Types of Electrical Wires and Cables

Electrician Surprise

Wires and cables are two different things. They are often confused with each other. Many people call wires and cable the same thing. They both are very different, and should not be confused with. The difference between a wire and a cable is that a wire is a single electricity conductor, it is just one single wire, whereas a cable is a group of many wires in one covering, sheathed or unsheathed. In earlier times, the word ‘cable’ was used for a bunch of ropes intertwined around each other which were used to anchor the sailing ships. Wires and cables both have their own different types and kinds. They both come with color coding. Wires also come with wire lettering. All of them a have different code or lettering on them which are very essential. Electrician Surprise has detail knowledge about all types of wires and cables.

Types of Wires:
  • Triplex Wires: These are used between the power poles and the weather heads. They are made of two aluminum wires and a third neutral wire which acts as a common neutral wire.
  • Main Feeder Wires: These wires connect the service weather head to the home or the building. They are composed of THHN (a type of wire lettering) wires. They need 25% more cable load than required.
  • Panel Feed Wires: These wires are used for the circuit breakers. They are generally black in color and are insulated THHN. Similar to main feeder wires, they require 25% more cable load than necessary.
  • Non-metallic Sheathed Wires: These wires are mostly used in homes. They have 2-3 conductors which come with plastic insulation. They also have a bare grounding wire. They are cheaper, so they are used in wiring of houses.
  • Single Strand Wires: These wires have a pipe through which small wires can be drawn through. They also use THHN. They are very popular for buildings which use pipes for containing wires.
Types of cables:
  • Non-metallic Sheathed Cable: These cables have 2 or 4 wires which are covered with a flexible plastic covering. They also have a bare ground wire. Each wiring is individually wrapped in thermoplastic. Special varieties of these are used for either outdoor or underground use, but the other cables are most commonly used in households and indoor.
  • Metallic Sheathed Cable: These wires are also called BX cables or armored cables. They are mostly used for the supply of electricity in larger appliances or in the main junctions. They consist of 3 plain and stranded wires made of copper – one wire for current flow, another for grounding, and another is a neutral wire. They are insulated with PVC bedding, cross-linked polyethylene, and black PVC sheathing. They are commonly used in outdoor and larger installations.
  • Coaxial Cable: These cables consist of a thick wire, covered by a steel mesh for electromagnetic resistance and for prevention of electromagnetic fluctuations. They are very thick in nature and are very durable. They are most commonly seen in household for TV.
  • Twisted Pair Cable: These cables have 8 wires in them, intertwined and insulated. They can send data up to 100 meters in one go, and then they slow down after 100 meters. To boost their data sending capabilities, a repeater is installed. They are most commonly used in LAN connections, phone connections, security cameras, etc.
  • Optical Fiber Cable: These cables are made of glass, and they transfer data/electricity in the form of optical waves. To convert optical data, a converter is installed at each end of the cable. They are generally used where faster electricity is needed, or in telephone and radio towers. They are the fastest form of transferring data and electricity. They are installed underground in pipes.


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