We are a battery testing facility so using proper wire gauge is very important for safety, proper testing, and longevity of our electronics. If the wire we are using for a specific application is too thin it will generate heat and cause damage to our products and testing equipment. Here is a photo of the 23 DC Power supplies we had break in just 2 months under regular use within the specified parameters. The culprit was the wire that came with the power supplies.
Since copper conducts heat, if we use wire that is too thin to carry the amount of amps necessary then the wire will get hot. That heat will transfer through the wire and go into the electronics inside the power supplies. The heat will cause damage to the circuit boards and components and cause the units to become damaged. So if a wire is mislabeled as 18awg wire when in fact it's only 20-22awg that is a major difference in the amount of amps which can travel through the wire before the wire becomes hot. The photo below shows the Chinese wire labeled 18awg included with the power supplies on the left compared to real 18awg wire from American Wire & Cable Co on the right. Notice a difference in thickness?
I installed home security systems since I was 18 years old. I know what 22awg wire feels like because that is the standard wire used for all the components. 18awg wire is only used for the transformer. So I have a very good memorized feel of wire thickness while twisting the strands preparing for a connection. You'll notice in the photo above that the wire jackets are the same width but the wire itself on the left is thinner. Let's take a closer look at how thick the wire jacket is on the Chinese wire (1st photo) and then compare that to how thick the jacket is to the known true 18awg wire (2nd photo)
Notice how thick that is above? The are using thick jackets so from the outside diameter of the wire it looks like the proper thickness. Let's see below what the real 18awg wire jacket looks like.
The jacket on the real 18awg wire is noticeably thinner meaning there is actually thicker wire inside. This is yet another disappointing discovery of how Chinese products are being marketed to us with fake specifications. Little dishonest things like this is what causes Chinese manufactured products to break early, underperform, and run hot. I feel bad for the Chinese manufacturers that actually produce a good, honest product because they have to be lumped in and overcome the overall distrust of the American consumer on Chinese made products. Just to prove these two wires being compared are both labeled 18awg here are the photos. The first one is the Chinese wire, 2nd photo is the real 18awg wire.
The thickness of the wire is not the only issue causing electronics to fail. The connections and the material of the connectors is also to blame. For example, Chinese lithium batteries contain significantly less Cobalt than Japanese batteries. Refineries in the Philippines are currently valuing DEAD Japanese batteries at $5/lb because of the amount of Cobalt recovered from refining those batteries. The Chinese batteries commonly found in Ebike batteries the refineries aren't even clearing $2/lb. That's why most Chinese manufactured batteries suck compared to batteries manufactured in Japan. Cheaper materials used and dishonest specifications means profit margins are more valuable than our safety and these companies don't care about the consumer. This is an epidemic that is much worse than we can even imagine. We the consumer are getting ripped off by these savages. That's why battery testers run hot, inverters run hot, power supplies, etc. Unfortunately my company is in an industry where the vast majority of equipment we need is made in China so we have no choice but to "hack" this equipment to make it last longer. When we get in new power supplies, we make our own wire connections now and use wire that we know is genuine and accurate. Since making those changes we are not having our machines break down anymore. Sorry if the photos are little blurry, I did the best I can to get pictures of thin wires.
My suggestion to everyone is if you order equipment that is manufactured in China and that equipment comes with wire, check the wire thickness. We had this wire issue on multiple devices, not just the power supplies. Hopefully this article will expose a simple solution for you to extend the life of your electronic devices that you spent your hard earned money on.
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