Have you ever asked yourself or your friend what a 22 gauge wire is used for? Well, you are at the perfect place to find the answer to such a question.
There are numerous wire gauges (40 at the time of this writing) and who is to say that they won’t one day find a use for a hypothetical 50-gauge wire? They might as well, as once you get into the 20s, you find that there are fewer uses for many of the wire sizes beyond 20-gauge.
So, what is a 22 gauge wire used for? When it comes to 22-gauge wire, there are not a whole lot of uses for it, outside of small security devices, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and the wiring that you typically find in children’s toys. At most, 22-gauge wire can handle 7A and that’s only if the wire has a temperature rating of 75°C. From 60°C to 75°C, it is rated for only 3A.
In the list below you can see various applications for a 22 gauge wire which included:
- Solid Wire
- Stranded Wire
- Abrasion Resistance Wire
- Radiation Resistance Wire
- Motor Winding Wire
- Chemical-Resistance Wire
- Vehicle Wire
- Tangle-Free Wire:
These are much smaller wires, in terms of diameter than what you find in residential and commercial use and, in fact, it takes 7 strands of 30-gauge wire to make a single, 22-gauge stranded wire.
Uses for 22-Gauge Wire
Like many wires, 22-gauge comes in both stranded (a combination of several wires, of a smaller diameter, twisted together) and solid. Stranded 22-gauge wire is much more flexible but doesn’t stay in place when bent.
Solid 22-gauge wire has an advantage in that it can be bent into angles that stay in position. There are also Flame-Rated VW-1, 22-gauge wires, and Metric 22-gauge wires. The flame-rated 22 AWG is designed to resist or prevent fires due to the ability to operate at higher temperatures.
Metric 22-gauge wire is “Harmonized European Wire”. It doesn’t end there either.
There are a number of different uses of “specifications” for 22-gauge wire and most non-electricians” rarely hear or know about them because they aren’t used in traditional applications.
- Solid Wire: As mentioned above, this wire is advantageous because it can hold the shapes that you bend it into.
- Stranded Wire: 22-gauge stranded wire is typically composed of 7 strands of 30 AWG wire.
- Abrasion Resistance Wire: 22-gauge wire that is used in applications where there will be a lot of cable pulling over rough surfaces.
- Radiation Resistance Wire: Believe it or not, there are nuclear applications for 22-gauge wire, and the insulation jacket around it is designed to resist radiation damage.
- Motor Winding Wire: 22-gage wire is used in many types of alternators, especially for small motors and motor winding wire is designed for wrapping around and around devices, such as when you are creating a magnetic coil.
- Chemical-Resistance Wire: When applied to 22 AWG, chemical-resistant insulation jackets protect the wire from solvents and oil.
- Vehicle Wire: 22-gauge wire can be found in small applications in vehicles, boats, trailers, and other vehicles that require it.
- Tangle-Free Wire: 22-gauge wire that is “tangle-free” is encased in a ‘slippery’ insulation jacket that makes it very difficult to get tangled. This is very useful when you are using large rolls of 22-gauge wire and the potential for tangling is high.
- Continuous Flex Wire: When a 22-gauge wire is used in automotive devices or robots, it needs to be resistant to long-term damage from constant shifting and movement.
- Space Saver Wire: Very light insulative properties for when you need a lot of 22-gauge wire but need to keep the weight down.
- Mil. Spec. Wire: This is nothing more than wiring that is used for military purposes. They have their own terms for 22-gauge wire or any other wire for that matter.
You will often find 22-gauge wire in micro and nano cords, which are designed for very small applications and connections. These micro cords usually have either M8 or M12 connectors.
These cords also come as splitters, for when you need to connect two devices to a single device.
Micro M12 cords are typically used in automotive systems or robots, such as the giant robot arms that you often see on automobile assembly lines. These cords are the abrasion-resistant or continuous flex wires that were mentioned above, in a micro application.
Micro and Nano cords have many more applications than what is listed here as well and while they don’t always use 22-gauge wire, it is a more common wire in these ‘nano’ applications than it is in most other places that people would recognize.
Audio, Video, and Data Applications
You will find that 22-gauge wire is rare in these applications as well, however, ‘rare’ doesn’t mean ‘not there at all.
Ethernet cords with M8 connectors are a primary example. M8 connectors are for small applications and you will find that 22-gauge wire is often used in these connections.
There are also coaxial cords, Profibus cords (more of the assembly line stuff) DMX cords, and continuos-flex coaxial cords. All of these types of cords do have applications that require 22-gauge wire.
Ethernet cords with M12 connectors will often have 22 AWG as well, depending on the application.
Cables are usually much thicker cords that are packed with a number of smaller gage wiring within. When it comes to cables, you would be surprised at how often 22-gauge wire is used in these applications.
There are tons of different cable types as well and they are used in so many applications that it would be difficult to compile them all right here.
The most common cable types that you will find 22 AWG in are continuous-flex cables, abrasion-resistance cables, twist robotics cables, oil-resistant continuous flex cables, and more.
Cables used for communication purposes also fall under the 22-AWG umbrella from time to time. These are called Communication and Security cables and, when it comes to home security (for both residential and commercial applications) you will find that 22 AWG is more common.
All Things Considered
Although the diameter of 22-gauge wire is very small and the number of amps that it can handle is relatively low, there are a surprising number of applications for it.
When it comes to toys, models, and vehicles, 22 AWG wire is pretty common.
In the industrial world, 22 AWG is all over the place. It’s in everything from robotics to radiation-resistant applications. At the end of the day, if you look hard enough, you will find 22-gauge wire somewhere.
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