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Use this calculator to find the right nichrome wire size, length and power supply for your application.

There are four variables involved in determining what you need: voltage, gage, length, and temperature. Each affects the others. Set three, calculate the fourth.

  • Click on the radio button for the variable you want to solve for.
  • Click on the range for both the voltage and length.
  • Move the sliders for the other three variables and as you slide each one, the fourth variable will be calculated and change at the same time.
  • The slider for the variable being solved for (the one with the radio button selected) will have no affect on the variable value.
  • When solving for wire gauge, the closest gauge that meets the requirements of the other variables will be displayed but since the gauge sizes are incremental, the values of the other variables will not be exact.
  • The calculator is based on experimental values for straight oxidized nichrome wire in stagnant (not moving) air and not in contact with any other material. Any other configuaration will result in different values from what the calculator will show.
  • Your power supply can be determined by the watts shown and the amps. You should choose a power supply significantly larger than the power shown by the calculator. One twice as large would provide a good safety factor and keep from burning up your supply. The output current rating and total watts (or VA) are the power supply specifications that should be considered and increased over what the calculator shows.
  • 600F is normal foam cutting temperature. For expendable igniters, use highest temperature, then increase voltage to insure fast melt of wire.
  • Because of the resolution of the sliders, you may not be able to get the exact number you desire. Set to the closest number and your results will be within the tolerance of the experimental values which are around +/- 5%.

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