3 Questions to Ask When Ordering Insulated Wire

From the most basic electrical wire harness to the most intricate cable and wire assembly, it is not difficult to find in some form or level of quality. Since wiring is used in such a wide variety of applications, it is popular and easy to find at any electronics or hardware shop. But if your goal is to have the highest quality materials possible, it is important to educate yourself about the qualities of wire before you buy. If you properly do your homework and take time to compare similar products, you will be much more likely to find the best materials to source your next project. Here are three important questions to ask when ordering insulated wire:

1. How well does the wire hold up to pressure?

While this can cover a broad range of issues, when choosing a specific wire for your assembly, you need to consider all of the demands of the project as well as any restraints caused by the environment where your assembly will operate.

First, consider all of the conditions the wiring will face during its lifetime of use before looking into specs for wires to meet your needs. In particular, you want to be aware of the cable assembly’s optimum operating temperature, its flexibility relative to the space constraints you are working with. If your assembly’s primary intended use is outdoors, or in rugged places where it might be run over by vehicles, you will want to consider the wiring’s resistance to water, humidity, extreme temperatures, and compression strength. Knowing these things before you start shopping will help you avoid repairs or wiring replacement in the future.

2. What is the material’s usage rating?

In addition to knowing how your insulated wire or cable will work in extreme conditions, you will also want to know how different wire grades will respond to the various environmental conditions in which it will be used. All cables are assigned a rating that determines the maximum current the cable can carry, as well as the maximum effective temperature of the conductor. Many wires, particularly those used in extreme environments and conditions, may have several ratings outlining its performance in ideal circumstances, places that experience extreme temperatures, as well as very wet or humid environments.

3. How was the cable made?

While often overlooked, the method used to construct the wire or cable you choose can have a huge impact on the wire’s durability and performance. For instance, wires that have been marked by a hot stamp have a greater probability of instances of damaged insulation and exposed wiring due to the pressure placed on the wire’s insulation during marking. When you are working on a highly intricate or large-scale assembly, it is important to look out for any problems that might have been caused by poor cable marking processes. The larger and more complicated the assembly, the greater the loss if just one wire turns out to be a dud.

If you know the capacity of the wire required by the parameters of your project, choose the right wire for the job, and know how to watch for damaged wires will make a huge difference in the performance and operating life of your assembly. For more information on how to choose the best wire for your project, consult a professional to avoid future replacements or repairs.