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Old 08-11-2012, 10:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What wire for LED headlights

I am trying to figure out what wire I can use for LED's, from the LED to the source. This would be for applications that would require soldering to the LED leads and running it either externally (as in a headlight housing on a Steam Loco, or lighting that may require bending the wire).
Thank you.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default RE: What wire for LED headlights

Posted By noela on 11 Aug 2012 10:36 AM
I am trying to figure out what wire I can use for LED's, from the LED to the source. This would be for applications that would require soldering to the LED leads and running it either externally (as in a headlight housing on a Steam Loco, or lighting that may require bending the wire).
Thank you.

Noel - I have used very small gauge wire with LEDs, as thin as 28 gauge. If I am only operating one LED I have even used "wire wrap wire" that is 30 AWG. If the wire is going to be bent from time to time make sure that you use stranded wire - solid wire can only be bent a very limited number of times before it fails.
In situations where wire is going to be bent over & over I use wire that is intended for connections between meters & probes - it is designed to be bent and abused quite a bit. It is called Test Probe Wire.


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Old 08-12-2012, 12:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default RE: What wire for LED headlights

another fine gauge wire that is designed to be flexible is "Litz wire" you can search for it.

Also, if you are doing this on live steam, get teflon insulated wire.

the bottom line is you can use fine gauge wire since you are running low current.

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Old 08-14-2012, 07:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default RE: What wire for LED headlights

Thanks Greg,

I always appreciate your expertise.

Noel
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default RE: What wire for LED headlights

There was also the type of wire used in the old record players, very fine and thin, to run out to the tonarm, and had to be light and flexible so no force was added to resist the tonearm following the groove, but can't find the reference to it, i.e. specific name.

There's other tricks, which you may not need, like live steamers often run a single wire, and use the metal chassis as a ground.

On the LEDs, recently I've used some flat topped LEDs for marker lights, which spread the beam out a bit more.... they are often used in outdoor christmas lights, but they are appearing more and more on the aftermarket in 3m size.

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Old 08-15-2012, 08:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default RE: What wire for LED headlights

Posted By dbodnar on 11 Aug 2012 10:59 AM

If the wire is going to be bent from time to time make sure that you use stranded wire - solid wire can only be bent a very limited number of times before it fails....




http://www.ripley-tools.com/PDF/Mill...structions.pdf


no argument with stranded being more flexible, but most of the time a solid wire fails is due to a nick made when stripping the insulation. for solid, wire-wrap size gauges, i always use NO-NIK wire strippers.
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