WesBell Electronics
Wire and Cable Blog



Information and Facts on Power Cable

Power cable comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can look complicated to the layman. These cables can be single-conductor, multi-conductor, as well as industrial strength or for personal use. Each type of power cable has its own advantages, which make them suitable for certain types of applications.

A power cable is categorized in three classes, 1) high voltage (for applications requiring load greater than 40,000V), 2) medium voltage (for applications requiring load between 6000V and 36,000V) and 3) low voltage (for applications requiring load below 1000V). These cables are used for feeders and other heavy machinery, along with branch circuits in electrical utility, commercial and industrial applications.

Single-conductor power cable is used in various applications such as stage lighting, locomotives, DLO and for welding purposes. Each single-conductor cable, depending upon its use, has a different rating for amps, voltage, flexibility and insulation, each having a different price-level.  

There are many multi-conductor cables; extensions cords, Type G-GC, Type W, SOOW and portable cords, each encased a rubber jacket for insulation. These cables are safe and flexible and when additional flexibility is required, there is a multi-conductor cable available for this need. The SOOW multi-conductor cable is similar to the extension cord (before the plugs are attached) and is generally used to supply power generators and tools in industries.

The least-expensive power cable of this group is the welding cable. Welding cable has a rubber jacket and flexible copper fibers and is rated to 600V. DLO cable also has the rubber jacket, is rated to 2000V and has tinned copper fibers. The DLO can carry more power and therefore has a higher corresponding price.

Remember, when installing power cable, it is recommended that you consult with your electrician. And when it is time to purchase your cable, some helpful hints include knowing the operating temperature, amperage, voltage, outer diameter (cable diameter + insulation jacket). Please call WesBell at 800-334-8400 for all your cable needs.

Solar Cable Assemblies – NEW!!

WesBell Electronics is now joining the booming energy crisis business by manufacturing PV solar cable assemblies which are known in the industry as “Home Runs”. WesBell has done extensive research in order to keep costs down for contractors so that it keeps costs down for you, the end user, when you decide to make the transition into solar energy.

Solar energy is still new to the average person and to contractors installing solar panels which means costs are still very high to convert your homes energy source. The average home would cost anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 to install solar panels  so that’s about 15-20 years to pay off based on your current energy bill savings. However, with time businesses find quicker and easier ways to manufacture products and install them which means costs come down. As stated above, WesBell has already put specific procedures in place to handle high volume solar cable assemblies in order to meet the needs of our customers and you know as well as I do that solar panel manufactures are doing the same.

The standard Solar Cable consists of USE-2 wire which is water, gas, oil, weather and sunlight resistant. The cable is exposed to all of those environmental conditions so a USE-2 cable is used to uphold the life of the system.

WesBell is a large distributor for Tyco Electronics so Tyco is sending us leads for solar cable assemblies. We buy all of our solar connectors and tooling through Tyco and since they aren’t equipped to manufacture the assemblies we handle that part as an ISO 9001 Certified Company.

WesBell Electronics has been in business for over 20 years supplying our customers bulk wire and cable, bulk terminals and connectors, and value added services such as wire and cable assemblies manufactured to specification. We’ve already started making solar cables and we’re prepared to handle much more.

Installing THHN cable in cold weather

When the weather is cold, you can have problems not just with your heating bills and skin, but also with your cables. For example, the THHN cable is easily vulnerable to deterioration due to cold weather.

THHN cable is Thermoplastic, High-Heat Resistance, Nylon-Coated, therefore the name- THHN. Though it is versatile cable and does not fall under any specific application category, it is mostly used under Hook-up wire class.

Strengths

THHN cable comes in a variety of strengths. And since it is made from thermoplastic material, it is easy to heat and cool this wire many times to change its shape. But there is a limit to the number of times this wire can stand heating and cooling. It has its lower and higher temperature limits and if the temperature changes cross this range, this wire can become unstable. Temperature range depends upon manufacturers.

When the THHN cable comes with ‘High Heat’ rating, it means that this wire can be used in high temperature scenarios. These wires come with various specifications, which determine the specific applications where these can be used. For example, “Nylon coated” means that a certain thermoplastic material is used in this wire.

Coming to installation of the THHN cable in the cold weather, there are some simple guidelines that you should follow. Keep this cable indoors, and not in the outdoor harsh environment. Generally, a temperature of 65°F works well.

If keeping the cable indoors is not possible, bring it inside for at least 24 hours, before you install it.

If the outside temperature is below 14°F, then do not install the THHN cable.

While installing the cable, take care that it is not dropped on the floor, as these impacts can cause cracks in the stiff cable material.

Make sure you do not bend the cable too much, because it can cause the cold and stiff cable to break.

            Once you have installed it, this cable will work properly in environments with temperature higher than 14°F.