

We are dedicated to the Deming philosophy and the belief that working together, with humility, we can make a difference in the quality of life for everyone.

This is a truly inspiring message!

According to Dr. Deming, implementing the 14 points is a philosophical way of conducting business with an unwavering quest for continual improvement. In addition, new tactics and behaviors become habits. Furthermore, those habits eventually form into the core beliefs and culture of a company.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming

 

In particular, two interesting points from Dr. Deming’s 14 points that help drive our wire harness quality control:

1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and as a result to provide jobs.

5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.

Consequences when continual improvement and quality are NOT the top priority:

  • High defect rates
  • Underutilized equipment
  • Poor productivity
  • Poor inventory management
  • Safety concerns
  • Finally, low morale with employees

 

 

Measuring Standards for Wire Harness Manufacturing

When measuring wires for wire harness manufacturing there are two standards. Both of which need to be considered. Also, there are many different gauges. There are also, many sizes that are related to each of these two standards. What are the two standards for measuring wire? 

  • American Wire Gauge or AWG
  • British Standard or SWG 

Why does it matter that there are two standards for measuring wire?

Due to the differences between the two standards we have defined them both. Additionally, we have compiled their differences. We have also compiled their similarities. 

American Wire Gauge (AWG)

AWG is the American Standard for measuring wire in wire harness manufacturing. This is useful for single wires as well as for wire harnesses.

The American standard is measured by an electrical wire’s diameter, as we stated in a previous blog AWG Wire Gauge Standard Vs. SWG Wire Gauge Standard.

Generally, when you measure anything the larger the object, the larger the measurement. However, that is not how wire measurements work. It is also, not how gauges work.

The physical size is what matters most. Also, the larger the physical size of the wire the smaller the wire gauge. This is according to the AWG measurements.

British Imperial Standard Wire Gauge (SWG)

In 1884 The United Kingdom legalized a standard for measuring wire used in wire harness manufacturing. They called it the British Imperial Standard Wire Gauge or SWG. However, what makes this standard different from the American Wire Gauge? All of the measurements are in metric sizes. Also, The United Kingdom rounds up their sizes to full numbers. Meanwhile, the American Standard does not. Due to this, there are issues. These issues are with the accuracy of wire sizes. Furthermore, wires that come from countries that use this measurement system are not always the correct sizes. 

How AWG and SWG are Different in Wire Harness Manufacturing 

There are some significant differences such as the American standard is calculated in inches. Meanwhile, the British standard is measured in millimeters. Therefore, below are examples of measuring plates. Also, there is a calculation chart. Both of these are helpful. Especially when trying to measure a wire’s gauge for wire harness manufacturing. Something that is most noteworthy is, the differences that can be seen in the chart. Due to SWG sizes being rounded to whole numbers there are obvious differences in the gauge measurements.

How AWG and SWG are Similar in Wire Harness Manufacturing 

As previously stated, the two measurements types in wire harness manufacturing are different. However, AWG and SWG have similarities. such as both are determined by the physical size of the wire. Also, there is a correlation between the two standards. Therefore, the numbers that are calculated for the wire sizes are similar. Finally, both standards have developed similar devices for measuring the size of the wires. 

 

Reference charts:
Wire Harness Manufacturing SWG vs. AWG

Figure 1: Metal Measuring Plate

 

Wire Harness Manufacturing: Calculating Wire Gauges

There is a mystery of Wire Harness Manufacturing. It is why wire gauge sizes are expressed in what seems to be a backward fashion. For example, the largest physical size that is seen on the measuring plates above is a size zero. Usually, zero is seen as a very small. It is an almost non-existent number. However, in wire gauges, it is the largest number. Why is this? Wire gauges seem to be expressed backward, which is due to wire drawing.

The Importance of Wire Drawing

Wire drawing is a similar practice to taffy pulling. The only difference being, it is done with wire instead of candy. As seen in Figure 2, wire drawing is a process of stretching wire. This is to make it into the desired size for wire harness manufacturing. Therefore, the gauge is how many “operations” the wire drawing process takes to get to that size. For example, when looking at Figure 3 is easy to see the difference between a 6 gauge and 25 gauge wire.

As seen in Figure 2 the process of wire drawing makes a wire longer and thinner. This is by stretching the wire while it is being pulled. However, what can’t be seen in Figure 2 are the other effects that wire drawing has on wires. For starters, this process decreases wire gauge which also decreases the current that can move through the wire. Due to this decrease in current, there is also a decrease in the amount of amperage that smaller gauge wire can carry.

Wire Harness Manufacturing Wire Drawing

Figure 2 (Wire Drawing to Decrease Wire Gauge) (Kingway)

 

Wire Harness Manufacturing Wire Gauge

Figure 3 (Standard Wire Gauge Chart)

 

How to Choose the Best Wire Gauge for Your Wire Harness Manufacturing Project

Wire harness manufacturing projects can be complicated. However, there are helpful tips that ease some of the stress. For instance, as we previously mentioned wire gauges can affect the projects that you are working on. Furthermore, below are some helpful questions and tips. 

**Due to the use of electricity when working with wiring please consult a professional to assist or inspect any final projects**  

1: What type of project are you doing? 

First, there are many different types of wire harness manufacturing projects. Depending on whether you are working on home wiring or building your own robot, there is a difference between what type of wire is required. For example, some projects include:

  • Home wiring
  • Robotics
  • Computers
  • Vehicles
  • Appliances

Each of these projects can also require different gauged wiring. Therefore, depending on the current or amperage required, wire that you have on hand may not be adequate. Due to the different specifications and needs, some projects may require a smaller gauge of wire. However, that can lead to other issues.  

2: How much space do you need for wiring?

To begin with, different housings will vary in size. Due to the wire size, the space needed to house them will also vary. For example, if you think about a light switch. Some have a single switch. Therefore, they only need enough room for the wires of that one switch. However, there are switches that have multiple switches. For that reason, the space required for the wiring of a multi-switch receptacle is larger than that of a single switch receptacle.

Consequently, in order to do a wire harness manufacturing job properly, you need to be aware of a few things. For example, how much space do you have to work with? Also, how much space do you need? Also, if you are working on home wiring that requires a larger current as opposed to a robot that requires less current. The space needed is different because the wire size will be different.

3: How are wire gauges calculated?

As a reminder, as wire increases in physical width, the gauge of that wire will decrease in numerical value. While this does seem backward it’s really not. Due to the previously mentioned wire drawing process, the number of operations to get it to that physical size is the gauge of wire. As a result, gauges are larger or smaller than the physical size. Also, the gauge specifications will depend on what type of measuring system was used. 

Wire Harness Manufacturing Wire Gauge

4: What are large and small gauged wires used for?

There are also many different gauges of wire used for wire harness manufacturing. Consequently, they have many different uses.

Uses for some smaller gauges (larger physical sizes) of wire:

  • Electrical lines (like those you see outside attached to power lines).
  • Heavy duty automobiles. This like trains and larger armored trucks.
  • Also, Home Wiring.

Uses for some larger gauges (smaller physical sizes of wire):

  • Computers.
  • Radios.
  • Phones.
  • GPS.
  • Along with, MP3 players.
5: How much amperage do you require?

Finally, there are different factors that determine the required amount of amperage for wire harness manufacturing projects:

  • Amperage= Wattage/Volts
  • What current do you need for your project?
  • Where the wire is going?
  • Also, where the wire is coming from?

In conclusion, the chart below will be helpful in deciding which wire is appropriate for your specific job.

AWG Cable/ Conductor Size Chart

AWG
 Diameter 
[inches]
 Diameter 
[mm]
Area
[mm2]
Resistance
 [Ohms / 1000 ft] 
Resistance
 [Ohms / km] 
 Max Current 
[Amperes]
Max Frequency
 for 100% skin depth 
 0000 (4/0) 
0.46 11.684 107 0.049 0.16072 302 125 Hz
000 (3/0)
0.4096 10.40384 85 0.0618 0.202704 239 160 Hz
00 (2/0)
0.3648 9.26592 67.4 0.0779 0.255512 190 200 Hz
0 (1/0)
0.3249 8.25246 53.5 0.0983 0.322424 150 250 Hz
1
0.2893 7.34822 42.4 0.1239 0.406392 119 325 Hz
2
0.2576 6.54304 33.6 0.1563 0.512664 94 410 Hz
3
0.2294 5.82676 26.7 0.197 0.64616 75 500 Hz
4
0.2043 5.18922 21.2 0.2485 0.81508 60 650 Hz
5
0.1819 4.62026 16.8 0.3133 1.027624 47 810 Hz
6
0.162 4.1148 13.3 0.3951 1.295928 37 1100 Hz
7
0.1443 3.66522 10.5 0.4982 1.634096 30 1300 Hz
8
0.1285 3.2639 8.37 0.6282 2.060496 24 1650 Hz
9
0.1144 2.90576 6.63 0.7921 2.598088 19 2050 Hz
10
0.1019 2.58826 5.26 0.9989 3.276392 15 2600 Hz
11
0.0907 2.30378 4.17 1.26 4.1328 12 3200 Hz
12
0.0808 2.05232 3.31 1.588 5.20864 9.3 4150 Hz
13
0.072 1.8288 2.62 2.003 6.56984 7.4 5300 Hz
14
0.0641 1.62814 2.08 2.525 8.282 5.9 6700 Hz
15
0.0571 1.45034 1.65 3.184 10.44352 4.7 8250 Hz
16
0.0508 1.29032 1.31 4.016 13.17248 3.7 11 k Hz
17
0.0453 1.15062 1.04 5.064 16.60992 2.9 13 k Hz
18
0.0403 1.02362 0.823 6.385 20.9428 2.3 17 kHz
19
0.0359 0.91186 0.653 8.051 26.40728 1.8 21 kHz
20
0.032 0.8128 0.518 10.15 33.292 1.5 27 kHz
21
0.0285 0.7239 0.41 12.8 41.984 1.2 33 kHz
22
0.0254 0.64516 0.326 16.14 52.9392 0.92 42 kHz
23
0.0226 0.57404 0.258 20.36 66.7808 0.729 53 kHz
24
0.0201 0.51054 0.205 25.67 84.1976 0.577 68 kHz
25
0.0179 0.45466 0.162 32.37 106.1736 0.457 85 kHz
26
0.0159 0.40386 0.129 40.81 133.8568 0.361 107 kHz
27
0.0142 0.36068 0.102 51.47 168.8216 0.288 130 kHz
28
0.0126 0.32004 0.081 64.9 212.872 0.226 170 kHz
29
0.0113 0.28702 0.0642 81.83 268.4024 0.182 210 kHz
30
0.01 0.254 0.0509 103.2 338.496 0.142 270 kHz
31
0.0089 0.22606 0.0404 130.1 426.728 0.113 340 kHz
32
0.008 0.2032 0.032 164.1 538.248 0.091 430 kHz
33
0.0071 0.18034 0.0254 206.9 678.632 0.072 540 kHz
34
0.0063 0.16002 0.0201 260.9 855.752 0.056 690 kHz
35
0.0056 0.14224 0.016 329 1079.12 0.044 870 kHz
36
0.005 0.127 0.0127 414.8 1360 0.035 1100 kHz
37
0.0045 0.1143 0.01 523.1 1715 0.0289 1350 kHz
38
0.004 0.1016 0.00797 659.6 2163 0.0228 1750 kHz
39
0.0035 0.0889 0.00632 831.8 2728 0.0175 2250 kHz
40
0.0031 0.07874  0.00501  1049 3440 0.0137 2900 kHz

 

 

Terminal Stud Sizes 

 

Why is the Terminal Stud Size Important in Wire Harness Manufacturing?

In addition, your assembly may require that wires are attached by screws or additional hardware. In this case, you need to be sure that you have a proper size to fit the hardware you are using.

Therefore, if you are using a 1/4″ screw in your assembly but you have gotten a #2 terminal stud you won’t be able to attach your wire to your assembly. As you can see in the figure below, the sizes are very different.

Another important thing to remember is they have to be able to fit your screw or hardware. This means that a 1/4″ terminal stud will actually be slightly larger than a 1/4″.

Terminal Stud Sizes:

 

wire harness manufacturing terminal size chart

Figure 3.1

 

Wire Harness Manufacturing Challenges

Finally, every customer project requires precise Wire Harness Assembly accuracy. Furthermore, if you are working with a wire harness that is not working properly, there are several issues that can be causing the problem. 

Pinpointing the culprit causing the failure is the first step. Some failures reveal easily and immediately. Meanwhile, others may take some time to figure out. For example, damaged wires beneath insulation can be difficult to detect. Furthermore, stress on the wires may cause damage which may occur without actually breaking the insulation. Additionally, there can be no damage or contact deformation. 

Therefore, wires that carry electricity cannot withstand a pull beyond weight limitations. However, wires pulled at an excessive weight will cause breaks in the wires and this may occur without damaging the insulation. Furthermore, damaged or broken wires underneath a circuit board can be an extremely frustrating find. 

Wire Harness Manufacturing: Steps for Success

  1. Superior Quality
  2. Maintaining Impeccable Customer Scorecards
  3. Fast Turnaround Times
  4. Competitive Prices
  5. Highly Skilled and Seasoned Staff
  6. FREE Instant Estimates (click here)
  7. High Productivity
  8. Agility and Flexibility
  9. Company Culture Dedicated to Customer Satisfaction
  10. Lastly, a Commitment to Safety

Our wire harness assemblies can be found all over the country, especially in the following places:

  • As you walk around Walmart or Lowe’s, you will walk past our wire harnesses. They can be found in the commercial power strips and electrical retail fixture displays.
  • If you drove past a semi-truck today (or if one went flying past you). Our wires may have been waving to you.
  • Our wires are in some dentist offices (not during a root canal – we refuse to contribute to that type of pain).
  • If you rode on a train today. Our wires may also have been riding along with you.
  • Another example includes our proprietary line of magnetic work lights and trouble lights
  • ATM Machines
  • Heating Systems
  • Handicap Accessible Transport Vehicles
  • Electrical Signage at retail cash registers as well as self check-out kiosks 
  • Additionally we have many more fun projects……

 

Helpful Wire Harness Manufacturing References

Want to know more about converting measurements? Check out this helpful site: Measurement Conversions

Wire drawing is an interesting process which you can learn more about here.

Also, you can find out more about Wire Gauges and sizes from below:

Lastly, to learn more about Wire Harness Manufacturing, check out these helpful links: 

In addition, check out these helpful links on Ground Straps: