Q&A: Adding a wire to the materials

Most of these “special elite competition professional gaming wires” are just the standard alloys which have been rebranded and quadrupled in price.

Knowing what’s in them is always an advantage, because it not only allows you to make informed decisions about what you want to vape on, it also lets you choose the right material for your calculations.

Vapers are always finding new and exciting metals and alloys to make coils from, and naturally they’re asking me to add them to Steam Engine, often without providing sufficient data. Unfortunately, I can seldom solve this problem by browsing web shops, because the web shops usually don’t provide enough data either. And even when they do, how much can their numbers be trusted?

Required specs

The specs that are needed to add a new wire to the Steam Engine calculators, are as follows:

  • The name, composition and manufacturer of the wire.
  • The resistivity in Ohms-square-millimeter per meter (Ω mm²/m).
  • Specific heat (heat capacity) in Joules per gram-Kelvin (J/gK).
  • Density in grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm³).
  • And if you want temperature control, either a TCR value, or a list of factors for different temperatures (the more the merrier)

Submitting your wire of choice for inclusion in Steam Engine:

The density and specific heat values are not essential to most of the calculations, so they can be approximated without breaking everything, but the resistivity absolutely needs to be bang on. When using temperature control, the TCR/TFR values also need to be precise.

If you want to submit a new material for inclusion in Steam Engine, please link to a proper datasheet. Sales blurbs from online vape shops are usually ambiguous, inaccurate and untrustworthy. If I have to convert some Ω/m number into Ω mm²/m, that is another source of error that should be avoided.

If your source of vaping wire is unable or unwilling to give you the proper specs for the wire that they sell you, maybe you should consider switching to another provider.

If you are unable to give me a reliable source for your numbers (the resistivity in particular), then I’m afraid I won’t be able to add the wire to Steam Engine. The quality of the calculations is dependent on the quality of the data. It just feels wrong to potentially degrade the quality of the calculators by making them operate on assumptions.

Requests for specific wires

Hello, please add the “Anarchist competition wire” cable on your data base. Best regards.

If Google serves me right, this is Nichrome N80, so try that.


Depending on the “model” of wire, you can either use the SS 316L (Elite) or SS 317L (Haywire) option, already in the list

Nichrome N90

What is Nichrome N90, and where can I find a datasheet? I understand that there are a lot of vape shops that sell wires under the name Nichrome 90 or N90, but it seems like a mystery material to me. Is it the same as Chromel? Is it “pure nickel”, only less pure than Ni200? Is it (gasp) N80 being marketed with a bigger number? I don’t know. Does anyone know? Needless to say, I can’t add the material if I don’t know what it is.

Various NiFe variants

I’ll try to add some more of these as I find reliable data on them, but keep in mind that there are loads of NiFe variants out there. If I find one in a vaping context, it is usually lacking proper data, and if I find one with a datasheet, I typically don’t know if anyone is even vaping on it, or under which trade name it’s being sold.

10 responses to “Q&A: Adding a wire to the materials”

  1. They do just sell stuff you can make with a cordless drill and a paper clip. Just seems to easier for me to make my own. No shipping charges, the stuff is dirt cheap in bulk. People can youtube how to make anything you want these days.


  2. Greetings. There seems to be conflicting reports on the properties (and appropriate/different names) of various grades of NiFe wire. I came across Vape Mesh recently (http://www.vape-atomizer-mesh.com/) who as a stainless mesh manufacturer have branched out into vaping mesh and wires.
    They stock a wide variety of NiFe wires – NiFe 70, 48 and 52. Could these be added to the wire menu? Here is one example of the information provided:
    NiFe48 (Ni48) 0.3mm (300 Micron – 29 AWG) – NiFe48 Wire – 7.49 ohms/m – 25 Metre Spool
    Technical Specification:
    Ohms/m – 7.49
    Chemical composition
    Name Main Composition (%)
    Fe – 52-53
    Si – <0.5
    Ni – 46-48
    Mn – <0.05
    Temp. Coeff. Of Resistance ( a X10-6/°C) 20 °C – 3100


    1. The calculator needs to know the resistivity in Ωmm²/m. Your numbers are a bit ambiguous, because the diameter of the wire is stated in both mm and AWG.

      If the wire is 29 AWG, that equals 0.286 mm, which means that the cross section is 0.06424242817 mm². Then 7.49 Ω/m converts to 0.48117578699 Ωmm²/m.

      If the wire is 0.3 mm diameter, the cross section is 0.0706858347 mm². In that case, 7.49 Ω/m converts to 0.5294369019 Ωmm²/m.

      That’s close to a 10% difference in resistivity, depending on which number you choose to trust. Browsing the web shop, I get the impression that the millimeter number is the one to go by, but even so, this does illustrate how much of a difference a simple rounding error can make. I’m not very keen on adding a material with that kind of uncertainty.

      (I have now updated the blog post with some more details about what’s required of the data in order for a wire material to be added to Steam Engine.)


  3. I’m not sure how to get wire added in but was wondering if you could add in NiFe 52 from crazywire. I think this wire will become more popular as time goes on

    About The Wire:

    These are soft wires. They are easy to handle and cut.

    These spools are small and are designed to suit every pocket.

    Please contact us directly if you require a larger spool length of this wire (crazywire@themeshcompany.com)

    Common Application(s):

    Nickel-Iron Alloy is characterised by very low resistivity and high temperature coefficient of resistance. It is widely used in various heaters.

    It can automatically control temperature and adjust power by keeping constant current limiting current.

    In modern times it has found popularity in the vaping industry due to its high heat and electrical resistance.

    Dimensions of Wire:

    Diameter – 0.23mm (230 Micron – 31 AWG)

    TCR – 3400

    Length – Various

    Weight – Various Options

    Spool Type – Large plastic bobbin.

    Technical Specification:

    Ohms/m – 10.1

    Chemical composition
    Name Main Composition (%)
    Fe – 45-47
    Si – <0.5
    Ni – 52-53
    Mn – <0.05

    Temp. Coeff. Of Resistance ( a X10-6/°C) 20 °C – 3400


    1. Unfortunately this data has the same problems as in the comment above. Ambiguous or uncertain numbers, and missing density and specific heat.

      (I have now updated the blog post with some more details about what’s required of the data in order for a wire material to be added to Steam Engine.)


  4. […] had numerous requests to add N90 (Nichrome 90) to the materials in Steam Engine. Quite a few vapers use it for their coils, and most of them seem happy with the […]


  5. In the main post, you ask, “What is Nichrome 90” … they make Nichrome with different ratios of Nickel and Chromium, the title number is the Nickel portion of the ratio with the delta being Chromium with a total ratio being 100. So NI30 = 30% Nickel and 70% Chromium … NI80 = 80% Nickel / 20% Chromium and obviously NI90 is 90% Nickel and 10% Chromium.

    I was going to use the published known values of NI80 down to 30 and see if i could establish a relationship between the ratio changes and the values you require for steam-engine, then use that relationship to derive the numbers for NI90 … until I read here that you seem to be a real stickle for exact numbers, requiring links to published data to validate what is submitted … SO… i will continue searching for what you need.


  6. I found these NI90 specs at alibaba.com which looks like a large scale commercial distributor (not some vape shop) … here are the screen shots i pulled:

    I dont understand a lot of these numbers so im not sure if they can be used as a base to calculate the various gauges …


    1. Thank you. As you may have seen, I added N90 a while ago, based on your links. Unfortunately there was no TCR so I was unable to add data for temperature control.


  7. […] values that I could use to calculate TFR in this datasheet. This has now been added to the materials of the Wire Wizard and Coil […]


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