They are everywhere, but we only pay attention to them when one needs to be replaced. Are all cables the same? How to distinguish them? What does each one work for? We clarify all your doubts about electrical wiring.
What is an Electrical Cable?
A cable is an element designed and manufactured to conduct electricity. They are usually made out of Copper, although they can also be made of Aluminum. The electrical cable composition includes: A conductor, insulation, the filler layer and an electrical wire jacket. Each element fulfills a mission:
Copper and Aluminum wires which are part of the cable that carries the electricity.
Covers the conductor and ensures that the current does not exit from the cable.
Located between insulation and the conductor. This achieves a circular and homogeneous appearance.
Electrical Wire Jacket
Protects the cable from the weather and external elements.
How Many Cable Types Are There?
The cable universe is incredibly complex and it is unthinkable to explain them all in this post. That’s why we are going to focus on the ones that are more common in our daily life. They can be differentiated according to several criteria:
Number of Conductor Wires
- Unipolar (Single conductor thread),
- Multipolar (more than one conductor thread) or
- Hoses (two or three conductors surrounded by protection).
- Rigid or flexible,
- Flat or round,
- Coaxial (With a copper-plated core),
- Braided (Formed by intertwined wires pairs),
- With or without insulation
- Bare wire (Rigid and with no coating)
- Insulated wire (Same as the previous one, but with an insulator)
- Flexible cable conductor (The most common) or cord.
- 1-T (Thermoplastic, is the most common),
- 2-H (Heat resistant, resists up to of 75ºC),
- 3-HH (Heat Resistant, resists up to of 90ºC),
- 4-W (Water resistant, resists water and humidity),
- 5-LS (Low Smoke, low emission of smoke and other polluting elements),
- 6-SPT (Service parallel thermoplastic, these are two flexible and parallel plastic cables joined together, also called a duplex cord).
Type of insulation
Electrical Wires Colors
Let’s understand why it’s important to identify the electrical wires‘ colors. The first reason is that when we get information about the wiring system and understand what each wire is responsible for, we can follow the leads to what is causing errors in the electrical system.
We often hear about situations in which electrical wiring has become disconnected or out of place, things that can cause malfunctions. In fact, one of the first questions any qualified electrician asks is – What is the color of the disconnected wire?
The second reason is that knowledge will allow us to judge the certified electrician’s work correctly.
What Does the Wires Colors Mean?
Normally the cable insulation is manufactured in one color or another so that we can easily distinguish its function. In most places:
Green and Yellow Wire
Phase cable, although it can also be black or gray, depending on the color of the incorporated device.
Neutral wire. They are also grounding, but they only connect to the transformer to bring power back.
Stripes Colored Cables
Neutral, the same as the previous ones. They are used to identify which neutral wire corresponds to which colored wire.
Except those with stripes, they are current or charging cables. The most common is red.