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The wire in question is that top wire. The black one with the red stripe.

  • It looks aluminum from what can be seen. What's the amperage of the breaker, and what writing is on the wire. – Tyson Dec 18 '16 at 23:26
  • there was no visible writing on the wire, the breaker is 50 amp – Chris Dec 18 '16 at 23:27
  • It's probably #6 aluminum but no one can accurately tell you from a picture. Why are you asking? There may be more things you need to know than the size and type. – Tyson Dec 19 '16 at 0:31
  • Does it have an outer jacket where it leaves the panel? Check the outer jacket for writing. – Tyson Dec 19 '16 at 0:32
  • I needed to make sure it was high enough gauge to support a 40 or 50 amp kitchen range – Chris Dec 19 '16 at 0:48

It looks like feeder wire, probably stranded aluminum—though it could be copper. Judging by the scale of the breakers it looks to be AWG 6 or 4. See this chart for ampacity ratings.

If you inspect the jacket of the wire for up to 18 inches, you should be able to find some writing which gives the exact wire size (gauge number), temperature rating, and voltage rating of the insulator. Also, many cables have a distance number, usually in feet, from some origin (maybe the beginning of the 1000' spool the wire came from).

  • is there a way for me to see the wire that far? what you see there is all that is visible to me, the wire then goes into the wall. it is for my kitchen range, which wouldnt be a problem except that it is a drop in and it is hardwired, so I can't pull my stove out to look at it – Chris Dec 19 '16 at 0:51
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    @Chris: Maybe the wire off the left side of the photo immediately goes through the box side? I would start by a) shutting off the breaker, b) unscrewing one of the wires from the breaker, and c) inspecting the end of the wire carefully (take photo with wire diameter in front of ruler), d) if that is inconclusive, tug wire and look at backside. – wallyk Dec 19 '16 at 1:07
  • Your existing range has been in service for 30 years and it pulled heavy current during that time without problems you know of, right? Your new induction range will probably pull less current than the old one. The induction burners are supposed to me more efficient, aren't they? – Jim Stewart Dec 19 '16 at 4:44
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    @JimStewart: That is not true of induction burners. They can use much more power than a resistive range. They gain efficiency by heating only the pan, not the stove, so they needn't use the increased power for as long. See amps needed by major 30-inch built-in induction top ranges. – wallyk Dec 19 '16 at 5:38
  • @wallyk, thanks for the correction. The OP has perhaps not yet purchased the new range but has had the dead front off the panel. Would it be important for him to determine if the range circuit is 4-wire or is that certain for a range circuit on a 50-A breaker? In my 45 year old tract house the 50-A range circuit was wired 4-wire, but the 30-A electric dryer circuit was 3-wire (no ground). – Jim Stewart Dec 19 '16 at 13:28

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