Cables & Connections: 5 Mistakes
There’s a world of wire and cable out there: indoor, outdoor, waterproof, and cable that is resistant to certain temperatures. When choosing to connect a device or replace a cable or connector, it’s important to select the correct type for your project.
1. Choosing an Indoor Wire or Cable for Outdoor Applications.
They manufacture outdoor cables for important reasons. Rain or water can corrode and UV rays from the sun can dry and damage the outer sheath causing it to crumble. These two major reasons are enough to create an electrical short, damage components, or cause a fire.
2. Choosing the Wrong Size Wire or Cable.
The size of the wire or cable matters. When replacing a cable, it is important to replace it with the same size cable as was originally installed by the manufacturer. Too small of a diameter can cause it to heat up to the point of melting or burning the outer sheath or jacket of the cable, thus shorting out or causing a fire. Too long of a cable can cause a voltage drop between the power source to your device and also increase heat throughout the cable. Both the diameter and length of the cable should be considered before connecting any device to an energy source.
3. Choosing the Wrong Connector.
When replacing a connector, it is important to use the same type or power rating as was originally used by the manufacturer. The connector must also be rated for the cable it’s being connected to and properly crimped to avoid it falling off or shorting out due to touching conductive parts or other connections.
4. Not Protecting Your Wiring
In certain applications cables or wires should be installed in a metal or PVC conduit or have a metal armor outer layer. These extra layers often are required by electrical code and should be applied in these situations. Some projects may also require you to add some split tubing for protection, such as under a vehicle where rocks, water and dirt can continually abuse the wiring.
5. Not Labeling Your Wiring
One of the most frustrating scenarios is having to fix or replace a wire that is blue and black on one end, disappears into a cluster of various colored wires, then on the other end you find several blue and black wires and you have difficulty figuring out which one is the wire that your attempting to fix. Whenever I run or replace a wire or cable, I always label it, number it, or tie a tag with information on where it came from and where it goes. This ends all confusion as to which wire is which.
*Consult a professional if you’re not sure how to choose the right cables and connectors for your project