Coiled Cords: Why Do People Prefer Them Over Straight Wires?

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Straight cords have been a norm to follow since the advent of electricity and electronic products. However, as the coiled cords have arrived, they have improved life. Some industries prefer the coiled cord over straight cables. Hence, you can see coiled wires as your Telephone Cords. They are also present with headsets in helicopters and defibrillators. Why?

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What are Coiled Cords?

Coiled cords, also called Retractable Coil Cords or Retractable Cord, have a spring-like form to stretch and bend with minimal stress on the wire. They can be extended to a length several times greater than their at-rest length but return to their original size when released. 

Construction

Usually, you can wound the metal wire around a mandrel to create a spring-like appearance. Although round wires are the most common, you can also use rectangular and oval cross-sections. Then, the coiled wire is jacketed and heat-stretched to its final shape before being used.

Materials

Like straight cables or wires, coiled ones also have a material that conducts electricity inside them. Moreover, it also consists of a material that keeps electricity from getting out on the outside.  

Metals like copper, aluminum, and tinned copper carry electricity. You can use polypropylene (PP) or Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to insulate and cover the coiled cord. Polyurethane (PU) jacketing is used because it can stand up to petroleum distillates, cutting fluids, and wear. Mylar may have been laminated with heat to protect coil cords.

What Are the Advantages of Coiled Cords?

  • Coiled Cords are stretchable. Hence, it can give you extra length even if you are far away from the power outlet. It recoils when free, making it superior to straight cable as you want to connect from long distances.
  • Coiled Cords do not tangle with each other. So, you don’t have to worry about untangling them later as they are retractable coil that goes back to their spiral shape after use.
  • They are durable since their coil shape design helps them repeatedly extend and return to their original form.
  • Coiled Cords are versatile for transferring data, power, and signal.
Green coiled USB Wire

Caption: Green coiled USB Wire

Source: https://geekhack.org/ 

What are the uses of coil cords?

Coil cords are the most common type of phone cord. It is as opposed to winding up the straight wire at the end of every call like you would with a traditional phone cord. You can move around as much as you like while on the phone with a coil cord. 

Moreover, people frequently use coiled power cords for car chargers—also, people like using coil cords for their electric guitars because of their practicality and aesthetic appeal.

The potential applications of coil cords are practical without bounds. Electrical cords are most commonly recognized for their application as straightforward plastic connectors; however, they can be constructed to include as many as thirty conductors and can be designed to transport power, data, signals, or any combination of the three.

Factors to Consider When Buying Coiled Cords

An electrical manufacturer’s track record in product manufacture and assemblies should be a major factor in your wire purchase decision. Further, you need to consider:

Insulating Wire Material

Most thermistors and thermoplastics are flexible and won’t break or crack when bent. Also, high temps don’t make them easily soften or melt. It would help if you preferred cords with insulation made of thermoplastic or thermoset. 

Retractable cords are safe to use even in severe environments because they have a flexible spiral jacket that can stand up to heat. Moreover, spiral-coiled cords insulated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can handle temperatures between 55°C and 105°C and thus are resistant to wear and water. Oil or solvents can’t break down neoprene or polychloroprene. It also doesn’t catch on fire. Due to these qualities, the military uses a lot of retractable cords that are insulated with neoprene.

Coil Size

You can find conductor coils in many forms and sizes. Types of coil cords are available, from shorter cords with mobile chargers to extra-thick cords for military and industrial uses. Thus, you can choose the length and width according to the application area.

Shielded Coiled Cords

An insulating jacket keeps coiled cords and wires from scratches or extreme temperature. However, it can’t stay electromagnetic interference (EMI) from affecting the wires inside. Hence, manufacturers make the shielding out of copper or aluminum wire wrapped around the cable. It can be made of one or more layers of aluminum or a mesh made of braided wires. It stops EMI by blocking electromagnetic energy and reducing noise from several other electronic power sources.

Extended Coiled Length

Consider the coil that can extend up to several feet more than the retracted length. For example, some companies offer 12 inches coiled cords that can extend up to five feet more than the actual length.

Maroon Coiled USB Type-A wire

Caption: Maroon Coiled USB Type-A wire

Source: https://geekhack.org/

DIY Perfectly Keyboard Coil Cable

Many PC gamers find it hard to keep track of their cables. It is because of untangling a mouse cable from the keyboard repeatedly. Thus, many gamers use coiled cords for the keyboards to solve this problem.

Coil cables for keyboards work the same way as regular cables, but you can change more and have extra benefits. Like paracord mouse cables, most are also in paracord material and might have heat-shrink tubing on the USB connections. Here are the steps through which you can DIY coiled keyboard cables.

  • First, sleeve the cable as you will not be able to sleeve it after the wire is coiled.
  • Now, use electrical tape and attach the wire to one end of the wooden dowel. Then, wrap all the wires tightly onto the stick with the tape. Make sure that you go with layers of taping 5 to 6 times since it will ensure stiffer coils as you heat it.
  • Once you have the cord of your desired length taped on the dowel, secure the end with the tape. It will make sure that the wire is holding onto the dowel tightly.
  • Next, to heat the wire, you can use either a hair dryer or a heat gun if you have it. Hold the face of the dryer close to the coil and start heating it with full power. Remember to move your hand up and down so that all the coil receives even heating.
  • Now, leave the coil for a period long enough to cool it completely. As it cools, the coil will hold on to its shape firmly. 
  • With that, you can slide the coils off from the wooden dowel, and it is ready to use.

Conclusion

Coiled Cords are holding massive popularity among consumers as it is stretchable and durable for a long time. Thus, you might see it in helicopters, homes, and gaming hubs. When you need a custom recoil extension cord, get in touch with Cloom, we offer wiring harnesses and cable assemblies. We can custom coiled cords in various assemblies,  gauge sizes, and colors. In addition, we allow you to specify the custom insulating and jacketing materials, the type of shielding, and the number of conductors.

Get a free Cable Assembly Quote.