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Choosing the right wiring for the right job

11th March 2021

Choosing the right wiring for the right job

Find the perfect wiring cables to complete a range of domestic and commercial jobs.

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ElectricalDirect

The right kind of wiring is essential for getting your clients connected safely and securely. But with so much choice available, it could be easy to blow a fuse. 

This guide will show you all the different types of wiring cables on offer, making it easy for you to pair the right wire with the right task. From litz to braided, if it’s something we don’t know about electrical wiring, it’s not worth knowing. 

What are the different types of wires and cables?

Cables and wiring are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually two different things. A wire is a single metal strand, while a cable is two or more wires grouped together in a casing. There are various different types of wiring available, each with its own specific use. 

Fuse wire

Fuse wiring allows normal current to pass through it safely. However, it has a fairly low melting point, so if ever a short circuit causes a higher voltage to run through it, it will break. This keeps all other appliances safe and stops the whole property from short circuiting. 

Electric fuse wiring is a solid wire made from an alloy with a low melting point. 

Solid wire 

Solid wire is made from one piece of metal wire, surrounded by protective sheathing. Also known as solid-core or single-strand wire, it is often used for circuit breadboard wiring, or situations where less flexible wiring is required. These could include building infrastructure, the controls of vehicles or outdoor appliances. It is less susceptible to corrosion, making it ideal for outside use. 

Magnet wire

A solid wire usually made of copper, magnet wire - or enameled wire - is insulated with a very thin coating, allowing it to be tightly coiled. You’d use magnet wire in things such as inductors, motors and speakers.

Stranded wire

Stranded wire is made of multiple small wires wrapped together. It is much more flexible, and has a higher resistance to fatigue, than solid wire, and is used in things like AC line cords, welding electrode cables and small computer components. You also find stranded wire on electric guitars, if you fancy knocking one of those up in your spare time.  

Litz wire

A type of stranded wire, litz wire carries AC at radio frequencies. It’s made up of many thin wire strands, all individually insulated and twisted together. You’ll find it in radios, induction heating equipment and switching power supplies. 

Tinsel wire

Perfect for applications that require high mechanical flexibility, tinsel wire is far more resistant to metal fatigue than solid wire. It’s used in things like telephone cords, headphones and small electrical items.

Braided wire

Braided wire is made up of various strands of wire that are, as you might have guessed, braided together. It’s better at conducting than solid wire and doesn’t break easily, making it great for big scientific applications.                     

Which wire is used in home wiring?

Nearly all domestic and commercial buildings will use NM (non-metallic) cabling. The non-metallic nature of this cabling refers to the plastic sheath that covers it, with three individual wires concealed within. 

  • NM cable is colour coded to indicate the gauge it can carry. 
  • White sheathing indicates NM cable with 14-gauge conductors.
  • Yellow sheathing indicates NM cable with 12-gauge conductors.
  • Orange sheathing indicates NM cable with 10-gauge conductors.
  • Black-sheathed cable is used for both 6- and 8-gauge wire.

What are the types of cable?

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Cabling comes in all shapes and sizes, and we stock most of them. Here’s a quick look at what we can offer and why you might need it. 

3 Core and Earth Cable

The perfect choice for lighting installations, 3 core and earth cables allow you to turn lights on and off. Always useful with lights, we’ve found. 

Alarm cable 

Alarm cable is used in low voltage circuits, most commonly in things like burglar alarms. 

Data cable Data cable takes information from one place to another. You’ll find it in places like ethernet cables and USB cables. 

Double insulated cable

Offering protection against electric shock, double insulated cable is great for domestic and commercial applications where the area is dry or damp.

Fire resistant cable

If you’re installing a fire alarm or emergency lighting system, you’ll need fire resistant cable. This will keep things active despite the heat, helping people get to safety. 

Heat resistant flex

Heat resistant flex is ideal for household appliances such as washing machines and induction heaters.

Round PVC flex

Ideal for connecting plug-in electrical equipment to the mains supply, round PVC flex can be used for a range of electrical installations. 

Satellite and television cable

If you’re installing satellite TV or just setting up a new widescreen, you’ll need satellite and television cable

Single core cable

Single core cable is suitable for a range of indoor wiring tasks, such is its flexibility. 

SWA cable

When the going gets tough, the tough use SWA cable. Its extra layers of protection make it the only choice for situations that need an uninterrupted power supply. 

Telephone cable

You need telephone cable to receive both calls and an internet connection. 

Twin and earth cable 

You’ll find twin and earth cable throughout all domestic properties and office spaces, and it can easily be plastered into walls to keep it out of sight. 

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