# DC wire ampacity chart

December 4, 2021 smccormick

Wire / Conductor Sizes

Length (feet): Determined by measuring the length of the wire from the positive (+) power source connection to the electrical device and back to the negative (-) power source connection. Note that the power source connection may be the battery, panel-board or switchboard.

Current (amps): Determined by adding the total amps on a circuit.

Wire sizes not covered in the table may be calculated by using the following formula:

After calculating the Circular Mil Area (CM), use Table B to determine the proper conductor size. The National Fire Protection Agency and Coast Guard require that the next larger conductor be used when the calculated CM area falls between two conductor sizes.

CM=K x l x L / E

CM = Circular Mil area of Conductors

K = 10.75 (Constant representing the mil-foot resistance of copper)

I = Current – amps

L = Length – feet

E = Voltage drop at load (in volts)

For Example:

Q. A bilge pump draws 10 amps. The positive run is 11 feet from the power panel, including the float switch. The negative run is only 10 feet. What size wire?

A. Use the following formula to reach the correct answer:

CM = 10.75 x 10 (amps) x 21 (total length of run) / 0.36 (3% of 12v) = 6,271

The table below shows that 12 AWG wire has a CM area of 6,500 and is the correct choice. However, SAE wire has a CM area of only 5,833. Under NFPA and USCG regulations, 10 SAE wire must be used.

CM = 10.75 x 10 (amps) x 21 (total length of run) / 0.96 (3% of 32v) = 2,352

Ampacity is the ultimate safe current carrying capacity of the wire before damage occurs to the insulation, without regard to voltage drop. Because the insulation of most SAE wire types is not the same as ANCOR, this chart should not be used for other conductor types.

 AWG Sq. mm AWG CM area SAE CM Area Ampacity Engine Space Outside Ampacity Engine Space Inside 18 0.8 1,600 1,537 20 17 16 1 2,600 2,336 25 21 14 2 4,100 3,702 35 30 12 3 6,500 5,833 45 38 10 5 10,500 9,343 60 51 8 8 16,800 14,810 80 68 6 13 26,600 24,538 45 38 4 19 42,000 37,360 160 130 2 32 66,500 62,450 210 178 1 40 83,600 77,790 245 208 1/0 50 105,600 98,980 285 242 2/0 62 133,100 125,100 330 280 3/0 81 167,800 158,600 385 327 4/0 103 211,600 205,500 445 378