Shown are various lengths of electrical wiring.
The current-carrying capacity of the wire
depends on its diameter or gauge. It’s a good
idea to mark each bag with the wire gauge
number for identification purposes.
This small Piper PA- 11 Cub Special was built and published by Bob Aberle. The airplane is a J- 3 Cub, but it has a
Larger-diameter wire has the gauge number
printed on the insulating sleeve, as shown in
Q608: You commented a while back
about the current-carrying capacity
of the various connectors used for
electric-powered flight. As you stated,
“overloaded” connectors can sometimes
heat up to the point of melting.
Keeping this in mind, what about the
wire used with these connectors? Are
there any guidelines for the current-carrying capacity of the wires?
A608: Connector construction, as well
as wire diameter, is very important to
the safe and efficient operation of an
electric-powered system. Since my
last mention of electrical connectors,
I found an excellent website offered
by the ICARE sailplane company.
The website is listed in the “Sources”
What concerns me is that some
of the RTF electric-powered model
aircraft employ ESCs that use small-gauge (diameter) wire that can’t
take the load. The result is that the
connectors on the ESC and the wire
can’t handle the electric load. To help
correct this type of problem, I’ve found
several interesting sources.
One source is provided on the
RBE Electronics website. It contains
charts on wire gauge with equivalent
wire diameter, as well as the current
rating for the various wire
flight. With an
Internet search, I’m
sure you will find
similar to this. The
website is listed in
Let me offer a bit of
advice. If your ESC wiring does
get hot from an overload (too much
current), go to the next-larger-capacity
ESC. Make sure your interconnecting
wiring is at least the capacity of the
wiring employed on your ESC.
As for sources for electrical
wiring, I found a company
that advertises in many model
magazines called Summit
Aerospace. Its website (listed in
“Sources”) contains a lot of wire
information. The company sells
wire for RC use in cut packages or by
I might add that some wire is
stamped or marked with the wire
gauge, but in many cases, especially
with the smaller diameter wire, there
are no markings. When you purchase
new wire, place it in small bags and
mark the gauge number with a felt-tipped marker.
BP Hobbies and Radical RC are two
other suppliers of wire for RC use.
I’ve also listed these businesses in the
Piper PA- 11 Cub Special
Q609: This may be the wrong column
for this question, but here goes anyway.
I’ve heard that there is a little-known
variation of the Piper J- 3 Cub called
the Piper PA- 11 Cub Special. Can
you supply me with some contact
information and possibly a photo?
A609: This is an airplane that is dear to
my heart. I took my first series of flying
lessons in the late 1950s in a Piper PA-
11 Cub Special. It is basically a Piper
J- 3 Cub, but with a fully cowled-in
engine. Remember, the J- 3 had exposed
engine cylinder heads. The PA- 11 was
produced after the conclusion of World
War II and was a contemporary of the
popular Aeronca 7AC Champion.
The one thing that made the PA-
11 stand out was that it employed a
variation of the Aeronca Champ color
scheme. The Aeronca was yellow and
orange, while the PA- 11 was yellow
and blue. I built and published a small
85 Model Aviation APRIL 2015 www.ModelAviation.com
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