10 Top Terms You Need to Know When Buying Custom Wire Harness

Are you in the process of ordering a custom wire harness?

Choosing custom wire or cable wire harnesses is not that easy. You need to be aware of many things that influence your decision. That’s why we created this post to resolve all your queries.

We are going to explain the most common terms related to wires and cables. With our information, you can make the right decision. We will help you understand the total times and buy the right product for your needs.

Let’s start with the most basic term you should know.

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1.Wire Harness and Cables

We certainly don’t need to explain much about wires and cables, and we use them every day for various purposes. You have the aux cable, electric wire, USB cable, coaxial cables, and so on.

The custom wire harness is also a type of wire or cable, and it helps connect two terminals or electrical ends to form an electrical connection.

Wires and cables have a conductor generally made of metal, and the conductor has insulation over it to protect it from abrasion, wear, and tear. Cables and wires also have connectors at their end that go into devices or other terminals.

HDMI Custom wire harness

Alt – HDMI Custom wire harness

2.American Wire Gage (AWG)

American Wire Gage (AWG) is a system of standardizing wire and cable measurement. AWG refers to the cross-sectional area of a wire. In the case of round cables, it’s the radius of the wire.

You can have wires as small as AWG 40 and as large as AWG 0000 (4/0). The higher the AWG, the lower is the diameter of the wire.

The change in the radius of wire influences various factors like resistance. Wires with more significant AWG values have lower resistances, meaning you lose less electricity due to transformation into heat.

Choosing the suitable AWG wire and cable is crucial, and it determines the success of your custom wire harness application. You can refer to AWG charts to get complete information on AWG nuances.

American Wire gauge

Alt –American Wire gauge

3.Wire Harnesses and Braided Wire

Custom wire harnesses can be of many types. One of them is the braided wire. Here, many small strands of wire form a braid, and you will not find a single round wire or strands of flat cables. The strands of wire build up around a core to create the final braided wire.

Braided wires are more durable than solid or stranded wires. They do not break or tear easily. They have been used in various applications like-

  • Grounding
  • Connecting mobile components
  • Bonding straps
  • Shielding cables

Many industries, like aerospace and mining, use braided wires. They offer high tenacity and flexibility. They have a three-number identification system, and you can determine the number of cables and carriers using the system. A coaxial cable is an example of a braided wire.

4.Wire HarnessCoaxial Cable 

A coaxial cable is a type of braided wire. You can find the use of coaxial custom wire harnesses in the audiovisual industry. Many audio and video devices also use coaxial cables.

Coaxial cables have an inner core generally made of copper. Then the manufacturer braids the copper shield on top of the dielectric insulator. On top of that, you have another protective insulation or sheathing.

Coaxial cables are ideal for the transmission of audio, video, and radio frequencies. You often find them in cable TV connections, DVD players, and home audio systems. Examples of coaxial cable are – RG6, RG11, RG8, and RG59.

Coaxial cable

Alt – Coaxial cable

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5.Wire HarnessConductor

A conductor is what differentiates a cable from a wire. A conductor in a custom wire harness is the wire that carries the electric signal. A wire has only one conductor, while a cable has several conductors.

Conductors can come from various materials. Common materials include copper, stainless steel, copper alloys, and so on. The conductor decides the electrical properties of a wire or cable. They include-

  • Operating temperature
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Solderability
  • Weight
  • Resistance

It would help if you chose the suitable conductor for your custom wire harness for project success.

 Electric conductor

Alt – Electric conductor

6.Wire HarnessRibbon Cable

The ribbon cable is a type of custom wire harness. Here, several conducting wires run parallel to each other, forming the line. Each wire has insulation and ends in a standard connector.

The old printer cables of computers used to be ribbon cables. You can still find them on some devices like billing or cash machines. The name of the line comes from its appearance that resembles a ribbon.

Ribbon cables are color-coded and come in various sizes. They have different connectors based on your application. Ribbon custom wire harness has other connectors like BT224 and micro ribbon connectors.

7.Wire Diameter

The wire diameter is just the diameter of your custom wire harness, and it’s the measurement in inches and reflected in the AWG wire sizes.

The diameter of the wire decides how much electric current it can carry. Wires with bigger diameters have lower WG values. But they are more significant and common on electrical resistance.

You can easily measure the diameter of a wire, and we have simple mechanical devices for the purpose. Nowadays, you may also find electronic diameter measurement devices.

Choosing the correct wire diameter is an essential task for any application.

8.Wire HarnessConnectors and Terminals

Connectors and terminals make a connection possible, and they join two circuits or wires and help pass information and electric signals. Here are the terms about custom wire harness that matter:

Connector: Connectors complete an electric circuit by connecting two points, and the electric component at the end of such a point is a connector.

We use electric connectors every day, maybe even without realizing it. USB Type-A, B, C are all connectors, and the 3.5mm jack on your headphone is also a connector. Other examples include audio connectors, computer connectors, power connectors, and so on.

Terminal: By definition, a terminal is the end-point of a conductor or wire. However, a terminal can also mean terminal connectors. They help form a connection between two conductors or wires to complete a circuit

—for example- crimp terminal, screw terminal, and turret terminals.

Contact: Contacts form the metal portions of a connector, and they create an electrical connection by contact with each other. You can check out any connector to find the metal contacting parts.

Crimp: Crimp connectors use a unique tool to attach the connector to the wire. They provide an easy way to connect without soldering and crimped telephone cables, and coaxial connectors are good examples.

Crimp height: Crimp height is the length of the crimped terminals. You need to choose the right crimp height for your custom wire harness for the best conductivity.

Double crimp: Double crimp connectors have to crimp on both sides of the terminal, making way for a tighter crimp.

Ferrule: A ferrule connector uses a ferrule to protect the terminals. You can find ferrule connectors mostly in fiber optic connections.

Connectors for strength

Alt – Connectors for strength

9.Wire HarnessRF Connector

RF connectors are ideal for radio frequency applications in the multi-megahertz range. You can use an RF connector on your custom wire harness along with a coaxial cable. The connectors have wide-scale use in TV set-top boxes, Wi-Fi routers, radio devices, and more.

There are various types of RF connectors

  • BNC connector
  • GR connector
  • SR connector
  • C-type connector
  • DIN connectors
  • SMA connector

RF connectors are both male and female. A male RF connector has a pin in the middle that goes into the socket of the female plug., and RFconnectors have treads to fasten the other connector for a secure connection.

10.Wire HarnessAdditional Terms

Here are some additional custom wire harness terms to know about-

Strain relief: Strain relief is a physical feature of electrical connectors. Strain relief prevents external forces from damaging the electrical connection.

Insulation: Insulation is the protective covering over a core or strands of a wire or cable, and it protects the wire from external damages, breakage, and wear and tear.

Bellmouth: Bellmouths help cables quickly go into cable ducts to prevent any damage. They often have screws to secure the line in place, and Bellmouths also protect the cable duct from damage.


We hope you learned a great deal about custom wire harnesses. Now you can select the suitable cable and wire for your project. Our information will make your application a successful product. Get in touch with us to learn how we can provide your custom cables at the best prices. We also assure top quality, fast turnaround, and excellent craftsmanship. Get your custom cables from us for the best results.

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