Electrical wire comes in all sorts of different sizes, colors and types. How do you know what is the right one to use? We have many to choose from! Take a look at this handy guide for a quick summary.
What are the different types of wire and what are they used for?
At Del City, we have Parallel, Cross-Link, Primary, Speaker, Ripcord, Marine Tinned Copper wire and cable, RVI hook-up, Battery, Welding, Trailer, Brake, Booster, Shielded and Power Cords.
Parallel: Parallel wire is constructed of standard-wall; polyvinyl chloride (PVC) insulated wires that are extruded in two, three or four side-by-side configurations. Parallel wires are built to stay together under operating conditions, although they can be easily separated on the end of the run for termination or final connection. Parallel wire is color-coded for easy identification purposes. Application: Parallel wiring is ideal for wiring trailer lights, small trailers and other applications where economical wire is required.
Primary: Primary wire is an insulated wire that is highly resistant to grease, oil, and acids. Application: Many original, repair, and replacement applications use primary wire, or GPT wire, within their installs. This resistance makes it ideal for automotive, truck, trailer, marine, construction, agricultural, and many other applications.
Speaker: This type of speaker cable is designed as a 2 conductor wiring. The 2 conductor wire is made up of one copper wire and one tinned copper wire. Both copper wires are encapsulated in a clear PVC insulation that provides protection against flame, moisture, and abrasion. The clear insulation also makes it easy to identify the wires. Application: Wide variety of speaker systems, it is primarily constructed for car audio wiring or marine speaker wire for radios, aftermarket speaker systems and other audio amplifiers.
Cross-Link: Del City’s Cross-Link Wire is manufactured with a chemically cross-linked, polyethylene insulation providing extra protection in extreme environments. Application: Ideal wire choice for engine compartments and other high temperature environments.
Ripcord: This is an 18 gauge, 2 conductor cable that is encapsulated in black, white or brown PVC insulation, which provides protection against flame, moisture, and abrasion. The wire ends can be easily separated while remaining intact throughout the length of the cord. Application: Also known as lamp cord, is ideally used for making custom cord sets and other wiring applications for any household or industrial appliance, including light extension cords or alarm systems.
Marine: Manufactured with electroplated tinned copper housed in an extremely flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) jacket. This design allows the tinned wire to meet or exceed the certifications and ratings expected for marine grade wire. Application: Best for use with marine, automotive, and harsh environment applications in mind. Meets or exceeds UL1426, BC-5W2, US Coast Guard Charterboat CRF Title 46, ABYC, and CSA TEW standards.
RVI Hook-Up: RVI hook-up wire is copper stranded wire with thermoplastic insulation that is moisture resistant and provides extra protection against nicks and cuts. Application: Ideal for wiring machine tools, control cabinets, automotive and marine applications.
Battery: SGT and SGX battery cable is manufactured to SAE J-1127 specifications with copper stranding. The SGT cable features a thermoplastic PVC insulation, while the SGX cable features a high-grade, RoHS compliant, XPLE insulation. Both insulations are protective against the elements and resistant to oils, acids, and cracking. Application: Great for use in automotive, truck, trailer, marine, construction, agricultural, and many other applications.
Welding: Welding cable is manufactured with annealed rope-stranded bare copper and insulated with a flexible, waterproof ethylene propylene diene monomer jacked (EPDM). This construction makes Del City’s welding cables the ideal selection for common applications such as battery, solar panels, and vehicles. However, welding cable can also be used in other electrical applications depending on the demands and subject to the cables ratings. The welding cables EPDM jacket and finer cable strands that creates a high degree of flexibility. Application: These cables are a great option for cold weather installations or where tight areas require bends in the cable.
Trailer: Trailer cable, also known as trailer wire, is manufactured of multiple general purpose (GPT) wire conductors covered by an outer flexible PVC jacket. The full line offered by Del City is available in four (4) conductor, six (6) conductor or seven (7) conductor configurations. The internal primary wires are single conductor and are color-coded to industry standards. Application: Trailer wire is ideal for wiring trucks and trailers due to its durability and high resistance to cracking, abrasion, oil, acid and natural elements.
Brake: Features a flat, jacketed gray PVC insulation that provides protection against weather and acid effects. The inner conductors of the brake cable meet SAE standard J1128 with varying standard color codes based on conductor size. Application: Brake cable is commonly used as automotive cable in electric brake systems for vehicles, trucks, and trailer applications. Brake cable is also ideal for replacing, repairing, or building your vehicle applications electrical systems.
Booster: Booster cable consists of two battery cables extruded together, creating an exceptionally flexible option, even in sub-zero temperatures. Our dual booster cable wire is constructed with highly conductive 100% copper stranding to maximize current transfer. Application: Creating or hard wiring booster cables for extreme temperatures.
Shielded: Shielded wire is a multi-conductor wire constructed of stranded tinned copper conductors, polyester reinforced tape, and stranded tinned cooper drain wire shielding with a PVC jacket. The construction of the multi-conductor wire provides an additional layer of protection to combat the effects of EMI (Electromagnetic Interface). Application: Use in radio installations, security systems, and microphone systems.
Power Cord: Power Cord features an EPDM insulation that is resistant to oil, acid, impact, abrasion, sunlight, flame, and high temperatures. Application: This is a type of power cord that is designed for use with portable tools, small motors, and power extensions.
STANDARD WIRE COLORS
Standard wire colors as recommended by ABYC standards are:
WHAT SIZE WIRE DO I NEED?
AWG stands for American Wire Gauge and is equivalent to simply saying “Gauge” or “GA” in the United States. Del City carries wire as small as 20ga for primary wire all the way up to 4/0 for booster cable used on batteries. The gauge is measured on the amount/size of the wire strands inside the jacket. Some wires have thicker insulation that will result in a larger outside diameter.
WHY IS SOME WIRE MORE FLEXIBLE THAN OTHERS?
Wire flexibility is influenced by the wire strand size. Wire strand size has the largest impact on overall wire flexibility. As individual wire strand size decreases, wire flexibility increases. Having more small wire will give you a more flexible wire.
Hopefully you learned a few things about the wire that Del City offers. Take a look around the site and give us a call if you are not finding what you need! Still a little confused about some different cables? Check out our blog post on thedifference between Welding and Booster cable. You might be surpised! Now get out there and choose the proper wire for your needs!