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Airsoft electrical wire vs Standard Wire

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Old April 19th, 2009, 20:42   #1
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Airsoft electrical wire vs Standard Wire

I was just wondering whether the typical electrical wire you see within the gearbox is a different type of wire that you can purchase at department store?

I think the typical thickness is 18AWG, but are the airsoft wires special in any way (more strands, insulation, etc)?

I have opened the mechbox for the first time and the gears have partially stripped the wires going from the motor to the trigger switch. I would like to replace the wires, I would have to fit on the connectors to the motor as well.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 20:54   #2
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I use low resistance (might be regular :/ ) 18awg that I get from a electronic parts shop a few blocks from work for $0.10 per foot.

I know one time I picked up one strand that appeared to be the same but overall was thinner. Was still 18awg and has worked fine since.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 21:30   #3
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That is what I am worried about, I think that electrical airsoft wire has got pretty thick insulation and more strands than usual. With the close proximity of the wire to moving parts in the gearbox like the pinion and sector gears, I would really like the exact same stuff already in the GB.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 21:39   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReSpEcT View Post
That is what I am worried about, I think that electrical airsoft wire has got pretty thick insulation and more strands than usual. With the close proximity of the wire to moving parts in the gearbox like the pinion and sector gears, I would really like the exact same stuff already in the GB.
personally not worried about how thick the insulation is. wires don't get warm and I route them away from gears. just get a switch assembly then.

http://www.airsoftparts.ca/store2/in...oducts_id=1293

PM Jugglez and ask him if he's got any on order.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 21:54   #5
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I don't worry about the gauge too much, current usage is not excessive, wire runs are short and firing is in fast bursts. While I do show a little concern for the insulation because some types will crack in reaction to oil lubricants, it doesn't dictate what I use.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 23:52   #6
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The absolutely best cable you can get, is called wet noodle cable, or just silicone wire. It's meant for RC cars etc, and has very fine strands, making it very flexible, while the combination of that and the silicone insulation, give you the advantage of being able to shape the wire, and it'll stay like that. It's also very hard to break. It's simply made for more heavy duty use than you'll ever see in an AEG. It's not too expensive either. Check around at the RC stores on the web. 18 AWG should be more than enough, and 16AWG is what manufacturers like Intellect use on their batteries. If you go for 16 AWG you might get into trouble, at least with v2 gearboxes and wiring solutions like that of the SIG 552. Usually the insulation will be pretty thick, and because it has many thin strands, it might be slightly thicker than cable of the same AWG rating, but with fewer, thicker strands. I would still recommend it for everyone!

Ps. You prolly shouldn't go thinner than 20AWG. Just get 18!
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Old April 20th, 2009, 00:17   #7
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Homedepot/Lowes stuff does not work. It's meant for industrial/reno-type wiring. The shielding is very, very stiff and very hard to work with.

Homehardware actually has decent "hobby" wire. 16 and 18AWG works fine. The 16AWG stuff is ok and so far has fit the reinforced mechbox shells that I've tried it in (Guarder/G&P/Systema). The 18AWG should fit just about anything.

The Source Circuit City (aka Radio Shack) sells hobby wire as well...but the shielding on the last batch that I bought was really crappy and would split at bends sometimes. Might have been a fluke batch...I didn't go back for more.

Speaker wire works.

"RC" silicone wire is ok...a bit too floppy. The insulation can be very thick. I've nicked several installations by putting in 16AWG wire and closing the mechbox. Really, really tight fit with 16AWG silicone shielded wires.

Hope that helps.

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Old April 20th, 2009, 00:42   #8
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I've got some thinner silicone wires too, but they tend to thick yes. Still 18AWG should be more than sufficient. You won't need thick cables unless you want/need a higher ROF, and it might not make such a big difference when you have 18AWG wire. Also forgot to tell that silicone wire is waterproof (except at open ends), and that they take a lot of mechanical beating. They can also take all kinds of oils and lubricates.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 00:48   #9
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The best stuff i have ever used to wire a mechbox is 18g Teflon coated wire, the stuff is used mainly in the aviation industry. The nice thing about the wire is that the insulation is thin yet very hard and durable and it remains in its desired shape. Its actually the stock wireing in many high quality guns.

The worst wire to use in my opinion is silicone wire, its insulation is too thick and its very easy to nick/cut the insulation. Also its very floppy and dosent keep its shape.

Silicone Wire however is the only wire that will work if you want to make a PTW style coiled wire for say a crane stock buffer tube. Simply take 2 strands, wrap them in shrink wrap, then wrap it around a pen and heat the shrink wrap. It will stay coiled like that.

I have seen some really bad wiring jobs, I think most people could benefit from following some simple tips like.

-Dont splice wires unless you absolutely have too, its always better to make a new wire that goes from point A to point B.
-If you do need to splice strip off about 5/8" of insulation and twist the copper to form a solid stand then wrap the wires togeter so the stay inline, solder then shrink-wrap over.
-Use a good soldering iron and keep the tip clean
-Heat the wire and let the solder get drawn in the connection
-Use crimp connectors in this procedure 1. take off plastic piece 2.crimp and solder 3. shrink wrap

Last edited by pawscal; April 20th, 2009 at 01:01..
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Old April 20th, 2009, 01:13   #10
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Awesome, thanks for the help guys very thorough.

I would definitely be after this teflon coated or silicone wire. Basically the stock mechbox wire. I will have to check out Home Hardware (since I need to pick SuperLube) and see what they have. I should try Radioshack as well.

Pawscal where did you find that "18g Teflon coated wire" you speak of? That stuff sounds pretty good.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 02:00   #11
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I got mine from someone who works in the aviation sector. You can get it online at bulkwire http://www.bulkwire.com/product.asp?ProdID=7600
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Old April 20th, 2009, 09:21   #12
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I should dig around my basement. I use to have about 700 feet of very low resistance mic wire that I salvage from a PA system install I did about 15 years ago. I've used the stuff to wire my speakers as well as audio/video components. It's about half the thickness of 18awg but has lower resistance. Will need to test it against some silicone oil first though.

I kind of like the stiffer wires, not insulation, in the mechbox as it tends to hold it's shape better.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 13:54   #13
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Gotta warn you about too stiff cables too. They can break faster than the more movable silicone wire. Maybe combining both is a good idea, depending on where you actually put the wire. Sometimes you need one property, sometimes you need the other Silicone wire isn't all perfect tho. It can take some times getting used to how it should be soldered. All the small strands make it easy to split up if you apply too much pressure while soldering it into place. Also make sure to sure a scalpel, razor blade or something very thin and sharp to cut the insulation.
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