Cables are often confused with wires. Although these terms are usually used interchangeably, they are two different things. A wire refers to a single electrical conductor, whereas a cable refers to two or more insulated wires wrapped in a sheathing.
This article will discuss the different types of the latter and their applications to help you identify the right option for your residential project. If you are involved in more complex undertakings, such as marine or industrial engineering projects, talk to a Singapore power cable stockist for a more accurate explanation.
Most Common Types of Cables
Electrical or power cables are used in numerous trades, from industrial and marine to offshore and oil and gas industries. There are more than 20 types of cables, each designed for various settings. Here are some of the most common types:
Metallic sheathed types are composed of three plain stranded copper wires, with one wire insulated with cross-linked polyethylene, another with PVC bedding, and the last one with black PVC sheathing. These are often used for outdoor applications and high-stress installations, such as large appliances and mains electricity.
Also known as non-metallic building wire, NM varieties have two to four wires wrapped individually in flexible plastic and another bare wire for grounding. These are often used for indoor residential cabling.
Underground feeder cables are like the NM variety, but are more water-resistant due to the wires being grouped and sheathed in thermoplastic. These are often used for in-ground applications and water-exposed installations and areas.
This type earned the name “coaxial” because it has two inner shields that share the same geometric axis. Sometimes referred to as heliax, these are often used for video equipment installations and television and radio frequency signal applications.
A twinaxial or twinax is a variant of the previous one. It has two inner conductors instead of one and is often used for high-speed signals in short ranges.
Another variation of the coaxial type, this one features heavy metalcore with multiple layers of banded metal sheathing, shock-absorbing gel, heavy rubber coverings, as well as wrapped thread-fortified tape. Because of its high tolerance to weather elements, it is often used for transmission or communication applications.
Paired cables are simply two individually insulated conductors paired to form one band. These are often used for low-frequency AC applications.
Twisted pairs resemble the simple paired variants, but instead of having two individually insulated conductors, this one has intertwined paired wires. These are often used for telephone communication and modern Ethernet network applications.
Unshielded Twisted Pair
Unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cables are exactly what the name suggests: two uninsulated wires that are twisted together. Because they are more affordable than coaxial variants, these are often used for signal transmission (telephones and data networks) and video (security cameras, etc.) applications.
As the name suggests, multi-conductors (MC) have more than one conductor, each of which is individually insulated. They usually have an outer insulation layer for extra protection. Because of their ease of use, they are commonly used for household applications.
Identifying the right cable for a specific application can be daunting, but this guide should give you an idea of what will work best for your upcoming project. When in doubt, call your friendly neighborhood electrician or power cable supplier for expert advice.