WesBell Electronics
Wire and Cable Blog



Why Are There Different Types of 18 Gauge Lead Wire?

Different types of 18 awg lead wire are engineered each time there is a new application because there are different circumstances in each situation. The common denominator with each lead wire is the amount of electricity that can travel through a copper wire as thick as 18 awg. The differences are voltage, environmental temperature and possibly weather or moisture that could damage or puncture the insulation.

An 18 awg solid bare copper wire is the most basic because it doesn’t even have insulation at all. It’s a solid piece of copper used as a ground wire for most electrical applications.

The next step up would be the UL1007 wire and UL1015 wire which are nearly identical aside from the difference in voltage. UL 1007 has a slightly thinner insulation because it’s approved for 300 volts, which makes it cost less as well. UL 1015 is thicker with a 600 volt rating and both come with a temperature rating of 105°C.

PTFE is a high temperature wire called Type E or M16878/4 wire. It’s manufactured with a PTFE insulation and silver plated copper strands rating it as high as 200°C. It’s much more expensive than PVC wire because it has copper, silver and PTFE compound which is becoming difficult to get your hands on.

TFFN 18 awg wire is rated at 90°C in dry locations and 75°C in wet locations. It has a PVC insulation with a nylon coating and it comes less flexible than conventional PVC wire so that it’s easier to use in the electrical applications. Pushing a flexible wire through conduit would be very difficult because it would keep bunching up.

Those are just a few types of 18 awg wire available through WesBell Electronics online or over the phone. We offer free shipping on orders over $250 and offer small spool sizes so that you can limit your waste on each job. Please call if you have any questions about our products or our blog posts!

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400

Shielded Plenum Fire Alarm Cables

Shielded plenum fire alarm cables are engineered to be used in a buildings plenum to lower the chances of a fire spreading throughout your home. They’re manufactured with a flame retardant coating such as PTFE to help cut back on the cable’s production of smoke and harmful gasses should it begin to burn. These types of cables are the ones inspectors like to see when checking a building for the best fire protection.

Fire alarm cable is used in applications when hooking up smoke detectors, signaling, fire alarm, and fire protective circuits becuase they have all been known to need the extra fire protection to continue working when a fire erupts.

EMI is electromagnetic interface which is something that an insulation cannot block a cable from. It’s “electrically noisy” and disruptive to other equipment around it which an aluminum polyester shield can block. Many fire alarm cable installations and PTFE cable installations require a strong shield in order to keep all of the equipment running smoothly.

A cable is transferring EMI to another source and the best way to block that is through the use of a shield. The shield surrounds the copper conductors which blocks any interference coming in and blocks anything going out so that all of the cables near each other can effectively do what they were set up to do.

As you can see there’s quite a bit of engineering involved in each type of fire alarm cable. If manufactured wrong or poorly they can spread a fire much faster than expected throughout the home or building. The shield could also cause problems with the EMI so it’s important to make sure the cable that you buy has all of the specifciations you need for your application.

Please call you have any questions about our shielded plenum fire alarm cable or anything else regarding the items on our website.

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400

Our Electrical Wire and Cable Website is Growing!

At WesBell Electronics we’re very excited to see the growth of our website in the tough 2011 economy. Our website offers electrical wire and cable for sale online and many more products that we offer that need to be ordered over the phone. It’s hard to keep updated pricing on copper wire because it changes every day. So we only keep our popular items available to buy as we work on procedures to get more items listed.

As more and more people visit our website we’re starting to see trends and percentages that are helping us move forward. If we get 1000 visitors we’ll see a certain amount of phone calls, orders placed online and orders placed over the phone. Based on that data, if visits increase 10 times then everything else should follow accordingly. That way we can put a budget on how much to spend to get our website to the next level.

Not only do we want to increase the visitors to our website, but we also want to increase the conversion rate to an order. So we started to offer free shipping on orders over $250 and exact cut lengths for electrical contractors and home owners who have no need for a 500 foot spool of copper wire. Like most sales people, we don’t like to say the word “no” to anyone that calls and needs a somthing specific so work as hard as we can to avoid it.

Our web design team has been working hard on the layout of our website to make it much easier to navigate for those who have a tough time using the internet and computers in general. We use the keywords that we promote so that it’s easy, once you arrive, to find what you’re looking for.

We have many pages on our website that reference welding cable and strongly promote it throughout the search engines. That puts us near the top of a search when someone types in the phrase “Welding Cable”. We aren’t going to change the term welding cable to the manufactures part number once you get to our website because we know it would be difficult for you to find.  

We appreciate any feedback you might have on our website or our products because we’ll use that information to figure out how to make your experience better. As an ISO 9001 certified company we must follow strict procedures to comply with the their standards. It assures our customers that we handle things the right way and take the neccessary steps to fix something that might go wrong. Not only do we want to avoid a similar mistake, but need to take action in order to be compliant with the ISO standards.

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400

Multi Conductor Type W and Type G G-GC Industrial Power Cables

Industrial power cables are engineered to be very durable and withstand quite a bit of impact on a daily basis, so if you’re thinking about using a multi conductor power cable then be sure that you’re going to use it for everything it’s worth.

Each type of wire or cable comes with a list of approvals that allow them to be used in certain applications. Getting more than you need won’t help the application, it will just cost more money to use, so be sure you’re getting the correct cable for your specific situation.

Type W and Type G cables are manufactured with premium EPDM insulation on the inner copper conductors with an overall EPDM rubber jacket. It has finely manufactured flexible copper strands so that the cable can be very flexible. Industrial power cables need to be flexible because they’re commonly used on job sites for portable power, then coiled back up and used on the next site. While being used on each site the cable will be dragged across the ground, stepped on and driven over on a daily basis which means the jacket needs to be extra strong in order to not be punctured while carrying power.

Common applications are industrial mining, power supply cable to heavy duty service, AC systems grounded or ungrounded and other portable power applications. These cables can withstand severe environment conditions and resist oils, acids, alkalies, heat, moisture and most chemicals. They’re all UL, CSA, MSHA and RoHS compliant.

Type W is a 2000 volt power cable that comes with 2 through 5 conductors  and in 8 awg through 500 mcm. Type G is also 2000 volts in a 3 or 4 conductor with 3 or 4 additional ground wires. Both types come with a temperature rating of 90°C and carry as much as 600 AMPS at their largest size.

Please call for a quote if you’re looking for Type W, Type G or any type of industrial power cable. We have a large amount of stock throughout the country with fast delivery times and FREE shipping on orders over $250.

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400

Copper Cable Scam – Theives Out For Easy Money

Copper has become a hot commodity on the market because it’s easy to steal and it can turn into cash quicker than almost anything else out there right now. When someone robs a jewelery store they need to figure out how to turn the stolen jewelery into cash and a pawn shop comes to mind as the easiest and fastest way to do that. Copper, on the other hand, is much easier to deal with if you happen to be a thief for a living.

After breaking into a home to stealing the copper pipes and wiring you can bring it straight to a metal scrap yard to receive fresh green cash for the amount of pounds you have without having to prove that it’s even yours to begin with. They’ll weigh the amount you have and offer you an amount of money for it. After they buy it from you they’ll peal off any insulation and melt down the copper to sell it back to manufacturers of copper materials.

With that small amount of crook knowledge you’ll understand this scam slightly better. People are placing orders online with a fake credit card to get their hands on some copper wire or copper piping before the credit card company figures out that it’s fake. If the copper wire gets to their location before the credit card company picks up on it then it’s too late. The copper will be at the scrap yard the same day.

A few simple triggers that this could be happening to you are that the “ship to” address is different than the credit card billing address. That doesn’t mean it’s a scam but it’s a sign to look into it a little bit more. The second thing you can do is talk to the credit card company to see if there’s been any irregular activity on this particular card and have them contact the card owner to be sure it’s not a scam.

The hard thing about it is the fact that a new customer is calling to place a large order which will get any sales person happy enough to probably over look such a scam. Just be sure to always have it in the back of your mind because it’s definitely happening to people like you and me.

Please call if you have any questions about copper wire and cable.

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400 

Difference Between PVC and PTFE Cables

When our customers and website visitors ask for pricing on a PVC cable to compare it to a PTFE cable they’re completely shocked when they hear the difference in price, so we’re going to let you know the differences in order to justify the pricing. Once you understand the engineering, materials and commodities it will be easier to understand the price difference between the two.

PVC cables are manufactured at a much lower cost because they don’t have to meet the high temperature rating that PTFE cables do. PVC stands for Polyvinyl Chloride which is a compound engineered to be used in electronics and other indoor applications.

PVC electronic cables meet a 105°C temperature rating in 300 or 600 volts. They’re manufactured with flexible copper strands and PVC insulation on the inner conductors. They sometimes come with an aluminum overall foil shield and a tinned copper drain wire.

Now that you know the construction of a PVC cable you’ll probably understand why a PTFE cable is much more expensive. PTFE compound is used to manufacture a 200°C temperature material to cover the copper conductors. The engineering involved in creating a 200°C cable is much more involved than the process of creating a 105°C cable.

The inner conductors of PTFE cables also have a PTFE insulation called Type E or M16878/4 that also meet the high temperature of 200°C. They’re manufactured with silver plated copper strands which means the cost of high copper and high silver must be included in the pricing on PTFE cables.

The final reason for higher prices on PTFE cables is the fact that the earthquake in Japan affected an entire manufacturer of PTFE compound that was sending the compound to PTFE wire manufacturers. That created a huge shortage of PTFE wire in the market which drove up the pricing as well.

I wouldn’t want to say that a PVC cable is easy to manufacture, but when comparing it to a PTFE cable it seems like a walk in the park. Both cables have a UL and CSA approval along with RoHS compliance, but PTFE cables can be used outdoors, at higher temperatures and they resist water, gases, oils, solvents and much more. Just make sure you’re sitting down when you hear the pricing!

Please call if you have any questions or comments about our wire, cable tubing, blog or website! We enjoy all feeback!

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400

PTFE Lead Wire and Shielded Cables

WesBell just added to our PTFE section from the standard high temperature lead wire to a few more types of PTFE hook up wire and two types of PTFE cables. PTFE is a brand name that designates a PTFE compound that allows wire and cable to reach temperatures of 200°C and higher.

For a few years now we’ve been selling Type E PTFE wire which is a 600 volt 200°C lead wire with a Mil Spec M16878/4 rating. Well, there’s also a 250 volt and 1000 volt PTFE lead wire that we added to our website. They aren’t available to buy online just yet, but it allows our customers and website visitors access to all of the specifications and approvals that they have to offer. We can supply these new PTFE lead wires within a few days.

The PTFE cables were also a great addition to our website since many of our customers order multiple Type E lead wires for the same wire harness or application. Instead of using 3 individual PTFE wires they can use a cable with 3 wires in it for a much better look to finish the application.

STJ stands for Shielded Tape Jacket which is the most common type of PTFE cable. They come in an unshielded version if needed but most times a shield is neccessary for the high temperature applications. The PTFE tape jacket is rated for 200°C and the wires are Type E 600 volt which is also rated for 200°C. STJ cables are manufactured with a braid shield which is better than the common aluminum foil shield in most PVC cables.

Type ET lead wire is manufactured with a slightly thinner insulation since it only needs to reach 250 volts rather than 600 volts. It’s a little bit cheaper but the level of competition on the Type E drives the price down a bit as well. Type EE is 1000 volts with a slightly thicker insulation to handle the higher voltage rating. All three types of PTFE wire are rated for 200°C with silver plated copper strands.

Please contact us if you have any questions about PTFE wire and cable or if you have any questions or comments about our website. We enjoy getting feedback!

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400

Copper Electrical Cable Differences

Copper electrical cable is very expensive, but the real differences in price actually comes down to the insulation type more than the copper. Copper is the conductor of electricity in all copper electrical cables and the price of copper changes everyday. However, Romex 6/3® has the same amount of copper as UFB 6/3, so why is the price different?

A 6 awg wire is a 6 awg wire whether it’s in a Romex NMB® jacket or a tough underground PVC jacket. That means each 6 awg wire would be the same price if they were both stripped of all insulation. A UFB underground insulation was manufactured to be used without conduit. So the jacket needed extra protection in order to last as long as an electrical cable in conduit.

In order of the amount of protection Romex® comes first, MC cable second and UFB cable third for electrical cables. Even though each of these cables have different levels of protection they all still have THHN THWN as the wire conductor insulation, so what changes the fact that some have more restrictions?

Romex® cable has a bare copper uninsulated ground wire, but lacks a strong enough jacket to protect it outdoors or in conduit. Moisture, gas, solvents and other fluids can puncture the jacket and hit the bare ground wire leaving it only available for wiring indoors.

MC cable is manufactured with all THHN wires and a THHN insulated green ground wire. That allows MC electrical cables to be used outdoors and in conduit because it resists all water, moisture oils and gases without an uninsulated ground wire in the way.

UFB cable is manufactured as an underground electrical cable which is also known as direct burial in the wire and cable industry. It still has an uninsulateed ground wire but the PVC jacket is engineered tough enough to protect all of the wires even when used directly underground.

In order to find the cheapest cable possible you’ll want to first speak to an electrician to let you know the awg size of the cable you need. This will prevent you from getting a size too big and paying more money than you need to. The second thing you want to do is make sure you’re not getting too much insulation that you may not need. Getting UFB cable when you’re using conduit anyways is a waste of money. You should get MC cable which is cheaper and manufactured for use in conduit.

We offer exact cut lengths on all of our electrical cables and THHN wire because in the contractors, engineers and installers like to have the exact length they need to avoid waste of small lengths at the end of each spool. We also offer free shipping on orders over $250 so that you don’t have to negociate deals with trucking companies to get spool of wire or cable.

Please call us if you need any type of wire, cable or heat shrink tubing as we’ve been a stocking distributor for over 25 years.

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400

Welding Cable AMPS and Pricing

Welding cable comes in different gauge sizes which allow a certain amount of AMPS to carry on to the application. That means you’ll have to figure out which size of cable you’ll need in order to be sure your welder has enough AMPS in run. Buying a larger size will work but you’ll pay more money and there aren’t too many people that want to do that.

Your best plan will be to call a certified electrician to help you figure out the awg size you need based on the size of the welder and the length of cable you plan on having. There’s a calculation done that meets the standards of the NEC (National Electric Code) in order to be sure you have enough power and that your up to date with the town or state codes.

Welding cable starts as small as 6 awg and gets as large as 500 mcm. It’s manufactured with thin copper strands and a rubber insulation to increase the flexibility. The only difference between the 4 awg and the 2 awg is that the 2 awg will have more of the copper strands to make a larger awg and carry more power to the welder. They’re all very flexible cables so there’s no need to worry about a stiff cable around the shop during warm or cold weather.

THHN electrical wire is a similar type of single conductor copper cable but it comes much less flexible. Usually people who use welding cable wonder why anyone would want a wire as stiff as THHN wire. The stiffness helps keep the electrical wire straight when going through conduit. A welding cable would get bunched up as it’s being pushed through so a flexible cable is actually less helpful even though it’s more expensive.

Each larger gauge size will be slightly more expensive which means you want just enough to cover the amount of AMPS traveling throughout the cable so you don’t over spend. Talking to a certified electrician will tell you exact size you need to buy which means you can call a distributor with detailed information.

If you look on our website for pricing on welding cable you’ll see how expensive the larger cables actually get. The 6 awg goes for less than $1.00 per foot in the end of 2011 but the 500 mcm cable goes for about $16 per foot with 9 more choices in between.

We also offer an Super Vu Tron welding cable that comes in orange insulation only. It has 34 awg copper strands instead of 30 awg strands which makes it much more flexible. It’s also manufactured with a much stronger, more durable, insulation for outdoor protection. It’s most commonly used for industrial applications requiring use outdoors where the cable will be stepped on, run over by vehicles or dragged across the concrete where a standard welding cable insulation might get punctured.

Please call us if you’re looking for welding cable, electrical wire or even heat shrink tubing as we have been in business for over 20 years as a wire, cable and tubing distributor.

WesBell Electronics, Inc
(800) 334-8400

Romex and UFB Electrical Wire Pricing Lowered!

Since copper is a daily fluctuating commodity we must keep up to date on our copper wire and cable pricing. Over the last month alone copper rose above $4.20 per pound, came back down to $3.20 per pound and has settled in the last few days around $3.60 per pound.

When buying and selling copper electrical wire such as Romex® and UFB underground cable we have to watch the pricing very carefully because the amount of copper in each conductor can drastically change the price. When copper goes down we have to lower our pricing in order to compete with other wire and cable distributors and when pricing goes up we have to increase our pricing so that we don’t lose money on orders.

With that being said, over the last few days WesBell has lowered all pricing on copper wire and cable in order to show our customers we’re honest and not trying to make “extra money” while copper is decreasing. We’ve heard many stories from our customers that their electrical wire vendor increased pricing when copper was high but didn’t decrease pricing when copper lowered.

We like to keep our customers informed of when copper is increasing and decreasing by showing them on our website. We keep the last 3 years worth of copper pricing online so that when you buy something that you haven’t bought in over a year you can see exactly why there was a price increase or decrease.

The last thing we want to hear is that our pricing is 10% higher than our competitor because we work hard to please our customers in every way and a higher price can give a potential customer a bad impression of our entire company. We stay on top of copper, stay current on pricing, offer free shipping on orders over $250, ship from the tax free state of NH, offer exact cut lengths and stand by our on time delivery as one of our top 3 ISO9001 quality objectives.

As an ISO9001 company we analyze, and document, everything that goes wrong, discuss it, and implement a new procedure to be sure that it can’t happen again. Being an ISO certified company is so much more than “extra paperwork”. It forces companies to do the right thing, take the right steps forward and to, not only look for new customers, but to take a step back and be sure you’re pleasing your current customers even more.

People talk about money multiple times a day so we know how important our wire and cable pricing is to our customers. We look at other websites pricing before uploading ours so that we know we’re competitive. If we’re not please let us know!

Please call if you have and questions or comments about our website.

WesBell Electronics, Inc
(800) 334-8400