If you are an electrician or someone who works with electric wire and cable then you likely already know exactly what you are looking for, but if you do not then there are many things to consider. The first thing you should consider when buying cable is what it will be used for. Some electrical jobs require specialty wire. If it is a specific job like working on a marine battery for a boat then you need to be sure you have the proper cable for that job. Another important aspect to consider is the voltage. One of the most used wires in any electrician arsenal is the 600 volt wire. Wires of this voltage come in a few different materials and varieties.
As long as you’re qualified and have the proper experience there are plenty of practical uses for electric wire. One of the most common materials used is copper. Copper building wires are some of the most common. Copper THWN-THHN-2 is commonly used in conduits. When approved, it can also be used in cable trays and control circuits as allowed in the National Electric Code. It usually comes in various colors and can be cut according to the size you need. Another popular copper building wire is the SER copper service entrance cable. This cable can be used as above ground panel feeder cable for residential and commercial wiring.
There are also VNTC Tray Cables. They come in two different varieties. VNTC power cables are conductors of copper engineered to provide three phase power, while control cables are consist of multiple conductors (up to 60) and pairs for transmission of instrumentation and control signals. Both variations can be used for conduit, cable tray, and direct burial.
Aluminum 600 volt wires are another popular choice as well. Aluminum building wire is used frequently by electricians. There are XLP-USE Stranded and XHHW Stranded wires. They are primarily used in conduits, feeders, or branch circuit wiring. They may both be used in wet or dry locations, but should not exceed temperatures of 90°C. The main difference between the two is that XLP-USE Stranded wire can be used in direct burial application.
There are also aluminum triplex and quadruplex wire. These cables are often used as service drop conductors. Triplex cable contains three individual wires twisted around each other and is often used for overhead single-phase service. Quadraplex cable is similar, but contains four individual wires and is mostly used for three-phase service drops.
Once you know whether you are looking for triplex or quadruplex, the next step is to figure out if you need aerial cable or underground cable. Aerial cable is designed to supply power. It is usually applied from the pole mounted transformer to the user’s service entrance. Underground cable is suited for direct burial and can be installed in ducting underground.
It is true that copper and aluminum are the two most common materials used for cable. However, sometimes you have to think about more than just the cable’s material. Some jobs require wire that is specially designed. One major example would be marine battery cable. Marine grade wire is specifically designed to be flexible and is able to withstand corrosive agents like saltwater. When working with boats, you can’t use just any cable. It should be ABYC approved.
In regards to cable, there are plenty of options to choose from, but if you need a 600 volt wire then the best place to get one is EWCSwire.com. If you are looking for an aluminum cable, a copper cable, or a specialty marine cable they have exactly what you’re looking for. They offer all of these products and much more. If you have any questions about anything their knowledgeable employees be happy to point you in the right direction and find you the exact cable that you need.