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30g Wrapping Wire


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This stuff has been mentioned here and there on the forum, but realized it didn’t have its own topic!


wrapping wire (sometimes also referred to as breadboard wire) is 30g stranded wired that has been tinned. Usually has a pretty tough PVC insulation on it that strips well. It’s very pliable and will take sharp bends well and hold shape pretty well due to the tinning.

Since it’s tinned you won’t loose strands when stripping the wire if you cut too deep (you will cut into the wire though). In general it strips much more gracefully than plain stranded 30g wire. These little strippers are fantastic for stripping wrapping wire and other small gauge wires as they have 4 stripping blades that circle in around the insulation as you use them and test to give the cleanest insulation cuts I’ve seen on small gauges.


Since the wire is tinned, soldering is a breeze as you don’t need to dress the stranded wire after stripping and pretin. You can just tin what you are going to solder the wire onto then just put the wire on the joint and melt the pretin to fuse the wire onto the joint. I usually just poke the end of the wire into some non acid liquid or gel flux first. Also the tinned wire works very well in pressure fit or screw terminals. I’ve used IC sockets as a little pressure fit terminal for stripped ends of wrapping wires on projects. You can also get tiny pc board screw terminals that wrapping wire works well in.


Since it’s 30g it’s not going to be a huge power transmission cable, but for short wiring (like a few inches) it can handle up to an amp, so can be used in locos. For longer runs it can take 150ma easily so you could run like 8 leds full out at 20ma (in practice I usually run leds much lower). It’s perfect for wiring buildings with leds. I would not use it for track wiring (that want more like 24g minimum)


Best part is it’s about the cheapest wire you can buy at about a penny a foot! It usually comes in 305m (1000’) rolls in about 10 different colors (helpful in more complex wirings to color code wires). You can even get a roll that has like 100-125’ of each of 8 colors. Wire prices have soared in the last decade and wrapping wire has also gone up but still very affordable for all the small wiring needs. Use to be $2-4/roll shipped, now usually more like $10-15. Aliexpress still has some sellers where it’s like $5/roll shipped, but shipping skyrockets with 2 or more rolls so you have to buy them individually…


Very handy stuff to have around. The multicolor roll is a great way to start playing with this wire. If you want to play with it first yell and I can toss a couple feet in the mail to you (sorry, us only).










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Yeah it goes way back! One of my marine biology mentors in the 70s had created a huge breadboarded sensor system to look at vertical plankton migration in the lab. Early microprocessor days and all had to be breadboarded! The tinning makes it have exceptional contact even when not soldered and it just tough stuff. I think it’s also used a lot for sensor and actuation stuff in aviation.



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The stranded cat5 isn’t tinned though I think. That’s the big plus on the wrapping wire with stripping and soldering. Also nice and straight! unbrading and straightening cat5 is such a pain, used solid core on a few projects way back.



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