Which Cable Size You “Aught” to Pick


No one’s really sure how you pronounce it.  Is it “one aught” or “one naught”?  And furthermore, is it “one aught” or “one aut”?  Google’s not even sure (gasp!), though “naught” comes in first by popularity.  But the question at hand is not how to pronounce the cable sizes!  It’s to determine which cable size you need for the job, a query even more confusing.

Cables, Tables, Gages and sizes Or, Watts it all about?

By AUGUST F. MANZ, AWS Fellow | Jan 1, 2009 12:00 PM

The question that welders face on many jobs is : What size welding cable do I need for XX amperes when I am YY feet away from the power source?  This article — and the corrected sizes shown in Table 7 — will help you to select the right size cables for your welding or cutting job.

Cable Numbers

Small diameter cables have high gage numbers, and the numbers get smaller as the cables get larger.  After AWG #1 is reached, the next larger size is 0, then 00, then 000, up to 0000.  The 0 to 0000 cables are sometimes referred to as 1/0, 2/0, 3/0 and 4/0, spoken as “one naught” or “one aut”, “two naught” or “two aut” and so on.  After that, larger sizes are described in “circular-mil” areas.  Welding cable sizes usually run from AWG #2 through 4/0. It is interesting to note, that in the AWG system, a change of three sizes will double or halve the resistance. For example, a #6 cable has a cross section of about 0.0206 in2 and a #3 cable has about 0.0413 in2, while a 1/0 cable has 0.0829 in2.



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