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Choosing the right wiring for the job

20th December 2021

Choosing the right wiring for the job

We take a look at various types of wiring to help you 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 can be difficult and time consuming figuring out which wire is perfect for the job.

We take you through the most common types of wiring and cables, from general purpose to specific use, what they do and the wires and cables you'll need for your future jobs.

What is the difference between 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. This means that wires are a single conductor, and cables are a group of conductors.

Types of wiring and their uses

There are various different types of wiring available, each with its own specific use. 

Fuse wire

Fuse wiring allows standard current to pass through it safely. These wires feature a fairly low melting point, this has been implemented so that in the event of a short circuit causing a higher voltage to run through the wire, it will break. This keeps all other appliances safe and stops the whole property from short circuiting. 

Fuse wiring is mostly commonly used in plug operated appliances.

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 exterior use. 

Magnet wire

A solid wire usually made of copper, magnet wire, sometimes known as enamelled wire - is insulated with a very thin coating, allowing it to be tightly coiled. Common uses for use magnet wire include inductors, motors and speakers.

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Stranded wire

Stranded wire gets its name from the fact that it is made of multiple small wires wrapped together. It is much more flexible, and has a higher resistance to fatigue than solid wire. Stranded wire is used in electrical components such as AC line cords, welding electrode cables, small computer parts and even electric guitars.  

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. Tinsel wire is common place in 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.  

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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

An integral part of lighting installations, 3 core and earth cables are responsible for the process of allowing lights to be turned on and off.

Alarm cable 

Alarm cables are used in low voltage circuits, and as the name suggests, these cables are most commonly in various alarm systems. 

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

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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 to ensure extra safety in possibly higher risk installations.

Fire resistant cable

If you’re installing a fire alarm or emergency lighting system, you’ll need fire resistant cable. This will keep the circuit active despite the heat, making for a safe evacuation in an emergency.

Heat resistant flex

Heat resistant flex is ideal both domestic and commercial appliances that operate in high-temperature conditions, this incudes 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

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Single core cable

Single core cable is suitable for a range of indoor wiring tasks, including smaller household gadgets and appliances including computers and control panels. 

SWA cable

One of the toughest cables on the market, SWA cable is produced with extra layers of protection making it a solid choice for installations that need an uninterrupted power supply. 

Telephone cable

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

Twin and earth cable 

Twin and earth cables are one of the most common domestic wiring cables in many countries. You’ll find twin and earth cable throughout all domestic properties and office spaces, and an advantage of these cables is that they can easily be plastered into walls to keep it out of sight. 

Now you can tell your single core from your stranded, you'll be prepared for any wiring job with this guide in your back pocket.

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