A: Common abbreviation for Ampere. 

AB Switch: A coaxial cable switch capable of switching one cable to one of two branch cables, A or B. 

AC: Alternating Current. Electric current that periodically reverses direction. Alternating current is generally abbreviated AC. 

ACSR: Aluminum conductor, steel reinforced. 

ACSR/A W: Aluminum conductor, steel reinforced, using aluminum clad steel wire. 

ACSR/AZ: Aluminum conductor, steel reinforced, using aluminum steel wire. 

ACSR/GA: Aluminum conductor, steel reinforced, using a zinc coated steel wire. 

ACSR/GB: Aluminum conductor, steel reinforced, using class B zinc coated steel wire. 

ACSR/GC: Aluminum conductor, steel reinforced, using class C zinc coated steel wire. 

ACT: Acknowledgement. A control character used (with NAK) in BSC communications protocol. 

ACU: Automatic Calling U nit. Alp: Analog/Digital. 

ADCCP: Advanced Data Communications Control Procedure. 

ALS: A type of cable consisting of insulated conductors enclosed in a continuous, closely fitting aluminum tube. 

ASME: Abbreviation for American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 

ASTA: United Kingdom approval agency. 

ASTM: Abbreviation for the American Society for Testing and Materials, a non -profit industry-wide organization which publishes standards, methods of test, recommended practices, definitions and other related material. 

AWM: UL designation for Appliance Wiring Material. 

Accelerated Aging: A test that attempts to duplicate long-time environmental aging in comparatively short time spans. 

Accelerator: A chemical additive which hastens a chemical reaction under specific conditions. 

Adhesive-Bonded: Cables bonded by adding an adhesive coating to the surface of the cable components, then joining and curing the adhesive to form a cable. See Bonded Cables. 

Admittance: The measure of the ease with which an alternative current flows in a circuit. The reciprocal of impedance. 

Aerial Cable: A cable suspended in the air on poles or other overhead structure. 

Aging: The change in properties of a material with time under specific conditions. 

Air Core Cable: A cable in which the interstices in the cable core are not filled with a moisture barrier. 

Alligator Clip: A mechanical device shaped like alligator jaws used as a temporary connection on the end of interconnections wire. 

Alloy: A metal formed by combining two or more different metals to obtain desirable properties. 

Aluminum-Steel Conductor: A composite conductor made up of a combination of aluminum and steel wires. 

Ambient Temperature: The temperature of a medium (gas or liquid) surrounding an object. 

American Wire Gauge (AWG): The standard system used for designating wire diameter. The lower the AWG number, the larger the diameter. Also called the Brown and Sharpe (B&S) Wire Gauge. 

Ampacity: See Current-Canying Capacity. 

Ampere: The unit of current. One ampere is the current flowing through one ohm of resistance at one volt potential. 

Analog: Transmission data densities by continuously variable quantities. 

Anneal: Relief of mechanical stress through heat and gradual cooling. Annealing copper renders it less brittle. 

Annealed Wire: Also soft wire. Wire that has been drawn or ro11ed to final size and then heated (annealed) to remove the effects of cold working. 

Annular Conductor: A number of wires stranded in three reversed concentric layers around a core. 

Anti-Oxidant: A substance which prevents or slows down oxidation of material exposed to air. 

Appliance Wire and Cable: A classification covering insulated wire and cable for internal wiring of appliances and equipment. 

Arc Resistance: The time required for an arc to establish a conductive path in a material. 

Armored Cable: A cable provided with a wrapping of metal for mechanical protection. 

Attenuation: Power loss in an electrical system. In cables, generally expressed in db per unit length, usually 100 ft. 

Audio Frequency: The range of frequencies audible to the human ear, usually 20-20,000 Hz. 



B & S: Brown and Sharpe wire gauge. same as  AWG. 

B & S Gauge: The same as American Wire Gauge (AWG). 

Ballast: A device designed to stabilize current flow. 

Band Marking: A continuous circumferential band applied to a conductor at regular intervals for identification. 

Band Width: The frequency range of electrical signals transmitted. 

Banded Cable: Two or more cables banded together by stainless steel strapping. 

Bare conductor: A conductor having no insulation or jacket. 

Barrel-Packed: Method of coiling into a fiber drum for shipment. 

BCF: Abbreviation for billion conductor feet. 

BNC: Common connector for coax. BNC is said to be short for bayonet­ niell-concelman. 

Belt: Number of layers of insulation on a conductor or number of layers of jacket on a cable. 

Belted-Type Cable: Multiple conductor cable having a layer of insulation over the assembled insulated conductors. 

Bend Radius: The radius of the bend (usually designated as a multiple of product diameter) at which a wire product can be safely bent without significantly affecting its ability to function. Bifilar A winding made non- inductive by winding together (as one wire) two wires carrying current in opposite directions. 

Bimetallic Wire: A wire formed of two different metals joined together (not alloyed). 

Binder: A spirally served tape or thread used for holding assembled cable components in place awaiting subsequent manufacturing operations. 

Binding Post: A device for clamping or holding electrical conductors in a rigid position. 

Bond Strength: Amount of adhesion between bonded surfaces, e.g. in cemented ribbon cable. 

Bondable Wire: An insulated wire treated to facilitate adherence to materials such as potting compounds. Also, magnet wires used in making coils when bonding the turns together is desired 

Bonded Cable: Cable consisting of pre-insulated conductors or multi­ conductor components laid in parallel and bonded into a flat cable. See Adhesive- Bonded. 

Bonded Construction: An insulation construction in which the glass braid and nylon jacket are bonded together. 

Booster: A device inserted into a line (or cable) to increase the voltage. 

Boot: (1) Protective covering over a cable wire, or connector in addition to the normal jacketing or insulation. (2) A form placed around wire termination of a multiple- contact connector to contain the liquid potting compound before it hardens. 

Border Light Cable: Same as stage cable but more than two conductors. Type SO cable is often used. 

Bore Hole Cable: Power and/or communication cable suspended down a vertically drilled hole to equipment underground. 

Braid: A fibrous or metallic group of filaments interwoven in cylindrical form to form a covering over one or more wires. 

Braid Carrier: A spool or bobbin on a braid which holds one group of strands or filaments consisting of a specific number of ends. 

Braid Ends: The number of strands used to make up one carrier. The strands are wound side-by-side on the carrier bobbin and lie parallel in the finished braid. 

Braiding Machine: Machine used to apply braids to wire and cable and to produce braided sleeving and braids for tying or lacing purposes. Braiding machines are identified by the number of carriers. 

Brazing: The joining of ends of two wires, rods or groups of wires with nonferrous filler metal at temperatures above 800 F (427 C). 

Breakdown (Puncture): A disruptive discharge through the insulation. 

Breakdown Voltage: The voltage at which the insulation between two conductors breaks down. 

Breakout: The point at which a conductor or group of conductors breaks out from a multi-conductor cable to complete circuits at various points along the main cable. 

British Standard Wire Gauge: A modification of the Birmingham Wire Gauge and the legal standard of Great Britain for all wires. Also known as Standard Wire Gauge (SWG), New British Standard (NBS), English Legal Standard and Imperial Wire Guide. 

BTT: A plastic insulated thermostat cable with two or more conductors with a treated cotton braid overall. 

Building Wire: Wire used for light and power, 600 volts or less, usually not exposed to outdoor environment. 

Bunched Stranding: A group of strands twisted together in a random manner and the same direction without regard to geometric arrangement of specific strands. 

Buncher: A machine that twists wires together in random arrangement. 

Bundle (Fiber Optic): A number of fibers grouped together, usually carrying a common signal. 

Buried Cable: A cable installed directly in the earth without use of underground conduit. Also called Direct Burial Cable. 

Bus: Wire used to connect two terminals inside of an electrical unit. 

Bushing: A mechanical device used as a lining for an opening to prevent abrasion to wire and cable. 

Butt: Joining of two conductors end-to-end, with no overlap and with the axes in line. 

Butt Splice: A splice wherein two wires from opposite ends butt against each other, or against a stop, in the center ofa splice. 

Butt Wrap: Tape wrapped around an object or conductor in an edge-to- edge condition. 

Butyl Rubber: A synthetic rubber used for electrical insulating purposes. 

BWG: Birmingham wire gauge. 

BX: Building wire with flexible interlocked steel armor. 

Byte: Typically a group of eight binary digits. 


C: Symbol designation for capacitance, bias supply and centigrade.

CBO: Rubber-insulated Brewery Cord.

C-SJ: Same as SJ except extra- flexible conductor.

C-SJO: Same as SJO except extra – flexible conductor.

CATV: Acronym for Community Antenna Television.

CCTV: Acronym for Closed-Circuit Television. One of the many services often found on broadband networks.

CEBEC: Belgium Approval Agency; Comite Electrotechnique Beige Service de la Marque.

CEE: European Standards Agency; International Commission on Rules for the Approval of Electrical Equipment.

CENELEC: European Standards Agency; European Committee for Electrotechnical Norms.

CFC: Two or three types of fixture wires twisted together, no outer covering 300V, 90C.

CSA: Abbreviation for Canadian Standards Association.

CV: Abbreviation for continuous vulcanization.

Cable: A stranded conductor with or without insulation and other coverings (single- conductor cable) or a combination of conductors (multiple- conductor cable).

Cable Assembly: Typically, the cable and associated connectors ready to install.

Cable Clamp: A device used to give mechanical support to the wire bundle or cable at the rear of a plug or receptacle.

Cable Clamp Adapter: A mechanical adapter that attaches to the rear of a plug or receptacle to allow the attachment of a cable clamp.

Cable Core: The portion of an insulated cable lying under a protective covering.

Cable Core Binder: A wrapping of tapes or cords around the conductors of a multiple conductor cable used to hold them together.

Cable Filler: The material used in multiple conductor cables to occupy the interslices formed by the assembly of the insulated conductors, thus forming a cable core.

Cable Sheath: The protective covering applied to cables.

Cabling: Twisting together two or more insulated conductors by machine to form a cable.

Cabling Factor: Used in the formula for calculating the diameter of an unshielded, unjacketed cable. D=Kd, where D is the cable diameter, K is the factor and d is the diameter of one insulated conductor.

Capacitance: The ratio of the electrostatic charge on a conductor to the potential difference between the conductors required to maintain that charge.

Capacitance, Direct: The capacitance measured from one conductor to another conductor through a single insulating layer

Capacitance, Mutual: The capacitance between two conductors (typically ofa pair) with all other conductors, including shield, short circuited to ground.

Carrier: The woven element of a braid consisting of one or more ends (strands) which creates the interlaced effect. Also, a spindle, spool, tube or bobbin (on a braiding machine) containing yarn or wire, employed as a braid.

C Connector: A bayonet-locking connector for coax; C is named after Carl Concelman.

Certificate of Compliance (C of C): A written statement, normally generated by a Quality Control Department, which states that the product being shipped meets customer’s specifications.

Certified Test Report (CTR): A report reflecting actual test data on the cable shipped. Tests are normally conducted by the Quality Control Department and show that the product being shipped meets the required test specifications.

Characteristic Impedance: The impedance that when connected to the output terminals of a transmission line, of any length, makes the line appear indefinitely long.

Chlorinated Polyethylene (CPE): Rubbery polymer used for insulation and jacketing of wire and cable. Manufactured by Dow Chemical under the trade name Tyrin.

Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene (CSPE): A rubbery polymer used for insulation and jackets. Manufactured by E.I. DuPont under the trade name of Hypalon.

Cigarette Wrap: Tape insulation wrapped longitudinally instead of spirally over a conductor.

Circuit: A complete path over which electrons can flow from the negative terminals of a voltage source through parts and wires to the positive terminals of the same voltage source.

Circuit Sizes: A popular term for building wire sizes 14 through 10 AWG.

Circular Mil: The area of a circle one mil (.00 I”) in diameter; 7 .854 x I 0-7 sq. in. Used in expressing wire cross sectional area.

Cladding: Method of applying a layer of metal over another metal whereby the junction of the two metals is continuously welded.

Closed End Splice: An insulated splice in which two or more wires overlap and enter the splice from the same end ofthe barrel.

Coaxial Cable: A cable consisting of two cylindrical conductors with a common axis, separated by a dielectric.

Coated Wire: Any metal covered by a relatively thin coating of a different metal such as tin, zinc or other alloy by a dip bath and wipe process, often at high speeds in line with insulating equipment.

Coaxial Connector: A connector that has a coaxial construction and is used with coaxial cable.

Coil Effect: The inductive effect exhibited by a spiral- wrapped shield, especially above audio frequencies.

Cold Flow: Permanent deformation of the insulation due to mechanical force of pressure (not due to heat softening).

Color Code: A color system for wire or circuit identification by use of solid colors, tracers braids, surface etc.

Compact Conductor: Stranded conductor rolled to deform the round wires to fill the normal interstices between the wires in a strand.

Composite (Clad) Wire: A wire having a core of one metal with a fused outer shell of different metals.

Composite Conductor: Two or more strands of different metals assembled and operated in parallel.

Compound: An insulating or jacketing material made by mixing two or more ingredients.

Compression Cable: A pipe-type cable in which the pressure medium is separated from the insulation by a membrane or sheath.

Concentric: A central core surrounded by one or more layers of helically-wound strands in a fixed round geometric arrangement.

Concentricity: The measurement of the location of the center of the conductor with respect to the geometric center of the circular insulation.

Concentric- Lay Cable: A concentric- lay conductor, or a multiple- conductor cable composed of a central core surrounded by one or more layers of helically-laid insulated conductors.

Concentric Strand: A strand that consists of a central wire or core surrounded by one or more layers of spirally-laid wires.

Conductance: The ability of a conductor to carry an electric charge. The ratio of the current flow to the potential difference causing the flow. The reciprocal of resistance.

Conductivity: The capacity of a material to carry electrical current­ usually expressed as a percentage of copper conductivity (copper being one hundred percent).

Conductor: (1) A wire (or combination of wires not insulated from one another) suitable for carrying electric current or (2) A material suitable for carrying an electric current. Several types are as follows:

  • Concentric-lay conductor – conductor constructed with a central core surrounded by one or more layers of helically laid wires.
  • Compact round conductor – a conductor constructed with a central core surrounded by one or more layers of helically laid wires and formed into final shape by rolling, drawing or other means.
  • Conventional concentric conductor – conductor constructed with a central core surrounded by one or more layers of helically laid wires. The direction of lay is reversed in successive layers and generally with an increase in length of lay for successive layers.
  • Equilay conductor – conductor constructed with a central core surrounded by more than one layer of helically laid wires, all layers having a common length of lay, direction of lay being reversed in successive layers.
  • Parallel conductor – conductor constructed with a central core of parallel-laid wires surrounded by one layer of helically laid wires.
  • Rope-Lay conductor – conductor constructed of a bunch-stranded or a concentric-stranded member or members, as a central core, around which are laid one or more helical layers of such members.
  • Unidirectional conductor – conductor constructed with a central core surrounded by more than one layer of helically laid wires, all layers having a common direction of lay, with increase of lay for each successive layer.
  • Unilay conductor – conductor constructed with a central core surrounded by more than one layer of helically laid wires, all layers having a common length and direction of lay.

Conduit: A tube or trough in which insulated wires and cables are run.

Connector: (I) A device used to provide rapid connect/disconnect service for electrical cable and wire terminations; or (2) A metallic device of suitable electric conductance and mechanical strength, used to splice the ends of two or more cable conductors or as a terminal connector on a single conductor. Connectors usually fall into one of the following types:

  • solder
  • welded
  • mechanical
  • compression or indent

Conductors are sometimes spliced without connectors, by soldering, brazing or welding.

Contact: The part of a connector which actually carries the electrical current and is touched together or separated to control the flow.

Contact Inspection Hole: A hole in the cylindrical rear portion of contact used to check the depth to which a wire has been inserted.

Contact Size: The largest size wire which can be used with the specific contact. Also, the diameter of the engagement end of the pin.

Continuity Check: A test to determine whether electrical current flows continuously throughout the length of a single wire or individual wires in a cable.

Contra-helical: Cable spiraling in an opposite direction than the preceding layer within a wire or cable.

Control Cable: A multi-conductor cable made for operation in control of signal circuits.

Controlled Impedance Cable: Package of two or more insulated conductors where impedance measurements between respective conductors are kept essentially constant throughout the entire length.

Copolymer: A compound resulting from the polymerization of two different monomers.

Copper-Clad: Steel with a coating of copper welded to it before drawing as opposed to copper- plated. Synonymous with Copperweld.

Copperweld: The trade name of Flexo Wire Division (Copperweld Steel Corp.) for their copper-clad steel conductors.

Cord: A small, flexible insulated cable.

Cord Set: Portable cords fitted with a wiring device at one or both ends.

Core: In cables, a component or assembly of components over which other materials are applied, such as additional components, shield, sheath or armor.

Corona: A discharge due to ionization of air around a conductor due to a potential gradient exceeding a certain critical value.

Corona Resistance: The time that the insulation will withstand a specified level of field intensified ionization that does not result in the immediate complete breakdown of the insulation.

Corrosion: The destruction of the surface of a metal by chemical reaction.

Coulomb: The derived S[ unit for quantity of electricity or electrical charge. One coulomb equals one ampere-second.

Coverage: The calculated percentage which defines the completeness with which a metal braid covers the underlying surface.

Covering: Textile braid or jacket of rubber, plastics or other materials applied over wire and cables to provide mechanical protection and identification.

CPE: Dow chemical trademark for chlorinated polyethylene. A jacketing compound.

CPP: Cable patch panel. CPU: central processing unit. CR: Carriage return

Crazing: The minute cracks on the surface of plastic materials.

Creep: The dimensional change with time of a material under load.

Creepage: The conduction of electricity across the surface of a dielectric.

Creepage Path: The path across the surface of a dielectric between two conductors.

Creepage Surface: An insulating surface which provides physical separation as a form of insulation between two electrical conductors of different potential.

Crimp: Act of compressing a connector barrel around a cable in order to make an electrical connection.

Crimp Termination: Connection in which a metal sleeve is secured to a conductor by mechanically crimping the sleeve with pliers, presses, or automated crimping machines.

Cross-linked: Inter-molecular bonds between long-chain thermoplastic polymers by chemical or electron bombardment means.

Crosstalk: Undesired electrical currents in conductors caused by electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling from other conductors or from external sources.

CT: Cable tray, NEC Art. 3 I 8. A cable marking indicating a single conductor cable suitable for use in a cable tray.

Cure: To change the physical properties of a material by chemical reaction.

Curing Cycle: The time, temperature and pressure required for curing.

Curl: The degree to which a wire tends to form a circle after removal from a spool. An indication of the ability of the wire to be wrapped around posts in long runs.

Current: The rate of transfer of electricity. Practical unit is the ampere which represents the transfer of one coulomb per second. In a simple circuit, current (I) produced by a cell or electromotive force (E) when there is an external resistance (R) and internal resistance (r) is: I= E/(R+r)

Current-Carrying Capacity: The maximum current an insulated conductor can safely carry without exceeding its insulation and jacket temperature limitations.

Current Density: The current per cross sectional area in units of amperes/meters to the second power.

Cut- Through Resistance: The ability of a material to withstand mechanical pressure, usually a sharp edge or small radius, without separation.

Cycle: The complete sequence including reversal of the flow of an alternating electric current.


D: Denotes a type of steel armor consisting of a “D” shaped steel strip wound around the outer surface of a cable or cable assembly with two or more conductors.

DAC: Digital to analog converter.

DB: Denotes direct burial or double braid.

D.C.: Abbreviation for Direct Current.

DEMKO: Approval agency of Denmark.

DRT: Plastic range and dryer cord (CSA).

Decibel (db): A unit to express differences of power level. Used to express power gain in amplifiers or power loss in passive circuits or cables.

Delay Line: A cable made to provide very low velocity of propagation with long electrical delay for transmitted signals.

Depth of Crimp: Thickness of the crimped portion of a connector measured between two opposite points on the crimped surface.

Derating Factor: A factor used to reduce the current-carrying capacity of a wire when used in environments other than that for which the value was established.

Dielectric: An insulating medium which intervenes between two conductors and permits electrostatic attraction and repulsion to take place across it.

Dielectric Breakdown: The voltage required to cause an electrical failure or breakthrough of the insulation.

Dielectric Constant (K): The ratio of the capacitance of a condenser with dielectric between the electrodes to the capacitance when air is between the electrodes.

Dielectric Loss: Power dissipated in an insulating medium as the result of the friction caused by molecular motion when an A.C. electric field is applied.

Dielectric Strength: The voltage which an insulation can withstand before breakdown occurs. Usually expressed as a voltage gradient (such as volts per mil).

Dielectric Test: A test in which a voltage higher than the rated voltage is applied for a specified time to determine the adequacy of the insulation under normal conditions.

Digital: Transmission data represented by discrete characters.

DIN: Deutsches Institut fur Normung(DIN). The German standard for many products.

Dip Coating: An insulating coating applied to the conductor by passing the conductor through an applicator containing liquid insulating medium.

Direct Burial Cable: A cable installed directly in the earth.

Direct Capacitance: The capacitance measured directly from conductor to conductor through a single insulating layer.

Direct Current: An electric current which flows in only one direction.

Direct Current Resistance (OCR): The resistance offered by any circuit to the flow of direct current.

Direction of Lay: The lateral direction in which the strands of a conductor run over the top of the cable conductor as they recede from an observer looking along the axis of the conductor or cable. Also applies to twisted cable.

Directional Coupler: A passive device used in a cable system to divide or combine uni-directional RF power sources.

Discrete Wiring: Wire or wires having distinct identity and purpose.

Disruptive Discharge: A sudden, large increase in current through an insulation medium due to the complete failure of the medium under the electrostatic stress.

Disturbed Conductor: A conductor that receives energy generated by the field of another conductor or an external source, such as a transformer.

DIW: D-lnside Wire. Also called unshielded twisted pair (UTP). The standard wire originally designated for voice communications. Typically, DIW consists of four pairs of copper wire in the same sheath. Each pair is twisted around on another.

Drain Wire: In a cable, the uninsulated wire laid over the component or components and used as a ground connection.

Draw Feed Stock: Rod or wire that is subsequently drawn to a smaller size.

Drawing: In wire manufacture, pulling the metal through a die or series of dies to reduce diameter to a specified size.

Dual Coaxial Cable: Two individually-insulated conductors laid parallel or twisted and placed within an overall shield and sheath.

Duct: An underground or overhead tube for carrying electrical conductors.

Duplex: Two-way data transmission on a four-wire transmission line.

Duplex Cable: A cable composed of two insulated single-conductor cables twisted together.

Duplex Parallel: Typically used in the thermocouple industry to denote two parallel conductors of dissimilar metals insulated in parallel without twist and jacketed. Commonly applied to thermocouple grades and extension wires.

Durometer: A measure of hardness.


E: Symbol for voltage. Usually used to represent direct voltage or the effective (root-mean- square) value of an alternating voltage.

EFTS: Abbreviation for Electronic Funds Transfer System.

EIA: Abbreviation for Electronic Industries Association (Formerly RMA or RETMA).

EMI: Abbreviation for electromagnetic interference.

EPDM: Ethylene-propylene- diene monomer rubber.

EPR: Ethylene- propylene rubber.

ESTA: Australian approval agency; Electricity Trust of South Australia.

ETPC: Abbreviation for electrolytic tough pitch copper. It has a minimum conductivity of99.9%.

Eccetricity: Like concentricity, a measure of the center of a conductor’s location with respect to the circular cross-section of the insulation. Expressed as a percentage of displacement of one circle within the other.

Eddy Current: Circulating currents induced in conducting materials by varying magnetic fields.

Elastomer: (l) A rubber or rubber- like material which will stretch repeatedly to 200 percent or more and return rapidly and with force to its approximate original shape or (2) any material that will return to its original dimensions after being stretched or distorted.

Electric Blanket Wire: PVC plastic insulated and jacketed, Resistance wire for stringing through electric blankets and heating pads, mats, gloves, boots, etc.

Electro-Tinned: Electrolytic process of tinning wire using pure tin.

Electrode: A conductor through which a current enters or leaves a non­ metallic conductor.

Electromagnetic Coupling: Energy transfer by means of a varying magnetic field.

Electromagnetic Field: A rapidly moving electric field and its associated moving magnetic field.

Electromagnetic Induction: The production of a voltage in a coil due to a change in the number of magnetic lines of force (flux linkages) passing through the coil.

Electromotive Force (e.m.f.): Pressure or voltage. The force which causes current to flow in a circuit.

Electron: An elementary particle containing the smallest negative electric charge.

Electronic Wire and Cable: A length of conductive or semiconductive material used in an electronic application.

Elexar: (TPE) Shell trademark for thermoplastic elastomer.

Elongation: The fractional increase in the length of a material stressed in tension.

EMA: Electrical Moisture Absorption) A water tank test during which the sample cables are subjected to voltage while the water is maintained at rated temperature; the immersion time is long, with the object being to accelerate failure due to moisture in the insulation; simulates buried cable.

Embossing: A marker identification by means of thermal indentation leaving raised lettering on the sheath material of cable.

Emergency Overload: Load which occurs when larger-than-normal currents are carried through a cable or wire over a certain period of time.

Enameled Wire: A conductor with a baked -on enamel film insulation. In addition to magnet wire, enameled insulation is used on thermocouple­ type wires and other wires.

Ends: In braiding, the number of essentially parallel wires of threads on a carrier.

Energize: To apply rated voltage to a circuit or device in order to activate it.

EO: A UL cable type. Elevator lighting and control cable with thermoset insulation.

EP, EPR, EPM, EPDM: Designations for synthetic rubber based upon ethylene-propylene hydrocarbon.

EPA: (Environmental Protection Agency) The federal regulatory agency responsible for keeping and improving the quality of our living environment-mainly air and water.

EPDM: Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer.

Equilay: More than one layer of helically-laid wires with the direction of lay reversed for successive layers, but with the length of lay the same for each layer.

ET: A UL cable type. Elevator lighting and control cable with thermoplastic insulation, three braids, flame-retardant and moisture­retardant finish. May have steel supporting strand in center, 300V.

Etched Wire: A process applied to fluoroplastic wire in which the wire is passed through a sodium bath to create a rough surface to allow epoxy resin to bond the fluoroplastic.

ETFE: (Tefzel) Dupont trademark for ethylene tetrafluoro ethylene.

ETL: Electrical testing laboratory.

External Interference: The effects of electrical waves or fields which cause sounds other than the desired signal; static.

External Wiring: Electronic wiring which interconnects subsystems within the system.

Extruded Cable: Cable with conductors which are uniformly insulated and formed by applying a homogeneous insulation material in a continuous extrusion process.

Extrusion: Method of continuously forcing plastic, rubber or elastomer material through an orifice to apply insulation or jacketing over a conductor or cable core.


F type connector: A low cost connector used by the TV industry to connect coaxial cable to equipment.

FAA: Federal Aeronautics Administration.

FEP: Fluorinated ethylene propylene.

Fl: Approval agency of Finland; Electrical lnspectorate.

FR- 1: A flammability rating established by Underwriters Laboratories for wires and cables that pass a specially-designed vertical flame test.

Farad: A unit of electrical capacity.

Fatigue Resistance: Resistance to metal crystallization which leads to conductors or wires breaking from flexing.

FCC: Federal Communication Commission.

Feed- Through Insulators: lnsulators that carry a metal conductor through the chassis while preventing the ‘hot’ lead from shorting to the ground chassis.

Feedthrough: (1) A conductor that connects patterns on opposite sides of a PCB. Also called lnterfacial Connection. (2) A connector or terminal block, usually having double- ended terminals, which permit simple distribution and bussing of electrical circuits.

Ferrule: A short tube used to make solderless connections to shielded or coaxial cable.

Fiber: A thread or thread-like structure. Also, a single discrete element used to transmit optical (light wave) information.

Fiber Optics: A lightwave or optical communications system in which electrical information is converted to light energy transmitted to another location through optical fibers and there is converted back into electrical information.

Fiber Tubing: A loose, crush­ resistant cylinder applied over individual fibers to provide mechanical protection.

Field: An area of influence around a magnet or electric charge.

Field Coil: A suitable insulated winding to be mounted on a field pole to magnetize it.

Figure 8 Cable: An aerial cable configuration in which the conductors and the steel strand which supports the cable are integrally jacketed. A cross­ section of the finished cable approximates the figure “eight.”

Filament: Fiber characterized by extreme length.

Filled Cable: A telephone cable construction in which the cable core is filled with a material that will prevent moisture from entering or passing through the cable.

Filler: (1) A material used in multi­ conductor cables to occupy large interstices formed by the assembled conductors. (2) An inert substance added to a compound to improve properties or decrease cost.

Film: A thin, plastic sheet.

Fine Stranded Wire: Stranded wire with component strands of 36 AWG or smaller.

Flame Resistance: The ability of a material not to propagate flame once the heat source is removed.

Flammability: The measure of the material’s ability to support combustion.

Flashover: A disruptive discharge around or over the surface of a solid or liquid insulator.

Flat Braid: A woven braid of tinned copper strands rolled flat at time of manufacture to a specified width.

Flat Cable: A cable with two smooth or corrugated, but essentially flat, surfaces.

Flat Conductor: A wire having a rectangular cross-section as opposed to a round or square conductor.

Flat Conductor Cable: A cable with a plurality of flat conductors.

Flex Life: The measurement of the ability of a conductor or cable to withstand repeated bending.

Flexibility: The ease with which a cable may be bent.

Flexible: That quality of a cable or cable component which allows for bending under the influence of outside force, as opposed to limpness which is bending due to the cable’s own weight.

Floating: Referring to a circuit which has no connection to ground.

Flux: (I) The lines of force which make up an electrostatic field. (2) The rate of flow of energy across or through a surface. (3) A substance used to promote or facilitate fusion.

Foamed Plastics: Insulation having a cellular structure.

Foil: A thin, continuous sheet of metal.

Free Connector: A connector for attachment to the free end of a wire or cable.

Funnel Entry: Flared or widened entrance to a terminal or connector wire barrel.

Fuse Wire: Wire made from an alloy that melts at a relatively low temperature.

Fused Coating: A metallic coating which has been melted and solidified, forming a metallurgical bond to the base material.

Fused Conductors: Individual strands of heavy tinned copper wire stranded together and then bonded together by induction heating.

Fused Spiral Tape: A PTFE insulated hookup wire. The spiral-wrapped conductor is passed through a sintering oven where overlaps are fused together.

FX: Single conductor l\lbber insulated Christmas tree wire with treated cotton braid overall, 125V.

FXT: Single conductor, PVC insulated, Christmas tree wire, 125V.


G: A UL cable type. Rubber insulated, neoprene, Hypalon or CPE jacketed, portable power cable with two to five #8 AWG or larger conductors with ground wire.

GTO: Gast tube sign and oil – burner ignition cable; 5,000V- 15,000V.

Galvanometer: An instrument for detecting or measuring small electrical current.

Gas-Filled Cable: A self- contained pressure cable in which the pressure medium is an inert gas having access to the insulation.

Gauge: A term used to denote the physical size of a wire.

Gauss: A unit of magnetic induction (flux density) equal to I maxwell per cm squared or IO to the 4th power weber per meter squared.

GFI: (Ground Fault Interrupt) A protective device that detects abnormal current flowing to ground and then interrupts the circuit.

G-GC: A UL cable type. A portable power cable similar to type G, but a ground check conductor to monitor the continuity of the grounding circuit.

GHz: Gigahertz; 1 ,000,000,000 cycles per second.

Gimmick: A short length of wire soldered onto a circuit component and used as a small adjustable capacitor.

GND: Ground.

Ground: (]) A conductive connection between an electrical circuit and the earth or other large conducting body to serve as an earth, thus making a complete electrical circuit; (2) A voltage reference point that is the same as earth or chassis ground.

Ground Conductor: A conductor in a transmission cable or line that is grounded.

Ground Insulation: The insulation used between a winding and the magnetic core or other structural parts, usually at ground potential.

Ground Loop: The generation of undesirable current flow within a ground conductor, owing to the circulation currents which originate from a second source of voltage.

Ground Plane: Expanded copper mesh which is laminated into some flat cable constructions as a shield.

Ground Potential: Zero potential with respect to the ground or earth.

GSTN: General Switched Telephone Network. Same as public telephone network.

GTO: Gas tube sign and oil-burner ignition cable, 5KV-1 5KV


Hank and Tie: Method of coiling a cord set or cable assembly in a designated size, usually a figure 8, tied in the middle with a wire tie.

Hard-Drawn Copper Wire: Copper wire that has not been annealed after drawing.

Harness: An arrangement of wires and cables, usually with many breakouts, which have been tied together or pulled into a rubber or plastic sheath, used to interconnect an electric circuit.

Hash Mark Stripe: A non-continuous helical stripe applied to a conductor for identification.

HC: A heater cord with two to four conductors, size 8 AWG and larger, rubber or butyl insulation on each conductor, conductors cabled with ground wires, neoprene jacket overall.

HOPE: High density polyethylene.

Heat Distortion: Distortion of flow of a material or configuration due to the application of heat.

Heat Seal: Method of sealing a tape­wrap jacket by means of thermal fusion.

Heater Cord: Flexible stranded copper conductor, cotton-wrapped with rubber insulation and asbestos roving.

Helical Stripe: A continuous, colored, spiral stripe applied to a conductor for circuit identification.

Helix: Spiral winding.

Henry: The unit of inductance equal to the inductance of a current changing at the rate of 1 ampere per second inducing a counter­electromotive force of 1 volt.

Hertz (Hz): A term replacing cycles­ per-second as an indication of frequency.

Heterogeneous Insulation: A cable insulating system composed of two or more layers of different insulating materials.

Hi-Pot: A test designed to determine the highest voltage that can be applied to a conductor without breaking through the insulation.

High-Temperature Wire and Cable: Electrical wire and cables having thermal operating characteristics of 150°C and higher.

High Voltage: Generally, a wire or cable with an operating voltage of over 600 volts.

HPN: Two-conductor, neoprene­ insulated heater cord parallel construction. For use in damp locations.

Holding Strength: Ability of a connector to remain assembled to a cable when under tension.

Homogeneous Insulation: A complete cable insulation structure whose components cannot be identified as layers of different materials.

Hook- Up Wire: A wire used for low­ current, low-voltage (under 1000 volts) applications within enclosed electronic equipment.

Hot Stamping: Method of alpha numerical coding. Identification markings are made by pressing heated type and marking foil into softened insulation surfaces.

Hot Tin Dip: A process of passing bare wire through a bath of molten tin.

Housing: A metallic or other enclosure for an insulated splice.

HS: 600V-rated rubber-insulated heater cord.

HSJ: 300V-rated rubber-insulated heater cord. Same as type HS but with # 18, # 16 and # 14 conductors and differing thickness of jacket.

HSJO: A heater with two to four conductors insulated with rubber and asbestos, conductors cabled, outer covering neoprene jacket – sizes 18 and 16 AWG.

HSO: A UL cable type. Thermoset jacketed heater cord.

HV: High voltage.

Hybrid Cable: Multi- conductor cable containing two or more types of components.

Hygroscopic: Capable of absorbing moisture from the air.

Hypalon: DuPont’s trade name for their chlorosulfonated polyethylene, an ozone-resistant synthetic rubber.


I: Symbol used to designate current.

ICEA: Abbreviation for Insulated Cable Engineers Association.

IEC: European Standardization agency; International Electrotechnical Commission.

IEEE: Abbreviation for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

IF: Intermediate frequency.

Ignition Cable: Cable designed for Automotive Ignition Systems.

Impedance: The total opposition that a circuit offers to the flow of alternating current or any other varying current at a particular frequency. It is a combination of resistance (R) and reactance (X), measured in ohms.

Impedance Matching: Connecting cables and devices together which have the same impedance value in ohms.

Impulse: A surge of unidirectional polarity.

Impulse Strength: The voltage breakdown of insulation under voltage surges on the order of microseconds in duration.

Impulse Test: An insulation test in which the voltage applied is an impulse voltage of specified wave shape.

IMSA: International Municipal Signal Association.

Inductance: The property of a circuit or circuit element that opposes a change in current flow, thus causing current changes to lag behind voltage changes. It is measured in henrys.

Inductive Coupling: Crosstalk resulting from the action of the electromagnetic field of one conductor on the other.

Insertion Tool: A small, hand- held · tool used to insert contacts into a connector.

Insulated Wire: A conductor of electricity covered with a non – conducting material.

Insulating Joint: A device which mechanically couples and electrically insulates the sheath and armor of contiguous lengths of cable.

Insulation: A material having high resistance to the flow of electric current. Often called a dielectric in radio frequency cable.

Insulation Adhesion: The degree of tightness of the insulation over the base conductor measured in terms of force required to remove a specified length of insulation from the wire.

Insulation Crimp: The area of a terminal, splice or contact that has been formed around the insulation of the wire.

Insulation Grip: Extended cylinders at the rear of crimp-type contacts designed to accept the bared wire and a small length of its insulation.

Insulation Piercing: A method of crimping whereby lances cut the insulation of the wires and enter into the strands to make electrical contact.

Insulation Resistance: The ratio of the applied voltage to the total current between two electrodes in contact with a specific insulation, usually expressed in megohms – M feet.

Insulation System: All of the insulation materials used to insulate a particular electrical or electronic product.

Integral Belt: A layer of insulation or semi- conductive material applied by extrusion over two or more insulated, twisted or parallel conductors to form a round, smooth diameter.

Interconnecting Cable: The wiring between modules, between units or the larger portions of a system.

Interconnecting Wire: The physical wiring between components (outside a module), between modules, between units or between larger portions of a system or systems.

Interconnection: Mechanically joining devices together to complete an electrical circuit.

Interface: The two surfaces on the contact side of both halves of a multiple- contact connector which face each other when the connector is assembled.

Internal Wiring: Electronic wiring which interconnects components, usually within a sealed subsystem.

Interstices: Voids or valleys between individual strands in a conductor or between insulated conductors in a multi-conductor cable.

Ionization Voltage (Corona Level): The minimum value of falling rms voltage which sustains electrical discharge within the vacuous or gas­ filled spaces in the cable construction or insulation.

IR: formula for power in watts, where I=current in amperes, R=resistance in ohms. Also see watt.

IR Drop: A method of designating a voltage drop in terms of both current and resistance.

Irradiation: ln insulation, the exposure of the material to high-energy emissions for the purpose of favorably altering the molecular structure.

ISA: Instrument Society of America.

IW: Inside wire.

IWCA: Inside wiring cable.


JAN Specification: Joint Army -Navy specification (replaced by current Military Specifications).

Jack: A plug- in type terminal widely used in electronic apparatus for temporary connections.

Jacket: A rubber or synthetic covering applied over primary insulation, braids, shields, cable components or over the cable itself.

Joule: A unit of energy defined as the work done when the point of application of 1 Newton is displaced 1 meter in the direction of the force.

Jumper: A short length of conductor used to make a temporary connection between terminals, around a break in a circuit or around an instrument.

Jumper Cables: Extra flexible cables with high voltage insulation for use as temporary connection.

Junction: A point in a circuit where two or more wires are connected


KEMA KEUR: Approval agency of the Netherlands.

Kevlar: A high strength/DuPont Polymer used as a cable messenger or strength member.

Kilo: A numerical prefix denoting 1000 (103).

KV: Kilovolt (1000 volts).

KVA: Kilovolt ampere.

KW or kW: Kilowatt.  1 000 watts power.

Kynar: Pennwalt trade name for polyvinylidene fluoride. Typically used as insulation for wire wrap wire.


Lacing and Harnessing: A method of grouping wires by securing them in bundles of designated patterns.

Lacquer: A liquid resin or compound applied to textile braid to prevent fraying, moisture absorption, etc.

Laminated Tape: A tape consisting of two or more layers of different materials bonded together.

Lay: The length measured along the axis of a wire or cable required for a single strand (in stranded wire) or conductor (in cable) to make one complete turn about the axis of the conductor or cable.

Layer: Consecutive turns of a coil lying in a single plane.

Leaching and Non-Leaching: In a leaching wire; the plasticizer will migrate when exposed to heat. A non-leaching wire will retain its plasticizer under extreme temperature conditions and remain flexible after baking.

Lead: A wire, with or without terminals, that connects two points in a circuit.

Lead-Cured: A cable that is cured or vulcanized in a metallic lead mold.

Lead Dress: The placement or routing of wire and component leads in an electrical circuit.

Lead-In: The conductor or conductors that connect the antenna proper to electronic equipment.

Leakage Current: The undesirable flow of current through or over the surface of an insulation.

Life Cycle: A test to determine the length of time before failure in a controlled, usually accelerated, environment.

Limits of Error: The maximum deviation (in degrees of percent) of a thermocouple or thermocouple extension wire from standard emf-temperature to be measured.

Limpness: The ability of a cable to lay flat or conform to a surface.

Line Balance: The degree to which the conductors of a cable are alike in their electrical characteristics with respect to each other, to other conductors and to ground.

Line Drop: A voltage loss occurring between any two points in a transmission line due to the resonance reactance or leakage of the line.

Line Loss: The total of the various energy losses occurring in a transmission line.

Line Voltage: Voltage existing in a cable or circuit.

Litz Wire: Very fine, usually #44 bare copper, each strand is enamel insulated and Nylon wrapped (formerly silk). Low inductance coil windings – high frequency applications.

Load: A device that consumes or converts the power delivered by another device.

Local Area Network (LAN): A baseband or broadband interactive, bi-directional, communication system for information exchange on a common transmission line.

Logging Cable: Usually FEPO/Tefzel self-supporting instrumentation cable. Generally dropped through borings in subsurface mining or well applications.

Longitudinal Shield: A tape shield, flat or corrugated, applied longitudinally with the axis of the core being shielded.

Longitudinal Wrap: Tape applied longitudinally with the axis of the core being covered.

Loop Resistance: The total resistance of two conductors measured round trip from one end. Commonly used term in the thermocouple industry.

Looping-in: Wiring method which avoids tee joints by carrying the conductor or cable to and from the point to be supplied.

Loss: Energy dissipated without accomplishing useful work.

Loss Factor: The product of the dissipation and dielectric constant of an insulating material.

Lossy Line: A cable having large attenuation per unit of length.

Low-Loss Dielectric: An insulating material that has a relatively low dielectric loss, such as polyethylene or Teflon.

Low Noise Cable: Cable configuration specially constructed to eliminate spurious electrical disturbances caused by capacitance changes or self-generated noise induced by either physical abuse or adjacent circuitry.

Low Tension: Low voltage, as applied to ignition cable.

Lug: Termination, usually crimped or soldered to the conductor, with provision for screwing on to the terminal.

Lumen: A unit of measurement for light output.

LV: Low voltage.



Magnet Wire: Insulated wire intended for use in windings on motor, transformer and other coils for electromagnetic devices.

Magnetic Field: The region within which a body or current experiences magnetic force.

Magnetic Flux: The rate of flow of magnetic energy across or through a surface (real or imaginary).

Magnetic Noise: Caused by change in current level, e.g. A.C. powerline creates magnetic field around the cable; this magnetic field causes the magnetic noise.

MAN: Metropolitan Area Network.

MAP: Manufacturing Automation Protocol.

Marker Tape: A tape laid parallel to the conductors under the sheath in a cable, imprinted with the manufacturer’s name and the specification to which the cable is made.

MAT: Metropolitan Area Trunks.

MATV: Acronym for Master Antenna Television System-a combination of components providing multiple television receiver operations from one antenna or group of antenna normally on a single building.

MC: Denotes cable with interlocking metal tape or corrugated tube enclosure (metal clad).

MCM: One thousand circular mils.

Meg or Mega: A numerical prefix denoting 1,000,000 (106).

Megarad: A unit for measuring radiation dosage.

Messenger: Supporting member, usually a high- strength steel wire, used to suspend aerial cable. The messenger may be an integral part of the cable, or exterior to it (lashed messenger).

Mft: A popular abbreviation for 1000 ft.

Mho: The unit of conductivity. The reciprocal of an ohm.

MHz: Megahertz.

Micro: A numerical prefix denoting one- millionth (1 0-6).

Microfarad: One- millionth of a farad, commonly abbreviated µ F.

Micromicrofarad: One- millionth of a microfarad (uuf, uufd, mmf, mmfd, µ µ F are common abbreviations.)

Microwave: A short (usually less than 30 cm.) electrical wave.

Mil: A unit used in measuring diameter of a wire or thickness of insulation over a conductor. One- one thousandth of an inch (.00 l”).

Mineral Insulated: Cable and thermocouple wire consisting of one or more conductors surrounded by magnesium oxide insulation and enclosed in a liquid- and gas – tight metallic sheathing.

Miniature Wire: Insulated conductors of approximately 20- 34 A WG.

Mining Cable: A flame-retardant cable specially constructed to withstand severe physical abuse for underground use in mines or tunnels.

Mis-Match: A termination having a different impedance than that for which a circuit or cable is designed.

Mode: One of the components of a general configuration of a propagating wave font.

Modem: Device which places and receives data signals over a common carrier’s communication facility.

Modulus of Elasticity: The ratio of stress to strain in an elastic material.

Moisture Absorption: The amount of moisture, in percentage, that a material will absorb under specified conditions.

Moisture Resistance: The ability of a material to resist absorbing moisture from the air or when immersed in water.

Molded Plug: A connector molded on either end of a cord or cable.

Monomer: The basic chemical unit used in building a polymer.

Motor Lead Wire: Wire which connects to the fragile magnet wire found in coils, transformers and stator or field windings.

MTW: Thermoplastic insulated machine tool wire.

Multi-conductor: More than one conductor within a single cable complex.

Multiple-Conductor Cable: A combination of two or more conductors cabled together and insulated from one another and from sheath or armor where used.

Multiple Conductor Concentric Cable: An insulated central conductor with one or more tubular stranded conductors laid over it concentrically and insulated from one another.

Multiplexing: Simultaneous transmission of two or more messages over the same cable pair.

Mutual Capacitance: Capacitance between two conductors when all other conductors, including ground, are connected together and then regarded as an ignored ground.

Mylar®: DuPont trademark for polyester film.


National Electrical Code®: A set of regulations governing construction and installation of electrical wiring and apparatus in the United States, established by the American National Board of Fire Underwriters.

National Electrical Code® Article 725: The NEC Article which covers remote control signal and communication power limited circuits that are not an integral part of the device or appliance.

National Electrical Code® Article 760: The NEC Article which covers the fire and burglar alarms installation of wire and equipment operating at 600 Volts or less.

National Electrical Code® Article 800: The NEC Article which covers telephone, telegraph as well as outside wiring for fire and burglar alarms.

NEC Type CL2: A Class 2 power- limited type cable for general use applications within a building under NEC Article 725, this type design is “Listed” by UL. These cables meet a 70,000 BTU flame test.

NEC Type CL2P: A Class 2 power-limited cable which is suitable for use in plenums in accordance with NEC Article 725. The cable meets the requirements of UL 910 the Steiner Tunnel test which classifies fire and smoke characteristics. The cable is “Listed” by UL.

NEC Type CL2R: A Class 2 power-limited cable which is suitable for use in riser shafts in accordance with NEC Article 725. These cables meet the lJL 1 666 flame test and are “Listed” by UL.

NEC Type CL2X: A Class 2 power- limited cable which is suitable for restricted applications (sic.. .less than 0.25″ in diameter in residences, exposed lengths less than 10 ft.) or else in raceways under NEC article 725. These cables meet a VW-1 flame test and are “Listed” by UL.

NEC Type CM: A general application communications cable, “Listed” by UL, for use within buildings under NEC Article 800. It meets the requirements of the 70,000 BTU flame test.

NEC Type FPL: A general application fire protection cable for use within buildings in accordance with NEC Article 760. These cables are “Listed” by UL and meet the 70,000 BTU flame test.

NEC Type MP: A general use, multipurpose cable which may be employed interchangeably in either a communications (Article 800), power- limited (Article 725) or fire protective (Article 760) application.

NEMA: National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

NEMKO: Approval agency of Norway.

NFPA: Abbreviation for National Fire Protection Association.

Neoprene: A synthetic rubber with good resistance to oil, chemical and flame. Also called polychloroprene.

NM: Non-metallic sheathed cable, braid or plastic covered. For dry use, 90C conductor rating.

NM-8: A UL cable type.

NMC: Non-metallic sheathed cable, plastic or neoprene covered. Wet or dry use, 90C conductor rating.

Nomex: DuPont trademark for a temperature resistant, flame retardant nylon.

Non- Contaminating: Type of PVC jacket material whose plasticizer will not migrate into the dielectric of a coaxial cable and thus avoids contaminating and destroying the dielectric.

N-series Connector: A coaxial connector (RG-8/U) used in standard Ethernet networks.

Nylon: Thermoplastic with good chemical and abrasion resistance. Polyamide.


OD: Outside diameter.

OEM: Original equipment manufacturer.

Off Center: Conductor displaced within the cross -section of its insulation.

Offgassing: Percentage of a specified gas released during the combustion of insulation or jacketing material.

OFHC: Oxygen-free high conductivity copper.

Ohm: A unit of electrical resistance.

Ohm’s Law: Stated E=IR, l=E/R or R=E/1 where E is voltage, I is current and R is resistance.

Oil Aging: Cable aged in an accelerated manner by placement .m an oil bath and heated to a pre- set temperature for a stated time.

Oil-Filled Cable: A self-contained pressure cable in which the pressure medium is low viscosity oil having access to the insulation.

Open Cell: Foamed or cellular material with cells which are generally interconnected.

Open Circuit: A break in an electrical circuit so that there can be no current flow.

Oscillatory Surge: A surge which includes both positive and negative polarity values.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act): Specifically the Williams- Steiger law (Federal Law #91 -596) passed in 1970 covering all factors relating to safety in places of employment. It charges all employers engaged in business affecting interstate commerce to be responsible for providing a safe working place.

Outgassing: The dissipation of gas from a dielectric evidencing decomposition.

OVE: Approval agency of West Germany; Oesterreichischer Verband fur Elektrotechnik

Overall Diameter: Finished diameter over wire or cable.

Overcoat Conductor: A stranded conductor made from individual strands of tin-coated wire stranded together, and then given an overall tin coat.

Overlap: The amount the trailing edge laps over the leading edge of a spiral tape wrap.

Oxygen Index: Percentage of oxygen necessary to support combustion in a gas mixture.

Ozone: Reactive form of oxygen, typically found around electrical discharges and present in the atmosphere in small quantities.



P & R: Any cable made for the reeling service.

Packing Fraction (Fiber Optic): The ratio of active cross-sectional area of fiber core, or cores, to the total end surface of the fiber, or fiber bundle.

Pair: Two insulated wires of a single circuit associated together; also known as a “balance” transmission line.

Parallel Pair: A duplex construction of two insulated conductors laid parallel and then covered overall with a braid or jacket.

Parallel Stripe: A stripe applied longitudinally on a wire or cable parallel to the axis of the conductor.

Patch Cable: A cable with plugs or terminals on each end of the conductors to temporarily connect circuits of equipment together.

Patch Cord: Braid covered with plugs or terminals on each end to connect jacks or blocks in switchboards or programming systems.

Pay- Off: The process of feeding a cable or wire from a bobbin, reel or other package.

PCB: Printed Circuit Board.

Percentage Conductivity: Conductivity of a material expressed as a percentage of that of copper.

Periodicity: The uniformly spaced variations in the insulation diameter of a transmission cable that result in reflections of a signal, when its wavelength or a multiple thereof is equal to the distance between two diameter variations.

Permittivity: See Dielectric Constant.

PFA: (Teflon) DuPont trademark for perfluoroalkoxy.

PG: A two or three conductor, portable power cable, rubber insulated conductors are cabled with one uninsulated grounding conductor, outer cover is a neoprene jacket.

PIC: A general term for any type of plastic insulated telephone cable.

Pick: Distance between two adjacent crossover points of braid filaments. The measurement in picks per inch indicates the degree of coverage.

Pico: A numerical prefix denoting one-millionth of one-millionth (10’12).

Picofarad: One- millionth of one -millionth of a farad. A micromicrofarad or picofarad (abbreviation pf). (See J!….1:)F

Pigtail Wire: Fine-stranded, extra­ flexible, rope-Jay lead wire attached to a shield for terminating purposes.

PILC Cable: Paper insulated, lead covered.

Pitch Diameter: Diameter of a circle passing through the center of the conductors in any layer of a multiconductor cable.

Pitch: In flat cable, the nominal distance between the index edges of two adjacent conductors.

PL: Two rubber insulated parallel conductors enclosed in a cotton or rayon decorative braid. Dry locations. 300V.

Plain Conductor: A conductor consisting of only one metal.

Plain Weave: A weave used on woven cables. Threads between the wires act as binders and give the cable lateral stiffness and linear flexibility. Also called Standard and Square Weave.

Planetary Cabler: A cabler capable of laying down any number of shielded overbraided or jacketed singles, pairs, called groups, or any combination of them in sequence.

Planetary Twister: A twisting machine whose pay-off spools are mounted in rotating cradles that hold the axis of the spool in a fixed direction as the spools are revolved so the wire will not kink as it is twisted.

Plastic Deformation: Change in dimensions under load that is not recovered when the load is removed.

Plasticizer: A chemical agent added to plastics to make them softer and more pliable.

Plenum: The air return path of a central air handling system, either ductwork or open space over a suspended ceiling.

Plenum Cable: Cable approved by a recognized agency such as UL for installation in plenums without the need for conduit.

PLSJ: All-rubber, parallel jacketed, two- conductor, light-duty cord for pendent or portable use in damp locations. 300V.

PLT: Same as PLSJ, except thermoplastic or PVC insulation.

PLTC: Power Limited Tray Cable, rated 300 volts.

Plug: The part of the two mating halves of a connector which is movable when not fastened to the other mating half

Ply: The number of individual strands or filaments twisted together to form a single thread.

PNB: A multi-conductor control cable, conductor insulation is polyethylene with a thin nylon covering over the insulated conductors, conductors cabled, outer covering plastic jacket.

Point-to- Point Wiring: An interconnecting technique wherein the connections between components are made by wires routed between connecting points.

Polarization: The orientation of a flat cable or a rectangular connector.

Polychloroprene: Chemical name for Neoprene.

Polyester: Polyethylene terephthalate extensively as a moisture-resistant cable core wrap.

Polyethylene: A thermoplastic material having excellent electrical properties.

Polyhalocarbon: A general name for polymers containing halogen atoms. The halogens are fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine.

Polymer: A material of high molecular weight formed by the chemical union of monomers.

Polyolefin: Any of the polymers and copolymers of the ethylene family of hydrocarbons.

Polypropylene: A thermoplastic similar to polyethylene but stiffer and having higher softening point (temperature); excellent electrical properties.

Polyurethane: Class of polymers known for good abrasion and solvent resistance (may be applied in solid or cellular form).

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): A general-purpose thermoplastic widely used for wire and cable insulation and jackets.

Porosity: Multiple voids in an insulation cross- section.

POSJ: All- rubber, parallel light-duty rip-cord for use on lamps and small appliances. 300V, 60°C.

POT: Thermoplastic, parallel, light­ duty rip-cord. 300V, 60°C to l05°C.

Potting: The sealing of a cable termination or other component with a liquid which thermosets into an elastomer.

Power: The amount or work per unit of time. Usually expressed in watts.

Power Cables: Cables of various sizes construction and insulation, single- or multi-conductor, designed to distribute primary power to various types of equipment.

Power Factor: The ratio of resistance to impedance. The ratio of the actual power of an alternating current to apparent power. Mathematically, the cosine of the angle between the voltage applied and the current resulting.

PPE: Polypropylene ethylene.

Pre-Bond: Stranded wire which has been fused, topcoat-tinned, or overcoat-tinned.

Primary Insulation: The first layer of non- conductive material applied over a conductor whose prime function is to act as electrical insulation.

Primary: The transformer winding which receives the energy from a supply circuit.

Printed Wiring: A printed circuit intended to provide point- to- point electrical connections.

Programming: Ability to select various circuit patterns by interconnecting appropriate contacts on one side of a connector plug or panel.

Propagation Delay: Time delay between input and output of signal.

Propagation Time: Time required for a wave to travel between two points on a transmission line.

Proximity Effect: Non-uniform current distribution over the

cross-section of a conductor caused by the variation of the current in a neighboring conductor.

PT: Thermostat cable with solid conductor, individual insulation, twisted together.

PTFE: (TFE Teflon) Abbreviation for Polytetrafluoroethylene.

Pulling Eye: A device used to pull cable into or from a duct.

Pulse: Energy which changes abruptly from an intensity to another. May be light energy or electrical energy.

Pulse Cable: A type of coaxial cable constructed to transmit repeated high­ voltage pulses without degradation.

PVC: Polyvinylchloride. A common insulating and jacketing material used on cables.

PVDF: (Kynar) Atochem trademark for polyvinylidene fluoride.


Q band: The band of frequencies between 36 and 46 gigahertz.

Quad: A series of four separately insulated conductors, generally twisted together in pairs. Also, a series- parallel combination of transistors with increased reliability because failure of one transistor will not disable the entire circuit.

Quadders: Three- bay machines which can twist four wires together and cable braided and shielded wires with varying lay lengths.

Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM): the modulation technique used in 9,600bps modems that adhere to the V.32 standard, in which the signal varies in amplitude (voltage or strength) and phase.


R: Symbol for resistance or resistor.

R-F: Radio- frequency.

RAM: Random Access Memory.

Rated Voltage: The maximum voltage at which an electrical component can be operated for extended periods without undue degradation or safety hazard.

Random Winding: A winding in rotating equipment wherein the wires do not lie in an even pattern.

REA: Abbreviation for Rural Electrification Administration.

Reactance: The opposition offered to the flow of alternating current by inductance or capacitance of a compound or circuit.

Red Plaque: A powdery, brown-red growth found on silver coated copper conductors and shield braids.

Redraw: The consecutive drawing of wire through a series of dies to reach a desired wire size.

Reducing Joint: A joint between two lengths of cable where the conductors are not the same size.

Reel: A revolvable flanged device made of wood or metal, used for winding flexible metal wire or cable.

Reflection Loss: The part of a signal which is lost due to reflection of power at a line discontinuity.

Reinforced Sheath: The outermost covering of a cable that has cable sheath constructed in layers with the addition of a reinforcing material, usually a braided fiber, molded in place between layers.

Remanence: The magnetic induction that remains in a magnetic circuit after the removal of an applied magnetomotive force.

Resistance: A measure of the difficulty in moving electrical current through a medium when voltage is applied. It is measured in ohms.

Resistive Conductor: A conductor with high electrical resistance.

Resistor Code Color: A method of indicating resistance value and tolerance. The first color represents the first significant figure of the value. A second color represents the second significant figure and the third is the multiplier or the number of zeros that follow two significant figures. When there is a fourth color band, it indicates the tolerance.

Resonance: An AC circuit condition in which inductive and capacitive reactances interact to cause a minimum or maximum circuit impedance.

Retractile Cord: A cord having specially treated insulation or jacket so that it will retract.

Return Wire: A ground wire or the negative wire in a direct- current circuit.

RG/U: RG is the military designation for coaxial cable and u stands for general utility.

RH: Rubber insulated, heat resistant building wire, 75C.

RHO: A twin parallel cable, heat resisting rubber insulation, outer finish, treated cotton braid.

RHDL: Same as RHO without braid and a lead sheath overall.

RHH: Rubber insulated, heat resistant building wire. 90C.

RH/RW: Rubber Insulated, heat and moisture resistant building wire, 75C dry or wet.

RHW: Rubber insulated building wire, heat and moisture resistant, 75C dry or wet.

RHW-2: Rubber insulated building wire, beat and moisture resistant, 90C dry or wet.

Ribbon Cable: A flat cable of individually insulated conductors lying parallel and held together by means of adhesive or woven textile yam.

Ridge Marker: One or more ridges running laterally along the outer surface of a plastic insulated wire for purposes of identification.

Rigid Bay: Cabling equipment that maintains component sequence, and can produce cables with distinct layers.

Rigid Coaxial Cable: Nonflexible coaxial cable, usually a metal tube­ armored coaxial cable.

Ring Tongue: A solderless terminal that connects wire to a stud.

Ringing Out: Locating or identifying specific conductive paths by passing current through selected conductors.

Rip Cord: Two or more insulated conductors in a parallel configuration which may be separated to leave the insulation of each conductor intact.

RIV: 9Radio Influence Voltage) The radio noise appearing on conductors of electrical equipment or circuits.

RJJ I: A two, four, six, or eight contact modular phone type plug.

RJ45: An eight position modular AT&T phone-type plug that can accommodate up to eight wires.

RMS: Root-mean-squares.

ROM: Read-only memory.

Romex: A type of nonmetallic sheathed cable.

Rope Concentric: A group of standard conductors assembled in a concentric manner.

Rope Lay Conductor: A conductor composed of a central core surrounded by one or more layers of helically-laid groups of wires.

Rope Unilay: A group of stranded conductors assembled in a unilay manner.

Round Wire Shields: Shields constructed from bare, tinned or silver-plated copper wire that include braided, spiral and reverse spiral.

RR: A cable with one or more rubber insulated conductors, neoprene jacket overall, non-portable

Rubber (Wire Insulation): Term used to describe wire insulation made of thermosetting elastomers, occur naturally or may be made synthetically.

Rulan: DuPont’s trade name for their flame retardant polyethylene insulating material.

RW: Rubber insulated building wire. moisture-resistant 60C


S: Heavy-duty, rubber- insulated portable cord. Stranded copper conductors with separator and individual rubber insulation. Two or more color coded conductors cabled with filler wrapped with separator and rubber jacketed overall. 600V.

S meter: An instrument to measure signal strength.

SAE: Society of Automotive Engineers.

SANZ: Standards Association of New Zealand.

SB: A single conductor wire or cable insulation with cotton yarn braids, treated for flame resistance, 90C.

SBR: Copolymer of styrene and butadiene. Most commonly used type of synthetic rubber.

SD: A two conductor twin parallel, service drop cable, the power conductors are insulated with rubber. a bare neutral is wrapped around the two insulated conductors, the outer covering is a treated cotton.

SE: Service entrance cable. Two or three conductors rubber insulated conductors, flame and moisture resistant, braid overall.

Secondary Insulation: A nonconductive material that protects the conductor against abrasion and provides a second electrical barrier.

Segmental Conductor: A stranded conductor consisting of three or more stranded conducting elements, each element having approximately the shape of the sector of a circle, assembled to give a substantially circular cross-section.

Selenium Cure: Process used to cure neoprene and rubber-jacketed wires and cables.

Self-Extinguishing: Characteristic of a material whose flame is extinguished after the igniting flame source is removed.

Semi-Conducting Jacket: A jacket having a sufficiently low resistance so that its outer surface can be kept at substantially ground potential.

Semi-Rigid: A cable containing a flexible inner core and a relatively inflexible sheathing.

Semi- Solid: An insulation cross- section having a partially open space between the conductor and the insulation perimeter.

SEMKO: Approval agency for Sweden.

SEOOW: Hard-service portable cord rated for Extra Hard-Usage. Cord is constructed with thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) oil-resistant conductors and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) oil-resistant outer jacket. Weather resistant and water resistant. Quantum TPE™. 600V.

Separator: A layer of insulating material which is placed between a conductor and its dielectric, between a cable jacket and the components it covers or between various components of a multiple-conductor cable.

Serve: A filament or group of filaments such as fibers or wires, wound around a central core.

Serving: A wrapping applied over the core of a cable or over a wire.

SEW, SEWF: Silicone rubber insulated equipment wire (CSA)

SF: Silicone rubber insulated fixture wire, solid or 7 strand conductor, 200C.

SG: Same as SW except with ground wire (CSA)

SGO: Same as SWO except with ground wire (CSA)

SH-A: Portable mine power cable, three or four individually shielded conductors, 5K

SH-B: Same as SH-A, except shield is overall.

SH-C: Same as SH-8, but with grounding conductors.

SH-D: Same as SH-A, but with grounding conductors.

Sheath: The outer covering or jacket of a multi-conductor cable

Shield: In cables, a metallic layer placed around a conductor or group of conductors to prevent electrostatic or electromagnetic interference between the enclosed wires or external fields.

Shield Coverage: Amount of outer cable covered by the shielding material.

Shield Effectiveness: The ability of a shield to screen out undesirable signals.

Shielded Line: A transmission line whose elements confine propagated radio waves to an essentially finite space inside a tabular conducting surface called the sheath, thus preventing the line from radiating radio waves.

Shielded-Type Cable: A cable in which the surface of the insulation is at ground potential.

Short: A low resistance path that results in excessive current flow and often in damage.

Shunt: A very low resistance component used to divert a proportion of the current.

Shunt Wire: A conductor joining two parts of an electric circuit to divert part of the current.

Signal: A current used to convey information, either digital, analog, audio or video.

Silicone: A material made from silicon and oxygen. Can be in thermosetting elastomer or liquid form. The thermosetting elastomer form is noted for high heat resistance.

Silicone Treating: A silicone liquid treatment applied to insulated conductors to allow for easy jacket stripping.

Single- Faced Tape: Fabric tape finished on one side with a rubber or synthetic compound.

SIS: Switchboard wiring made with cross linked polyethylene insulation.

Sizing: Applying a material to a surface to fill pores.

SJ: Junior hard-service, rubber­ insulated pendant or portable cord. Same construction as type S, but 300V. Jacket thickness different.

SJEOOW: Junior hard-service portable cord rated for Hard-Usage. Cord is constructed with thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) oil-resistant conductors and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) oil-resistant outer jacket. Weather resistant and water resistant. Quantum TPE™. 300V.

SJO: Same as SJ, but Viper™, oil -resistant compound outer jacket. Can also be made “water- resistant.” 300V, 60°C.

SJT: Junior hard service thermoplastic or rubber insulated conductors with overall thermoplastic jacket. 300V, 60°C to I 05°C.

SJTO: Same as SJT but oil- resistant thermoplastic outer jacket. 60°C.

SJOO: Same as SJO with oil-resistant insulation.

SJOOW: Same as SJOO with the added UL + CSA approval for outdoor use and water resistance.

Skeleton Braid: Widely separated braid of fiber copper, or steel, used to hold core together, for reinforcing jacket or for shielding.

Skin Tape: Filled tape coated on one or both sides with a thin film of uncured rubber or synthetic compound to produce a coating suitable for vulcanization.

Skin Effect: The tendency of alternating current as its frequency increases, to travel only on the surface of a conductor.

Sleeve: A braided, knifed or woven tube used over wires or components as insulation tubing. Also called Sleeving.

SO: Hard-service cord, same construction as type s except oil-resistant Viper™ jacket. 600V, 60  to 90°c

Soft Wire: Wire that has been drawn or rolled to final size and then heated (annealed) to remove the effects of cold working.

Solid Conductor: A conductor consisting of a single wire.

SOO: Same as SO with oil-resistant insulation.

SOOW: Same as SOO with the added UL and CSA approval for outdoor use and water resistance.

SOW: Same as SO with the added UL and CSA approval for outdoor use and water resistance.

SP- I: All-rubber, parallel jacketed, two -conductor light-duty cord for pendant or portable use in damp locations. 300V.

SP-2: Same as SP- I, but heavier construction, with or without third conductor for grounding purposes. 300V.

SP-3: Same as SP- 2 but heavier construction for refrigerators or room air conditioners. 300V.

Span: In flat conductors, distance between the reference edge of the first and the last conductor. In round conductors, distance between centers of the first and last conductors.

Spark Test: A test designed to locate pin – holes in the insulation of a wire or cable by application of a voltage for a very short period of time while the wire is being drawn through the electrode field.

SPC: Statistical Process Control.

Specific Gravity: The ratio of the density (mass per unit volume) of a material to that of water.

Spiral Shield: A metallic shield of fine-stranded wires applied spirally rather than braided.

Spiral Stripe: A color-coding stripe applied helically to the surface of an insulated wire or cable.

Spiral Wrap: The helical wrap of a tape or thread over a core.

Splice: A connection of two or more conductors or cables to provide good mechanical strength as well as good conductivity.

SPT- 1: Same as SP- I, except all-thermoplastic. 300V. With or without third conductor for grounding.

SPT-2: Same as SP-2 except all-thermoplastic. 300\:’. With or without third conductor for grounding.

SPT-3: Same as SP-3, except all-thermoplastic. 300V. With or without third conductor for grounding.

SR: Silicone rubber cable, 600V, 125C.

SR-AW: A cable with flexible, nickel­ plated copper conductor, silicone rubber insulation, glass braid, 600V, 200C.

SRC: A cable with solid copper conductor, silicone rubber insulation, glass braid, 600V, l25C

SRD: Portable range or dryer cable. Three or four rubber- insulated conductors with rubber or neoprene jacket, flat or round construction. 300V, 60°C.

SRDT: Same as SRD, except all-thermoplastic with a maximum temperature of90°C.

SRG: A cable with ozone resistant silicone rubber insulation with braided glass yarn impregnated with flame, heat and moisture resistant finish. 150/200C 600V appliance and motor lead wire.

SRGK: A cable with ozone resistant silicone rubber insulation with braided glass yam conductor jacket. Cable core of insulated conductors shielded or unshielded, and an overall jacket of braided K-fiber impregnated with flame, heat and moisture resistant finish. I 50/200C 600V multi conductor cable.

SRH: Silicone rubber insulated, asbestos braid.

SRHV: same construction as SRIR with heavier insulation, voltage limit 2500V.

SRI: A single conductor hook-up wire with plastic insulation. For Navy use.

SRK: A cable with ozone resistant silicone rubber insulation with an overall jacket of braided K-fiber impregnated with flame, heat and moisture resistant finish. 200C 600V fixture and power cable.

ST: Hard-service cord, jacketed, same as type S except all -plastic construction. 600V, 60°C to 105°C.

Standing Wave Ratio: In a transmission line, waveguide or analogous system, a figure of merit used to express the efficiency of the system in transmitting power.

Stay Cord: A component of a cable used to anchor the cable ends at their points of termination and to keep any pull of the cable from being transferred to the electrical connections.

STO: Same as ST but with oil­ resistant thermoplastic 600V, 60°C.

Strand: One of the wires of any stranded conductor.

Strand Lay: The distance of advance of one strand of a spirally-stranded conductor, in one tum, measured axially.

Stranded Conductor: A conductor composed of groups of wires twisted together.

Strap: Square- or rectangular-section bare conductor manufactured and used in coil form.

Strip: To remove insulation from a cable.

Structural Return Loss: Backward­-reflected energies from uneven parts of the cable structure are termed structural return loss.

Surface Resistivity: The resistance of a material between two opposite sides of a unit square of its surface. It is usually expressed in ohms.

SV: Vacuum cleaner cord two- or three-conductor rubber-insulated. Overall rubber jacket. For light duty in damp locations. 300V, 60°C.

SVO:  Same as SY except Viper™ jacket, 300V, 60°C.

SVT: Same as SY except all – plastic construction. With or without third conductor for grounding purposes only. 300V, 60°C to 90°C.

SW: Rubber jacketed power supply cable (8 AWG to 2 AWG) 600V (CSA).

Sweep Test: A test given to check attenuation by oscilloscope, as in coaxial cable.

SWO: Same as SW except neoprene jacketed (CSA).

SWT: Plastic jacketed power supply cable(*AWG to 2 AWG) 600V (CSA)


T: Thermoplastic vinyl, building wire, 60C.

T Connector: A cable adapter that attaches a PC with a network interface module to the network.

TA: Solid or stranded single conductor switchboard wire, insulation is plastic with a covering of impregnated felted asbestos, outer covering is a flame resistant treated cotton braid, 600V, 90C.

TAA: Nickel or nickel clad copper stranded conductor, insulation is Teflon tape with a covering of felted asbestos, outer finish is asbestos braid.

Take-Up: The process of accumulating wire or cable onto a reel, bobbin or some other type of pack. Also, the device for pulling wire or cable through a piece of equipment or machine.

Tank Test: A voltage dielectric test in which the test sample is submerged in water and voltage is applied between the conductor and water as ground.

Tape: A relatively narrow woven or cut strip of fabric, paper or film material.

Tape Cable: A form of multiple­ conductor consisting of parallel metal strips imbedded in insulating material.

Tape Wrap: A spirally-applied tape over an insulated or uninsulated wire.

Taped Insulation: Insulation of helically-wound tapes applied over a conductor or over an assembled group of insulated conductors.

Taping: Process of insulating continuous-length, large-diameter wires with tape of nonextrudable materials.

TBWP: Solid or stranded single conductor, insulation is three cotton braids, saturated with weather resisting insulating compound, commonly know as triple braid weather-proof. No voltage rating.

Tear Strength: The force required to initiate or continue a tear in a material under specified conditions.

Teflon®: DuPont’s trade name for fluorocarbon resins. FEP, PFA and TFE are typical materials

Tefzel®: DuPont’s trade name for a fluorocarbon material typically used as a wire wrap insulation.

Telemetry Cable: Cable used for transmission of information from instruments to the peripheral recording equipment.

Temperature Rating: The maximum temperature at which an insulating material may be used in continuous operation without loss of its basic properties.

Tensile Strength: (1 )The pull stress required to break a given specimen; (2) The maximum load per unit of original cross-sectional area that a conductor attains when tested in tension to rupture.

Tension Member: A member included in a fiber cable to add tensile strength.

Terminals: Metal wire termination devices designed to handle one or more conductors, and to be attached to a board bus or block with mechanical fasteners or clipped on.

Test Lead: A flexible, insulated lead wire used for making tests, connecting instruments to a circuit temporarily or for making temporary electrical connections.

TEW: Canadian Standard Association type appliance wires. Solid or stranded single conductor, plastic- insulated. 600V, I 05°C.

Textile Braid: Any braid made from threads of cotton, silk or synthetic fibers.

TF: Fixture wire, thermoplastic­ covered solid or 7- strands. 60°C.

TFE: Teflon® (tetrafluoroethylene).

TFF: Same as TF but flexible stranding. 60°C.

TG: Flexible nickel or nickel-clad copper conductor, Teflon tape, glass braid, 200C

TGGT: PTFE Teflon tape insulation with an insulation covering of wrapped glass yam and an overall sheath of braided glass yam impregnated with a moisture, heat, flame and fraying resistant compound. 600V, 250C appliance wire.

TGS: Solid or flexible copper, nickel­ clad iron or copper, or nickel conductor. Teflon tape, silicone glass braid, 600V, 250V.flame and fraying resistant compound. 600V, 250C appliance wire.

Thermal Aging: Exposure to a thermal condition or programmed series of conditions for predescribed periods of time.

Thermocouple Lead Wire: An insulated pair of wires used from the couple to a junction box.

Thermoplastic: A material which softens when heated and becomes firm on cooling.

Thermoset: A material which hardens or sets when heat is applied, and which, once set cannot be resoftened by heating. The application of heat is called “curing.”

THHN: 90°C, 600V nylon jacketed building wire.

Three- Phase Current: Current delivered through three wires, with each wire serving as a return for the other two.

Three- Phase Three-Wire System: An alternating current supply system comprising three conductors over which three-phase power is sent.

Three-Wire System: A D.C. or single- phase A.C. system comprising three conductors, one of which is maintained at a potential midway between the potential of the other two.

THW: Thermoplastic vinyl-insulated building wire. Flame- retardant, moisture- and heat- resistant. 75°C. Dry and wet locations.

THWN: Same as THW but with nylon jacket overall. 75°C.

Tin Overcoat (TOC): Tinned copper wire stranded, then coated with pure tin.

Tinsel Wire: A low-voltage stranded wire with each strand a very thin conductor ribbon spirally wrapped around a textile yam.

TNC: A threaded connector for miniature coax; TNC is said to be an abbreviation for threaded-Neill­ Concelman. Contrast with BNC.

Topcoat: Bare (untinned) copper wire, stranded then coated with pure tin.

Tracer: A means of identifying polarity.

Transmission: Transfer of electric energy from one location to another through conductors or by radiation or induction fields.

Transmission Cable: Two or more transmission lines. See Transmission Line.

Transmission Line: A signal-carrying circuit with controlled electrical characteristics used to transmit high­ frequency or narrow-pulse signals.

Transmission Loss: The decrease or loss in power during transmission of energy from one point to another. Usually expressed in decibels.

Transposition: Interchanging the relative positions of wires to neutralize the effects of induction to or from other circuits or, to minimize interference pickup by the lead- in during reception.

Tray: A cable tray system is an assembly of units or sections, and ancillary filings, made of noncombustible materials used to support cables. Cable tray systems include ladders, troughs, channels, solid bosom trays and similar structures.

Tray Cable: A factory – assembled multiconductor or multipair control cable approved under the National Electrical Code for installation in trays. NEC Art. 340

Triaxial: A three – conductor cable with one conductor in the center, a second circular conductor shield concentric with the first, and third circular conductor shield insulated from and concentric with the first and second, usually with insulation, and over a braid or impervious sheath overall.

Triboelectric Noise: Noise generated in a shielded cable due to variations in capacitance between shielding and conductor as the cable is flexed.

Triple Cable: A cable composed of three insulated single conductors and one bare conductor all twisted together. It may or may not have a common covering of binding.

Trolley Wire: A round or shaped solid bare, hard conductor ordinarily used to supply current to motors through traveling current collectors.

True Concentric: A cable in which each successive layer has a reversed direction of lay from the preceding layer.

Trunk Cable: A main cable used for distribution of signals over long distances throughout a cable system.

Tubing: A tube of extruded unsupported plastic material.

TW: Thermoplastic vinyl -jacketed building wire, moisture- resistant 60°C.

Twin Cable: A pair of insulated conductors twisted, sheathed or held together mechanically and not identifiable from each other in a common covering.

Twin Coaxial: A configuration containing two separate complete coaxial cables laid parallel or twisted around each other in one complex.

Twin Line: A transmission line which has a solid insulating material, in which the two conductors are placed in parallel to each other.

Twinner: A device for twisting together two conductors.

Twisted Pairs: A cable composed of two small insulated conductors twisted together without a common covering.


UF: Thermoplastic underground feeder and branch circuit cable.

UHF: Abbreviation for ultra high frequency, 300 to 3,000 MHz.

UL: Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.

Unbalanced Line: A transmission line in which voltages on the two conductors are unequal with respect to ground.

Unidirectional Concentric Stranding: A stranding where each successive layer has a different lay length, thereby retaining a circular form without migration of strands from one layer to another.

Unidirectional Stranding: A term denoting that in a stranded conductor, all layers have the same direction of lay.

Unilay Strand: A conductor constructed with a central core surrounded by more than one layer of helically-laid wires, with all layers having a common length and direction of lay.

UTE: Approval agency for France; Union Technique de l’Electricite.

UTP: Unshielded Twisted Pair. Two wires, usually twisted around each other to help cancel out any induced noise in balanced circuits. An unshielded twisted pair of cable usually contains four pairs of wire in a single cable jacket.


V: Volt. The unit of electrical potential difference.

VA: Volt-ampere. A designation of power in terms of volts and amperes.

VC: Varnished-cambric insulation.

VCB: Cable with the conductor or conductors insulated with varnished cambric, outer covering is treated cotton braid.

VDE: West Germany approval agency.

Velocity of Propagation: The speed of an electrical signal down a length of cable compared to speed in free space expressed as a percent. It is the reciprocal of the square root of the dielectric constant of the cable insulation.

VG: Varnished-glass tape over a flexible copper conductor. Varnished glass or nylon braid, 600V or 300V, 130C.

VHF: Abbreviation for very high frequency, 30 to 300 MHz.

Viscosity: Internal friction or resistance to flow of a liquid; the constant ratio of shearing stress to rate of shearing stress to rate of shear.

VLF: Very Low frequencies.

Volt: A unit of electromotive force.

Voltage: The term most often used in place of electromotive force, potential difference or voltage drop to designate the electric pressure that exists between two points and is capable of producing a current when a closed circuit is connected between two points.

Voltage Drop: A term used to express the amount of voltage loss in a conductor of given size and length drawing a given current.

Voltage Rating: The highest voltage that may be continuously applied to a wire in conformance with standards or specifications.

Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR): The ratio of the maximum effective voltage to the minimum effective voltage measured along the length of a mismatched radio frequency transmission line.

Volume Resistivity (Specific Insulation Resistance): The electrical resistance between opposite faces of a 1 cm. cube of insulating material commonly expressed in ohms/centimeter.

VSWR: Abbreviation for volume standing wave ratio.

Vulcanization: A chemical reaction in which the physical properties ofan elastomer are changed by reacting it with sulfur or other cross-linking agents.

VW- 1: A flammability rating established by Underwriters Laboratories for wires and cables that pass a specially designed vertical flame test (formerly designated FR- I -).


W: (I) Symbol for watt or wattage; (2) Heavy duty portable power cable, one to six conductors, 600V, without grounds.

Wall thickness: The thickness of the applied insulation or jacket.

Water Absorption: A test to determine the water absorbed by a material after a given immersion period.

Waterblocked Cable: A cable constructed with no internal voids in order to allow no longitudinal water passage under a given pressure.

Watt: A unit of electric power.

Wave Length: The distance, measured in the direction of propagation, of a repetitive electrical pulse or waveform between two successive points that are characterized by the same phase of vibration.

Welding: Joining the ends of two wires, rods, or groups of wires (1) by fusing, using the application of heat or pressure or both, by means of a flame torch, electric arc, or electric current or (2) by cold pressure.·

Wicking: The longitudinal flow of a liquid in a wire or cable due to capillary action.

Wire: A conductor, either bare or insulated.

Wire Gauge: A system of numerical designation of wire sizes.

Wire Nut: A closed-end splice that is screwed on instead of crimped.

Wire Wrapped Connection: A solderless connection made by wrapping bare wire around a square or rectangular terminal with a power or hand tool.

Wire Wrapping Tools: Portable electric tools and automatic stationary machines used to make solderless wrapped connections of wires to terminals.

Wire and Cable Marker: Device for identification marking of wire and cable.

Wire and Cable Tying, Clamping and Harnessing Devices: Tying faces lacing cords and flexible sleevings which are used for wire and cable bundling, harnessing and holding. Other devices include plastic ties or clamps, spiral-cut plastic tubing and plastic U-shaped trays or ducts.

Wire and Lead Cutters: Tools for cutting range from plier-type cutters to semiautomatic or fully automatic machines integrated with other wire processing operations such as stripping, forming and terminating.

WP: Weatherproof construction for overhead wires.

Wrapper: An insulating barrier applied as a sheet or tape wrapped around a co~1 periphery.


X: Symbol for reactance.

XHHW: High temperature (75C wet or 90C dry) cross-linked polyethylene jacketed small diameter building wire.

XHHW-2: High temperature (90C wet or dry) cross-linked polyethylene jacketed small diameter building wire.

XLPE: Cross-linked polyethylene.


Yield Strength: The minimum stress at which a material will start to physically deform without increase in load.


Z: Symbol for impedance.

Zytel®: DuPont’s trade name for nylon resins.


Z-Tronix Inc. at the 2024 Del Mar Electronics & Manufacturing Show

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Z-Tronix Inc. Hosts Weidmuller

Z-Tronix Inc. Hosts Weidmuller

Weidmuller visits Z-Tronix Inc. On Monday November 6, Z-Tronix Inc. had the pleasure of hosting Weidmuller’s workplace solutions team. Weidmuller, a tooling and equipment solutions manufacturer, showcased everything from wire processing automated machinery and hand...

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…in the few dealings with Z-Tronix I have found the experience very pleasant and easy. Communication has always been timely and description of products spot on. I will highly recommend Z-Tronix to everyone.”

z-tronix customer in the painting equipment industry

Get In Touch

How and what is accounted for in a quotation for a cable assembly, power cord or wire harness from Z-Tronix?

At Z-Tronix, the quotations and prices for custom wire and cables include not only information regarding our products’ and services’ specs and further determinants, but also how they will suit unique customer requirements. Additionally, we’ll also make recommendations regarding goods that may be the perfect fit for your specific project demands. These suggestions will be based on determinants including: 

  • Bill of Materials 
  • Sample of product 
  • CAD drawing or equivalent 
  • Estimated annual usage (EAU) 
  • Engineering point of contact 
  • Buyer point of contact 
    Is it possible to provide a prototype if I don't possess the specs for the custom cable assembly, power cord or wire harness I'm looking for?

     If you have a prototype, physical or drawing, of the custom cable assembly, power cord or wire harness configuration you desire, please contact our customer service representatives to inquire about delivering the product so that our samples department can dissect the drawing/physical product and create a Bill of Materials. When completing a Request for Quote form, if possible, please attach any photos, as well as other related or useful info and details you may have about the devices it powered.

    Do you offer inventory management?

    Looking to bring out the most of your inventory? Or perhaps avoiding foreseeable costs and storage issues is a priority? With Z-Tronix’s Vendor-Managed Inventory programs, all of this can be achieved!

    Over the past decades, Z-Tronix has become the dependable source for its customers when it comes inventory solutions due to cost-saving and conveniency. Z-Tronix has assisted countless companies from diverse sectors and industries. No matter how big or small, Z-Tronix can and will help you find the best VMI solution to fit your demands.

    Due to the vast industry experience and knowledge Z-Tronix has acquired over decades, with what works and what doesn’t, the following Vendor-Managed Inventory programs have been strategically developed to assist our fellow customers specific and most common needs:

    ·         Periodic Inventory Usage Analysis

    ·         Inventory Consignment Program

    ·         Just In Time (JIT)

    ·         Min/Max Replenishment Program

    ·         KANBAN

    Call us today and speak with one of our representatives to learn more about what your needs are, and how Z-Tronix can assist you with Vendor–Managed Inventory Solutions.

    Does Z-Tronix have an order minimum?

    Yes, a $250 order minimum is applied regardless of quantity.

    Do Z-Tronix's Custom cable assemblies, power cords and wire harnesses comply with RoHS, UL, C-UL and CSA?

    Yes! As an industry leader, Z-Tronix is continuously complying with industry requirements for custom cable assemblies, power cords and wire harness as well as the rest of our productsnot only in the USA but internationally 

    I will need custom colors for my custom cable assemblies, power cords or wire harnesses, can Z-Tronix do this for me?

    Yes! Z-Tronix can help you choose from a wide array of colors to fulfill your needs and demands. 

    I need my custom cable assemblies, power cords or wire harnesses rushed, what can I do?

    At Z-Tronix we know emergencies and/or supply chain demands can change at any given moment, in the case you need your custom cable assemblies, power cords or wire harnesses rushed, please don’t hesitate in contacting our customer service department. Our business hours are Monday – Friday, 7:00 AM – 3:30 PM Pacific Standard Time.

    In terms of custom cable assemblies or wire harnesses, what are Z-Tronix's manufacturing capabilities?

    If you need a custom assembly or harness, Z-Tronix’s capabilities are virtually limitless. Z-Tronix’s capabilities go beyond any specific industry. In our extensive history we’ve managed to work and continue to work with: 

    • Automotive Assemblies & Harnesses 
    • Appliance Assemblies & Harnesses
    • Battery Assemblies & Harnesses
    • Medical Assemblies & Harnesses 
    • Copper Assemblies & Harnesses 
    • Battery Assemblies & Harnesses 
    • Electronic Assemblies & Harnesses
    • Factory Automation Assemblies & Harnesses
    • Gas Grill Assemblies & Harnesses
    • Heating & AC (HVAC) Assemblies & Harnesses
    • Industrial Assemblies & Harnesses
    • Lighting Assemblies & Harnesses
    • Marine Assemblies & Harnesses 
    • Network Assemblies &  Harnesses 
    • Pool & Spa Assemblies & Harnesses
    • RF Assemblies & Harnesses 
    • Agricultural Assemblies & Harnesses 
    • Telecommunications Assemblies & Harnesses
    • Fan, Blower and Motor Assemblies & Harnesses 
    • And many more industries…
        In terms of power cords, or connectors, what configurations does Z-Tronix manufacture apart from domestic, international and medical grade power cords and/or connectors?

        Due to Z-Tronix’s extensive industry knowledge and experience of over 200 years combined, we’ve managed to acquire exclusive experience in not only domestic but international and customized power cords and connectors as well. We can manufacture any power cord plug as well as receptacle connectors. We have been the go-to for automotive industry companies who are launching electrical cars for not only harnesses but cords as well, let us be the go-to for you.  

        Does Z-Tronix offer shielded power cords to avoid exposing of internal conducting wire for unforeseen situations such as drying cracks, pest nibbing, and heat melting?

        You need it we bring it! At Z-Tronix we have options for more durable and extreme condition resistant shields to avoid product failure. While speaking with our representatives and sharing what your power cord and connector will be used for, our engineers will provide you with recommendations for the best shielding.