Types of Electric Wires and Cables

Electrical wires and cables are components that assist in power and data transfer for the operation of electronics. While wires and cables both serve similar applications, wires are single electrical conductors while a cable may consist of numerous wires bundled together inside of a single sheathing. With our modern society relying upon countless electronics and electronic appliances, there are many variations of wires and cables that may be used to facilitate electrical connections. To help you in your search for wire and cable electrical components, we will provide a brief overview of some of the most common types that are used.

One of the most important cable assemblies for consumers and business customers is the service drop cable. This is the cable that connects the utility pole to a building or premises, allowing for power to be supplied for all electronics on a circuit. Duplex, triplex, and quadruplex cables are all common types used, denotable by the amount of core conductors they have. Generally, such cables will be protected with insulation to prevent damage from moisture, heat, and other factors.

To form the electrical layout for a home, the single conductor wire is the most popular option. Depending on the need, a single conductor wire can feature various gauges and colors as well as may be either a solid wire or stranded wire. While solid wires provide more optimal connections, single stranded wires permit an easier routing through conduits which may benefit certain applications.         

When establishing connections for data transmission, coaxial cables are often used. Coaxial cables contain an inner conductor that is encapsulated within a concentric conducting shield, and the two materials are separated from one another with a dielectric. Such cable assemblies are often used for radio transmitters, cable television, and other applications, and they are commonly found in many private homes and businesses alike. Coaxial cables are a type that may rely on wire and cable crimpers for establishing a connection, and wire and cable cutters may also be needed to remove insulation so that the conductor can be crimped onto a connector.

Fiber optic cables are a type that is quickly rising in popularity, and they are constructed with flexible glass fibers that can transmit data as light. Such cable assemblies require many fibers to send data, and each fiber is protected with plastic insulation. Depending on the need, fiber optic cables may be single mod/mono-mode or multi-mode. While wire and cable crimpers may be used for fiber optic cables, such methods can result in losses during transfers if not established correctly.

For computer systems in particular, ribbon electric cables are commonly used to establish connections between various internal peripherals such as hard drives, CD drives, and other such components. Generally, such wire and cable electrical assemblies consist of small grade insulated wires that are placed parallel to one another in a flat assembly. Serving for the transfer of small voltages, such components are flexible so that they can fit within a computer system.

Beyond such examples, numerous cable and wire assemblies may be used, ranging from actuator cables to specialized submersible cables. Generally, the choice between each will depend upon the application and its power requirements as each cable type may excel in certain environments, voltage conditions, etc. For the most reliable cables, cable accessories, and tools, look no further than Cogent Purchasing.


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