I found good deals on eBay, but I ended up scavenging wire (26AWG) from a burnt PC (powersupply and other connectors). I am not sure if PC wire is teflon coated, but it is the right gauge and it is stranded too.
Teflon insulated wire is great stuff; you can't hurt it with a soldering iron. If you are used to fighting insulation melt-back with ordinary PVC hook-up wire, you'll appreciate a great and stable insulation when you try Teflon wire.
Teflon wire is usually silver plated, because the wire is rated for use at over 125°C. At high temperatures, and over time, tin plating or solder tinning can dissolve into the underlying copper wire, leaving a surface that is difficult to solder. Silver plating can withstand higher temperatures for longer periods of time than can conventional tinning.
A common complaint about Teflon wire is that it is hard to strip. The insulation is slippery. It takes me forever to get the insulation off the wire.
Another complaint is improperly stripped (nicked) stranded Teflon wire often fails at the connection point.
Teflon insulated wire is expensive, several times more expensive than ordinary PVC insulated wire.
I picked up my Teflon wire at RadioShack a billion years ago. Item #278-552. My coils are ancient; I think my container belongs in a museum. I don't think RS has the stuff anymore. The Teflon wires are ancient but very useable.
haveblue, that's indeed a collector's item! My local RatShack is more of a cell-phone biz than anything else. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/jpshakehead.gif[/img] I need a Fry's nearby... wait, maybe I don't need one or I'd spend all my time there.
So, is computer wire teflon coated? Would it work better than regular PVC coat for mods?
cat5 plenum should be teflon, powersupply wire no. If you're going to go with cat5/5e/6 then make sure you get stranded not solid core as solid will break easily after a few flexes. I can't remember who on CPF had a problem and found out it was because they used solid wire cat5 that was flexed too much.
Cooper tools has a great stripper (about $70 though) that can do Teflon wire. It is model SAS3210. It comes with two stripping cartridges, one for Teflon wire and one for normal pvc wire - it works great!
Here's one place on the web (not where I bought mine, but you can see a picture of it etc): teflon/pvc stripper
I use 26 gauge mil spec teflon sheathed wire in all of my mods/builds. I don't find it to be particularly difficult to strip or work with. I use an off the shelf Craftsman wire stripper that I got at Sears. I think I paid $12 for it.
I found some other possible sources for Teflon wire. The piezo ignitor on most gas grills uses a Teflon wire between the piezo unit and the spark unit, but it looks to be about 22 ga. stranded on mine.
One might cut off a few extra strands if needed to fit into PCB holes on convertor boards, or perhaps use a short piece of the Teflon insulation by itself as an insulator through your heatsink, then thread 26 ga. wirewrap or whatever through it.
Another possible source would be the ignition wire inside those disposable butane grill lighters sold everywhere. I checked one I had, and it wasn't Teflon, but I'd be willing to bet that some other brands are.
An easy way to tell is to apply some heat to the end with a butane lighter or match. If it is Teflon, the insulation will not noticeably creep or melt. PVC or PE insulation creeps/melts rather quickly.
I checked several types of ethernet CAT-5e cable I have access to, and it uses PE insulation on conductors. I think Teflon is only used for cable rated for Plenum use.
John, right about the cat5. The plenum cable usually is solid core too because it's cheaper, holds it's shape when bent, and won't be flexed constantly like a patch cable from the wall to a computer might be. I personally like stranded wire, but if cat5 is all you can access and you want teflon, your stuck with solid core.
They come in a wide variety of quality, with good or poor stripper holes, latching jaws to keep it open while it releases the wire, good or poor wire grasping surfaces, and it all makes a difference in the final price.
The good ones do a wonderful job on teflon wire, as well as other types of insulation.
A key aspect of a stripper is that it leaves zero traces of a nick on the copper wire when inspected under a microscope, that it leaves the wire twist in stranded wire undisturbed, as well as cleanly cutting and not tearing the insulation when inspected under a microscope.
Hey JimH, a very interesting form factor which I find appealing - 'cept it looks like a straight blade is used for the cutting edge. How does it do on really thin (32AWG, etc.) wire? Do you have to rotate it a few times to get the insulation cut all around or something?
That looks like a cat5 jacket stripper. You rotated once for that use. Other wire I don't know. For all other wire I use this tool that has several holes, and clamps down and then the blades come down around the wire, and the whole thing seperates into half and pulls off the insualation. Very cool. Works great.