If you are in the need of a wiring solution for your product, it is good to know the differences between a cable assembly and a wire harness. The first step is to make good notes about what you need. Pay attention to how your product will be used, if parts of it are already assembled, and if any elements, such as heat, cold, or chemical exposure might affect the internal wiring. Making the time to take good notes will help guide your decision about which is best for the project at hand.

1. A cable assembly has multiple wires, bound together
A cable assembly is made of multiple cables or wires that are all bound together and covered by one sleeve. The wires are still individual under that sheath and function separately. At their ends, the individual wires each still feed through any one of a variety of couplers or connectors. However, the assembly appears as one unit. It looks and acts like one thick wire.

2. A cable assembly has a stress-resistant coating
The outer sleeve covering the wire bundle has extra, protective qualities that a wire harness can’t offer. With thermoplastic, rubber, or vinyl options for the covering, an assembly can be adept at handling many environmental or physical stresses. If the application you need undergoes exposure to heat, dust, moisture, chemicals, or friction, then it is smart to go with a specialized assembly to protect your product. Let the cable assembly manufacturer know what stresses you expect, so they can tailor the product to perfectly perform in those conditions.

3. A cable assembly is easier to thread around small spaces
Since the smaller wires are bound within one large sheath, a cable assembly is easier to use in small or tight spaces with a number of other components. Especially if the wiring is being retrofitted after construction or used in conjunction with some pre-fab parts, it could be good to use something that is easier to install without breaking internal components.

4. A wire harness is great for inside use
Wire harness consists of individual wires, each with its own protective coating, connected at one or both ends by a coupler or connector. The unit is still used as one part, but the wires are free to move on their own. A harness is a good option if the application it will be used in is protected from extreme elements and the weather. The wires will function reliably if they are enclosed in another external casing that will take the brunt of environmental stresses. This means that they won’t need to stand up to harsh environments on their own.

5. A wire harness could be less expensive
While it depends on the type, number, and quality of the wires, cable, or connectors used in the product being ordered, a harness might be a more cost-friendly option for the project at hand. If your product doesn’t need the technology for protection from harsh elements, and can easily be assembled in multiple parts, then it could be better to select a wire harness for the job.

If you would like to learn more about choosing the right wire harness, visit LoDan Electronics, Inc.