Typical wire gauge for pad hacking?


I strongly feel that this has been answered somewhere, but I’ll throw out the for-now-legit excuse that the Search function is down. :wasted:

One thing I haven’t seen come up as a question too often was the gauge of wire for pad hacking and shoving into QDs. I’ve seen random posts here that had people using stuff from 30 gauge to something as huge as 22.

Since I want to perform a temporary dual-console mod my stick for X360 (Read: SFIV) and PS2 use before Microsoft finishes repairing my console, I was just wondering if there was an optimal size wire gauge for pad hacking purposes. If for some reason it’s like an argument for arcade parts (i.e. it comes down to preference) is there any rationale behind using a certain range of gauges over any other? slagcoin said that things between 20-26 gauge is what the usual range is for a project like this, but then he also gets down to things like stranded and solid core wire, which I’m not one hundred percent sure about either. Do all wire sizes come in stranded or solid core varieties or do the smaller side wires only come in stranded and whatnot? Which is better for a task such as pad hacking?

Thanks for taking time to help a guy out folks.


Use 24 AWG stranded Copper wires. I work in an electronics shop and it is the best wires to work with PCB hacks and even for button/joystick wiring.

Avoid Soild core or stranded zinc wires. They require a lot of heat to solder therefore much higher chance to damage the PCBs/components.


please use stranded.

i have solid core, terrible for soldering.



Maybe a small spool of 30 gauge stranded if you have to do some finer mod work like mod chip installs; handy to have but rarely used. I go through the 24 gauge stranded like water.

Edit. AH crap he wants reasons.

Sadly, it is actually preference like sanwa vs seimitsu (which I’d say would be 24 gauge stranded versus 22 gauge or 26 gauge stranded). Both will do the job quite well. But you’ll notice no one says its a tie between sanwa/seimitsu and the wobbly buttons from the T5 stick; those are just crap in ways that could be explained but don’t have to be for those that used them; they’re crap. Technically, you could use 16 guage solid core wire for padhacking, but you’d be nuts to try. It’s like padhacking with a coathanger. 28 gauge is about the size of a single strand from an old IDE cable; pretty small. 30 gauge is small, but difficult to strip insulation from without the right tool, and you’ll feel more confident with a slightly larger wire.

They pretty much all come in either stranded or solid. There no electrical difference between the two to worry about. Stranded is easier to bend, so you can more the wire around without putting stress on solder joints. Solid can be frustrating because of the force of moving the wire can put strain on solder points, causing them to pop off if your soldering sucks, or tearing the pad from the board if your soldering is good.

24 gauge stranded is my preffered. 22-26 gauge are all equally valid. Solid core is a bad idea unless you’re talking 30 gauge or smaller, but I’d still prefer 30 gauge stranded.


I use 24 awg stranded speaker wire (just because it’s cheaper, i separate the two wires myself for hook-up.) But i don’t have a preference between that and 26-28 solid wire. Both are good, and I would be willing to go up to 28 awg on stranded wire also.


Where do you guys typically get your wire from? My local Radio Shacks don’t carry 24AWG stranded hook-up wire.


you can try 18awg, i used them on my te sticks and found to be fine


Thanks for all the responses everyone and thanks for the rationale, faux123 and Toodles. I went and bought myself coils of 24 and 26 AWG coil and so far, the pad hacking’s going great. And stranded wires really are godly. QDs are so easy to crimp with these things!


Where’d you get wire from?


Somehow, I was lucky enough that my local RadioShack had some in their backroom. Should come on a spool.



the awg stands for American Wire gauge right? does anyone know what I can get in Ireland/Europe that is equivalent?



I’ve used both and don’t have a strong preference. I don’t agree that solid is the anti-christ though. I had to go buy some solid today because a guy sent me a stick to mod with stranded wire and the PS1 DS needed a spiffy shoes hack that requires solid. The 22 gauge hookup wire from RadioShack works fine for pad hacking.


30 awg


I prefer 22 AWG. Stranded obviously. I use it for the PCB and for the buttons/joystick.

I would hate to use 30. I would imagine I would break a connection pretty easily with wire that thin.


I just bought myself some stranded 24 Gauge speaker wire and will be doing the same method.

I made the mistake of using solid core 22 gauge wire for my first attempt, and gosh was it hard to work around without the soldered wires coming off… :tdown:


I did the same thing. I won’t say that the hack is horrible, but I definitely won’t make that mistake again.


The pack of .110 QDs I got says that is doesn’t go thinner than 22 AWG but you guys are saying 24AWG works fine with it?

If so, is Cat5 cable stranded 24AWG (cos I have a ton of that)?

I ended up buying the colored 22AWG stranded from radioshack (the pack with 3 spools) but they are a tad too big for me when it comes to soldering to the 4 guide LEDs.


24 stranded FTW. I’ve used 30 solid and a few had the wire break inside the shielding.


Cat5 network cable is 24gauge, works ok. However, I find that the insulation melts back much farther down the cable during soldering than ‘regular’ 24gauge stuff. I pre-tin the ends first, then re-cut the end of the copper core to adjust for the shrunken insulation. You have to solder it fast else the insulation will completely melt off.

If 24guage seems a little small for quick disconnect, just double up the end on itself:


Best Wire I ever Used for moddind, and comes in 10 colors.

I don’t know about you guys but I get my wire off ebay. I dont like 22 or 24 gauge wire. I like to use 30 gauge. I does not get in the way and it is easy to hide and glue or tack in place. Stranded wire does not really work well for modding if u ask me. Here are some of the guys I bougt from:

Kynar Wire 30 a.w.g