Electrical Cables: Everything you Want to Know About Them

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

There must be some medium for linking two devices. So, for that purpose, you need electrical cables. Using these cables, you can distribute power and other signals from one place to another. Let’s look into more details about the electrical cables.

Wiring Box
Wiring Box
Electrical Cable Diagram

Caption: Electrical Cable Diagram

Source: https://wikipedia.org/ 

What are Electrical Cables?

By construction, an electrical cable comprises one or more conducting wires present side by side in a cable covering. These cables can carry an electrical signal with less interference from one place to another.

Connecting one or more electrical cables with their connectors will form a complete cable assembly. In addition, they can turn into cable trees or harnesses that have their usage.

How are Electrical Cables Made?

An electrical cable consists of one or numerous individual wires, each with its insulating layer, shielding, and/or protective cover. You can string together many electrical conductors to build flexible conductors. Moreover, you can braid or twist together with smaller wires to create a larger wire. 

You can apply a thin covering to the copper wires. It can generally be of tin, gold, silver, or other metal to protect the copper wire from oxidation. In addition, the thin layer makes the soldering process easy. Further, tinning is an effort to prevent the thread from tangling. Also, people used it to remove the rubber insulating layer in the old days.

To organize the cables and hold them in place, you can use trunking, plastic ties, cable lacing, or cable trays. Moreover, you can use cable ties or strain relieving devices to secure flexible or continuous-flex cables inside cable carriers. 

Caption: 250 V electrical cable on reel

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/ 

Uses of electrical cables

Most people use electrical cables to link devices so that electrical signals or power can move from one device to the other. Here are some common classes of usage of electrical cables:

  • Underwater cables that you can use to talk to people far away. 
  • Power cables, especially high-voltage cables and junction boxes, send large amounts of alternating and direct current power. 
  • Electrical cables are used a lot in the wiring of buildings for lighting, power, and control circuits that stay there. Since you can put all the needed circuit conductors inside a wire harness at once, it requires less work to install it than with some other wiring methods.

Characteristics of Electrical Cables

Cables, as well as other conductors, emit electromagnetic radiation. Any wire or conductor will also absorb a nearby electromagnetic field. If the line carries control voltages or power supply, the noise picked up by the cable may distort the original signal. Moreover, these radiations can pollute the signs, so that they might cause equipment failure. In both cases, these effects are undesirable, and you should avoid them by keeping in mind the following characteristics.

Cable Length

You can route cables from the area of trouble. There are specific designs of cables that reduce electrostatic pick-up and propagation. Protection, coaxial, and twisted-pair geometry are three main design strategies. Buildings should keep the length of the cable short, as transmission and power supply are related to cable length.

Shielding

The Faraday cage is an electrical principle that is used in shielding. For that, wire mesh, synthetic polymer, or foil can cover the whole length of the electrical wiring. Also, suppose you connect the shield to the point where there is constant voltage, such as the ground wire. In that case, it will isolate all wires that are present within this shielded layer from external electrical signals.

However, simple shielding on electrical wires is not enough for lower frequency electrical and magnetic fields, such as the “humming” from a close power transformer. Hence, to prevent electric shock and equalize the load on the cable insulation, grounded shields on cables running at 2.5kV or higher collect capacitive and leakage current.

Coaxial Cable Construction

The coaxial construction reduces low-frequency wave pick-up and transmission even further. Since the shielding mesh covers the conducting wire all around it, it’s impossible to miss any portion of it while using this design. Thus, this design results in two almost identical voltages that the magnetic field induces between the conducting core and mesh. Moreover, as these forces are equal, they cancel out each other, forming a neutral cable wire.

Using Twisted Pair Cable

A twisted pair cable forms as you twist two insulated conductors in a cable with each other. Also, different lengths of wires provide opposite voltages, which balance out the interference caused by a long-wavelength interfering signal. To explain this, you can place one side of the piece of the conductor in the drill and twist it while keeping a moderate amount of stress on the wires.

Inside of an electrical Cable

Caption: Inside of an electrical Cable

Fire Protection of Electrical Cables

The material used for the jacket of electrical cables is typically made of a flexible type of plastic that can catch fire. The potential for wires to catch fire when you pack them together can be high. Hence, you can use certain common materials in the jacketing of cables to restrict the spread of fire, for example, Mineral-insulated copper cable.

Alternately, you can prevent the spread of fire among combustible cables by applying fire-resistant coatings directly onto the exterior of the cable. You can also isolate the fire hazard by installing boxes made of non-combustible substances around the group of cable installations. 

Overloading spark in electrical cables 

Caption: Overloading spark in electrical cables 

Types of Electrical Cables

Here are some cable types you can find in the market.

Different types of Electrical Cables

Caption: Different types of Electrical Cables

Conclusion

Electrical cables are essential when you connect between two places or devices. These can be power plants to houses or switchboards to mobile charging contacts. They can undergo external interferences. You should look into their conductor type and shielding material. Here at Cloom, we offer wiring harnesses and cable assemblies, and your connection is made with attention to detail.

Get a free Cable Assembly Quote.