Magnet Wire Tips and Tricks

In almost all aspect of life, having the right tool makes the job much easier. When flying micro helicopters and quads, everything has to be micro sized in order to avoid adding unneeded weight that may robs the motor of it’s performance.

For wires, magnet wires, also known as enamel wires, are a must have in your tool kit. The bigger brand names such as Horizon Hobby with their Blade lineup of heli, uses magnet wires for their antennas and for the tail motor. Nine Eagles is another manufacturer that uses magnet wires to extend to the tail motor.

I find that a good gauge for these wires are about 30-32 AWG, measuring about 0.0085in or 0.02mm. You can find magnet wires if you search for them online. Locally, my Fry’s Electronics and Radio Shack have them in spools that will last you a long time.

Alternatively, you can find the right gauge magnet wire in small motors often used in toys. Also, fans used in computers is often another source, though I find they can sometimes be thinner than 32ga.

Perfect 32ga magnet wire for these small motors

Simply take apart the motor and unravel the wire. Taking care not to rub against the rough armature and accidentally nick the enamel coating of the wire. One motor yields a lot of wire. After taking them off, you’ll see they are wavy and kinked.

A trick I use is to simply hold a section of the wire between each hand and running them back and forth against the edge of a a cutting mat, metal rod, or any edge that will not nick the wires and will not get damage if the wire start to cut into it. This trick will quickly straighten out the wire with a couple of passes. See the photos below…

Rubbing the wires back and forth along the edge of a table, metal rod or cutting mat will straighten out the kinks of the wire

To solder these magnet wires, you have to remove the enamel that coats the copper of the wire. The enamel is to prevent the wires from shorting out while wound up in the motor. Some people may scrape the thin enamel coating off. The trick I learned is that the enamel coating can be quickly burned off and the wire tinned at the same time using solder.

I put a blob of solder on the tip of my iron and touch the end of the magnet wire to it.

Touch the end of the magnet wire to a solder blob for a second to strip the enamel and tin it at the same time

It takes but a second and you get a perfectly tinned tip, ready to be solder. Easy peasy. :)

Perfectly tinned magnet wire without any hassle

Another tip for you. If you want to lower the overall resistance and thicken up the gauge of the wires, you can twist a few strands of the magnet wires together. I do this by putting one end into the power drill and hold the opposite end. The hand held power drill will make a perfect twisted bundle of magnet wire.

Put a few strands or more of magnet wire to a power drill and it will create a perfect twist

Here, you can see that three 32ga magnet wire twisted together has more copper than the original stock wires that feeds through the v929 boom. Because each wire has the enamel coating, despite having more overall copper, the twisted bundle is equal to the thickness of the original wires with it’s insulation. Which means you can still feed a positive and negative pair through the carbon fiber boom.

Three strands of 32ga magnet wire to replace original stock v929 boom wire

I like to use the magnet wire because it’s cheap, lightweight and it’s coating looks like anodized metal.

One final trick, for aesthetics, I will use the same color for positive and negative. To keep track of the polarity, I simply mark the each ends of the negative wire with a black sharpie so I properly solder it to the negative terminal. Twisted togther, they looks like an performance “upgrade.” :D The cooler looking it is…the faster it goes. ;)

That’s all there is to it.  Hopefully this post helps you guys. Happy modding!!!



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9 responses to “Magnet Wire Tips and Tricks”

  1. Simon Avatar

    Your ideas are great. Your pictures are superlative. Thanks.

  2. Mullson Avatar

    Crazy man over but so fun!

  3. Mullson Avatar

    But haven’t you had any shortening or trouble with this looker.

    1. hacksmod Avatar

      I haven’t had any shorting problem. I think the quad’s blade and such protects the wire more.

      However, I know people usually have issues with magnet/enamel wire when they run it on the outside of their CP helicopter’s tail boom. I think used that way, one should think about protecting the wire from crash damage.

  4. Alex Avatar

    What is the AWG size of the original isolated v929 boom wires? Where to buy similar bomm wire like the V929 original? Thanks.

  5. Phil C. Avatar

    Thanks for the interesting article about ways to reduce weight in microquads.

    I’m a complete beginner to hobby electronics, and I’m in the research phase of building my first microquad. So, I’m hoping someone can fill in this piece of missing information: What are the specific uses for magnet wire in micro quadcopters, and where might one not want to use magnetic wire?

    More specifically, can one use magnet wire as a replacement for regular wire in all applications for microquads? For example, can it be used to connect motors to ESCs? I understand clearly from past comments that if the magnet wire is exposed, it may need to be shielded from crash damage.

    One more thing: I noticed that sometimes in ESCs a signal wire is twisted in a pair with a ground wire to reduce electromagnetic interference. I don’t see why not, but could I use a magnetic signal and magnetic ground wire to replicate this arrangement?

    1. hacksmod Avatar

      There comes a point where the regular insulated wire with all the strands inside is better on micro quads. The enamel insulation on magnet wire can wear away and cause shorts sometimes. So that’s definitely something to keep in mind. Some enamel coating are much stronger than others.

      Twisting the signal with ground is good practice to prevent interference like you said. The concept can be applied to magnet wire pairs as well.

  6. Shawn Avatar

    Hi. I came across your page looking for V911 heli mods.
    Here’s a tiny beaded copper wire Christmas tree I made some years ago. I used magnet wire for the positive wires and the copper tree was neg. I used a PIC micro to make the LED’s flash.
    I was thinking it would be cool to use a two color red / green LED so that the rotor disc would light red on the port and green on starboard for night time. Too much for a V911, but maybe a 912 or 913 size. Just a thought…

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