# Electromagnets and wire gauges

#### Surfratx138x

##### New Member
Hello
I am a tattoo machine fanatic and armature builder and I wanted to try to get some info about wire gauges on here because a lot of people on here I bet know way more than I do. Just in case you don’t know a tattoo machine is pretty much just an electromagnetic motor.
So the standard wire gauge for the tattoo machines two electromagnets are 24 gauge. I am really wondering why? I have been fascinated by the fact some machines will operate at a lower volt and the only way I’ve found to do that is to have a thicker wire the 22 gauge wire. Are there any drawbacks from using that 22 gauge wire as opposed to the 24 gauge wire that would make the 24 gauge wire the standard. The issue gets more confusing because I was told by an old boss that 26 gauge wire is better because of increased conductivity but when I researched it said the thinner wire will increase resistance and make a weaker magnetic. Some one just posted a machine online though that used a coil core .25 inch shorter than standard cores using the 26 gauge wire that he says hits harder than a normal coil size with the 24 gauge wire. Hoping someone on here has some info for me.

##### Well-Known Member
There is actually quite a bit to it. I suggest you give this a read. How hard the machine hits will be a function of how strong the field is and how quick the field comes up. Also if we look at the number of turns. Wire gauge has a cross sectional area and as the wirge gauge number increases the cross sectional area decreases and with it the current carrying capability of the wire. Additionally using a smaller diameter wire allows for more turns in the same area. The turns count is important and the length of the wire determines the resistance and therefore the current draw for a given fixed voltage.

Ron

#### Surfratx138x

##### New Member
One question if I use the 26 gauge wire with 10 layers of wire it will work better than 24 gauge wire using 8 layers because there are more layers? I made a machine out of 22 gauge wire using 6 layers which worked out to look like the 8 layer 24 gauge wire. It hits really strong at a lower voltage. Now I know the layers are what gives it the strength but if I used 10 layers of 26 gauge wire as opposed to 8 layers of 24 gauge wire it would be stronger and need more volts because of the length of wire?

#### gophert

##### Well-Known Member
One question if I use the 26 gauge wire with 10 layers of wire it will work better than 24 gauge wire using 8 layers because there are more layers? I made a machine out of 22 gauge wire using 6 layers which worked out to look like the 8 layer 24 gauge wire. It hits really strong at a lower voltage. Now I know the layers are what gives it the strength but if I used 10 layers of 26 gauge wire as opposed to 8 layers of 24 gauge wire it would be stronger and need more volts because of the length of wire?
There are some nice inductor winding calculators online. The good ones account for the cross-sectional area and packaging density of the wire gauges and allow multilayer packing. In any case...
- More turns means more magnetic force..
- More current means more magnetic force...
- Packing the turns into a shorter length means more force.

All of these effects tend to work against each other. E.g. More turns is more force but that also means longer piece of wire so more resistance. I'm sure you can see the paradox with the others.

One way around the problem is to put two wires in parallel (turn both the same direction around the core). This cuts the length and resistance in half so that means double the current when supplied with the same voltage.
One example calculator online.

#### Surfratx138x

##### New Member
So I know layers of wire around a coil core makes a stronger electromagnet. My question is this. If I use 24 gauge wire and have 8 layers of wire will a coil core that uses 26 gauge wire that has 10 layers of wire make for a stronger electromagnet because there’s more layers?

#### AnalogKid

##### Well-Known Member
Depends on the current through the wire. The magnetic field is proportional to both the number of turns and the current.

What is the voltage source you are using, and what is the current you want through the coil?

ak

#### Surfratx138x

##### New Member
Well it’s a tattoo machine and you hook it up to I guess its just a general term but a power supply and it regulates the volts. You increase or decrease volts. Now I know a thinner wire creates more resistance so you have to compensate with more volts but I don’t think more volts will increase the strength because of the resistance but a thinner wire you can have a couple more layers. So I guess with a thinner you’ll have more layers with the same overall amount of copper but with more layers than a thicker wire and have to compensate the resistance created with a thin wire with more volts that I don’t think are going to make the magnet stronger.

#### gophert

##### Well-Known Member
So I know layers of wire around a coil core makes a stronger electromagnet. My question is this. If I use 24 gauge wire and have 8 layers of wire will a coil core that uses 26 gauge wire that has 10 layers of wire make for a stronger electromagnet because there’s more layers?
here is an online calculator.

#### DerStrom8

##### Super Moderator
I have merged the two threads. No need to have both.

##### Well-Known Member
Didn't see any mention as to whether the device requires AC or DC,?
Many solenoid vibrator type devices operate on AC to obtain the oscillation effect.
Max.

#### Surfratx138x

##### New Member
I guess I meant for my first question to be about differences and drawbacks to using different gauge wires but from what I’ve researched your really only going to experience a resistance change but then my second question I was wondering about the layers or wraps. If you can get 10 layers with 26 gauge would that be stronger than an 8 layer wraps of 24 gauge wire even though you really have the same amount of copper or weight of copper just more layers because they say more layers is a stronger magnet.

#### Surfratx138x

##### New Member
I understand there’s a calculator but it’s gonna take some time to experiment because I’ll have to count how many turns there are so I was just wondering if someone may know a thing or two on here.

#### gophert

##### Well-Known Member
I understand there’s a calculator but it’s gonna take some time to experiment because I’ll have to count how many turns there are so I was just wondering if someone may know a thing or two on here.
There is no standard answer, you have to compare your specific options. Thick wire can carry more amps but fewer turns fit into the space. The calculator accounts for turns and you'll have to determine how many amps you want to put through each wire diameter. Too many a,ps through a thin wire and you get heating. Too much heating and the magnetizable core's permeability drops and you get saturation.

##### Well-Known Member
The resistance (and impedance) DC or AC with govern the amount of turns and gauge.
So far it is not known!