Power Cables-9 Unknown Details About Power Cables

Everybody has used power cables. Your laptop, desktop, printer, monitor, and a variety of devices need power cables. However, you may not know everything you need about power-supplying cables.

Today, we will present nine unknown details about power cables that many don’t know. The information will help you custom the right power cable for your project. You will also learn to manage your power cables better for extended life. We will also make you aware of certain dangers.

Stay with us as we reveal the nine unknown details about power cables.

UK electric power cable plug
Alt: UK electric power cable plug

1. All Power Cords Don’t Have the Same Longevity

Don’t expect all the power cables to last the same number of years. Various factors determine the lifetime of a power cable. For starters, poor quality cables will certainly not last for many years. So, you always need to buy good-quality cables for longevity and safety.

Other factors that impact the life of a power cable include environmental factors. Too much heat or cold can affect the performance of the cable. How you install the cord can also reduce or increase longevity. Poor installations can reduce the lifetime of any cable, for that matter.

Sometimes, the type of cable also affects longevity. Not all power cables carry the same current and can have different lifetimes. Buying good quality cables and installing them is crucial to increase longevity.

power cords
Alt- power cords

2. All Cable Jackets are Not Moisture-Resistant

Power cords come with a protective cover made from rubber or PVC. Many people think the covers protect the cord from water and moisture. However, that is a misconception. The protective jackets protect the underlying wires or conductors. They do not always prevent moisture or water.

You should check your power cable specifications. The label will mention if it’s waterproof or not. If it’s not water-resistant, then you need to adopt certain precautions-

●Don’t expose the power cable to the water

●Prevent outdoor use in rain or snow

●Use your devices in dry conditions

Exposing power cables to water can damage the protective cover. It can also lead to electrical hazards. The conductor might even get damaged due to moisture.

You can use silica gel bags to soak moisture in the air near your power cables.

3. All Power Cords Can’t Resist Physical Impact

We often yank off power cables or expose them to physical stress. However, that may not be a good idea. Physical stress can damage the cord and make the connectors come off. It can also damage the wiring inside the insulation.

The armor over your power cable protects the internal features. But it doesn’t protect the cord against physical strain. So, always be careful while disconnecting power cables from your devices.
Good quality cables have the connectors molded into the armor. That provides some durability and strain relief to the cords. Poor quality cables often have gaps between the flex and insulation. As a result, they can’t offer the same durability.

Power cord set
Alt – Power cord set

4. Copper is Not Always the Right Choice

We tend to think copper is the best material for all power cords. But that is a misconception and far away from the truth. In reality, copper might not always be the conductor you need. Why?

Copper is expensive. It gets expensive if you need to use copper for long power cables or commercial purposes. Aluminum is, at times, the preferred choice due to its affordability.

Copper is also prone to oxidation and corrosion. It has a shorter life expectancy than other metals used as conductors.

Electrical surges are another issue with copper. The metal can’t hand small charges of electricity very efficiently. There can be electrical surges that might damage the device. Copper is also vulnerable to electromagnetic interference.

We suggest you evaluate your needs and then choose the right conductor.

5. Current Capacity is Not Always Consistent

We think power cords maintain the same current capacity throughout their life. But again, this is not the right idea. The current capacity depends on many factors. It can fluctuate and change over the lifetime of any power cable or wire.

One of the factors that affect current capacity is air temperature. The current-carrying capacity of a cable goes down as ambient temperature rises. Over time, your electrical cord may lose some of its electric transmission capacity.

Power cables generally have an operating temperature. You shouldn’t expose the cords to temperatures above the operating temperature. That might reduce current capacity and also damage the cable.

Other factors like grounding may also affect current capacity. Wear and tear, breakage, and other physical damages can reduce current capacity.

6. Insulation is a Top Concern

Power cords have some form of insulation over the internal conductors. Manufacturers use various materials to insulate power cables. PVC, rubber, fabrics, – the list of materials can belong. You need to choose the right insulation based on your needs.

Low-quality insulation often affects the power capacity and resistance of the cord. It can even make voltage-spike situations dangerous.

Reliable manufacturers make sure their cords have good insulation. The internal wires or strands come with individual insulation and are generally color-coded. On top of that, there is another insulation for extra protection. The material of insulation is the most often durable PVC.

Always go for power cables with good insulation. It can keep you safe and extend the life of your cord. You can also worry less about short circuits and other electrical hazards.

Insulation wire
Alt – Insulation wire

7. Choose the Right Wire Gauge

The diameter of your power cords determines the performance of the cable. You will most probably decide wire sizing based on AWG standards. However, choosing the biggest diameter cord is not always the right decision. Let’s see why!

AWG refers to the size of the diameter of the conductor in the cord. You can choose a thicker cable as it can carry more current. But on the downside, a thick cable is more expensive and less flexible.

The wire gauge also impacts the resistance of the cord. Improper wire gauge can lead to voltage drops and internal heating. It can also melt the insulators. There can be fire, damages to property, and even life.

Choosing the right wire gauge for your power cable is necessary. It’s not only required for project success but also for the safety of the users.

8. Do You Need Grounding?

Not all power cords have an earth conductor. Cheap power cables can come without an earth conductor. Or, they may have a poor-quality earthing, or a single insulated one. Electrical cords without earthing generally have just two pins.

Proper grounding makes way for a safer electrical connection. You can eliminate the worries of electrical shocks. Earthing also activates fuses or circuit breakers in the case of electrical faults. The same happens for voltage surges.

You should certainly choose power cables with grounding. A few more dollars can protect your equipment and create a safe environment. In some countries, it’s also illegal to manufacture power electrical cords without grounding.

Some cables may have double-insulated grounding. In that case, you will find a dummy pin on the plug that goes into the power outlet. Always check if your power cable has grounding or not before placing your order.

Choose the right wire gauge cable
Alt – Grounding wire

9.Dedicated Fusing for Power Cable Plugs

Some manufacturers include a fuse on the power cable connectors. It’s a common feature in good-quality power cords in countries like the UK. You can also order custom power cables with dedicated fusing for extra protection.

A dedicated fusing solves many issues. You no longer need to worry about voltage spikes as a fuse stands guard all the time. The fuse also decreases the need for the cable to be heavy-duty. That means a fuse can bring down your production costs.

Final Thoughts

Power cords have almost taken a universal role in our lives. We use them for our home, office, commercial, and even industrial purposes. So it makes sense to choose only reliable cables that are safe and efficient.

The best way to stay away from dangers and adopt safety is to go for high-quality power cords. You need not worry about insulation, protection, and other drawbacks in cheap cords. It’s also important to choose the right cable size and conductor. Consider grounding for high-voltage applications.

Get in touch with us to order custom power cables for your project at great rates!

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

Reach me at sales@wiringo.com to get a quote for your projects.

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