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m16878 wire

What is MIL-W-16878?

MIL-W-16878 cable is a popular mil-spec hook-up wire commonly used in military harness applications and in the internal wiring of electronic equipment. It is often used by the military and aerospace industries because of its size, non-flammable materials, and resistance to chemicals. Though most military specifications for M16878 hook-up wire have technically been replaced by NEMA standards, many in the industry will still refer to them as M16876 cables.

The handy thing about M16878 cables, and many other mil-spec wires, is that information about the cable is embedded in its part number. Each letter and number represents a characteristic. If you learn what they are, you can tell a lot about a cable’s construction just by looking at the name.

Here’s the breakdown for M16878 hook-up wire:

  • Part Identification Number (PIN) and Specification Sheet Number— Each part number begins with M16878, showing that the part complies with the MIL-DTL-16878 military specification. The number after the slash indicates the spec sheet number. This will identify the conductor coating, insulation, and nominal wall thickness, as well as the voltage and temperature ratings of the part.
  • Conductor Material— The letter following the spec sheet number identifies the conductor material to be used. B stands for coated copper. C represents coated copper-clad steel (C.C. Steel) and D is coated high-strength copper alloy (H.S.C.A.).
  • Conductor Size— After the conductor material, the next letter in the sequence represents the conductor size in AWG. A is equal to 32 AWG, B equals 30 AWG, C is 28 AWG and so forth, all the way up to Z at 0000 AWG.
  • Conductor Stranding— This letter designates the number of strands making up the conductor. It ranges from 1 strand (A) to 2109 strands (W).
  • Insulation Color Code— There can be up to three digits in this position at the end of the part number. The first digit tells you the color of the insulation. The optional second and third digits identify the colors of any stripes or bands.

Breakdown of M16878/1BBA*:

  • M16878/1-meets the M16878 cable specification on spec sheet 1. This specifies a tin conductor coating, extruded PVC insulation, and 0. 010” nominal wall thickness. It is rated to 600 V and 105°C.
  • B- coated copper conductor
  • B- conductor size is 30 AWG
  • A- solid conductor (single strand)
  • *- no color is specified for the insulation

Being able to interpret an M16878 part number can tell you a lot about a part without you even needing to open up a spec sheet, but to learn more about M16878 cable, view our large selection of MIL-DTL-16878 cables.