Updated: Nov 18, 2022
Hello all, Over the last month, I have been searching for alternatives to actual aircraft wire. Those that have followed along for a long time will know that I had 120 Kg total of recycled aircraft wire. I converted my whole sim away from the cheap Chinese wire that kept corroding and breaking in the high humidity of Brunei.
When we left Brunei, I had to scrap it all to save space! Ever since I have looked for alternatives away from UL1007, you find on eBay for around $25 for 100m. Some of this stuff is okay, but the majority is just awful. Instead of 7 strands, I used to receive rolls that just had three strands. The insulation would melt instantly when trying to solder it. Even sticking with a known good supplier when I found a good roll, the following order would be rubbish!
So I trialled prominent vendors such as FARNELL UK, CPC FARNELL and RS ONLINE UK. I paid some big money for various rolls, and here is what I found:
The original standard aircraft wire that I use is called 55A0811-22-9. This is available but costs a fortune. This costs around £80 per 100m (you usually need hundreds of meters for a cockpit). Excellent quality, high temp resistance and almost unbreakable. But quite honestly out of most people's price range when building a sim.
The next version I tried is the military version of the above equivalent, with the part number 99M0111-24-9.
It can be found here:
Excellent quality! fantastic size in 24 AWG and has super thin insulation, which is robust. It is easy to solder. However, £60 for 100m is still expensive.
Then I bought a roll of the recommended alternatives suggested by RSONLINE and FARNELL UK. The rolls had to have the following criteria: it had to be 22 or 24 AWG, white in jacket colour to represent actual aircraft wire.
I instantly fell in love with two rolls from Farnel UK. Excellent quality comes in 1000ft/300m lengths. The first of these was from Alpha wire called 3250 WH001:
It is 24AWG and comes in at £61 for 300m. This is now close to the cheap Chinese UL1007 (£22 for 100m), but after using it, that's a fantastic price for the quality and quantity of cable. Good strand count and is strong, but the jacket size is much larger than standard aircraft cable. So when 20 cables are placed in a loom, it becomes quite large. However, it has a slightly smaller external dimension as UL1007.
IT GETS BETTER! Check this out and if you have any common sense, buy this now before the price shoots up (37 left in stock). Farnell UK's sister site CPC Farnell has a similar wire for half the price (slightly larger jacket size):
I have now bought a lot of rolls at £27 each for 300m. What I think will happen is that their prices work on demand. The more demand for the item, the more expensive it becomes. As you can see, it's already gone from £27 to £31 in the last few days after I made a bulk buy.
But wait, there's more! LOL! After that purchase, CPC Farnell suggested this roll of 28 AWG of 500m for £27 (19 rolls left in stock):
It arrived today, and I think is another great buy! Yes, it's thinner at 28AWG compared to 24AWG. But on inspection, it also has a thin jacket. Both the insulation and conductor are strong. Seven cores of 0.1mm strands. Perefct for most Arduino connections of buttons and LEDs. Also, many wires together make for a small loom diameter too. It can be found here:
The downside to this wire would be resistance over length being so small in CSA. But as most of us keep Arduinos closer than 2m to the component, I don't think it will be an issue.
I just wanted to share this with anyone starting out with sim building. I get asked all the time what wire I would recommend. I have two excellent recommendations that I have used to build various components and a healthy stock for future builds!
Good luck! Kind regards, Karl