Things to know about electric cables

Things to know about electric cables

Electric cables are a group of wires sheathed together to transport electrical energy between two points. These cables are of different types and use various materials, depending on the purpose. They also come in multiple colors and sizes. If you are about to work on any electrical project and are looking for the best electric cables, here are a few things you need to understand about them so that you can buy the right ones.

Cable size
The cable’s size is determined by the gauge of the wire within it. Electric cables are numbered in such a way that a thicker one would have a smaller wire gauge. The number of wires is also mentioned, along with the size. For example, a 10/3 cable means there are three 10-gauge wires in it. The only exception to this rule is the ground wire, which is only denoted by the letter “G.”

The cable’s insulation color can vary depending on the wire material. The colors indicate if a cable consists of neutral, active, or earth conductors. Besides, the colors also change based on the location where the cable can be used. However, active wires are never given light blue, yellow, green, or black colors. That said, there is no standard color used across the globe.

Voltage categories
Electricity is measured in volts. So electric cables can be segregated by the number of volts they can conduct. The types are:

  • Low voltage
    Low voltage cables can be divided into two types: those that can carry up to 750V (used in applications and are generally covered with thermoset and thermoplastic coatings) and those that can carry up to 1,000V (used in infrastructures and public installations for industrial power installations). A few kinds of low voltage cables include armored cables, power cables, fire-resistant cables, halogen-free cables, rubber cables, solar cables, and so on.
  • Medium voltage
    These cables can carry between 1kV and 36kV of electrical energy. They are the best electric cables to carry current from electrical substations to transformer stations. A few medium voltage cables are RHZ1, HEPRZ1, MV-90, and RHVhMVh, among others.
  • High voltage
    Any electrical cable that can transport above 36kV of energy is considered a high voltage cable. They are generally used to transport electricity to electrical substations from generating power plants.

Understanding these factors can help you select the best electric cables for your project and avoid confusion when wiring your home.