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Magnet Wire or Stranded Wire For Rewiring Locomotives?

Bradon asks:

“I was going to use an old roll of magnet wire to rewire locomotives, but a friend said I should use stranded teflon coated wire instead. Thoughts?”

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4 Responses to Magnet Wire or Stranded Wire For Rewiring Locomotives?

  • Don Petersonsays:

    Definitely use stranded for most flexibility and stranded has better current carrying capacity than solid (magnet) wire. Also the colors will keep wiring easier to identify.

  • Steve Bsays:

    Magnet wire is regular wire that has been coated with an “enamel paint” The coating is very tough, but it can be scratched off. If touching almost any hard surface and loose enough to vibrate, it will chip off presenting a bare wire that could short out. Teflon coated, stranded wire is very flexible and can be easily routed and is not easy to rub through.

  • Bernardsays:

    It depends on what you are re-wiring. If there is relative movement between the parts being connected (such as bogie pick-ups to frame or motor), then it would be advisable to use stranded wire. For smaller locos, 00 or HO or N the wire used for decoder wiring (teflon-coated stranded) should be enough. Allow a loop or two to allow flexibility.
    If the wiring is from fixed contacts to the motor, (typically a fixed insulated “pad” which carries the wheel pickups on a steam loco) then stranded wire is not necessary, just wire sufficient to the current demands of the motor of the locomotive.
    On bigger, heavier, older locos ensure the wire is sufficient for current required, you do not need to put resistance between the current supply and the motor.

  • David Stokessays:

    If by “rewiring locos” you mean replacing the wire windings in the loco motors then “magnet wire” is the only way to go, but very, very fine gauge. If you mean for running from the motor to the pickups or lights then this is a recipe for disaster – the clear varnish or Teflon coating will rub off in time creating short circuits and dead locos.

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