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HomeTips & GuidesTypes of Cables: Basics of Cable Assemblies

Types of Cables: Basics of Cable Assemblies

Types of Cables: In today’s world, cables play an important role in many daily activities, from using your phone to driving your car to work. 

Therefore, you can understand the importance of having the right cable type for each application. The article below discusses the various types of cables and how to choose the right type for your application.

What is a Cable?

Cables are designed to convey electrical signals and power and, in some instances, drain static electricity to reduce the chances of sparks.

 They are usually made using single or multiple strands insulated from one another. Normally, they’re wrapped in an overlay, providing various mechanical, chemical, and electrical protection levels. 

The insulation is often thermoplastic rubber, PVC, or polyethylene. 

However, you can opt for silicone when dealing with high voltages (like IEC ignition circuits) or when high flexibility is necessary. 

Shielded Cables

The design features one or two insulated wires wrapped in aluminum Mylar foil or woven braided shields to reduce irregularities in external interference in radio and power frequency and improve signal transmission. Such cables have a protective shield and transmit high-voltage electric current.

Ribbon Electric Cables

The design features multiple insulated wires that run parallel to each other. They can transmit multiple data simultaneously. For instance, they can connect a motherboard to a CPU or interconnect networking devices.

Fiber Optic Cables

Fiber cables transport optic data signals from the light source you connect to a receiving device. 

Coaxial Cables

These cables are made of a copperplate steel or solid copper conductor enclosed in metallic tape and braid. They are completely covered with an insulated outer protective jacket. You can use them for audio-video networking and computer networking. 

Twisted Pair Cables

It has two or more insulated copper wires color-coded and twisted together and is normally used in telephone cables. You can use the number of wires to measure the resistance to external interference.

Types of Cables

You can classify cables into 4 categories according to their purposes.

  • Data cables convey signals of various types, such as DC, radio frequency, high frequency, etc.
  • Power Transmission cables – these cables convey high DC voltages (underwater and underground) and high AC voltages (overhead).
  • Grounding and Statistic cables – these cables convey electricity to the ground in applications like lightning rods and sensitive electronics manufacturing.
  • DC Power cables – these cables convey low voltages, often high current DC power.

What is the Type of Cable Used For Houses?

The cables normally used for house wiring are nonmetallic sheathed cables, often known as Rolex or NM. 

NM cables are cost-effective, easy to install, and available in different conductor diameters and formats to accommodate various electrical formats, such as workshops, outlets, and lighting. Hence, most professionals consider them the standard choice for house wiring in many places. 

It’s available in local variations to comply with various local requirements. These variations include overall conductor cross-sectional area, inner insulation color coding, and individual conductor strand count.

What is the Cable Used For TV?

You can use coaxial cables for TV signals. One signal wire runs down the center, air-gapped, and conveyed in a polymer tube wrapped in a return line or braided ground. The outer braided conductor acts as a Faraday cage, preventing high-frequency signals from injecting into the core data conductor.

Thanks to later development, putting the digital RGB signals onto individual single-core conductors without shielding, data signals are more robust. Therefore, multiple data lines for different sections of a video feed can run in the same space with lighter shielding than coaxial cables and maintain signal integrity by relatively simple filtering.

Today, video signals are conveyed in Cat 5 cables featuring simple filtration to reduce noise/interference to acceptable levels.

What is the Type of Cable Used For Electronics?

The variety of cables used for electronics is rather wide and heavily depends on the data transfer speed, distance, signal type, and application specifications. Common types include HDMI and USB cables (for HD audio and video transmission), flexible PCB and ribbon cables for PCB interconnecting, multicore and individual strand power cables, and ethernet cables for networking. 

Coaxial cables can also transmit signals in high-frequency and RF applications. Furthermore, you can use different types of audio cables, such as 3.55 mm and RCA, for audio connections.

What is the Type of Cable Used For the Internet?

Data transmission was generally done using Cat 4 cables, now commonly called Cat 5 cables. Cat 4 cables have 8 fine single-insulated cores in twisted pairs within a flexible and loose PVC sheath and no shielding, allowing positional bending/shaping. These cables don’t tolerate constant flexing. Although they are no longer used for data transmission, you can use them for phone connections (not VOIP).

Cat 5 cables offer better signal integrity than Cat 4 cables because they use moderate shielding and coarser conductors, enabling higher data rates with sufficient data integrity.

Ethernet Cable

Ethernet Cable

How to Choose a Type of Cable?

Choosing the right cable involves an orderly decision-making system to ensure you meet the precise requirements of your application. Below are the considerations you should take into account when choosing a cable.

  • Clearly outline your product’s or project’s cabling requirements, including signal type, voltage, integrity, currents, signal frequencies, RFI emissions and susceptibility, environmental conditions, and relevant standards or regulations.
  • Choose the general type of cable you need according to your precise description of functional requirements. Remember the insulation material, cable size, conductor material, flexibility/resilience, shielding, and installation.
  • Also, consider environmental conditions your cable has to resist/tolerate like chemical exposure, mechanical stress, temperature, and moisture. 
  • Ensure the cable you choose complies with the relevant industry performance standards, regulations, and quality standards.
  • Consider your project’s budget constraints and look for cost-effective options that comply with technical requirements.
  • Lastly, plan your cable path and consider factors such as bend radii, installation tools/methods, and distance.

Cable Assembly Benefits

Cables are raw materials consisting of insulators, conductors, shielding elements, sheathing, armor, and load-carrying elements. You can buy roll cables for installation or value-added work in terminating connector fitting, system assembly, and cutting. 

Conversely, cable assemblies include labor, raw conductors, and extra elements such as connectors, termination, additional protection, interconnects, and integration into various other system aspects.  

  • A cable assembly streamlines the design, production, testing, and installation process. It reduces costs and simplifies supply chains. 
  • These pre-assembled component solutions are often used in medical, heavy equipment, industrial, aerospace, and military applications, as you can specify the designs to meet specific requirements like sterilization, electromagnetic interference, and extreme environments. 
  • They also provide flexibility in weight reduction and can include active electronic components and options like sealing caps and bend reliefs.
  • Cable assemblies enable OEMs to deal with one trusted cable assembly partner instead of sourcing accessories, cables, and connectors one at a time. Such an approach significantly reduces costs while also simplifying production flow. 
  • Instead of investing in the workforce, supplies, expertise, and tooling you need to create strong and reliable cable assemblies in-house, custom assembly solutions arrive complete, tested, and ready for installation.

Types of Cable Assemblies at Cloom

For all your cabling needs, feel free to contact Cloom Tech.

Data and Video Cable Assembly – USB, DisplayPort, D-Sub, HDMI

Cloom supports numerous industry-standard cable configurations, including USB, D-Sub, RCA, DisplayPort, HDMI, and multiple variations. Each category includes female and male genders, USB connector types, and mini and standard variants. Also, Cloom supports several telephone jack and ethernet cable connector types, including RJ11, RJ45, etc. You can have each design overmolded to provide strain relief and sufficient ruggedization.

Power Cable Assembly

Standard power cables normally operate at lower than 120 VAC or lower than 30 VDC and use various cable technologies. Most cable designs feature standard wire construction materials like tinned copper conductors, thermoplastic connectors and over molds,  and PVC jackets. Also, Cloom supports several power extension cords and cables requiring SJT, SOW, and SOOW wires.

Low Voltage Hook-Up Wire Harnesses

Cloom supports several industry-standard and UL-spec wire harness designs that need 300 VDC or lower. With over 100 conductor options, there are solutions for multi-conductor cross sections and discrete wire. Such wire harnesses are the internal wiring for medical devices, industrial machines, consumer products, and everyday electronics.

EMI/RFI Cable Assemblies

In today’s world of cables and wires running everywhere, EMI and RFI threaten your cable assembly’s performance. Your application might need to leverage signals to prevent signal loss or degradation, hence the need for EMI and RFI shielding. EMI/RFI cable assemblies help mitigate signal loss and ensure optimum cable performance.

Molded Cable Assemblies

Molded cable assemblies are popular today, but you might not have noticed them. An example of a molded cable is an HDMI cable. You can use molded cable assemblies in applications that require a more finished and durable appearance.

HDMI Cable

HDMI Cable

Flat Ribbon Cable Assemblies

Flat ribbon cables organize the wires in a flat ribbon instead of in a bundle inside a sheath. These cables are no longer used in computers as they are difficult to trace in tight spaces; however, they’re still advantageous in applications that better suit their use. Ribbon cables enable mass termination for specially designed IDC connectors. They are more durable than round cables and ideal in situations where cable width is important.

Assembled Coaxial Round

Coaxial cables are electrical cables with an inner conductor that has a tubular insulating layer surrounding and conducting shield. Also, most coaxial cables feature an insulating outer jacket or sheath. Some applications of coaxial cables include aircraft, vehicles, radios, and medical equipment.

Automotive Wire Harness

Automotive wire harness designs feature special dustproof and waterproof caps and connectors or SAE approval specifications. They use compression-molded silicone seals, gaskets, grommets, and custom over molds. 

Military Cables

The Mil-Spec 38999 is a popular specification for military electrical harnesses. Most military cables need special corrosion-inhibiting conductor coatings and wire jacket materials that one can assemble with complex connector systems. All these features enable optimum performance in the harsh conditions the cable is bound to experience.

Medical Device Cable Assemblies

Medical devices use different cables to convey high-resolution power, and data signals. Most medical cables require sterilization, biocompatibility, and compatibility with ISO specifications. Therefore, medical cable assemblies can withstand sterilization and exposure to isopropyl alcohol. 

Conclusion

There you have it, all you need to know about the various types of cables. Plus now you can make a better decision regarding what cable type works best for your application. 

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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