Você está na página 1de 104

W&CV2cover_spread 4/11/06 3:00 PM Page 1

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Handbook Volume 2

Product Line - Up
Underground service cables such as USEB90, USE190, or
M302 are available, plus overhead service cables such as duplex,
triplex, quadruplex, ACSR, or AAC. High voltage power cable in
either copper or aluminum, from 5000 to 46000 volt, is available in
concentric neutral, PILC, airport lighting, or XLP power cable.
Noramco is Canada's source for electrical,
electronic wire and cable, as well as prem-
ise wiring products for networks. We take
pride in the high quality of our products, our
BUILDING WIRE selection, and the service for which we are
We stock copper or aluminum building wire to fill every need. renowned and recognized.
From non-metallic NMD90 and NMWU; armoured AC90 and
ACWU90; underground RWU90 and TWU-40; copper building wire
such as TW75, RW90, T90. Or bare copper.


Any electronic wire and cable for a multitude of applications is
immediately available. From equipment and hook̂up wire, audio,
video, telephone, intercom, and microphone cable to thermostat,
fire alarm, speaker wire, plenum, data communication, and fiber
optic cable.

Noramco carries a variety of specialty cables designed to meet
critical environmental applications. Polarfex 40 welding cable, as
with our portable cord, is specially formulated to remain tough, light,
and flexible in temperatures ranging from desert heat to arctic cold.
Submersible pump cable, irrigation and golf course sprinkler wire,
high temperature wire, guy wire, blasting wire, tracer and water
meter cable are all part of our specialty cable lineup.

Standard service; special purpose; thermoplastic; multi-
conductor; portable mining cable; motor and lead wire, coil or re-
tractile cords.

Teck cables known for their quality of design and manufacture,
are the only cables for use in pulp and paper, chemical and petro-
leum facilities, or in similar areas where there is a risk of cable
damage due to chemical or mechanical abuse. Teck cables are
available in single, multi-conductor, or composite configurations
with voltages of 600V through 25000V, with either aluminum or
steel interlocked armour.


Instrumentation and thermocouple cable is available in unar-

The Electricity Forum

moured, aluminum or steel interlocked armour, with either 300 or
600 volt insulation thickness. Unshielded, overall, individual, or
overall and individual shield are also available. Other control cables CONTACT YOUR NEAREST NORAMCO LOCATION
include tray, traffic signal, street lighting, and loop detector cable.
We supply a variety of specialty industrial cables from stock, for
marine, automotive, or other industrial applications. Bronze or alu- VANCOUVER 604-606-6980
minum braid marine, PVC/PVC brake cable, GPT, SXL, trailer and EDMONTON 780-468-5678
boat cable, oil rig, transit, trolley wire, and magnet wire.
CALGARY 403-291-2955
We carry a wide range of cable accessories including electrical HAMILTON 905-385-4188
and electronic connection products as well as a complete selection TORONTO 905-654-8180
of premise wiring and networking products. MONTREAL 514-595-9595
W&CV2cover_spread 4/11/06 3:00 PM Page 2

OLFLEX® VFD Slim with CSA TC Industrial Grade Cables according to OLFLEX® VFD Symmetrical with CSA
Approval including MSHA PROFIBUS® for Flexible Applications TC Approval including MSHA

OLFLEX® VFD SLIM is a reduced diameter UNITRONIC® PROFIBUS cables are a series of data Lapp has designed a new Lead-Free, RoHS
shielded motor supply cable for variable frequency cables for use in FIP (Factory Instrumentation compliant VFD Symmetrical Cable, for use in large
drives. The LAPP Surge Guard insulation coupled Protocol) field bus systems, as well as other high horse-power VFD drives. The new OLFLEX® VFD
with a specially blended PVC jacket is designed performance data networks. They are specially Symmetrical is a large gauge VFD cable designed
to hold up to the non-linear power distortions designed with a foil and a tinned copper braided with 3 symmetrical grounds and longitudinal applied
associated with VFD drives. Typical approvals shield to provide excellent protection against EMI copper tape shield, and a black PVC outer jacket.
include UL Type TC-ER and c(UL) CIC/TC 600V interference. These cables have an oil resistant and The copper tape shield provides 100% protection
90oC FT4 providing TC approvals for both flame retardant violet PVC or PUR outer jacket. from EMI and RFI interference.
Canadian and US markets. In addition, the cable Within the series there are individual characteristics,
is also UL AWM rated at 1000V Available sizes which offer extra features customized to your needs. OLFLEX® VFD Symmetrical is a UL TC-ER, CSA
range from 16 AWG to 2 AWG. OLFLEX® VFD Please see below for more information. TC/CIC FT4 approved cable. It is available in sizes
SLIM also conforms to CE, NOM, MSHA, and that range from 1 AWG to 500 KCMIL for 75 HP and
RoHS requirements making it a globally accepted For more information, call toll free (877) 799-5277 or larger VFD drives.
solution. visit www.lappcanada.com.
For more information, call toll free (877) 799-5277
For more information, call toll free (877) 799-5277 or visit www.lappcanada.com.
or visit www.lappcanada.com.

Metal SKINTOPS® UL/CSA approved “Do It Without TECK”

with ATEX approvals for Hazardous
Optimize your cable selection with easy to install LAPP OLFLEX®
TRAY II cables.

Achieve improved tray loading with lighter

and reduced diameter OLFLEX® TRAY II

Approved for use in harsh

SKINTOP® MS-M ATEX and MSR-M ATEX were Canadian environments
developed for use in hazardous locations according
to ATEX for equipment Group II categories 2G and
1D. These cable glands offer optimum sealing • -25oC Installation
performance with TC rated cables. Recommended Rated
for use in the Chemical and Petrochemical industry.

For more information, call toll free (877) 799-5277 or • UV Resistant

visit www.lappcanada.com.

EPIC® Rectangular - Plug & Play • 600V 90oC CIC/TC

FT4 Approved

• Class 1 Zone 2
(Div 2) Approved

• Perfectly round for

optimum weather sealing

CONTACT® Environmentally Protected Industrial LAPP Canada Tray Cables are globally approved, lead free and
Connectors are the ultimate solution for all your RoHS Compliant, including CSA, UL, and CE approvals
power, control, and instrumentation applications
where reliability and durability is essential. The
connectors allow for quick connect/disconnect Check out the LAPP Canada line of flexible Tray Cables and
between control panels and equipment. Available
connector variations include screw, crimp, or spring accessories by calling 1-877-799-5277, or visit us on our website at
cage terminations from 2 to 280 contact points. www.lappcanada.com.
The connectors are UL & CSA approved. Optional
Class 1 Zone 2 (Division 2) approval is available
upon request.
For more information, call toll free (877) 799-5277 or www.lappcanada.com
visit www.lappcanada.com.
w&c4col4pp 4/18/06 4:46 PM Page 1

& EO ILO () 0& $ LO GI  : G G $ LO     

w&c4col4pp 4/18/06 4:46 PM Page 2

of a Coil

700 MW Turbine Runner – designed and

fabricated by GE Hydro. Weld design and heat
treatment procedure developed by Powertech.

Some of the Self Lubrication

Bushings Tested by Powertech

EL CID Testing of a Hydro Generator


ISO 9001 Registered
Materials Engineering Services Condition Assessment of Generator and
• Turbine runner welding and cavitation repair Motor Insulation
recommendations • EL CID (Electromagnetic Core Imperfection
• Fitness-for Service Analysis of Turbine Runner and Detection) tests
accessories • On-line/off-line partial discharge tests
• Cavitation Erosion and Sand Erosion Testing • Data interpretation and analysis of partial
of materials discharge tests
• Failure Investigation and Forensic Analysis • Corona (TVA) probe tests
• Material selection for replacement of aging • Voltage endurance tests
• Thermal cycling tests
• Field inspection and condition assessment
• Insulation failure analysis
(non destructive testing and evaluation, in-situ
metallographic replications, vibration analysis, • Dissection of coils
strain gauging service and residual stress • Dissipation factor measurements
measurement) of Hydro-Electric Generating
• AC and DC Hipot Tests
Station Components
• Condition Assessment of Pressure Vessel and Contact:
Pressure Piping Bruce Neilson, Ph.D.,P.Eng.
• Self Lubrication Bearing Testing and Analysis Specialist Engineer
Electrical Technologies
• Vibration Testing and Analysis Phone: 604 590-7454 Fax 604 597-6656
Contact: Email: bruce.neilson@powertechlabs.com
Avaral Rao, Ph.D., P.Eng, www.powertechlabs.com
Director, Materials Engineering Business Unit
phone: 604 590-7466 fax: 604 590-5347
E-mail: avaral.rao@powertechlabs.com A04-355
w&c4col4pp 4/18/06 4:46 PM Page 3

! ),
!6 K6


œ`Ê-…Àˆ˜ŽÊ/iÀ“ˆ˜>̈œ˜ÃÊ«i>ÃiÊVœ˜Ì>VÌÊ£‡nää‡Î‡ *-Ê­£‡nää‡ÎÈ{‡ÎxÇÇ®°ÊÊ


Ú -   #0  "!  
w&c4col4pp 4/18/06 4:46 PM Page 4

Boca Wire Corp.

736 N Western Suite 126
Lake Forest, IL 60045
1-800-809-9473 Fax: 1-800-329-2650
1-800-809-W I R E 1-800-F A X-2650















1-800-809-9473 Fax: 1-800-329-2650

1-800-809-W I R E 1-800-F A X-2650


Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 1

Wire & Cable and

Wiring Methods
Volume 2
Published by The Electricity Forum

The Electricity Forum The Electricity Forum Inc.

215 -1885 Clements Road One Franklin Square, Suite 402
Pickering, Ontario L1W 3V4 Geneva, New York 14456
Tel: (905) 686-1040 Fax: (905) 686 1078 Tel: (315) 789-8323 Fax: (315) 789 8940
E-mail: hq@electricityforum.com E-mail: forum@capital.net

Visit our website at

w w w. e l e c t r i c i t y f o r u m . c o m
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 2

2 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2


Randolph W. Hurst
Publisher & Executive Editor

Don Horne

Cover Design
Alla Krutous

Handbook Sales
Lisa Kassmann

Advertising Sales
Carol Gardner
Beverly Hilton
Barbara John

The Electricity Forum

A Division of the Hurst Communications Group Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without
the written permission of the publisher.
The Electricity Forum
215 - 1885 Clements Road, Pickering, ON L1W 3V4
Printed in Canada

© The Electricity Forum 2005

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 3

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 3

How Can I Wire it? Hazardous Location Wiring Methods Simplified
Courtesy of Summit Electric Supply Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Wiring Methods, Components, and Equipment for General Use

Courtesy of Seton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Design Trends in Wire and Cable Management Systems

Courtesy of Wiremold/Legrand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

Electrical Cables for Industrial Machinery: Do You Know Which Ones Do and Do Not Comply With NFPA 79?
By Gary J. Locke. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

Electrical Wiring
Courtesy of Answers.com. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Hazardous Location Cables

Courtesy of Anixter Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

Hexavalent Chrome on Steel Conduit

Courtesy of NEMA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

Home Networking Using “No New Wires” Phoneline and Powerline Interconnection Technologies
By Amit Dhir and Saeid Mousavi of XILINX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

Multi-Fiber Connectors for Plug-N-Play Systems

By Mario Rossi, Senior Product Manager, Fiber Optics; Mike Mattei, Director of Fiber Optics Systems; Mark Guymon, Director
of Data Center Solutions, Leviton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

National Electrical Code (U.S.)

Courtesy of Wikpedia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35

Canadian Electrical Code - Section 12, Wiring Methods

Courtesy of the Safety Codes Council of Alberta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

Don’t Judge a Crimp by its Cover: Potentially Dangerous Electrical Failures of Insulated Flag-Type Connectors in Portable
Electrical Appliances
By Scott G. Davis, Andrew Diamond, Will Gans, Peter Hinze, and Harri Kytomaa, Exponent Failures Analysis Associates . . .41

The Effects of EFT Disturbances on Fast Ethernet Performance

Courtesy of the Wiremold Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43

Two-Inch Cable Bend Radius: a New Standard for Wire and Cable Management Systems
Courtesy of Wiremold/Legrand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

Cable Alternatives for PWM AC Drive Applications

By Eric Bulington; Scott Abney, Belden, CDT Electronics Division and Gary L. Skibinski, Rockwell Automation . . . . . . . . . .49

Calculation of Underground Cable Ampacity

By Francisco de León, CYME International T&D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67

Facts and Fallacies of Testing Next Generation Cabling

Courtesy of The Siemon Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 4

4 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Life Evaluation of In-Service, Pipe-Type Cable Systems

Courtesy of EPRI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77

The Aluminum Electrical Wiring Hazard Explained

By Dan Friedman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78

Why Grounding is Used

Courtesy of CodeCheck.com . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79

Wiring Methods and Overcurrent Protection

By Robert A. McCullough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81

Frequently Asked Questions About Category 6 Cable

Courtesy of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83

The WWWs of a GFCI

Courtesy of Hubbell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87

Flexible Wire and Cable Management in Renovated Buildings

Courtesy of Wiremold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .89

Wire Management Flexibility for Smart Buildings

Courtesy of Wiremold/Legrand . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91

BUYER’s GUIDE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 5

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 5


Courtesy of Summit Electric Supply Inc.
Here’s help in tracing usability of wiring methods across and Division 2 means it’s only present if something goes wrong.
NEC hazardous location texts. The wiring methods you can use depend on the Class and
“I’m running rigid metal conduit through an area with Division. (But they don’t depend on the group, which defines
combustible dust. Can I also run it through the room next door the hazardous substance itself). Because the NEC sections are
where there’s flammable cleaning solvent?” Probably not. organized by Class and Division, it can be tricky - or at least
When multiple environments are classified as hazardous tedious - to track down all the areas where a specific wiring
locations, you may find yourself picking your way through method is - or is not - allowed.
Chapter 5 of the National Electrical Code (NEC) to see what To simplify the task, IEEE Standard 141-1993 contains a
wiring methods are allowable in all of them. table that helps you trace the usability of a specific wiring
Sections 501, 502 and 503 of the NEC describe accept- method through the NEC hazard classes. We’re presenting it
able wiring methods and requirements for the three NEC hazard here, along with an update for type MC cable from the 1996
classes: Class I for flammable vapors and liquids, Class II for NEC. Be sure to check the details of your specific installation
combustible dusts, and Class III for ignitable fibers. Within each with the appropriate NEC sections.
class, Division 1 means hazard is present in normal operations

Wiring Methods for Hazardous Locations

Wiring Methods Class I Class I, Class II, Class II Class II,
Division 1 Division 2 Division 1 Division 2 Division 1 or 2
Threaded rigid metal
conduit X X X X X
Threaded steel
intermediate metal conduit X X X X X
Rigid metal conduit X X
Intermediate metal conduit X X
Electrical metallic tubing X X
Rigid non-metallic conduit X
Type MI mineral, insulated
cable X X X X X
Type MC metal-clad cable * X * X X
Type SNM shielded non-
metallic cable X X X
Type MV medium-voltage
cable X
Type TC power and
control tray cable X
Type PLTC power-limited
tray cable X
Enclosed, gasketed
busways or wireways X
Dust-tight wireways X X

*Allowed in certain industrial environments. See 1996 NEC Section 501-4(a) and 502-2(a).
Sources: IEEE Std. 141-1993, 1996NEC
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 6

6 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 7

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 7


Courtesy of Seton
(a) Wiring methods. The provisions of this section do not (D) No bare conductors nor earth returns may be used for
apply to the conductors that are an integral part of factory- the wiring of any temporary circuit.
assembled equipment. (E) Suitable disconnecting switches or plug connectors
(1) General requirements - (i) Electrical continuity of shall be installed to permit the disconnection of all ungrounded
metal raceways and enclosures. Metal raceways, cable armor, conductors of each temporary circuit.
and other metal enclosures for conductors shall be metallically (F) Lamps for general illumination shall be protected
joined together into a continuous electric conductor and shall be from accidental contact or breakage. Protection shall be provid-
so connected to all boxes, fittings, and cabinets as to provide ed by elevation of at least 7 feet from normal working surface
effective electrical continuity. or by a suitable fixture or lampholder with a guard.
(ii) Wiring in ducts. No wiring systems of any type shall (G) Flexible cords and cables shall be protected from
be installed in ducts used to transport dust, loose stock or flam- accidental damage. Sharp corners and projections shall be
mable vapors. No wiring system of any type may be installed in avoided. Where passing through doorways or other pinch
any duct used for vapor removal or for ventilation of commer- points, flexible cords and cables shall be provided with protec-
cial-type cooking equipment, or in any shaft containing only tion to avoid damage.
such ducts. (3) Cable trays - (i) Uses permitted. (a) Only the follow-
(2) Temporary wiring. Temporary electrical power and ing may be installed in cable tray systems:
lighting wiring methods may be of a class less than would be (1) Mineral-insulated metal-sheathed cable (Type MI);
required for a permanent installation. Except as specifically (2) Armored cable (Type AC);
modified in this paragraph, all other requirements of this subpart (3) Metal-clad cable (Type MC);
for permanent wiring shall apply to temporary wiring installa- (4) Power-limited tray cable (Type PLTC);
tions. (5) Nonmetallic-sheathed cable (Type NM or NMC);
(i) Uses permitted, 600 volts, nominal, or less. (6) Shielded nonmetallic-sheathed cable (Type SNM);
Temporary electrical power and lighting installations 600 volts, (7) Multiconductor service-entrance cable (Type SE or
nominal, or less may be used only: USE);
(A) During and for remodeling, maintenance, repair, or (8) Multiconductor underground feeder and branch-cir-
demolition of buildings, structures, or equipment, and similar cuit cable (Type UF);
activities; (9) Power and control tray cable (Type TC);
(B) For experimental or development work, and (10) Other factory-assembled, multiconductor control,
(C) For a period not to exceed 90 days for Christmas dec- signal, or power cables which are specifically approved for
orative lighting, carnivals, and similar purposes. installation in cable trays; or
(ii) Uses permitted, over 600 volts, nominal. Temporary (11) Any approved conduit or raceway with its contained
wiring over 600 volts, nominal, may be used only during peri- conductors.
ods of tests, experiments, or emergencies. (b) In industrial establishments only, where conditions of
(iii) General requirements for temporary wiring. (A) maintenance and supervision assure that only qualified persons
Feeders shall originate in an approved distribution center. The will service the installed cable tray system, the following cables
conductors shall be run as multiconductor cord or cable assem- may also be installed in ladder, ventilated trough, or 4 inch ven-
blies, or, where not subject to physical damage, they may be run tilated channel-type cable trays:
as open conductors on insulators not more than 10 feet apart. (1) Single conductor cables which are 250 MCM or larg-
(B) Branch circuits shall originate in an approved power er and are Types RHH, RHW, MV, USE, or THW, and other 250
outlet or panelboard. Conductors shall be multiconductor cord MCM or larger single conductor cables if specifically approved
or cable assemblies or open conductors. If run as open conduc- for installation in cable trays. Where exposed to direct rays of
tors they shall be fastened at ceiling height every 10 feet. No the sun, cables shall be sunlight-resistant.
branch-circuit conductor may be laid on the floor. Each branch (2) Type MV cables, where exposed to direct rays of the
circuit that supplies receptacles or fixed equipment shall contain sun, shall be sunlight-resistant.
a separate equipment grounding conductor if run as open con- (c) Cable trays in hazardous (classified) locations shall
ductors. contain only the cable types permitted in such locations.
(C) Receptacles shall be of the grounding type. Unless (ii) Uses not permitted. Cable tray systems may not be
installed in a complete metallic raceway, each branch circuit used in hoistways or where subjected to severe physical dam-
shall contain a separate equipment grounding conductor and all age.
receptacles shall be electrically connected to the grounding con- (4) Open wiring on insulators - (i) Uses permitted. Open
ductor. wiring on insulators is only permitted on systems of 600 volts,
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 8

8 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

nominal, or less for industrial or agricultural establishments and snap switches that are mounted in ungrounded metal boxes and
for services. located within reach of conducting floors or other conducting
(ii) Conductor supports. Conductors shall be rigidly sup- surfaces shall be provided with faceplates of nonconducting,
ported on noncombustible, nonabsorbent insulating materials noncombustible material.
and may not contact any other objects. (d) Switchboards and panelboards. Switchboards that
(iii) Flexible nonmetallic tubing. In dry locations where have any exposed live parts shall be located in permanently dry
not exposed to severe physical damage, conductors may be sep- locations and accessible only to qualified persons. Panelboards
arately enclosed in flexible nonmetallic tubing. The tubing shall shall be mounted in cabinets, cutout boxes, or enclosures
be in continuous lengths not exceeding 15 feet and secured to approved for the purpose and shall be dead front. However, pan-
the surface by straps at intervals not exceeding 4 feet 6 inches. elboards other than the dead front externally-operable type are
(iv) Through walls, floors, wood cross members, etc. permitted where accessible only to qualified persons. Exposed
Open conductors shall be separated from contact with walls, blades of knife switches shall be dead when open.
floors, wood cross members, or partitions through which they (e) Enclosures for damp or wet locations. (1) Cabinets,
pass by tubes or bushings of noncombustible, nonabsorbent cutout boxes, fittings, boxes, and panelboard enclosures in
insulating material. If the bushing is shorter than the hole, a damp or wet locations shall be installed so as to prevent mois-
waterproof sleeve of nonconductive material shall be inserted in ture or water from entering and accumulating within the enclo-
the hole and an insulating bushing slipped into the sleeve at each sures. In wet locations the enclosures shall be weatherproof.
end in such a manner as to keep the conductors absolutely out (2) Switches, circuit breakers, and switchboards installed
of contact with the sleeve. Each conductor shall be carried in wet locations shall be enclosed in weatherproof enclosures.
through a separate tube or sleeve. (f) Conductors for general wiring. All conductors used
(v) Protection from physical damage. Conductors within for general wiring shall be insulated unless otherwise permitted
7 feet from the floor are considered exposed to physical dam- in this Subpart. The conductor insulation shall be of a type that
age. Where open conductors cross ceiling joints and wall studs is approved for the voltage, operating temperature, and location
and are exposed to physical damage, they shall be protected. of use. Insulated conductors shall be distinguishable by appro-
(b) Cabinets, boxes, and fittings - (1) Conductors enter- priate color or other suitable means as being grounded conduc-
ing boxes, cabinets, or fittings. Conductors entering boxes, cab- tors, ungrounded conductors, or equipment grounding conduc-
inets, or fittings shall also be protected from abrasion, and open- tors.
ings through which conductors enter shall be effectively closed. (g) Flexible cords and cables - (1) Use of flexible cords
Unused openings in cabinets, boxes, and fittings shall be effec- and cables. (i) Flexible cords and cables shall be approved and
tively closed. suitable for conditions of use and location. Flexible cords and
(2) Covers and canopies. All pull boxes, junction boxes, cables shall be used only for:
and fittings shall be provided with covers approved for the pur- (A) Pendants;
pose. If metal covers are used they shall be grounded. In com- (B) Wiring of fixtures;
pleted installations each outlet box shall have a cover, faceplate, (C) Connection of portable lamps or appliances;
or fixture canopy. Covers of outlet boxes having holes through (D) Elevator cables;
which flexible cord pendants pass shall be provided with bush- (E) Wiring of cranes and hoists;
ings designed for the purpose or shall have smooth, well-round- (F) Connection of stationary equipment to facilitate their
ed surfaces on which the cords may bear. frequent interchange;
(3) Pull and junction boxes for systems over 600 volts, (G) Prevention of the transmission of noise or vibration;
nominal. In addition to other requirements in this section for (H) Appliances where the fastening means and mechani-
pull and junction boxes, the following shall apply to these boxes cal connections are designed to permit removal for maintenance
for systems over 600 volts, nominal: and repair; or
(i) Boxes shall provide a complete enclosure for the con- (I) Data processing cables approved as a part of the data
tained conductors or cables. processing system.
(ii) Boxes shall be closed by suitable covers securely fas- (ii) If used as permitted in paragraphs (g)(1)(i)(c),
tened in place. Underground box covers that weigh over 100 (g)(1)(i)(f), or (g)(1)(i)(h) of this section, the flexible cord shall
pounds meet this requirement. Covers for boxes shall be perma- be equipped with an attachment plug and shall be energized
nently marked “HIGH VOLTAGE.” The marking shall be on from an approved receptacle outlet.
the outside of the box cover and shall be readily visible and leg- (iii) Unless specifically permitted in paragraph (g)(1)(i)
ible. of this section, flexible cords and cables may not be used:
(c) Switches - (1) Knife switches. Single-throw knife (A) As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure;
switches shall be so connected that the blades are dead when the (B) Where run through holes in walls, ceilings, or floors;
switch is in the open position. Single-throw knife switches shall (C) Where run through doorways, windows, or similar
be so placed that gravity will not tend to close them. Single- openings;
throw knife switches approved for use in the inverted position (D) Where attached to building surfaces; or
shall be provided with a locking device that will ensure that the (E) Where concealed behind building walls, ceilings, or
blades remain in the open position when so set. Double-throw floors.
knife switches may be mounted so that the throw will be either (iv) Flexible cords used in show windows and showcas-
vertical or horizontal. However, if the throw is vertical a lock- es shall be Type S, SO, SJ, SJO, ST, STO, SJT, SJTO, or AFS
ing device shall be provided to ensure that the blades remain in except for the wiring of chain-supported lighting fixtures and
the open position when so set. supply cords for portable lamps and other merchandise being
(2) Faceplates for flush-mounted snap switches. Flush displayed or exhibited.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 9

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 9

(2) Identification, splices, and terminations. (i) A conduc- accept an attachment plug with a different voltage or current rat-
tor of a flexible cord or cable that is used as a grounded conduc- ing than that for which the device is intended. However, a 20-
tor or an equipment grounding conductor shall be distinguish- ampere T-slot receptacle or cord connector may accept a 15-
able from other conductors. Types SJ, SJO, SJT, SJTO, S, SO, ampere attachment plug of the same voltage rating.
ST, and STO shall be durably marked on the surface with the (ii) A receptacle installed in a wet or damp location shall
type designation, size, and number of conductors. be suitable for the location.
(ii) Flexible cords shall be used only in continuous (3) Appliances. (i) Appliances, other than those in which
lengths without splice or tap. Hard service flexible cords No. 12 the current-carrying parts at high temperatures are necessarily
or larger may be repaired if spliced so that the splice retains the exposed, may have no live parts normally exposed to employee
insulation, outer sheath properties, and usage characteristics of contact.
the cord being spliced. (ii) A means shall be provided to disconnect each appli-
(iii) Flexible cords shall be connected to devices and fit- ance.
tings so that strain relief is provided which will prevent pull (iii) Each appliance shall be marked with its rating in
from being directly transmitted to joints or terminal screws. volts and amperes or volts and watts.
(h) Portable cables over 600 volts, nominal. (4) Motors. This paragraph applies to motors, motor cir-
Multiconductor portable cable for use in supplying power to cuits, and controllers.
portable or mobile equipment at over 600 volts, nominal, shall (i) In sight from. If specified that one piece of equipment
consist of No. 8 or larger conductors employing flexible strand- shall be “in sight from” another piece of equipment, one shall be
ing. Cables operated at over 2,000 volts shall be shielded for the visible and not more than 50 feet from the other.
purpose of confining the voltage stresses to the insulation. (ii) Disconnecting means. (A) A disconnecting means
Grounding conductors shall be provided. Connectors for these shall be located in sight from the controller location. However,
cables shall be of a locking type with provisions to prevent their a single disconnecting means may be located adjacent to a
opening or closing while energized. Strain relief shall be provid- group of coordinated controllers mounted adjacent to each other
ed at connections and terminations. Portable cables may not be on a multi-motor continuous process machine. The controller
operated with splices unless the splices are of the permanent disconnecting means for motor branch circuits over 600 volts,
molded, vulcanized, or other approved type. Termination enclo- nominal, may be out of sight of the controller, if the controller
sures shall be suitably marked with a high voltage hazard warn- is marked with a warning label giving the location and identifi-
ing, and terminations shall be accessible only to authorized and cation of the disconnecting means which is to be locked in the
qualified personnel. open position.
(i) Fixture wires - (1) General. Fixture wires shall be (B) The disconnecting means shall disconnect the motor
approved for the voltage, temperature, and location of use. A and the controller from all ungrounded supply conductors and
fixture wire which is used as a grounded conductor shall be shall be so designed that no pole can be operated independent-
identified. ly.
(2) Uses permitted. Fixture wires may be used: (C) If a motor and the driven machinery are not in sight
(i) For installation in lighting fixtures and in similar from the controller location, the installation shall comply with
equipment where enclosed or protected and not subject to bend- one of the following conditions:
ing or twisting in use; or (1) The controller disconnecting means shall be capable
(ii) For connecting lighting fixtures to the branch-circuit of being locked in the open position.
conductors supplying the fixtures. (2) A manually operable switch that will disconnect the
(3) Uses not permitted. Fixture wires may not be used as motor from its source of supply shall be placed in sight from the
branch-circuit conductors except as permitted for Class 1 power motor location.
limited circuits. (D) The disconnecting means shall plainly indicate
(j) Equipment for general use - (1) Lighting fixtures, whether it is in the open (off) or closed (on) position.
lampholders, lamps, and receptacles. (i) Fixtures, lampholders, (E) The disconnecting means shall be readily accessible.
lamps, rosettes, and receptacles may have no live parts normal- If more than one disconnect is provided for the same equipment,
ly exposed to employee contact. However, rosettes and cleat- only one need be readily accessible.
type lampholders and receptacles located at least 8 feet above (F) An individual disconnecting means shall be provided
the floor may have exposed parts. for each motor, but a single disconnecting means may be used
(ii) Handlamps of the portable type supplied through for a group of motors under any one of the following conditions:
flexible cords shall be equipped with a handle of molded com- (1) If a number of motors drive special parts of a single
position or other material approved for the purpose, and a sub- machine or piece of apparatus, such as a metal or woodworking
stantial guard shall be attached to the lampholder or the handle. machine, crane, or hoist;
(iii) Lampholders of the screw-shell type shall be (2) If a group of motors is under the protection of one set
installed for use as lampholders only. Lampholders installed in of branch-circuit protective devices; or
wet or damp locations shall be of the weatherproof type. (3) If a group of motors is in a single room in sight from
(iv) Fixtures installed in wet or damp locations shall be the location of the disconnecting means.
approved for the purpose and shall be so constructed or installed (iii) Motor overload, short-circuit, and ground-fault pro-
that water cannot enter or accumulate in wireways, lamphold- tection. Motors, motor-control apparatus, and motor branch-cir-
ers, or other electrical parts. cuit conductors shall be protected against overheating due to
(2) Receptacles, cord connectors, and attachment plugs motor overloads or failure to start, and against short-circuits or
(caps). (i) Receptacles, cord connectors, and attachment plugs ground faults. These provisions shall not require overload pro-
shall be constructed so that no receptacle or cord connector will tection that will stop a motor where a shutdown is likely to
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 10

10 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

introduce additional or increased hazards, as in the case of fire ble markings on the equipment or structure.
pumps, or where continued operation of a motor is necessary for (iii) Dry-type, high fire point liquid-insulated, and
a safe shutdown of equipment or process and motor overload askarel-insulated transformers installed indoors and rated over
sensing devices are connected to a supervised alarm. 35kV shall be in a vault.
(iv) Protection of live parts - all voltages. (A) Stationary (iv) If they present a fire hazard to employees, oil-insu-
motors having commutators, collectors, and brush rigging locat- lated transformers installed indoors shall be in a vault.
ed inside of motor end brackets and not conductively connected (v) Combustible material, combustible buildings and
to supply circuits operating at more than 150 volts to ground parts of buildings, fire escapes, and door and window openings
need not have such parts guarded. Exposed live parts of motors shall be safeguarded from fires which may originate in oil-insu-
and controllers operating at 50 volts or more between terminals lated transformers attached to or adjacent to a building or com-
shall be guarded against accidental contact by any of the follow- bustible material.
ing: (vi) Transformer vaults shall be constructed so as to con-
(1) By installation in a room or enclosure that is accessi- tain fire and combustible liquids within the vault and to prevent
ble only to qualified persons; unauthorized access. Locks and latches shall be so arranged that
(2) By installation on a suitable balcony, gallery, or plat- a vault door can be readily opened from the inside.
form, so elevated and arranged as to exclude unqualified per- (vii) Any pipe or duct system foreign to the vault instal-
sons; or lation may not enter or pass through a transformer vault.
(3) By elevation 8 feet or more above the floor. (viii) Materials may not be stored in transformer vaults.
(B) Where live parts of motors or controllers operating at (6) Capacitors. (i) All capacitors, except surge capacitors
over 150 volts to ground are guarded against accidental contact or capacitors included as a component part of other apparatus,
only by location, and where adjustment or other attendance may shall be provided with an automatic means of draining the
be necessary during the operation of the apparatus, suitable stored charge after the capacitor is disconnected from its source
insulating mats or platforms shall be provided so that the atten- of supply.
dant cannot readily touch live parts unless standing on the mats (ii) Capacitors rated over 600 volts, nominal, shall com-
or platforms. ply with the following additional requirements:
(5) Transformers. (i) The following paragraphs cover the (A) Isolating or disconnecting switches (with no inter-
installation of all transformers except the following: rupting rating) shall be interlocked with the load interrupting
(A) Current transformers; device or shall be provided with prominently displayed caution
(B) Dry-type transformers installed as a component part signs to prevent switching load current.
of other apparatus; (B) For series capacitors (see §1910.302(b)(3)), the prop-
(C) Transformers which are an integral part of an X-ray, er switching shall be assured by use of at least one of the follow-
high frequency, or electrostatic-coating apparatus; ing:
(D) Transformers used with Class 2 and Class 3 circuits, (1) Mechanically sequenced isolating and bypass switch-
sign and outline lighting, electric discharge lighting, and power- es,
limited fire-protective signalling circuits; and (2) Interlocks, or
(E) Liquid-filled or dry-type transformers used for (3) Switching procedure prominently displayed at the
research, development, or testing, where effective safeguard switching location.
arrangements are provided. (7) Storage batteries. Provisions shall be made for suffi-
(ii) The operating voltage of exposed live parts of trans- cient diffusion and ventilation of gases from storage batteries to
former installations shall be indicated by warning signs or visi- prevent the accumulation of explosive mixtures.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 11

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 11


Courtesy of Wiremold/Legrand
The single largest trend affecting wire and cable manage- tangible benefits to contractors and system installers.
ment systems is the explosive growth of information technolo-
gy and the increased reliance of businesses and institutions on DESIGN RESPONSES
high-performance datacomm cabling. Many leading manufac- HIGH-PERFORMANCE CABLE
turers now report that more than half of their market for race- The trend toward high-performance Category 5 and fiber
ways and other systems is for datacomm applications. As a optic cabling impacts the design of wire and cable management
result, manufacturers are developing new products and system systems in several ways. Chief among these is the need to
enhancements that are taking these systems well beyond their ensure the integrity of data transmission by maintaining the
humble origins. specified cable bend radius. In response, The Wiremold
Wire and cable management systems date practically to Company has developed specialized fittings for raceways and
the dawn of the electrical age, when someone needed to run other wire and cable management systems that maintain a 2-
wire where concealing it was impractical, such as a brick wall. inch cable bend radius and prevent damage and loss of cable
The solution was the raceway: a narrow metal channel that effectiveness.
enabled wire to be run across rather than behind a surface. While new wire and cable management systems are
While this development expanded wiring capability, it also con- being designed to meet the requirements of high-performance
tributed to the view that raceways were something of a last cable, there are thousands of miles of installed raceway that can-
resort, to be installed only when there was no other way to get not accept Category 5 and fiber optic cable due to tight corners.
wire where it was needed. The design response to this situation has been to develop retro-
This restrictive view has changed with the development fit cable bend fittings that install into existing raceways and
of new wire and cable management solutions. allow them to accept high-performance cable.
The growth of premises wiring and the trend toward rout-
DESIGN OBJECTIVES ing these cabling systems in wire management systems has also
The rapid development of communications technology created a need for a wider array of communication interfaces.
shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. What’s more, Easily interchangeable inserts and a common interface simplify
people are working in ways - and spaces - that were unimagin- original installation and later alteration of high-performance
able just a few years ago. As a result, a building’s wire and cable copper and fiber optic cable. These device plates install into
distribution system must be able to be easily upgraded, recon- metallic and nonmetallic raceway systems, vertical poles, and a
figured, and relocated. Wire and cable management systems wide range of surface and flush mount boxes.
provide facilities with both operational and systems flexibility.
Operation flexibility encompasses day-to-day issues such as FLEXIBILITY
changing employee teams and the growing use of integrated, The general categories of wire and cable management
multifunctional spaces. Systems flexibility, on the other hand, systems - overhead, perimeter, infloor, and underfloor - have not
enables a facility to accommodate new or expanded technolo- changed, but manufacturers are developing products and sys-
gies over the life of the building. These requirements are equal- tems that enhance building flexibility and result in lower life
ly valid in new structures, where architects and engineers seek cycle costs. For example, high-capacity, multi-channel race-
to design in maximum flexibility, as well as in existing build- ways accommodate the larger number of cables required for a
ings where the emphasis is on retrofits that enhance flexibility. modern workstation while maintaining the flexibility versus in-
Another key design objective is enhanced aesthetics. In wall wiring that is the hallmark of the perimeter raceway. Some
the early days of the datacomm revolution, many facility man- other recent design innovations include:
agers were willing to sacrifice aesthetics because the benefits of Cable tray systems that can be easily maneuvered around
local area networks and other communications systems were so building obstructions. These systems are especially important in
great. More recently, however, an aesthetically pleasing work retrofit applications where wire and cable management must
environment has become a high priority. compete for scarce plenum space.
A related development that has impacted the design of Infloor cellular and duct systems - ducts, junctions, pre-
wire and cable management systems is the well-documented sets, and activations - have been redesigned to increase capaci-
trend toward electrical contractors installing low-voltage sys- ty and flexibility.
tems alongside their former bread-and-butter electrical work. Service activation fittings that offer both electric power
Not only are these contractors learning a new discipline, they and increased Category 5 and fiber optic cabling capacity.
are also facing increased pressure brought on by compressed,
fast-track construction schedules. Many of the newer wire and AESTHETICS
cable management solutions have been engineered to provide
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 12

12 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Today’s wire and cable management systems are installation techniques, including snap-in components, that ease
designed to be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. New the transition into a new wiring discipline.
generation nonmetallic raceways feature eye-pleasing profiles Electrical contractors and cabling installers are also fac-
and are available in a wide range of colors. Specialized materi- ing increasing pressure from fast track construction schedules
als such as stainless steel, a wide range of color options, and that radically compress the time available for installation. In
device plates that hide cover seams have improved the aesthet- respond to this trend, manufacturers are expanding the offering
ics of metal raceways. System components that are commonly of products that help to reduce installation time.
used together, such as raceways and information outlets, are
color matched and manufactured for a seamless look. CONCLUSIONS
The push for improved aesthetics is also seen in systems Manufacturers have responded to the growing impor-
that offer flush and recessed activations that are very nearly tance of information technology with wire and cable manage-
invisible. Poke-thru devices, for example, offer receptacles and ment solutions that:
datacomm ports in unobtrusive flush profiles. High-capacity Accommodate any and all datacomm cabling that would
service activations accommodate more outlets, making them normally be installed from a telecommunications closet to a
less obtrusive than older, low-capacity fittings. workstation.
Ensure maximum operational and systems flexibility.
INSTALLER BENEFITS Enhance workplace aesthetics.
Manufacturers of wire and cable management systems Provide tangible benefits for installers.
are responding to the migration of electrical contractors into
low-voltage work by developing fully integrated systems - so- Much of the impetus for new wire and cable management
called end-to-end cabling - that incorporate connection hard- products and systems continues to be driven by the need to
ware at the wiring closet and the workstation, as well as flexi- effectively manage increasingly complex datacomm require-
ble, accessible wire and cable management systems. Integrated ments in business and institutional environments where flexibil-
activation modules, face plates, and mounting bezels offer ity is a paramount concern.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 13

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 13


By Gary J. Locke

HOW DO YOU DEFINE A CABLE? mitted. Exposed cables shall be installed to closely follow the
surface and structural members of the machinery.
According to Section, cable cannot be rejected
NFPA 79 cable definition summary by the AHJ if properly applied. There is, however, still a prob-
Some industrial processing and manufacturing machin- lem – cable has not been defined. NFPA 79 tells us how to safe-
ery can be built and listed to a product standard. Such equip- ly apply cables, but it doesn’t tell us what a cable is. This lack
ment we readily power up. Many times, however, industrial pro- of clarity creates confusion and makes it difficult to decide
cessing and manufacturing equipment is not listed. The control which cables can and cannot be used.
cabinet might have a listing mark, but the machinery itself lacks
third party accreditation. Encountering this type of machinery HOW DO YOU DEFINE A CABLE?
can create uncertainty, and we are not so quick to pull a feeder,
Defining what a cable is sounds simple, but the follow-
especially when we see cables and cords all over the machine.
ing illustration demonstrates the opposite. Try asking a co-
Our quick assessment is that the machinery builder may have
worker for a definition of cable. Does it agree with your defini-
taken some unsafe shortcuts when it came to selecting a wiring
tion? It is a relatively safe bet to suggest that although we all
think we know what a cable is – based on experiences and frame
Very often industrial machinery is of a special purpose
of reference – universal agreement rarely occurs. We may all
type, and is produced in limited quantities, which makes the
know a cable when we see one, but we can’t readily define it,
development of a product standard for a third party to use for
especially to the satisfaction of others.
listing purposes impractical. When such unlisted machinery is
It would be wonderful if this article could provide a clear
encountered we turn to NFPA 79, Electrical Standard for
definition for cable, but regrettably such a definition has been
Industrial Machinery. NFPA 79 picks up where the National
foggy for decades. So let’s see what might plausibly constitute
Electrical Code (NEC) Article 670 – Industrial Machinery
a cable for the purposes of NFPA 79.
leaves off. NFPA 79 addresses the unique application circum-
To further illustrate the point, let’s look to the NEC for a
stances associated with industrial machinery in a manner that
cable definition, since that is where we are directed to go when
complements the requirements of the NEC. The electrical com-
NFPA 79 is silent on an issue. A search of the NEC indicates that
munity – machinery designers, builders, installers, inspectors
although there are 1,510 references to cable, there are no defini-
and maintainers – can turn to NFPA 79 because it addresses the
tions in Article 100. (Article 800 Communications Circuits does
use of cables and cords among many other machinery electrical
offer a limited definition intended strictly for Article 800 pur-
system safety criteria.
poses, which indicates that a cable is a factory assembly of two
All of us have encountered cables and cords on industri-
or more covered conductors.) At first glance, the NEC does not
al processing and manufacturing equipment that seem to have
define a cable – at least not in a straightforward manner. (We’ll
been applied in an arbitrary manner. By adding the application
re-visit the NEC later.)
of cables and cords on industrial machinery, NFPA 79 2002
There are some respected sources beyond the NEC for a
Edition has filled a void in the Standard. The previous edition of
definition of cable that could be considered. For example, the
NFPA 79 (1997) alluded to cords and flexible cables somewhat
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Standard
interchangeably. As a result, it could’ve been concluded that the
Dictionary of Electrical and Electronics Terms – which per
two were the same, and whereas cords could be applied in a
IEEE is applicable only to IEEE material, is nevertheless a com-
restricted fashion, what might otherwise be considered a cable
monly used reference. It states:
was not permissible. In reality, cabling on industrial machinery,
Cable (1) (electric power): Either a stranded conductor
however common, was implemented in an uncontrolled manner
(single-conductor cable), or a combination of conductors insu-
that was ungoverned by safety standards. The most recent edi-
lated from one another (multiple-conductor cable). Note: the
tion of NFPA 79, however, has clearly established the permissi-
first kind of cable is single conductor, while the second kind of
ble use of cabling on industrial machinery and has defined
cable is a group of several conductors. The component conduc-
installation criteria for safe cabling.
tors of the second kind of cable may be either solid or stranded,
and this kind of cable may or may not have a common insulat-
ing covering. The term cable is applied by some manufacturers
Exposed cables installed along the structure of the equip- to a solid wire heavily insulated and lead covered; this usage
ment or system or in the chases of the machinery shall be per- arises from the manner of the insulation, but such a conductor is
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 14

14 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

not included in this definition of cable. The term cable is a gen- clearly be appropriate for use on industrial machinery built to
eral one and, in practice, it is usually applied only to larger sizes. NFPA 79. Therefore we can add Type MTW cable to the list of
A small cable is called a stranded wire or a cord. Cables may be cables suitable for use on industrial machinery, adjacent to MI
bare or insulated, and the latter may be sheathed with lead, or cable on the cable definition continuum.
armored with wires or bands. 3) Next we must consider wiring methods identified in
Chapter 3 of the NEC, specifically Types AC, MC and TC
THE AMERICAN ELECTRICIANS’ HANDBOOK, 13TH EDITION (CROFT AND SUMMERS, Cables, which have one thing in common – they are, or can be,
Cable. Cable trays are a common sight in industrial facilities,
(1) A stranded conductor (single-conductor cable) or which house, of course, industrial machinery. Cable trays have
(2) a combination of conductors insulated from one also become a common sight on integrated industrial machinery
another (multiconductor cable). The component conductors of systems, and are permitted for use by NFPA 79 in Section
the second kind of cable may be either solid or stranded, and 14.5.10. Both type MC and TC cables can be installed in cable
this kind may or may not have a common insulating covering. trays. Type MC cables can run, exposed, outside a cable tray as
The first kind of cable is a single conductor, while the second open wiring. Type TC cable, with the crush and impact rating of
kind is a group of several conductors. The term cable is applied type MC cable identified for the purpose can extend from a
by some manufacturers to a solid wire heavily insulated and cable tray in industrial facilities with qualified maintenance.
lead-covered; this usage arises from the manner of the insula- Type AC can be run as open wiring and installed in a cable tray
tion, but such a conductor is not included under this definition where identified for such use. Under these circumstances, Type
of cable. The term cable is a general one, and in practice is usu- AC, TC and MC cables are suitable for use on industrial
ally applied only to the larger sizes. A small cable is called a machinery and would be categorized next to Type MTW on the
standard wire or a cord, both of which are defined below. continuum.
Cables may be bare or insulated, and insulated cables may be 4) Regarding special cables and conductors, NFPA 79
armored with lead or with steel wires or bands. tells us in Section that other listed cables shall be per-
Both of these definitions are pretty close, but what have mitted. If a special cable is listed and suitable for the intended
we learned from them? Well, a cable is a common general-tech- application, then it is permissible, and falls in the middle of the
nical term used to describe conductors that may be bare or insu- continuum. What, however, is a special cable as opposed to a
lated, solid or stranded, larger or smaller, single or multiconduc- common cable? It may be safe to assume that those multiwire
tor, and armored or not armored. One could conclude that if it material construction types identified as cable in Chapters 6 and
conducts electricity – it must be a cable! 7 of the NEC intended for special equipment and special condi-
Unfortunately these definitions of cable, lacking useable tions, respectively, might fit the description of a special cable.
specifics, do not answer the question of what is cable for NFPA Listed specialty cables would be positioned next to Type AC,
79 purposes. We will, however, describe eight key conductor TC and MC cables on the continuum.
technologies that will bring us closer to answering the question. 5) According to NFPA 79 Section, special con-
These eight conductor technologies constitute a logical group- ductors such as RG-/U transmission cables are permissible
ing of associated or similar construction, and can be placed on a where necessary for the proper functioning of the machine.
cable definition continuum for ready identification (see Figure Special conductors and cabling designed for data transmission
1.) The continuum places those technologies along a span start- circuits are engineered and matched to the specific needs of spe-
ing with those that “shall be permitted”, through those that are cific data transfer technology. Such cables do not constitute a
“permissible”, ending with those that are “not permitted”. general multipurpose wiring solution. Instead, they are permis-
sible where required in order to ensure proper operation.
WHAT DO WE KNOW FOR CERTAIN? Transmission cables are specialty cables with limited applica-
Generally speaking there are some things that are appar- tion and would fall in line on the continuum next to listed spe-
ent or that can be derived to help us define what a cable is for cial cables on the continuum.
NFPA 79 purposes. 6) Cord is not a cable for NFPA 79 purposes. Cord is not
To start, all conductors applied to industrial machinery – a wiring method. Some cords, where suitable for the intended
except for busbars and the frame of the machinery when used as application, however, can be used on industrial machinery in
an equipment ground – must be copper per Section 13.2.1 – limited circumstances and limited lengths. The materials and
Conductor Material. Cables with other than copper conductors construction identified in NEC Table 400.4, which are listed per
are not permitted in NFPA 79. American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/UL 62 – Flexible
Having established copper as the acceptable conductor Cord and Fixture Wire, are cords. Cords are a separate and dis-
material, we can now describe the eight aforementioned con- tinct category of single conductors or multiconductors, and are
ductor technologies. placed on the NFPA 79 cable continuum next to special conduc-
1) NFPA 79 Section 13.1.3 tells us that mineral insulated tors necessary for the proper functioning of the machine.
metal-sheathed cable Type MI shall be permitted. Such specific 7) Approaching the “not permitted” end of the continu-
language places Type MI cable at the “shall be permitted” end um, Appliance Wiring Material Type AWM is not appropriate
of a NFPA 79 cable definition continuum. for direct application on machinery manufactured to NFPA 79.
2) Machine Tool Wire and Cable Type MTW has been, Type AWM is not a wiring method, it is not a cable, nor even a
and is, intended for use on industrial machinery. Type MTW has cord. It is typically of lesser construction with thinner insulation
been, and is, identified for use per NFPA 79. Type MTW satis- or lesser flame retardant properties.
fies the requirements of NFPA 79 Sections 13.2 – Conductors Type AWM carries a third party recognition mark, but the
and 13.3 –Insulation. Multiconductor cabling Type MTW would manufacturer and the third party providing the recognition mark
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 15

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 15

closely hold pertinent data on Type AWM. Since that data is not permissible.
available to the general public, it is impossible for the NFPA 79 NEC Chapters 6 and 7 listed specialty cable shall be
user community to make a determination as to when and how acceptable.
Type AWM might be safely applied. NEC Chapters 6 and 7 specialty transmission cables are
The quantity of Type AWM classifications is overwhelm- permissible where required to ensure operation of the machine.
ing – the numbers now reach 10,000. These AWM classifica- NEC Table 400.4 Cords that are listed per ANSI/UL 62,
tions are intended for use as piece parts within assemblies that do not constitute a wiring method and are not a cable for NFPA
are evaluated by a third party against a higher-level product 79 purposes, but are permissible in limited applications and lim-
standard for listing purposes. Caution should be taken when ited lengths.
AWM is encountered. With all of those classification options, Type AWM is not a wiring method, not a cable for NFPA
there is a lot of AWM out there. Look for the listing mark on any 79 purposes, and is not permissible except as part of a listed
assembly made with AWM. Only when AWM is part of a listed assembly.
assembly is it permissible for use. Type FC, FCC, NM, NMC, NMS, SE, USE and UF
As Type AWM does not satisfy the NFPA 79 material cables are not intended for, or appropriate for use on, industrial
construction criteria established in Section 13.3 Insulation, and machinery applications.
given that Type AWM is not a wiring method, not a cable, and Given these assertions, how do we crisply define cable
not suitable for direct application on industrial machinery built for NFPA 79 purposes? Well, definitely not in one sentence –
to NFPA 79, it is placed next to cord near the “not permitted” and certainly not in one breath! It is, however, hoped that the
end of the continuum. information included in this article lifts some of the fog sur-
8) To finalize the continuum NEC Chapter 3 must be rounding a definition for cables. It is also hoped that this article
revisited. Cable Types FC, FCC, NM, NMC, NMS, SE, USE fosters dialogue and understanding among those dealing with
and UF are wiring methods found in Chapter 3. These cable industrial machinery containing electrical cables.
types, however, are intended for specific applications that do not Dialogue on the issue of defining cable and cords will
include industrial machinery. As such, these cables are placed take place formally among the members of the NFPA Technical
next to Type AWM on the “not permitted” end of the continu- Committee on the Electrical Equipment of Industrial Machinery
um. as the pending 2006 Edition of NFPA 79 moves through the
revision process. The committee is faced with addressing the
NFPA 79 CABLE DEFINITION SUMMARY issue of defining cables and cords so that the definitions are
We have considered many types of conductor material more readily accessible to NFPA 79 users. This dialogue will
constructions and raised a number of salient points for consid- hopefully culminate in more good work regarding the applica-
eration relative to establishing a suitable definition of cable as it tion of cables and cords on industrial machinery. Until then you
relates to NFPA 79. The most appropriate cables start on the may want to hold onto this copy of necdigest. A need to refer-
“shall be permitted” end of the NFPA 79 cable definition con- ence this article might crop up in the future.
tinuum, while the most inappropriate are located at the “not per-
mitted” end. Gary Locke is a systems engineer with Lockheed Martin
To summarize, this is what we have established about Systems Integration in Owego, NY. The opinions expressed in
NFPA 79 cables: this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect
Type MI cable shall be acceptable. those of Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Type MTW cable, which is intended for industrial
machines and satisfies NFPA 79 criteria for conductors, insula-
tion and flexibility, is permissible.
NEC Chapter 3 listed cables Type MC, AC and TC are
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 16

16 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 17

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 17

Courtesy of Answers.com

Electrical wiring in general refers to conductors used to NEC or CSA C22.2, exemplify the common objectives of IEC
carry electricity, and their accessories. This article describes 60364, and provide rules in a form that allows for guidance of
general aspects of electrical wiring as used to provide power in persons installing and inspecting electrical systems.
or to buildings and structures, commonly referred to as building National codes are often amended by regional or munic-
wiring. Electrical wiring practices vary greatly by locality. This ipal authorities. These amendments may be to “grandfather”
article is intended to describe common features of electrical existing practices and make them acceptable for local use, or
wiring that that should apply worldwide. may be to incorporate local requirements not addressed by the
national code.
In the U.S., U.K, Canada and other industrialized coun- WIRING METHODS
tries installation of wiring is governed by national or local reg- Materials for wiring interior electrical systems in build-
ulations. Often a national technical standards-setting organiza- ings vary depending on:
tion will produce a model electrical code, which is then adopt- • Rating of the circuit
ed, perhaps with local amendments, by state/provincial or city • Type of occupancy of the building
regulations. The intention of wiring safety codes is to provide • Type of electrical system
technical, performance and material standards that will allow • National and local regulations
efficient distribution of electrical energy and communication • Conditions which the wiring must operate.
signals, at the same time protecting persons in the building from Wiring systems in a home, for example, are simple, with
electric shock and preventing fire or explosion. Electrical codes relatively low power requirements, infrequent changes to the
arose in the 1880s with the early commercial introduction of building structure and layout, usually with dry, moderate tem-
electrcal power, since many conflicting standards existed for the perature, and non-corrosive environmental conditions. In a light
selection of wire sizes and other design rules for electrical commercial environment, more frequent wiring changes can be
installations. expected, large apparatus may be installed, and special condi-
The first electrical codes in the United States originated tions of heat or moisture may apply. Heavy industries have more
in New York in 1881 to regulate installations of electric lighting. demanding wiring requirements, such as very large currents and
The U.S. National Fire Protection Association, a private non- power ratings, frequent changes of equipment layout, corrosive,
profit association, produced the first draft of the U.S. National wet or explosive atmospheres.
Electrical Code in 1885.
Since 1927, the Canadian Standards Association has pro- EARLY WIRING METHODS
duced the Canadian Safety Standard for Electrical Installations, The very first interior power wiring systems used con-
which is the basis for provincial electrical codes. ductors that were bare or covered with cloth, which were
In the United Kingdom, wiring installations are regulat- secured by staples to the framing of the building or on running
ed by the IEE Requirements for Electrical Installations: IEE boards. Where conductors went through walls, they were pro-
Wiring Regulations, BS 7671: 2001 which is now in its 16th tected with cloth tape. Splices were done similarly to telegraph
edition. connections, and soldered for security. Underground conductors
Although these three national standards all deal with the were insulated with wrappings of cloth tape soaked in pitch, and
same physical phenomena and broadly similar objectives, they laid in wooden troughs which were then buried. Such wiring
differ significantly in technical detail. As part of the NAFTA systems were unsatisfactory due to the danger of electrocution
program, US and Canadian standards are slowly converging and fire, and due to the high labor cost for installation.
towards each other, in a process known as harmonization. Small
countries, with relatively small technical societies, may adopt KNOB AND TUBE
one of these three standards as their national standard, and con- The earliest standardized method of wiring in buildings,
centrate on developing local regulatory amendments instead of from about 1880 to the 1940s, was single insulated copper con-
redeveloping the basic requirements of a national code. ductors run across interior walls or within ceiling cavities, pass-
In European countries, an attempt has been made to har- ing through holes in porcelain insulating tubes, and supported
monize national wiring standards in an IEC standard, IEC along their length on porcelain insulators. This system is known
60364 Electrical Installations for Buildings. However, this stan- as “knob-and-tube” from the insulators used. Where conductors
dard is not written in such language that it can readily be adapt- entered a wiring device such as a lamp or switch, they were pro-
ed as a national wiring code. Neither is it designed for field use tected by flexible insulating sleeving. Wire splices in such
by electrical tradesmen and inspectors for verification of com- installations were typically soldered and wrapped with cloth
pliance to national wiring standards. National codes, such as the
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 18

18 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

tape, or made inside metal junction boxes. nal and control applications such as doorbell wiring, or for inter-
While a knob-and-tube wiring system can be safe and connecting the thermostats of a central heating and air condi-
reliable when in good condition, it is not used in modern build- tioning plant.
ing construction. The installation is costly due to the high labor Modern building wiring cables have thermoplastic insu-
content, and originally knob-and-tube installations did not lation and an overall thermoplastic jacket. Where more protec-
include a safety ground connection. tion of the cable is desired, such as in commercial buildings or
Older homes may have knob-and-tube wiring for all or even in exposed areas of residential construction, a layer of steel
part of their electrical system. Such wiring systems may require wires or corrugated steel armor is wound over the cable.
replacement or upgrade. Wiring in such buildings may be inad- Generally, building wire in small sizes is solid wire, since the
equate for modern levels of power use. Wiring may have been wiring is not required to be very flexible. However, conductors
damaged by renovations done in the building. Insulation cover- much larger than #10 AWG (or about 6 square millimetres) are
ing the wires may be brittle due to age or may be damaged by usually stranded, for flexibility and ease of installation.
rodents or carelessness (for example, hanging objects off wiring Industrial cables for power and control may contain
running in accessible areas like basements). many insulated conductors in an overall jacket, with helical tape
steel or aluminum armor, or steel wire armor, and perhaps as
well an overall PVC or lead jacket for protection from moisture
and physical damage. Signal cables, such as Ethernet cables,
that must be run in air-handling spaces (plenums) of office
buildings may be required by local electrical codes to be of
plenum rating, meaning the jacket is fireproof, made of Teflon
or other material that will not burn.
For industrial uses in steel mills and similar hot environ-
ments, no organic material gives satisfactory service. Cables
insulated with compressed mica flakes are sometimes used.
Another form of high-temperature cable is a mineral insulated
cable, with individual conductors placed within a copper tube,
and the space filled with magnesium oxide powder. The whole
assembly is drawn down to smaller sizes, which compresses the
powder. Such cables are fireproof and can be used up to 200 C,
but are costly to purchase and install, and have little flexibility.

Knob and tube wiring at a museum display


Other methods of securing wiring that are now obsolete
Re-use of existing gas pipes for electric lighting.
Insulated conductors were pulled into the pipes feeding gas
Wood moldings with grooves cut for wires. These were
eventually prohibited in North American electrical codes by the
1930s, but may still be permitted in other regions.

The first cables for building wiring were introduced in
1922. These were two or more solid copper wires, with woven
cloth and paper insulation, sometimes impregnated with tar as a
protection from small amounts of moisture. The advantages
were that the conductors were insulated, and since they were
Mineral insulated cables at a panel board
paired, less labor was required in installation. A cable could be
“fished” (pulled) into existing wall cavities or between roof
joists, without opening the space as would be required for knob- Because conductors in a cable are in contact and so can-
and-tube installation. not dissipate heat as easily as single insulated conductors, they
Later, thermoplastic insulation was introduced which usually are rated at a lower current carrying capacity. Tables in
improved the flexibility and durability of the wiring system. electrical safety codes give the maximum allowable current for
After World War II, the cost and other advantages of cable a particular size of conductor and for a temperature rating of the
resulted in a decline in new knob-and-tube installations. cable insulation conductors. The allowable working temperature
The simplest form of cable is two insulated conductors of the cables is limited by the ratings of the insulation, and the
twisted together to form a unit; such unjacketed cables with two same cable may have different temperature ratings in wet or dry
or three conductors are still commonly used for low-voltage sig- applications.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 19

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 19

Cables usually are secured by special fittings where they Cable trays are used in industrial areas where many insu-
enter electrical apparatus; this may be a simple screw clamp for lated cables are run together. Where wiring regulations allow it,
jacketed cables in a dry location, or a rubber-gasketed cable individual cables can exit the tray at any point, simplifying the
connector that mechanically engages the armor of an armored wiring installation and reducing the labor cost for installing new
cable and provides a water-resistant connection. Special cable cables.
fittings may be applied to prevent explosive gases from flowing Since wires run in conduits or underground cannot dissi-
in the interior of jacketed cables, where the cable passes through pate heat as easily as in open air, wiring regulations give rules
areas where flammable gases are present. To prevent loosening to establish the current capacity of enclosed wiring based on the
of the connections of individual conductors of a cable, cables insulation temperature rating and the number of conductors in
must be supported near their entrance to devices and at regular the enclosure.
intervals through their length. In tall buildings, special cable
designs are required to support the conductors of vertical runs of BUS BARS, BUS DUCT
cable. For very heavy currents in electrical apparatus, and for
Special cable constructions and termination techniques heavy currents distributed through a building, bus bars can be
are required for cables installed in ocean-going vessels; in addi- used. Each live conductor of such a system is a rigid piece of
tion to electrical safety and fire safety, such cables may also be copper or aluminum, usually in flat bars (but sometimes as tub-
required to be pressure-resistant where they penetrate bulkheads ing or other shapes). Open bus bars are never used in publicly
of a ship. accessed areas but are sometimes applied in electrical switch-
CONDUITS, DUCTS, WIRE WAYS, CABLE TRAYS In industrial applications, conductor bars are assembled
Insulated wires may be run in one of several forms of with insulators in grounded enclosures. This assembly, known
tube between electrical devices. This may be a rigid steel or alu- as bus duct, can be used for connections to large switchgear or
minum pipe, called a conduit, or in one of several varieties of for bringing the main power feed into a building. A form of bus
metal or non-metallic tubing. Wires run underground, for exam- duct known as plug-in bus is used to distribute power down the
ple, may be run in plastic tubing encased on concrete. Wiring in length of a building; it is constructed to allow tap-off switches
exposed areas, for example factory floors, may be run in tubing or motor controllers to be installed at definite places along the
for protection from mechanical damage and to prevent ignition bus.
of flammable gasses that may be present. Special fittings are Bus duct may have all phase conductors in the same
used to mount wiring devices in conduit run or tubing, and to enclosure (non-isolated bus), or may have each conductor sepa-
mechanically connect the tubing with equipment enclosures. rated by a grounded barrier from the adjacent phases (segregat-
Depending on the type of metallic pipe or tube, and local regu- ed bus). For very large currents in generating stations or substa-
lations, the metal pipe may form all or part of the grounding tions where it is difficult to provide circuit protection, isolated-
(earthing) conductor for the equipment. phase bus is used. Each phase of the circuit is run in a separate
In Edison’s first commercial distribution system, conduc- metal enclosure. The current induced in the enclosure essential-
tors were wrapped in cloth tape, coated with a bituminous com- ly cancels all magnetic fields outside the enclosure. A fault in
pound, and placed in steel pipes buried below ground. any phase cannot jump between phases. This type of bus can be
Alternatively, the conductors were placed in buried wooden rated up to 50,000 amperes and up to hundreds of kilovolts, but
troughs. is not used for building wiring in the conventional sense.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 20

20 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 21

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 21


Courtesy of Anixter Inc.

We receive many inquiries

about the proper cables to use in
“Hazardous Locations”.
Hazardous locations are
usually found in industrial facili-
ties where explosive liquids, gases
or dusts are present. The various
types of hazardous locations are
defined in Article 500 of the
National Electrical Code (NEC).
Each type of hazardous
location requires specific types of
cable and/or installation methods.

The first step in selecting a
cable for a specific application is
to determine the classification of
the hazardous location in which
the cable will be installed.
The process of classifying
an area is often complex, so it is
generally determined by the facili-
ty’s engineering staff. “Class I,
Division 1” is the most hazardous
classification, but “Class I,
Division 2” is the type most often
of concern to cable users. The var-
ious classifications are summa-
rized in the table below. Class I
and II materials are further subdi-
vided by the NEC into “Groups”
(A, B, C, etc.) as shown. However,
the type of Group has no effect on
the type of cable required.

After the hazardous loca-
tion is classified as to Class and
Division, the next step is to decide
what types of cable to use and how
they will be installed. The NEC is
very precise in its language in this
area, since even one misunder- stock (Anixter catalog no. 128685).
stood word can result in the loss of life or increase the cost of a Why not spend a few minutes looking through the Wiring
project by millions of dollars. A summary of the wiring methods Methods sections of Articles 501, 502 and 503 of the NEC? The
permitted by the NEC in hazardous locations is shown below. Code probably won’t keep you “on the edge of your seat” with
For additional details, please refer to the applicable article of the literary excitement, but it will increase your knowledge of the
NEC. Copies of the NEC (NFPA 70) are available from the proper cables to use in hazardous locations!
National Fire Protection Association at 800-344-3555 or from
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 22

22 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 23

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 23


Courtesy of NEMA


Steel Electrical Conduit products (Rigid Steel Conduit, Underwriter’s Lab (UL) develops material standards for
Intermediate Metal Conduit-Steel and Electrical Metallic these products designed around the use and performance
Tubing-Steel) are used in the electrical wiring systems in the requirements for the product. The three standards covering steel
United States. They are raceways of circular cross section (i.e. conduit products, UL 6, UL 797 and UL 1242 have historically
piping) designed for the physical protection and routing of elec- specified zinc as a primary coating for corrosion protection.
tricity conductors and cables. They are also used as an equip- ANSI steel conduit standards C80.1, C80.3, and C80.6 have
ment-grounding conductor, when installed using appropriate fit- similar material standards for these products that also require a
tings or the associated coupling, based on the type of product. coating of zinc. Zinc protection of many steel products enables
Grounding is necessary to prevent fires or shock hazards from the use of steel, one of the most recyclable materials, to be used
ungrounded equipment. This combined definition is from the in applications where it might not otherwise be acceptable.
2002 National Electrical Code. Hampering the use of zinc to protect steel would be counterpro-
ductive to the environment.
MAJOR COMPONENTS OF CONDUIT The principle reasons that zinc is used as a protective
These products are principally made from a carbon steel coating for these steel products are that zinc corrodes much
tubular hollow with a zinc exterior coating and either zinc or an more slowly than steel in natural environments and the sacrifi-
organic interior coating designed for corrosion protection. Zinc cial galvanic nature of zinc at small discontinuities in the zinc
provides a superior corrosion protection for the base steel tube coating. This means that oxygen will attack the zinc rather than
since it acts in a sacrificial manner with oxygen attacking the the steel and the zinc still protects the steel in those small bare
zinc rather than the steel spots because its effect “spreads out”.
Underwriter’s Lab (UL), using the American National
Standards Institute (ANSI) consensus method, develops materi- WHAT HAPPENS TO ZINC UNDER NORMAL USE?
al standards for these products designed around the use and per- The behavior of the zinc coating during atmospheric
formance requirements for the product. Additionally, an ANSI exposures has been examined in tests throughout the world.
committee managed by the National Electrical Manufacturers Fresh zinc surfaces are more prone to attack (oxidation) unless
Association (NEMA) develops similar material standards. the zinc surfaces have been passivated (chemical treatment to
Galvanized steel electrical conduits are typically rinsed form a protective passive film) by a topcoat. A fresh zinc sur-
in a complex chromate conversion solution to provide the zinc face, which has not been passivated, will form bulky deposits of
galvanizing corrosion protection against white rusting (bulky porous zinc oxide or hydroxide, which are commonly called
deposits of porous zinc oxide or hydroxide). Hexavalent chrome “wet storage stain” or “white rust”. Without the zinc passiva-
bearing conversion coatings are chosen for conduits because of tion, the zinc will corrode uninhibited thus destroying its intend-
their beneficial film properties such as: inflammability, corro- ed purpose.
sion protection, mechanical flexibility, long shelf life, electrical
conductivity, ease of soldering, low toxicity since the majority WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF ZINC CORROSION?
of the hexavalent chromium is converted to water-insoluble Zinc provides a superior corrosion protection for the base
trivalent chromium, pretreatment for painting, and self-healing. steel tube since it acts in a sacrificial manner in the presence of
The additional process benefits are ease of application and han- oxygen. However, without zinc passivation, the zinc will cor-
dling. rode uninhibited and it will be consumed in a non-galvanic pro-
The safety of these wiring systems has a long history and tection mode, thus destroying its intended purpose. With the
is covered by the National Electrical Code (NEC) published by zinc eventually consumed, the bare steel becomes exposed.
the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an ANSI con- Since steel is electrochemically more reactive than zinc, it will
sensus organization. Local jurisdictions, such as states and cities corrode at an even greater rate than the zinc. Unprotected, the
typically adopt the NEC as their local electric code requirement. steel conduit will be consumed such that the enclosed wires are
The NEC recognizes as acceptable the use of products listed by exposed, creating the possibility of an electrical fire or electro-
Underwriters Laboratory (UL) as having been approved for use cution.
after rigorous testing and follow-up inspections at the manufac-
turers’ facilities. Steel conduit products have long been recog- WHY IS HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM USED?
nized as being extremely beneficial to the safe operation of our Galvanized steel electrical conduits are typically rinsed
country’s electrical systems. in a complex chromate conversion solution to provide the zinc
galvanizing corrosion protection against white rusting that
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 24

24 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

occurs on unprotected zinc surfaces. ically accomplished by using a diluted chromate solution as a
Conversion coatings bearing hexavalent chromium are quench medium, when exiting the zinc bath at approximately
chosen for conduits because of their beneficial film properties 850oF. This sequence uses the inherent temperature of the coat-
such as: ed product to quickly dry the film. Other methods include spray-
1). Chromate films are inorganic and will not flame or ing the diluted chromate solution onto the galvanized tube prior
catch fire. The inorganic feature makes for long shelf life as bac- to a drying oven. Both methods include convenient-to-handle
teria or ultraviolet rays have no effect as with organic films. water-based chemistry at non-hazardous temperatures. A typical
2) The chromate film has excellent corrosion protection, chromate film weight of 5-10 micrograms/square inch of total
and the film is self-healing. Scratches or gouges in the chromate chromium is created during these processes.
film will reseal themselves upon contact with water or humidi- A chemical reaction occurs during the application
ty. process, which reduces the majority of the hexavalent chromi-
3) The films will bend and flex with the conduit without um to water-insoluble trivalent chromium, as a film. The self-
peeling or degrading and continue protecting afterwards. healing nature of the chromate conversion coating is the result
4) The chromate film is electrically conductive/low of trapped hexavalent chromium in the water-insoluble trivalent
resistance. This permits easy and reliable grounding or electri- chromate film. Only a small portion of this coating remains as
cal continuity in the conduit. hexavalent chromium. The dried chromate conversion is water
5) Chromate films are a pretreatment for paints and may insoluble from which only a trace amount of hexavalent chromi-
be easily painted for color identification with assurance of good um can leach out.
adhesion and long service life.
Additional process benefits are ease of application and WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?
handling. Much research has been carried out to develop alterna-
tives to using a chromate solution for conversion coating. To
HOW MUCH HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM IS USED? date, no direct substitute has been identified that has equal ben-
Conversion coatings are applied by liquid contact of the efits and can provide the required properties such as longevity
galvanized tube with a chromating solution. in the protection of white rust formation, electrical conductivi-
Application during the hot dip galvanizing process is typ- ty, etc.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 25

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 25


By Amit Dhir and Saeid Mousavi of XILINX

SUMMARY ing wiring infrastructure in their homes. Reuse of the phoneline

and powerline wiring infrastructures has become the dominant
In the context of a home networking environment, “no
“no new wires” home networking technology. This white paper
new wires” is the term applied to a suite of technologies that use
explores the issues and technologies associated with these new
existing wiring systems to distribute high-speed data and video
and emerging technologies.
throughout your house. Phoneline and powerline systems are
the two dominant “no new wires” technologies.
Home networking using phonelines connects consumer
Until recently, home networks depended on special
devices such as PCs, TVs, DVD, and MP3 players to each other
cables (typically requiring professional installation) to link PCs,
and to the Internet using regular phone jacks. There are, howev-
audio/video (A/V) equipment, and peripheral devices together,
er, several issues that need to be addressed before the success of
which could be expensive and problematic if the hardware com-
phoneline-based home networking systems is guaranteed. These
ponents were in different rooms of the house. Now thanks to
recent technological developments, consumers can use their
already installed telephone and electrical wiring systems to link
multiple computers and digital appliances around the house.
This white paper examines a number of key phoneline and pow- Rather than the hub structure of business networks, the
erline technologies that promise to deliver the “holy grail” of home phoneline wiring system is a random “tree,” and some-
home networks without the need to run hundred’s of meters of thing as simple as plugging in a telephone or disconnecting a fax
new data cables inside the walls of households. machine changes the tree.


Commercial networks are designed to carry data between The random tree network topology of a phoneline wiring
computers. They typically use fiber optic, twisted pair, or coax- system can cause signal attenuation.
ial cables to minimize noise and interference on the network. In simple terms, attenuation means a reduction of signal
Most homes do not have dedicated high-speed network cabling strength during transmission of data across the home network.
installed and the labor costs required to install such wiring is too The attenuation on a phoneline network is normally caused by
high for homeowners to fund on their own. For home network- open plugs and unterminated appliances.
ing to be successful, solutions must exist that utilize existing Note: Attenuation is the opposite of amplification and is
wiring infrastructures. Thus, the challenge for companies who normal when a signal is sent from one point to another. If the
are creating technologies for networking our homes need to be signal attenuates too much, it becomes unintelligible.
based on the following criteria:
1. The technology needs to leverage existing wiring SIGNAL NOISE
infrastructure Appliances, heaters, air conditioners, consumer appli-
2. It needs to be easy to install and maintain ances, and telephones can introduce signal noise onto the phone
3. To reduce complexity, the technology needs to use wires.
existing standards and software platforms
4. It needs to include a quality of service (QoS) mecha- CONSISTENCY IN SERVICE LEVELS
nism that provides low latency for telephony and other voice The network must be able to function reliably and deliv-
applications er consistent service levels despite changes that result from
5. Data rates in excess of 10 Mbps need to be supported someone picking up the phone, accessing a website, or an
to allow consumers distribute live video around their homes answering machine recording a message.
6. Needs to be relatively cheap and more importantly, the
technology needs to provide a level of security TELEPHONE JACKS
One of the main requirements for mass proliferation of Phone jacks are not found everywhere in the home. U.S.
home networks is the ability for homeowners to utilize the exist- households tend to have multiple phone jacks, while households
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 26

26 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

in other countries, particularly Europe, are
often limited to one or two phone jacks. Also,
the physical location of those jacks with
respect to the devices that need to be net-
worked is another problem.
An organization called the Home
Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA)
has been established to define standards and
technologies that will overcome these techni-
cal issues.

The HomePNA is a group of more
than 130 companies seeking to develop spec-
ifications for interoperable, home networked Figure 1: HomePNA Data Frame
devices using existing phone wiring. The
group was founded in June 1998 by 11 companies (3Com, the challenges presented by the home phoneline environment. It
AMD, AT&T, Wireless, Compaq, Conexant, Broadcom, includes standard IEEE 802.3 compliant Media Access Control
Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Lucent Technologies, and Tut (MAC) and Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detect
Systems). Towards the end of 1998, the group created a de facto (CSMA/CD) as the access method for sharing the base-band
industry standard when it published an easy-to-use, cost-effec- signal on the home network bus. Under the Ethernet standard,
tive, and proven 1 Mbps home phoneline networking technolo- information is bundled into a package called a frame. Figure 1
gy in its 1.0 specification. The technology allows computers, depicts the home phoneline networking data frame.
peripherals, and other information appliances to connect with Data originating from applications within an information
each other and to the Internet without interrupting standard tele- appliance connected to a home network is formed into standard
phone service. Utilizing existing telephone wiring, it requires no 802.3 Ethernet data frames and is passed to the phoneline phys-
costly or disruptive rewiring of the home. ical layer (PHY). The PHY circuitry then strips off the first eight
HomePNA members began producing HomePNA-com- octets of the Ethernet frame (the preamble and delimiter fields),
pliant products in December 1998. On July 27, 1999, and replaces it with a PHY header designed specifically for the
HomePNA announced its first step in the development of its rigors of phoneline networking. At the receiver, the reverse
second-generation home phoneline networking technology process is executed.
(HomePNA 2.0). In December of 1999, the organization This approach enables home phoneline networking to
announced the completion and release of its much-anticipated leverage the tremendous amount of Ethernet-compatible soft-
second-generation home phoneline networking technology. The ware that exists today, while meeting the needs of the home
new specification brings a faster 10 Mbps technology to phone- environment. An additional requirement of home phoneline net-
line networking, while at the same time maintaining backward working is the coexistence of multiple services on a single piece
compatibility with existing 1 Mbps HomePNA technology. The of telephone wire. For example, members of the household will
new technology uses selective portions of the 2-30 MHz fre- need to make telephone calls, while other members of the fam-
quency band to achieve these data rates. The technology foun- ily may be using the home network for data transfer purposes.
dation for the 10 Mbps HomePNA 2.0 standard is currently One of the most common methods for simultaneously
based on chipsets from Broadcom Corporation. operating multiple data and voice services over a single pair of
In addition to increasing data speeds within the home, wires is multiplexing. Multiplexing is a technical term used to
HomePNA is working to incorporate their technologies into a describe the combination of multiple signals (analog or digital)
range of electronic appliances including: PCs, ADSL modems, for transmission over a single line or media. There are a number
cable modems, digital televisions, set-top boxes, and IP based of different multiplexing techniques used to combine different
Web phones. Let’s examine each component of a HomePNA- types of signals. HomePNA decided to use a technique called
based network and see how they work together. Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM). This is a multiplexing
technique that assigns each communications service a frequen-
HOMEPNA 2.0 TECHNICAL ARCHITECTURE cy spectrum that is different from all others. Through the use of
HomePNA has come to be known as the de facto indus- frequency-selective filters, devices using one type of service can
try standard for telephone based home networking. It is a robust exchange information without interference from other services
technology that can achieve data rates up to 32 Mbps in approx- that communicate in another frequency band.
imately the same bandwidth as the HPNA 1.0 system and be for- Note: A filter is a device that contains a pattern through
ward compatible with future appliances operating at speeds up which data is passed. Only data that matches the pattern is
to 100 Mbps. It supports up to 500 feet of phone wire between allowed to pass through the filter.
devices connected to RJ-11 jacks. Let’s now examine in greater The home network operates in the frequency range
detail the key components that make up a phoneline based home between 5.5 MHz and 9.5 MHz.
network. Figure 2 depicts the spectral usage of three services that
can share home phone wiring. POTS, UADSL (universal asyn-
NETWORK TRANSPORT TECHNOLOGIES chronous DSL) Internet connectivity, and home phoneline net-
Home phoneline networking technology uses standard working share the same line by operating at different frequen-
Ethernet technology, adapting it where necessary to overcome cies.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 27

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 27

RJ-11 connectors and can be used to connect into a
sophisticated data wiring system.

As mentioned previously, every device on a
home network needs an operating system with net-
working capabilities. Once a NIC is installed, a driver
is required to communicate with other appliances on
the network. It is also very important that the driver is
configured correctly for the card to operate efficiently.
If the card is not configured correctly by the driver, the
card will perform less effectively and slow up network
performance. HomePNA has decided to use the
Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) driver
Figure 2: HomePNA Spectral Usage model that is integrated with most of the Microsoft
Windows operating systems (Figure 3).
The Ethernet technology found in corporate office envi-
ronments was originally designed to support four types of
wiring systems:
• Thick coaxial cable
• Thin coaxial cable
• Unshielded twisted pair
• Fiber-optic cable
These types of expensive cabling systems are not avail-
able in most residential homes.
Consequently, HomePNA decided to leverage existing
infrastructure provided by phone wire inside the home. The use
of the phone wiring system means that every RJ-11 modular
jack in the house becomes a port on the home network as well
as a phone extension.


All the appliances on a HomePNA-based home network
need an adapter to control the I/O to the home network. The net-
As shown in Figure 3, NDIS provides a simplified plug-
work interface card (NIC) acts as the physical interface between
in driver architecture. At the lowest boundary layer, NDIS con-
the appliance and the telephone cable. Without the card, digital
tains a driver that is specific to the telephone wiring transmis-
appliances would be unable to connect to the network or each
sion medium. The layer above this contains a platform inde-
other. Network cards are typically connected to each computer
pendent driver called a miniport. This layer interfaces through a
or information appliance via an interface slot.
standard Application Programming Interface (API) to the NDIS
After the card has been installed, the telephone cable is
layer and this layer in turn communicates with the transport pro-
attached to the card’s port. Once this connection is made, the
tocols that are running across the home network. A major advan-
computer is physically linked to the home network. All network
tage of the NDIS software model is that network cards can be
cards are equipped with onboard microprocessors. The micro-
installed in a telephone-based home network without requiring
processor is like the card’s brain - it is the central point from
a service call from the local service provider.
which the card’s various functions is coordinated. The role of
the network card is to:
• Prepare data for transmission
• Send data across the in-home network LEVERAGES EXISTING STANDARDS
• Store data prior to transmission The importance of leveraging standards cannot be over-
• Control the flow of data between the digital appliance estimated. Given the preponderance of IEEE 802.3 Layer II net-
and the transmission medium working across the Internet infrastructure, HPNA has chosen a
The NIC also acts as a translator. When receiving data, it technology that uses 802.3 framing and Ethernet behavior.
translates electrical signals from the telephone cable into bytes
that the processor in the digital appliance can understand. And, QUALITY OF SERVICE (QOS)
when transmitting data, it translates the computer’s digital sig- The initial motivation for home networking is sharing
nals into electrical pulses that the telephone cable can carry. resources among multiple PCs such as Internet access, files, and
HomePNA cards contain the necessary hardware and software printers. However, the ultimate applications that will dominate
routines that are stored in read-only memory that allow you to home networks are the transport of digital audio, digital video,
create a home network using the existing in-home phone wiring and digital voice (IP telephony).
system. Some HomePNA certified adapters come with connec- Latency in voice connections must be controlled below
tors known as RJ-45. These interfaces are slightly wider than 10 to 20 ms on the home network segment if voice quality is to
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 28

28 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

be maintained. Streaming video and audio connections must eration appliance a plan for interoperability with future genera-
receive an application-determined minimum bandwidth from tions. HomePNA has been designed to be forward compatible
the network. with future stations operating at speeds up to 100 Mbps.
Although the aggregate throughput rate of 10 Mbps for
HPNA 2.0 is more than adequate for many application scenar- SECURITY
ios, burst loads presented by TCP transfers between PCs, with- HomePNA provides excellent security. This is because
out some QoS mechanism, would at times make the network each home has a unique phone circuit (phone number) from the
unable to meet the latency and guaranteed bandwidth service phone company’s central office.
requirements. Furthermore, bandwidth allocation within a given
class of service should be fair. The traditional Ethernet MAC 2 COST
layer exhibits a phenomenon known as packet capture, which Finally, there is the issue of implementation cost and
can result in long access latency distributions. The HPNA 2.0 complexity. As has become very well understood over the last
MAC layer introduces eight priority levels and an improved col- ten years by the computer and networking industries, volume is
lision resolution technique that eliminates packet capture. everything. With decreasing prices for computer equipment -
especially for the home - a successful home networking tech-
ROBUSTNESS nology must be inexpensive. A typical HomePNA card will cost
The primary difference between twisted-pair Ethernet you around $100.
and other technologies is the quality of the communications
channel. Running over Category 5 cable, Ethernet encounters a HOMEPNA 2.0 PRODUCT RANGE
channel that has a number of very nice properties. They include Some of the products that will use HomePNA 2.0 tech-
point-to-point communication, proper termination, a well-char- nology are:
acterized channel response, and very low cross talk. In contrast, • PCs
all of the no-new-wires media available for networking within • Modems (including cable, xDSL, satellite, analog)
homes have the problem that the communications channel can • Network hubs
be severely impaired. HomePNA has developed a robust suite of • IP telephones
technologies that are capable of overcoming the challenges • Digital TVs and set-top boxes
associated with networking appliances on a typical in-home • Home security and automation
phone wiring system. • Network appliances
History has taught us that
higher network speeds are always
better. In the context of a home
networking environment, several
external influences persuade us
that we require at least 10 Mbps.
The common broadband access
technologies such as ADSL and
the DOCSIS cable modems
require home networks with data
rates of 6 Mbps or more to share
the access bandwidth. Moreover,
applications such as multiple
DVD streams or high-definition
digital video make it easy to
imagine that even 10 Mbps isn’t
enough. Therefore, the alliance
designed the HPNA 2.0 system to
achieve data rates above 10 Mbps
in approximately the same band- Figure 4: HomePNA and Ethernet PHY Layer
width as the HPNA 1.0 system.

Once installed, home net-
works are likely to remain in
place for many years. Worse yet,
as home network interfaces
become embedded in appliances,
it may become almost impossible
to replace them. Thus, a good
home networking technology ide-
ally has built into the current gen- Figure 5: HomePNA and Ethernet MAC Layer
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 29

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 29

In conventional terms,
the powerline connects the
home to the electric utility
company in order to supply
power to your home. But pow-
erline communications falls
into two distinct categories:
access and in-home (see Figure
Access powerline tech-
nologies send data over the
low-voltage electric networks
that connect the consumer’s
home to the electric utility
provider. The powerline access
Figure 6: HomePNA PHY and MAC Layers technologies enable a “last
mile” local loop solution that
provides individual homes with
broadband connectivity to the
Internet. In-home powerline
technology communicates data
exclusively within the con-
sumer’s premises and extends
to all of the electrical outlets
within the home. The same
electrical outlets that provide
power will also serve as access
points for the network devices.
Although the access and
in-home solutions both send
data signals over the power-
lines, they are fundamentally
different technologies.
Whereas the access technolo-
gies focus on delivering a long-
Figure 7: Powerline Networks
distance solution, competing
with xDSL and broadband
According to a recent IDC report, there are upside short- home powerline technologies focus on delivering a short-dis-
term and long-term growth predictions for phoneline home net- tance high-bandwidth solution (10 Mbps) that would compete
working. The analyst group predicts that by 2004, phoneline against other in-home interconnection technologies such as
technologies will account for 72 percent of the total home net- phoneline and wireless. As we have covered the powerline
working market’s installed base. access technologies in Chapter 2, we will limit our discussions
in this chapter to in-home powerline technologies.
XILINX PHONELINE SOLUTIONS Advantages of In-Home Powerline Technologies
• Ubiquity of electrical outlets: One of the main advan-
Figures 4, 5, and 6 show the PHY and MAC layers of the tages of using power lines for home networking is the availabil-
HomePNA. Xilinx Spartan-II FPGAs provide low cost ity of multiple power outlets in every room. Thus, it eliminates
HomePNA functionality in consumer products and provide an the need to do any additional rewiring in your home.
interface from HomePNA to other home networking technolo- • Capable of transmitting data: Powerline networking is
gies. While most ASSPs interface to a couple of popular inter- able to take advantage of the unused capacity of the power cable
faces only, programmable solutions enable connectivity to mul- to transmit data over the existing home power cabling.
tiple interfaces such as USB 2.0, wireless LANs, Bluetooth, • Distribution of audio: Connecting your stereo to the in-
HomeRF, IEEE 1394, etc. home powerline wiring network will allow you to distribute
music throughout the house.
POWERLINES • Speed: With advancements in technology, powerlines
This is an emerging home networking technology that are becoming capable of distributing data as fast as 10 Mbps.
allows consumers to use their already existing electrical wiring Disadvantages of In-Home Powerline Technologies
system to connect home appliances to each other and to the • Noise: The greater amount of electrical noise on the line
Internet. limits practical transmission speeds to somewhat lower values.
Home networks that utilize high-speed power-line tech- • Note: Vacuum cleaners, light dimmers, kitchen appli-
nology can control anything that plugs into an outlet. This ances, and drills are examples of noise sources that affect the
includes lights, televisions, thermostats, and alarms.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 30

30 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

performance of a powerline-based home network. based on one of the three major powerline technologies -
• Minimum-security levels: Powerlines do not necessari- CEBus, LonWorks, or X-10.
ly provide a secure media.
• Data attenuation: Due to the presence of numerous ele- CEBUS TECHNICAL OVERVIEW
ments on a powerline network, data attenuation is likely to be an CEBus is a standard proposed by the Electronic
issue. Industries Association. It defines a set of rules for consumer
• High costs of residential appliances: Powerline network products to communicate with each other. The CEBus-based
modems are more costly than modems used to connect to a products consist of two fundamental components - a transceiv-
phoneline network. er and a microcontroller. Data packets are transmitted by the
• Lack of global standards: There are regularity issues in transceiver at about 10 Kbps. The CEBus protocol uses a peer-
some international markets that are preventing the development to-peer communications model so that any node on the network
of a global standard for distributing data over existing in-home has access to the media at any time.
powerline systems. The CEBus standard includes commands such as volume
up, fast forward, rewind, pause, skip, and temperature up or
COMPONENTS OF AN IN-HOME POWERLINE down one degree. These commands are based on a language
Elements of an in-home powerline network include: called common application language (CAL). CEBus uses
• House wiring inside of the building spread spectrum technology to overcome communication
• Appliance wiring (power cords) impediments found within the home’s electrical powerline.
• The appliances themselves (load devices) Note: Spread spectrum signaling works by spreading a
• The circuit breaker transmitted signal over a range of frequencies, rather than using
• Powerline networking modems a single frequency. The CEBus powerline carrier spreads its sig-
nal over a range from 100 Hz to 400 Hz during each bit in the
NETWORKS To avoid data collisions, CEBus uses a Carrier Sense
Typical data and communications networks (like corpo- Multiple Access/Collision Detection and Resolution
rate LANs) use dedicated wiring to interconnect devices. But (CSMA/CDCR) protocol. Similar to HomePNA, this media
powerline networks, from their inception, were never intended access control protocol requires an information appliance to
for transmitting data. Instead, the networks were optimized to wait until the line is clear, which means that no other packet can
efficiently distribute power to all electrical outlets throughout a be transmitted before it can send a packet.
building at frequencies typically between 50-60 Hz. Thus, the A CEBus-based home network is comprised of a control
original designs of electrical networks never considered using channel and potentially multiple data channels on each of the
the powerline medium for communicating data signals at other CEBus media. CEBus control channel communication is stan-
frequencies. dardized across all media, with a consistent packet format and
For this reason, the powerline is a more difficult commu- signaling rate, and is used exclusively to control devices and
nications medium than other types of isolated wiring like the resources of the network, including data channel allocations.
Category 5 cabling used in Ethernet data networks. The physi- Data channels typically provide selectable bandwidths that can
cal topology of the electrical network, the physical properties of support high data rates and are used to send data such as audio,
the electrical cabling, the appliances connected, and the behav- video, or computer files over the network. The characteristics of
ioral characteristics of the electric current itself all combine to a data channel can vary greatly depending upon the medium and
create technical obstacles. connected device requirements. All data channel assignments
and functions are managed by CEBus control messages sent via
Powerline technologies have two primary uses within the
context of a home network, namely, data networking, and home
control. LONWorks technology is an important new solution for
control networks developed by Echelon Corporation. There are
DATA NETWORKING over six million LONWork based appliances installed world-
wide. A LONWorks system includes all the necessary hardware
With today’s technologies, this medium can also be used
and software components for implementing complete end-to-
to distribute IP data around the house.
end control systems - from silicon to software.
Home Control and Automation Systems
In a LONWorks network, no central control or master-
Powerlines have been used for home automation for
slave architecture is needed. Intelligent control devices, called
many years. The most important types of home automation
nodes, communicate with one another using a common proto-
applications include controlling lights, ventilators, security sys-
col. Each node in the network contains embedded intelligence
tems, sprinklers and temperature levels within the home. The
that implements the protocol and performs control functions. In
home control networking systems market is undergoing a sig-
addition, each node includes a physical interface (transceiver)
nificant transition from closed-loop solutions to open, IP-aware
that couples the node microcontroller with the communications
solutions. The result is that the U.S. home automation and con-
trols equipment market is expected to grow from $1.1 billion in
Note: A microcontroller is best described as a highly inte-
1999 to $3 billion in 2005. This is according to Allied Business
grated chip that has been designed to perform very specific
Intelligence’s (ABI) report “Home Automation Systems and IP-
tasks on your home network.
Based Control”.
LONWorks is an “open” technology and is accessible to
Home control and automation systems are normally
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 31

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 31

all. A typical node in a installed by builders who want
LONWorks control net- to offer home automation as an
work performs a simple additional selling feature.
task. Devices such as The home automation
proximity sensors, line consists of “controllers“
switches, motion detec- that automatically send signals
tors, and sprinkler sys- over existing electrical wiring
tems may all be nodes on to receiver “modules“, which
a home network. in turn control lights, appli-
The following ele- ances, heating and air condi-
ments make up a tioning units, etc.
LONWorks home control With the X-10 standard,
system: you can literally walk into a
1. A Neuron chip, nearby electronics store and
which is basically a purchase all of the necessary
microcontroller specifi- equipment required to auto-
cally designed to offer the mate your home. The main dis-
most cost-effective solu- advantage for legacy X-10
tion available for network technology is the fact that it has
enabling and embedding very limited capability in terms
intelligence into home of both speed and intelligence.
control devices. It is a technology relegated to
2. Appliances on a control applications only due
LONWork enabled home to its low data rate and rudi-
network use a protocol to Figure 8: X-10 Control Capabilities mentary functionality.
communicate with each However, the ultimate goal of
other. This protocol is the X-10 technology is to inno-
known as LonTalk and vate itself into a higher-speed
has been approved as an open industry standard by the protocol that facilitates communication between home PCs and
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) - EIA 709.1. controlled home appliances.
The LONWorks Network Services (LNS) architecture
provides a range of network services to appliances that are con- KEY IN-HOME POWERLINE SOLUTIONS
nected to your control system. In addition to CEBus, LonWorks and X-10, here are
LonWorks control networks can be easily integrated with some more key players in the in-home powerline segment of the
the Internet. This built-in capability allows for seamless net- home networking Inari
working between IP-based devices and control devices. As a product company, Inari became well known for its
LONWorks powerline-based systems also support remote mon- PassPort Plug-in Network home networking product. Today,
itoring of home appliances through standard Web browsers. Inari is focusing its efforts on providing powerline chipsets to
modem, gateway, and network interface card vendors as well as
X-10 to OEM partners in the consumer electronic marketplace.
X-10 is a communications protocol that allows compati-
ble home networking products to talk to each other via the exist- ENIKIA
ing electrical wiring in the home. Basic X-10 powerline technol- Enikia’s product line consists of powerline Ethernet
ogy is almost 20 years old and was initially developed to inte- transceiver chipsets that enable data transmission speeds of 10
grate with low cost lighting and appliance control devices. Mbps and above. Device OEMs purchase Enikia’s chipsets or
X-10 originally started out as unidirectional only; how- license Enikia’s intellectual property in order to embed this
ever, capability has recently been added for bidirectional com- technology into intelligent devices.
munication if needed. Nevertheless, the vast majority of X-10 Enikia’s solution makes it possible for computers, as well
communication remains unidirectional only. X-10 controllers as other “smart” appliances, to communicate with one another
send signals over existing AC wiring to receiver modules. The over the home’s electrical network.
X-10 modules are adapters that connect to outlets and control
simple devices. X-10 transmission rate is limited to only 60 bps INTELLON
which makes it unsuitable for carrying Internet type traffic Intellon’s powerline carrier technologies enable high-
around the house. By using X-10, it is possible to control lights speed communication and extend the reach of the Internet to
and virtually any other electrical device from anywhere in the individual products without adding new wires. The company’s
house with no additional wiring (see Figure 8). PowerPacket technology was recently selected by the
The X-10 technology and resource forum designs, devel- HomePlug Powerline Alliance as the basis for its industry spec-
ops, manufactures, and markets products that are based on this ification for powerline home networking.
standard. Today, scores of manufacturers make X-10-compati-
ble products; more than 100 million such products have been STANDARDIZATION OF IN-HOME POWERLINE NETWORKS
sold, according to X-10 group. These home automation prod-
To allow powerline home networks to compete effective-
ucts are called “powerline carrier” (PLC) devices and are often
ly with phoneline and wireless technologies, an organization
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 32

32 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

called HomePlug Powerline Alliance was established in 2000 to In the system, Spartan-II FPGAs also provide front-end inter-
create an open specification for home powerline networking face to multiple broadband access technologies. This combina-
products. The 13 founding HomePlug members include 3Com, tion, with the advanced features of Spartan-II FPGAs, helps
AMD, Cisco Systems, Compaq, Conexant, Enikia, Intel, lower the overall system cost.
Intellon, Motorola, Panasonic, Radio Shack, SONICblue, and
Texas Instruments. CONCLUSION
Past challenges of powerlines include a lack of industry Phoneline-based networking has emerged as one of the
specifications and multiple sources of electric noise. HomePlug most viable, economical approaches to networking in the home.
is overcoming these challenges through the Alliance’s efforts to Phonelines offer consumers an established in-home wiring sys-
create a specification and advanced, optimized algorithms in tem for networking devices in different parts of the house.
semiconductor technologies. Phoneline technology transmits data between multiple phone
HomePlug has chosen Intellon’s high-speed powerline jacks within the home. Phoneline technology currently leads the
networking technology as the baseline upon which to build the “no new wiring” technologies in product development (with
Alliance’s first-generation specification. existing products ranging from 1-10 Mbps).
XILINX POWERLINE SOLUTIONS CEBus, X-10, and LONWorks core technologies are the
Due to the evolving standards in the powerline home net- most popular technologies used to deliver data over lines that
working industry, programmable logic is necessary to future- previously delivered only electricity. The HomePlug Powerline
proof your solution. While providing ASSP capabilities for Alliance is a non-profit corporation established to provide a
powerline technologies such as CEBus, LonWorks, and X-10, forum for the creation of an open specification for home power-
Spartan-II FPGAs interface to other home networking solutions. line networking products and services.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 33

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 33


By Mario Rossi, Senior Product Manager, Fiber Optics; Mike Mattei, Director of Fiber Optics Systems;
Mark Guymon, Director of Data Center Solutions, Leviton

INTRODUCTION cal transfer) ferrule. It is defined by the Telecommunications

Industry Association’s (TIA) Fiber Optic Connector
Today’s Data Centers are critical to the IT infrastructure
Intermateability (FOCIS 5) document, the TIA 604-5B
of most large enterprises.
Standard, and internationally by the IEC-61754-7 standard.
Thanks to their quick-connect design, Plug-n-Play (PnP)
The MTP connector is the “latest-generation MPO” con-
fiber systems are becoming the prevalent choice for modern
nector with flaws fixed and features added in order to improve
Data Centers.With Plug-n-Play, installation is fast and easy, and
reliability and performance. Some improvements include lower
network downtime is minimized during expansions, scheduled
insertion loss, the possibility of restoring the tip by polishing it
maintenance, and emergency restoration procedures. The main-
and the use of interferometers for better quality control(2).The
stays of modern PnP Systems are the relatively new multi-fiber
MTP’s superior performance allows for optical insertion losses
connectors that allow for the interconnecting of several fibers at
of 0.5dB or less. Graphic 1 shows superior mechanical test per-
a time in a very dense footprint.
formance results, another of the clear advantages of the MTP
The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, we will ana-
lyze the two currently prevalent technologies available in the
Both connectors are intermateable, meaning it is possible
market, the older MPO and the newer MTP(1) type connectors.
to connect an MTP to an MPO and vice-versa. Each connector
Second, we will outline the advantages of using multi-fiber con-
will support a number of fibers, the most common being 12,
nectors in Plug-n-Play systems.
while some versions are available with 24 fibers or even more.
However, one should consider whether the space savings and
THE MPO AND MTP CONNECTORS easy connection convenience provided by connectors terminat-
MPO stands for “Multi-Fiber Push On” and was original- ing more than 12 fibers will potentially impact reliability.
ly designed by NTT. The design is based on the MT (mechani- Servicing a single fiber that
may have been damaged will
require the disconnecting of all
other fiber channels linked through
that connector.
MTP and MPO connectors
have guide pins to ensure proper
fiber alignment and minimize opti-
cal insertion loss. These pins are
present on the “male” connectors
However, MTP connectors
can be easily converted from
“male” to “female” by removing
the pins and, conversely, “female”
to “male” by adding the pins.


Data Centers host expensive
equipment and process very sensi-
tive information for networks that
must be always available. This
level of reliability imposes strin-
Graphic 1 - Performance comparison between MPO and MTP connectors. gent requirements on a Data
Vertical axis shows optical attenuation and horizontal axis shows proof tests such as 90º pulling tension, etc. Center’s infrastructure. A Data
The MTP connector shows much more stable results (3). Center manager must be able to
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 34

34 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

quickly perform adds, moves, and changes, as well as restora- such as patch panels and enclosures. Multi-fiber connectors are
tions in case of an outage. A very good analogy is a racecar present in virtually all these elements and, along with small
making a pit stop and being serviced as quickly as possible. In form factor connectors such as the LC, allow for reducing the
a data center hosting mission critical applications, every second “real estate footprint” in the data center. A solution using MTP
also counts. Therefore, the ability to quickly connect new equip- and small form factor connectors can be almost twice as dense
ment or service existing equipment is crucial. as a solution using previous generation optical connectors.
To accomplish this “quick-connect” capability, the fiber Therefore, more floor space is left available for mission-critical
optics industry formulated a new de facto fiber standard, some- equipment such as switches, routers, servers and storage.
times referred to as “Plug-n-Play” (PnP), based on an existing Emerging laser optimized fiber technology will allow for
philosophy already adopted by many vendors in the computer transporting 10 gigabits per second in a single channel. To best
industry. PnP systems are based on trunk cables, cassettes, har- support this new technology, it is critical that all the infrastruc-
nesses, etc, which are comprised of pre-connectorized fiber ture building blocks match. If not, the high performance of one
optics elements. connection could be offset by the poor performance of another.
Pre-connectorization consists of installing the fiber To assure the highest overall system performance, the connec-
optics connectors in the factory instead of in the field (field con- tivity used in these fibers should be factory terminated.
nectorization), as has been the common practice in Enterprise
networks. Field connectorization is a relatively low cost solu- SUMMARY
tion, but it is one that can result in significant variability in Data Centers are a vital part of most corporations and
installation time and connector performance since it is highly must be reliable, yet cost-effective. Costs relating to network
dependent on the installer’s skill set, making it unsuitable for downtimes for some large corporations can easily escalate into
high performance systems. Additionally, field connectorization the millions of dollars in hours, or even minutes, depending on
takes longer to accomplish than fusion splicing a pre-terminat- lost revenue and liabilities.
ed cordage and much longer than simply plugging in a pre-ter- Fiber optics is the media of choice for most Data Center
minated cable. Large-scale service providers such as the applications because it offers greater reliability and the highest
Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) abandoned field bandwidth, even as the cost of deployment steadily decreases.
termination years ago mostly because of the factors mentioned MTP connectors and small form factor optical connectors
here. are the latest generation in optical connectivity. Their design
Another solution for achieving quick connection is the incorporates many years of experience and learning in the opti-
use of multi-fiber connectors. By connecting several fibers at cal industry.
once, the installer or administrator saves a considerable amount Plug-n-Play systems are the best option for the typical
of time. Since the time to connect a 12-fiber MTP connector is data center since it allows for quick, reliable and cost-effective
the same as to connect a single fiber connector (also called a dis- move, add, or change work and prompt network restoration in
crete connector) one can make the same number of connections the event of outage.
in roughly 1/12th the time. A common data center can easily The reliability of a system relates directly to the quality
reach 1,000 fiber terminations or more. Consequently, the time- and performance of its components. It is to no avail spending
savings can be significant. thousands or even millions of dollars in the latest generation of
Because PnP systems also allow for pre-engineered solu- computing, storage and networking equipment and to then con-
tions, it is possible to determine cable lengths during the plan- strain the performance of these systems by cutting costs on the
ning phase and, therefore, order only what is needed. This not enabling connectivity. Clearly, a chain is only as strong as its
only helps saving money on fiber infrastructure but also helps to weakest link, and every data system component should be care-
alleviate cable congestion under the raised floor. Since one of fully selected based on the technology it supports. Only then
the main issues data center administrators have to face is cool- will the chain be strong, and the network remain reliable and
ing increasingly dense computing infrastructure, the use of a cost-effective.
preengineered PnP system also helps to optimize cold air distri-
As previously mentioned, the building blocks of a PnP 1 - Connector design trademarked by US Conec Ltd.
system are cable trunks, harnesses, PnP modules (often called 2, 3 - US Conec documentation.
cassettes), patch cords (also called jumpers) and accessories
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 35

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 35


Courtesy of Wikpedia

The National Electrical Code, NFPA 70 is part of the STRUCTURE OF THE NEC
National Fire Codes published by the National Fire Protection
The NEC is composed of an introduction, nine chapters,
Association (NFPA). It is comprised of a set of rules that, when
annexes A thru F, and the index. The Introduction sets forth the
properly applied are intended to provide requirements for safe
purpose, scope, enforcement and rules or information that are
installation of electrical wiring and equipment. It is used
general in nature. The first four chapters cover definitions and
throughout the USA as well as in many other countries.
rules for installations (voltages, connections, markings, etc), cir-
The reason for the National
cuits and circuit protection, methods and materials for wiring
Electrical Code’s existence is to
(wiring devices, conductors, cables, etc), and general-purpose
codify the requirements for safe
equipment (cords, receptacles, switches, heaters, etc). The next
electrical installations into a sin-
three chapters deal with special occupancies (high risk to multi-
gle, standardized source.
ple persons), specific equipment (signs, machinery, etc) and
The NEC is usually adopt-
special conditions (emergency systems, alarms, etc). Chapter 8
ed at the state, county, or city level
is specific to additional requirements for communications sys-
as the rules for how electrical
tems (telephone, radio/TV, etc) and Chapter 9 is composed of 10
work is to be done. This means the
tables regarding conductor, cable and conduit properties, among
NEC carries the force of law in
other things. Annexes A-F relates to referenced standards, cal-
many jurisdictions.
culations, examples, and additional tables for proper implemen-
The NEC is developed by NFPA’s Committee on the
tation of various code articles (e.g., how many wires fit in a con-
National Electrical Code NEC. It is sponsored by the National
Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and it is approved as an
The introduction and the first 8 chapters contain num-
American National Standard by the American National
bered Articles, Parts, Sections (or Lists or Tables) italicized
Standards Institute ANSI. It is identified as ANSI/ NFPA 70.
Exceptions, and Fine Print Notes (FPN) - explanations that are
The 108-year-old NEC is updated and published every 3
not part of the rules. Articles are coded with numerals and let-
years. Recent publication dates were 1999, 2002 and 2005.
ters, as ###.###(A)(#)(a) e.g., 804.22(C)(3)(b) could be read as
Most states adopt the most recent edition within a couple of
“Section 804 point 22(C)(3)(b).” and would be found in Chapter
years of its publication. As with any “uniform” code, a few
8. For internal references, some lengthy articles are further bro-
jurisdictions regularly omit or modify some sections, or add
ken into “parts” with roman-numerals (Parts I, II, III, etc).
their own requirements (sometimes based upon earlier versions
The NFPA also publishes a 1,100-page NEC Handbook
of the NEC, or locally accepted practices). However, the NEC
(for each new NEC edition) that contains the entire code, plus
is the least amended model code.
additional illustrations and explanations, and helpful cross-ref-
In the U.S., anyone, including the city issuing building
erences within the code and to earlier versions of the code.
permits, may face a civil liability lawsuit (sued) for negligently
Many NEC requirements refer to “listed” or “labeled”
creating a situation that results in loss of life or property. Failure
devices, and this means that the device has been designed, man-
to adhere to well known best practices for safety has been held
ufactured and marked in accordance with its relevant standards.
to be negligent. This means that
To be listed, the device has to meet the testing and other require-
the city should adopt and enforce
ments set by a listing agency such as Underwriters Laboratories
building codes that specify stan-
(UL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA), with reference
dards and practices for electrical
to appropriate testing standards. Only a listed device can carry
systems (as well as other depart-
the listing brand of the listing agency. To be labeled as fit for a
ments such as water and fuel-gas
particular purpose (e.g., “wet locations”) a device must be test-
systems). This creates a system
ed for that specific use by the listing agency and then the appro-
whereby a city can best avoid law-
priate label applied to the device (typically in addition to the
suits by adopting a single, stan-
listing marks).
dard set of building code laws.
This has led to the NEC becoming
the de facto standard set of electri-
cal requirements. A licensed elec- Articles 210 addresses “branch circuits” (as opposed to
trician will have spent years of service or feeder circuits) and receptacles and fixtures on branch
apprenticeship studying and prac- circuits. There are requirements for the minimum number of
ticing the NEC requirements prior branches, and placement of receptacles, according to the loca-
to obtaining his or her license. tion and purpose of the receptacle outlet. A ground fault circuit
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 36

36 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

interrupter (GFCI) is required on all incompatible varieties. In one the ‘neutral’ slot accepts a flat
outlets in bathrooms, outdoors and blade-prong. In the other the neutral slot accepts a blade with a
kitchens, and, in addition, for dwelling right angle bend. These are officially NEMA types 14-50R
units: crawl-spaces, garages, boat- (commonly used with number 8 wire for electric ranges) and
houses, unfinished basements, and 14-30R (commonly used with number 10 wire for electric
within 6 feet (1.8 m) of a wet-bar sink, clothes dryers), respectively, and differ only in current rating
with limited exceptions. See NEC for (50 A versus 30 A); previous installations would have used the
details. The NEC also has rules about 10-30 or 10-50 configuration.
such things as how many electrical These changes in standards often cause problems for
sockets should be placed in a given people living in older buildings.
residential dwelling per unit of floor area, and how far apart
they can be in a given type of room, based upon the typical A 120-VOLT GFCI SOCKET
cord-length of small appliances (for example, not more than 12 Unlike traditional circuit breakers and fuses, which only
feet apart, or 4 feet apart on kitchen countertops). open the circuit when the “hot” current exceeds a fixed value for
As of 1999 the NEC required that new 120-volt house- a fixed time, a GFCI device will interrupt electrical service
hold receptacle outlets, for general purpose use, be both ground- when more than 4 to 6 milliamperes of current in either conduc-
ed and polarized. NEMA has implemented this in its U.S. stan- tor is leaked to ground (either directly or through a resistance,
dard socket configurations so that: such as a person). A GFCI detects an imbalance between the
There must be a slot for a center-line, rounded pin con- current flowing in the “hot” side and the current in the “neutral”
nected to a common ground. side. Socket outlets with GFCI have the added advantage of pro-
The two blade-shaped slots must be of differing sizes, to tecting other sockets ‘downstream’ of them, so that one GFCI
prevent ungrounded (2-wire) devices which use “neutral” as socket can serve as protection for several conventional outlets,
their only ground from being misconnected. whether or not they are grounded. GFCI devices come in many
The NEC also has provisions that permit the use of configurations including circuit-breakers, portable devices and
grounded-type receptacles in nongrounded wiring (for example, outlet receptacle sockets.
the retrofit of 2-wire circuits) if a GFCI is used for protection of A GFCI socket typically has a pair of small push buttons
the new outlet (either itself or “downstream” from a GFCI). Art. between its two receptacles: one labeled ‘test’ and the other
406.3(D)(3). ‘reset’ (or T and R). Pressing ‘test’ will place a small imbalance
in the line sensor, which will trip the device, resulting in an
240 V RECEPTACLE FACES audible “snap”. Pressing ‘reset’ will allow the socket to function
The 1999 Code required that new 240-volt receptacles be normally after a test, or after a faulty appliance has been
grounded also, which necessitates a fourth slot in their faces. removed from the circuit or insulated from ground.
U.S. 240 centertapped single phase has two of these slots being Like fuses and circuit breakers, a GFCI socket has a
‘hot’, with the neutral being the center tap. There is only one finite number of uses. It must be replaced when a test fails to
standard for these circuits, but 240 V receptacles come in two trip the device.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 37

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 37


Courtesy of the Safety Codes Council of Alberta
CONDUCTORS GENERAL The code mandates the use of approved (see Rule 2-024)
straps and other devices to support cables and conduit or EMT.
However, cable ties used for securing need not be approved.
“Securing” should not be confused with “support” (i.e.,
With the change in the conductor standards, RW90 con- TECK cable in a horizontal run of cable tray is supported by the
ductor is now available with a voltage rating of 600V. The suit- tray and may be secured to the tray with cable ties). Another
ability of this conductor on 600V ungrounded and impedance application where cable ties need not be approved is when con-
grounded systems, where past practice has been to use 1000 V ductors or cables are permitted to be bundled.
conductors, has been questioned. The need to exercise good judgement is necessary in cer-
Electro-Federation Canada has issued a paper explaining tain situations. A cable in a vertical run of cable tray may be
that the insulation thickness on low voltage conductors is interpreted as requiring support in long runs but only need to be
intended for mechanical strength as well as insulation value. secured where the length of run is relatively short.
Therefore, it is thicker than would be required for insula-
tion value alone. Based on this, the wire and cable manufactur- RULE 12-306 CONDUCTOR SUPPORTS
ers have agreed that 600V RW90 rated cable is suitable for use
on 600V ungrounded or impedance grounded systems. When using wood poles to support overhead conductors
the following guidelines are recommended:
RULE 12-012 UNDERGROUND INSTALLATIONS The poles should be treated with an acceptable preserva-
tive to prevent premature rotting and:
MECHANICAL PROTECTION FOR DIRECT BURIED CONDUCTORS (a) Be of sufficient length to provide the conductor clear-
The Appendix B Note on Rule 12-012 indicates that ances specified in Rule 6-112
polyethylene water pipe in conformance with CSA Standard (b) Be guyed where necessary to maintain the specified
B137.1, Polyethylene Pipe for Cold Water Services is consid- clearances
ered acceptable for mechanical protection of conductors or (c) Have a minimum circumference at the top of 430 mm
cables used for direct earth burial. (d) Have a minimum circumference measured at a point
Although acceptable for mechanical protection of con- 1.8 m from the butt of:
ductors or cables installed underground, this material is not (i) 700 mm - for poles not exceeding 7.7 m in length; or
approved as a wiring material and should not be installed as a (ii) 760 mm - for poles exceeding 7.7 m but not exceed-
raceway inside buildings. ing 9.2 m; or
(iii) 810 mm - for poles exceeding 9.2 m but not exceed-
A review of Rule 12-012(5) indicates that it is intended to (iv) 860 mm - for poles exceeding 11.0 m but not exceed-
apply to cables other than armoured cable, mineral-insulated ing 12.2 m; and
cable and aluminum-sheathed cable. Requirements for mechan- (e) Be set in the ground a minimum depth of:
ical protection of these cables are stipulated in Rules 12-604 and (i) 1.5 m - for poles not exceeding 7.7 m in length; or
12-710 (see comments on Rule 12-604 below). (ii) 1.6 m - for poles exceeding 7.7 m but not exceeding
9.2 m; or
RULE 12-120 SUPPORTING OF CONDUCTORS (iii) 1.8 m - for poles exceeding 9.2 m but not exceeding
Conductors in vertical runs of cable may settle after except that for poles set in rock, concrete, or fabricated
installation and the conductor terminations are subject to strain bases, this depth may be reduced.
and tension resulting in an unsafe condition.
Although Rule 12-120(2) specifically references conduc- RULE 12-310 CLEARANCE OF CONDUCTORS
tors in vertical raceways, Subrule (1) is intended to cover all Although the Canadian Electrical Code does not specifi-
cases where conductors may place strain on the terminations cally prescribe conductor clearances for overhead conductors
when not properly supported. Please ensure that all conductors that are not service conductors, the clearance requirements of
are properly supported in compliance with Rule 12-120(1). Rule 6-112 for service conductors are used. Farms are interpret-
ed as commercial/industrial premises and the 5m clearance in 6-
USE OF CABLE TIES 112 is recommended.
The Provincial Code Advisory Committee has ques- Clearances for conductors over buildings are required to
tioned the use of cable ties (TY RAPS). be 2.5m over flat roofs and at least 1m over peaked roofs.
Where metal roofing is involved, a 3m clearance is recommend-
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 38

38 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Conductor clearances for electrical utility installations are prescribed in the Alberta Electrical and Communication Utility Code.


Buildings of this type may require a supporting mast so
Armoured cables having an overall outer covering, such
that at least a 3m clearance over the roof can be maintained.
as Type ACWU and Type TECK, must be provided with
mechanical protection where necessary to ensure the outer cov-
RULE 12-516 PROTECTION FOR CABLE IN CONCEALED ering is not subject to mechanical damage as stated in Rule 12-
INSTALLATIONS 606. Cables having an overall outer covering that are used in
Non-metallic sheathed cable should not be run horizon- hazardous areas must be installed in a manner that will not sub-
tally through sections of a building where it is known that cup- ject the covering to mechanical damage either during or after
boards or other fixtures will be installed that may require the use installation.
of long mounting nails or screws that could pierce the cable.
Unless the wall construction is such that horizontally run cables RULE 12-904 CONDUCTORS IN RACEWAYS
are at least 50 mm from the outer edges of the wooden mem-
bers, cables should be protected by protection plates or sleeves
of 16 MSG steel or the equivalent. For Cable Tray installations involving Type TC Tray
Cable, the outer coverings on adjacent cables are interpreted as
RULE 12-604 PROTECTION FOR ARMOURED CABLES IN providing the required separation between the conductors in
LANES accordance with Rule 12-904(2)(b), provided the combined
thickness of the outer jackets is at least equal to 1.5 mm.
Rule 12-604 indicates that unless otherwise protected,
armoured cable must be protected with steel guards where locat- RULE 12-1114 MAXIMUM SPACING OF CONDUIT
ed less than 2 m above grade in lanes and driveways. However, SUPPORTS
the cable may be subject to similar damage in other locations.
To meet the intent of Rule 12-604, armoured cable located in USE OF STAND-OFFS TO SUPPORT CONDUIT RISERS ON SUPPLY AUTHORITY POLES
areas where the cable may be subject to mechanical damage The Electrical and Communication Utility Code has
from vehicles or equipment must have mechanical protection requirements for mounting equipment on poles to discourage
for 2 m above grade. unauthorized climbing. Where the supply authority requires
Where underground cables extending to an overhead sup- standoffs and the required distance between supports exceeds
ply system are intended to be installed on a supply authority’s that required in the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I, for the
pole, mechanical protection should be provided by nonmetallic raceway the following is recommended:
conduit or similar non-metallic material. Contact the local sup- Rigid PVC or HFT conduit with a trade size of 2? or larg-
ply authority before placing cables on their pole. er will be acceptable with spacing between supports of 2.5 m, at
one point only, to comply with the ECUSR requirement.
RULE 12-606 USE OF THERMOPLASTIC COVERED Spacing between supports for the balance of the riser is to com-
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 39

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 39

ply with Rule 12-1114. This raceway may be installed as a con- for wire and cable in non-combustible buildings, it will be nec-
tinuous run, or as a sleeve to support a raceway with a smaller essary to use materials or installation methods specifically
trade size. Please contact the local supply authority before plac- approved for those applications.
ing any equipment on their pole.
Installations where Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT) is The Code does not permit “conduit fittings” to be used as
subject to excessive vibration are considered “subject to a junction box. However, in Alberta we have interpreted the
mechanical injury” as referenced in paragraph (a) of this rule. term “equivalent device” in 12-3002(1) to include “conduit fit-
You are cautioned to avoid using EMT in these situations. Some tings” in special applications (i.e., connection to solenoids, pho-
examples of where vibration may be “excessive” are gravel tocells, etc.). Wire leads from these devices must be integral to
crushers, saw mills, planer mills, etc. the device. Where the device has a bonding conductor and the
conduit fitting has no provisions for attaching a bonding con-
RULE 12-2202 CONDUCTORS IN CABLE TRAYS ductor, a separate bonding conductor must be provided in the
INSTALLATION OF BONDING CONDUCTORS IN CABLE TRAY conduit system to the fitting. The fitting must also comply with
Although a green insulated single conductor is permitted the requirements of Rule 12-3036 and Table 22.
as the bonding conductor in cable trays, it must be flame tested
in compliance with Rule 2-126. Wire and cable certified to CSA SUPPORT - GENERAL
Standard C22.2 No. 75 Thermoplastic Insulated Wires and RULES 12-1010, 12-1404, 12-3012, 12-3014
Cables (ie: Type TW, TWU, etc.) has been flame tested to the Rules 12-1010 and 12-1404 indicate that conduit and
Vertical Flame Test, equivalent of that recognized by the FT1 EMT is to be securely fastened. Rules 12-3012 and 12-3014
mark. stipulate the conditions under which boxes, cabinets and fittings
Wire and cable certified to CSA Standard C22.2 No. 38, are to be supported on supports rigidly secured to the structural
Thermoset Wire and Cable, (ie: RW, RWU XLPE) however, has unit. To comply with the above rules, conduit, EMT, outlet
no mandatory flame test requirement. Such wires or cable boxes and similar enclosures are to be securely fastened to
would not be acceptable for installation in a cable tray unless rigidly secured supports or structural members of the building.
specifically tested and marked accordingly. The use of suspended ceiling support wires for this purpose is
The Alberta Building Code contains flame spread not considered as meeting the intent of these rules.
requirements for wire and cables as indicated in Rule 2-126 of
the Canadian Electrical Code. In order to meet the requirements
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 40

40 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 41

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 41


By Scott G. Davis, Andrew Diamond, Will Gans, Peter Hinze, and Harri Kytomaa, Exponent Failure
Analysis Associates

In over ten years of manufacturing, a problem- ance shut off when a given set point was reached);
atic pattern began to emerge for five different models however, the appliance continuously operated at
of portable electrical appliances. The appliances were maximum load in certain extreme cases when the
returned for service to the manufacturer with electri- set point was not attained.
cal failures. Initially, the exact cause was unknown
despite preliminary investigations by the manufactur- INVESTIGATION
er. When the recurring failures became associated The team examined twenty crimped connec-
with a fire hazard, however, the manufacturer imme- tors from the service-returned units under a micro-
diately assembled an engineering team to look in to scope to qualitatively determine the crimp quality.
the cause of the failures. The twenty connectors chosen were representative
To begin the investigation, the team inspected of all of the 16 AWG connectors found in the appli-
twenty-seven service-returned appliances, revealing a ance (power cord and internal neutral wire, insulat-
consistent pattern of failure. Specifically, the failures ed and uninsulated connectors) at various degrees
occurred on the insulated crimp connectors on the power cord or of failure. In addition to the twenty connectors from the returned
neutral wires, and were characterized by discoloration of the units, the engineers examined four unused connectors. These
crimp connector insula- unused crimp connections were randomly chosen from batches
tion (see Fig. 1). These that were pre-assembled by the overseas suppliers and recently
observations were consis- delivered to the appliance manufacturer for installation.
tent with overheating of To prepare
the connector at the junc- the connectors for
tion between the wire and microscopic
the crimp connector. In a examination, they
few cases, the connector were encapsulated
FIGURE 1. Insulated crimp connectors showed vary-
insulation and surround- in an epoxy resin
ing levels of heat damage (left) and burn damage
(right). ing material ignited, and cured for
resulting in fire damage approximately ten
to the connector and unit. hours. With the
Determining the cause of the connector failures required a FIGURE 2. The crimp connectors were encapsulated in an
epoxy resin to reveal the plane of cross sectioning through epoxy resin set,
detailed investigation of the crimp connections. the connector was
the crimp connector (left) and to enable the resulting cross-
The appliance design called for 16 AWG and 18 AWG sectional view of the top section (right). sectioned roughly
stranded multiconductor wiring, rated to 105°C. The 16 AWG in half at the area
wires carried the full electrical load (nominally 1,500 W) and of interest, reveal-
were comprised of the power cord and neutral wires. All power ing the cross section of the crimp (see Fig. 2). Each cut surface
wiring was fastened to the appliance with crimped, quick-con- was polished to a 0.05-µm finish. After polishing, the crimp
nect flag-type connectors. The manufacturer outsourced assem- cross sections were examined and photographed under an opti-
bly of all wires and crimp connections to overseas suppliers. cal microscope with a 6X objective lens.
The appliance power cord used insulated crimp connec-
tors exclusively, while the internal neutral wires had either insu- OBSERVATIONS
lated or uninsulated crimp connectors, depending on model All observed failures occurred in the crimps of the insu-
design. Electrical measurements conducted on new units sup- lated power cord or neutral wire connectors, which carry the
plied by the manufacturer indicated a maximum load current of maximum current load. These failed connectors show evidence
12.5 A on the 16 AWG power cord, neutral wires, and associat- of prolonged overheating, and in certain cases, fire damage.
ed connectors. Under normal operation, the appliance was Furthermore, the failed connectors consistently exhibited other
designed to operate under cyclic conditions (meaning the appli-
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 42

42 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

notable defects that were only detectable using the cross-sec- variability between crimps seen in the failed service-returned
tional analysis, such as limited deformation of the crimped con- connectors. The poor crimping was characterized by limited
nector, limited deformation of the conductor wire strands inside contact between the conductor wires and crimped connector.
the crimp, and significant void fraction (limited contact surface)
of the conductor wire strands within the crimped connector (see ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS
Fig. 3). Failure of the appliances was due to improperly formed
crimps in the insulated connectors. The uninsulated connectors
did not experience failure. The crimp quality, as qualitatively
evaluated by optical microscopy of the crimp cross section, was
markedly higher for the uninsulated connectors than the insulat-
ed connectors. Poor crimping in the failed connectors led to a
decrease in contact area between the connector and the wire
conductors which, in turn, was accompanied by an increase in
the associated contact resistance. This caused additional heat
generation at the crimp and, over time, failure of the connector
and the unit. In certain cases, this overheating led to ignition of
FIGURE 3. In cross sections of two different failed insulated crimp connectors, one showed the connector and unit, resulting in a fire hazard.
limited deformation and significant void fraction (left). Another cross section showed pre- Contact resistance varies as a function of time and
soldering of the wire, which inhibited crimp deformation and resulted in limited contact depends on the size and shape of the mating contacts, vibration,
area between conductor and connector (right). temperature, moisture, and other factors. Contacts exposed to
long-term high temperatures experienced the buildup of an
oxide layer, which progressively increased contact resistance,
The sectioning also revealed that some connectors con- further increasing the temperature. Units that exhibited inade-
sisted of stranded wire that was pre-soldered before crimping, quate crimping did not necessarily fail, as appliance failure was
which was not specified by the manufacturer. Wire that was pre- strongly dependent on the cycle use of the product.
soldered resulted in minimal deformation of the crimp, and Recognizing that price competition often results in the
reduced contact area between the conductor and the connector. outsourcing of electrical components, this study showed how
Another notable observation revealed that failure did not appear important it is not only to use reputable suppliers, but also to
to be wire specific, because failure was observed in both the consider incorporating destructive testing methods in electrical
stranded wire and the pre-soldered stranded wire configura- component evaluation. Destructive testing is particularly help-
tions. Failures did, however, appear to be connector specific ful due to the inherent difficulties in visually evaluating the
with no failures observed in uninsulated quick-connect flag- crimp quality of insulated quick connectors. Examination of
type connectors. More specifically, the crimp quality in uninsu- randomly sampled crimp connections using the microscopic
lated connectors was observed to be superior to insulated con- inspection technique as employed in this study can provide
nectors. Uninsulated crimp connectors exhibited increased valuable information regarding the quality of the supplier’s
deformation and proportionately increased surface contact and a assembly process. These measures help to ensure the reliability
lower void fraction as compared to their insulated counterparts of crimp connections and greatly reduce the potential risk of
(see Fig. 4). The curvature of the crimped connector is indica- product failure and, in some cases, fire hazards.
tive of a greater crimping effi-
cacy, as demonstrated by the REFERENCE
degree of deformation of both Medora, N. K.,
the connector and the conduc- Electronic Failure Analysis
tor strands within. Handbook, New York, NY:
In addition to the failed McGraw-Hill (1999).
connectors, unused insulated
connectors from the power Scott G. Davis, Andrew
cord and neutral wire assem- Diamond, Will Gans, Peter
blies as received from the Hinze, and Harri Kytomaa are
overseas suppliers were sec-
with Exponent Failure Analysis
tioned and examined. These FIGURE 4. Cross sections of uninsulated crimp connectors (left) showed a good quality crimp,
connectors exhibited the same resulting in maximized contact between the conductor wires and the connector. Unused insu- Associates in Natick, MA.
poor crimp quality and high lated crimp connectors (right) showed deficiencies to the failed insulated connectors.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 43

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 43


Courtesy of Wiremold Company

Figure 1. Plastic raceway cross section.

Given the frequency of moves and changes in today’s

workplace, building owners require flexible wire and cable
management systems that provide easy access to power, voice,
and data lines at every workstation. A popular solution is to
locate power and data cabling in multichannel raceway systems.
However, in a typical commercial building, erratic fluctuations Figure 2. Controlled fast transient waveform.
of load conditions subject power lines to electrical fast transient
(EFT) disturbances that are generated when inductive-capaci- and others concluded that 10BASE-T (10 Mbps) Ethernet per-
tive circuits are interrupted. These disturbances, in turn, could formance was not affected by locating power wiring and
potentially affect the integrity of the data on communications unshielded twisted pair (UTP) data cabling in the same raceway.
cabling located in the same raceway. However, researchers expressed concern that EFT disturbances
Of particular concern are EFT disturbances most often could have a greater impact on the performance of higher speed
caused by transient currents (commonly called arcing) during a data transmission protocols, such as 100 Mbps Fast Ethernet.
make or break of contact, and sudden changes in the magnitude The objective of a new series of tests was to evaluate the
and direction of currents in everyday office equipment, such as effect of noise, induced from power cables to UTP data cabling
copiers, pencil sharpeners, and power switches. What makes within the same raceway, on Fast Ethernet performance. These
this phenomenon of particular significance to data transmission tests also sought to determine what, if any, effect the degree of
is that the frequency spectrum of the transient is in the vicinity physical separation of power and data cabling has on high-speed
of the frequency band within which information-carrying sig- network performance.
nals of high-speed local area network (LAN) protocols (100
MHz and higher) are transmitted on copper media. In such a TEST SETUP
“noisy” environment, disturbances have the potential to degrade The test bed was constructed of 90 m of nonmetallic
network performance resulting in increased network errors and (plastic) three-compartment raceway (Figure 1). Within the two
response time. data compartments, Category 5 UTP cable was affixed to
Previous research conducted by The Wiremold Company dividers or compartment walls to achieve separations of 0, 1, 2,
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 44

44 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Figure 3. CRC error measurement test arrangement.

and 3 in. The presence of a raceway divider between the power

compartment and the adjacent data compartment resulted in an
actual separation of approximately 1/8 in. (referred to in the test
results as 0 in.).
An EFT generator was chosen as a controlled means for
introducing a defined electrical disturbance into the power line.
The particular waveform used (Figure 2) is prescribed in
International Electrotechnical Commission IEC 1000-4-4 stan-
dard for electromagnetic compatibility testing. Previous tests
have indicated that this waveform with 500 V of transient
amplitude is representative of the maximum electromagnetic
interference from typical disturbers found in an office environ-
ment. The EFT generator output was applied at the near end to
a single-phase, 3 loose conductor, 20 Amp rated unshielded
active power line. The far end of the power line was terminated
with a 7 Amp resistive load.
A Fast Ethernet LAN was assembled consisting of one
hub and two PC-based workstations, each with a Network Figure 4. Effect of network separation on network errors.
Interface Card (NIC). A hub is a device that serves as the center
of a star-topology network. It takes any incoming signal and
repeats it out to all ports. transferred between the workstations. Since the workstations
were located outside of the “noisy” environment, the exchange
TEST PROCEDURE: CRC ERROR MEASUREMENT of data was not affected by EFT disturbances. However, at the
Two methods were used to evaluate Fast Ethernet per- same time, the network traffic was monitored by the analyzer
formance. The first was to measure the number of cyclic redun- connected to the network through the 90 m noisy link. The ana-
dancy check (CRC) errors. The CRC is a method of error detec- lyzer was able to detect any packets damaged by the noise and
tion used when transmitting packets of data from station to sta- resulting in CRC errors.
For this test, both workstations were connected to the hub TEST RESULTS: CRC ERROR MEASUREMENT
via a short patch cord. Furthermore, a network protocol analyz- Figure 4 depicts test results obtained from the CRC error
er was attached to the hub through 90 m of Category 5 data test. At 0 in. separation, the number of errors stays at a constant
cable located in the raceway as indicated in Figure 3. level (essentially zero) until the EFT generator voltage reaches
To generate traffic, large program files (66MB) were about 700 V. This indicates that any EFT disturbances up to this
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 45

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 45

Figure 5. Transfer time measurement test arrangement.

level will not reduce Fast Ethernet performance.


The second method utilized to check Fast Ethernet per-
formance was measuring the file transfer time. In this test, one
of the workstations was connected directly to the hub, thus sim-
ulating a server. The other workstation was connected to the hub
via the “noisy” link as indicated in Figure 5, thus simulating a
client in the work area. By locating the client at the near end,
data signals are exposed to EFT disturbances before reaching it.
Any corruption of data results in retransmissions which, in turn,
increase transfer time. Transfer time is the time required for
transferring the entire file from server to client.


The results obtained by using the transfer time test
(Figure 6) follow the same trend as the CRC error test data.
Regardless of the separation between power and data lines, the
file transfer time remains constant at about 50 seconds up to the
700 V level.

The CRC error test indicates that in a nonmetallic race- Figure 6. Effect of separation on network transfer time.
way system EFT noise from typical office disturbers induced
from power line to data cables have no detectable impact on the
The test results illustrate that the physical separation pro-
performance of Fast Ethernet running on unshielded copper
vided by the 1/8 in. raceway divider is sufficient to achieve sat-
isfactory LAN performance in the presence of EFT amplitudes
The file transfer time test provided the most valuable
from typical office disturbers like pencil sharpeners, copiers,
information for the LAN end user. It indicates that in a typical
and light switches. There is no evidence that separation between
office environment, multichannel plastic raceway systems can
power lines and Fast Ethernet Category 5 data cables is
be used to conveniently route power and data cables to the point
of use without affecting the speed or quality of data transmis-
sions over high-speed UTP LANs.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 46

46 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 47

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 47


Courtesy of Wiremold/Legrand
The structured cabling industry is witnessing several a fiber cable is bent excessively, the optical signal within the
major trends, including the increased use of accessible, flexible cable will refract, or escape, through the fiber cladding. (This
wire and cable management systems that facilitate moves, adds, phenomenon can be seen when visible light is introduced into a
and changes. While Category 5 (and beyond) UTP cabling con- cable that is bent too tightly; light actually shines through the
tinues to be a highly popular medium, optical fiber cable has cable insulation.) Bending the cable can also permanently dam-
also become a major influence. In fact, many studies indicate age the fiber by causing micro cracks, especially during cable
that optical fiber will soon rival UTP copper cable in horizontal installation when pulling forces are to be expected. The result is
applications - frequently called fiber-to-the-desk. known as bend loss: the increased attenuation in the fiber that
Installations of optical fiber through wire management equates to a loss of signal strength and potentially compromised
systems, such as raceway and infloor systems, have raised ques- data.
tions about the radius at the corners of these systems. There is a
common belief that a cable bend radius of 1.0 inches is suffi- BEND RADIUS REQUIREMENTS
cient to ensure optimal performance of all high-performance Cable bend radius requirements for different types of
communications cable. While this bend radius is adequate for communications cable have been developed by various groups
four-pair Category 5 UTP cable, it is not sufficient for most within the cabling industry: cable manufacturers, industry stan-
types of fiber cable recommended for use in horizontal cabling, dards bodies such as the Telecommunications Industry
as well as for other types of copper media. Association (TIA), and independent training organizations such
The trend toward fiber-to-the-desk and the increased use as BICSI. Industry “rules of thumb” have emerged from these
of flexible wire management systems create a need to establish specifications which express bend radius as a multiple of cable
a new industry standard for communications pathways to meet diameter (Figure 1). These rules of thumb have been widely
the needs of end-to-end cabling systems. This standard should accepted and, in fact, are used in BICSI training courses.
address cable bend radius, the ability to mount typical
communications connectors, and the provision for fiber
storage loops at activation points. This article will focus Cable type Minimum Rule of Thumb
on the cable bend radius issue - specifically the rationale bend radius
for adopting a 2.0 inch cable bend radius as the industry * Manufacturer
standard for wire and cable management systems in hori- ranges
zontal installations. Category 5 UTP (4 pair) 1.0 inch 4 x diameter

EFFECTS OF BEND RADIUS ON CABLE PERFORMANCE RG 58 (50 ohm) coaxial 1.2 inch 6 x diameter
In any cable installation, the primary concern RG 59 (75 ohm) coaxial 1.5 inch 6 x diameter
should be safeguarding the integrity of data transmission RG 6 (75 ohm) coaxial 1.65 inch 6 x diameter
through the cable. Physical protection for the cable is an Optical fiber simplex 1.2 inch 10 x diameter
obvious necessity. More subtle, however, is the need to Optical fiber zipcord (2 fiber) 1.0 - 1.5 inch* 10 x diameter
maintain the recommended cable bend radius at all times Optical fiber Round Distribution (2 fiber) 1.8 - 1.9 inch* 10 x diameter
and in all locations. The reasons for this requirement dif- Optical fiber Round Distribution (4 fiber) 1.9 - 2.0 inch* 10 x diameter
fer depending on whether the cable is copper or optical Optical fiber Round Distribution (6 fiber) 2.0 - 2.1 inch* 10 x diameter
Copper cable, such as Category 5 UTP, can support Figure 1. Minimum cable bend radius recommendations
high-speed, high-bandwidth data transmission largely due
to the precision with which the individual pairs of conductors There is a common perception of an “industry standard”
are twisted together. Excessive bending of the cable can disturb cable bend radius of 1.0 inch for high performance cable,
the critical geometry of the twists, reducing performance including optical fiber. This perception is not accurate. There is
through increased sensitivity to external noise and increased currently no industry standard for cable bend radius that covers
near-end cross talk within the cable. In addition, long-term dam- all types of high performance communications cable used in
age to the cable jacketing and insulating material can result horizontal cabling. The often-quoted TIA 1.0 inch minimum
from bending stress. cable bend radius is derived from a TIA standard test for four-
The effect on optical fiber is completely different. When pair UTP Category 5 cable which assures that the cable “shall
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 48

48 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

withstand a bend radius of 25.4 mm (1 in.) at a temperature of - cable - the type of fiber optic cable designed for and recom-
20 C without jacket or insulation cracking.” Thus, the TIA 1.0 mended for premises wiring in a horizontal network. Simplex
inch cable bend radius only governs Category 5 UTP. It is not a and zipcord allow a much tighter bend radius, but are primarily
requirement for coaxial cable or - more importantly given cur- recommended for patch cords and cross-connects within
rent trends in horizontal cabling - for optical fiber cable. telecommunications closets. It must be noted that a 2.0 inch
The minimum bend radius allowable for a given fiber bend radius is sufficient only for fiber optic cable with up to six
optic cable is not governed by an industry standard, but rather strands of fiber; it is not suitable for larger pair-count UTP and
by the specifications of individual cable manufacturers. fiber optic cable used in backbone applications.
Because cable construction is similar across manufacturers, the Employing a 2.0 inch cable bend radius offers significant
bend radius specifications are similar and a de facto standard of advantages now and in the future. Not only is a wire manage-
10 times cable diameter has evolved for optical fiber cables. ment system that maintains a 2.0 inch cable bend radius at all
Manufacturers of fiber optic cable also publish a second bend corners and bends fully compliant with TIA/EIA standards for
radius, commonly termed the “short-term” or “loaded” bend Category 5 cable, the system can also accept any type of hori-
radius, which ranges from 15-20 times the cable diameter. This zontal fiber optic cable with no additional fittings and no threat
larger bend radius often causes confusion in the field. Although to the integrity of data transmission. Thus, cable plants that
the loaded radius would seem to apply when there is tension on today utilize Category 5 cabling can be upgraded to optical fiber
the cable, cable manufacturers assure that the published long- quickly and efficiently if they have a 2.0 inch bend radius.
term (10x) bend radius is adequate for pulling fiber optic cable Yet another advantage of a 2.0 inch cable bend radius is
under normal installation tensions. The loaded bend radius ease of cable installation. Since several major manufacturers of
applies only in cases where the pulling tension approaches the optical fiber cable have said that the long-term bend radius is
maximum tensile load of the cable. A typical two-fiber plenum acceptable under normal pulling loads, installers can safely pull
premise cable has a maximum tensile rating of 100 lb., far high- optical fiber cable around corners without fear of bend loss. It
er than what would be expected during the installation of hori- must be stressed that this practice is safe only if the pulling ten-
zontal cabling. sion is well within the published tensile limits of the cable.
As Figure 1 shows, 10 times cable diameter equates to a
bend radius larger than 1.0 inch for most fiber optic cables. This CONCLUSIONS
means that wire and cable management products that have been The proposed 2.0 inch cable bend radius standard is
developed and promoted for use with Category 5 cable may not based on the realities of the structured cabling marketplace.
maintain the specified bend radius for most types of optical Copper UTP cable and optical fiber cable continue to vie for
fiber cable. dominance in a rapidly growing market. Wire and cable man-
agement systems, which
THE CASE FOR A 2.0 offer excellent flexibili-
INCH CABLE BEND Cable type 1.0” 1.25” 1.50” 2.0”
ty, must be able to
RADIUS radius radius radius radius
accept either type of
Category 5 UTP (4 pair) X X X X
An analysis of manu- cable without the need
facturers’ published cable RG 58 (50 ohm) coaxial X X X
for costly and time-con-
bend radius specifications RG 59 (75 ohm) coaxial X X
suming retrofits. Data
indicates that a 2.0 inch RG 6 (75 ohm) coaxial X
supplied by manufactur-
bend radius is the minimum ers of fiber optic cable
that will accommodate the Optical fiber simplex X X X
clearly show that a 2.0
full range of cabling media Optical fiber zipcord (2 fiber) X X X
inch cable bend radius
that are likely to be installed Optical fiber Round Distribution (2 fiber) X
should be the standard
between telecommunica- Optical fiber Round Distribution (4 fiber) X
for communications
tions closets and worksta- Optical fiber Round Distribution (6 fiber) X
pathways that accom-
tions (Figure 2). The need modate copper or optical
for a 2.0 inch bend radius is Figure 2. Acceptable bend radii of common cable types. fiber cable.
driven by round distribution
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 49

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 49


By Eric Bulington; Scott Abney, Belden, CDT Electronics Division and Gary L. Skibinski, Rockwell

Abstract: This article describes an alternative solution for ity to withstand the operating conditions caused by the drive
cables used with Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) system (ii) How it influences the life of other drive system com-
Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs). New IGBT technology has ponents.
introduced voltage stresses on motors and cables that lead to
unpredictable system performance and reliability. This paper
includes a performance and cost comparison between a contin-
uously welded armored option, the option of lead wire in con-
duit, and a proposed shielded tray cable. Unique physical char-
acteristics of the cables are discussed. A proposed cable with
increased insulation thickness is discussed, that insures long-
term cable service life under VFD operation, while the shielded
coaxial braid contains VFD EMI emissions. Other applications,
options, and termination considerations with respect to the
Fig. 1 Focus Cable is a UL Shielded Tray Cable with 3 XLPE increased insulation conductors
petro-chem industry is discussed. Cable performance is docu-
(black with white T1, T2, T3 marking), full insulated green ground wire, one or more drain
mented with theoretical and experimental support. wires for ease of braid/foil shield connection, and 90oC wet or dry rating with an external
PVC outer jacket.
Advantages of IGBT VFDs are well known, as are some
of the problems associated with their operation. Motor insula-
tion failure was first identified as the “weakest link” in the B. APPLICATION SPECIFIC CONSIDERATIONS
IGBT drive system. As a solution, new motor insulation tech- As longevity of the system is a goal for nearly every
nology provided motors with repetitive 1,600 Vpk withstand application, there are some applications which may require
capability per NEMA MG-1 part 31 [1]. Careful selection of the additional cable properties, and some that may not be as
VFD cable is necessary to insure it does not become the next demanding.
“weakest link” in the system. The cable technology selected Application specific issues are industry independent and
must guarantee a minimum 20-year cable life in the presence of can be summed into a list that is manageable. From this list, sev-
the repetitive 1,600 Vpk voltage spikes from 600V IGBT drives. eral tables have been developed in the paper for use as a quick
The cable must also minimize the effect of high frequency noise reference when choosing a cable construction. All connection
induced into the plant ground system as a result of faster switch- methods have their benefits, but they must all first meet the
ing speeds of the new IGBT drives. As a result of customer requirements of expected system longevity before the applica-
demand, another option for VFD to motor cabling was devel- tion specific attributes are considered. All components of a
oped to provide an alternate to continuously welded aluminum cable type are critical.
armored cable [2,3] or conduit [4]. It is shown that this cable
also provides advantages when used as the connection method C. CABLES COMPARED
between the VFD and input power source. This paper discusses Cables compared in this paper are those that have had
other application specific considerations, conducted and radiat- some history in industrial applications and have been found as a
ed noise, environmental concerns, installation difficulties, cost, recommended cable type for VFD applications. The compo-
and plant layout that should be addressed when choosing a cable nents of cables have physical characteristics and electrical char-
type. acteristics that are dependent. What may have good electrical
characteristics, may also be very structurally weak and vice
A. DRIVE SYSTEM LONGEVITY versa. The tables and cross-references contained in this paper
Drive system longevity has been the subject of many only compare the following three constructions. Two of the con-
papers since the advent of the VFD. Subjects of failure consist structions are UL Type Tray Cables, and differ mostly with
of motor winding insulation failure, cable failure, motor bearing respect to conductor dielectric insulation and use of an overall
failure, and unexpected drive over-current alarms, susceptible shield.
external circuit malfunction, and more. As part of the system, (1) Focus Cable: The Focus cable is a 90oC, wet or dry,
the cable plays an integral role in optimizing longevity and per- direct burial Underwriter’s Lab (UL) listed, Type Tray Cable
formance. The role of the cable consists of two parts: (i) Its abil- (TC) with three labeled Cross-Linked Poly-Ethylene (XLPE)
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 50

50 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

insulated conductors and a full-sized fully insulated green Motor surge impedance (Zmotor) to Cable surge impedance
ground conductor. XLPE insulation is intentionally oversized (Zcable ) impedance mismatch at that point [5,6]. Peak reflect-
for extended life on VFD drives. EMI performance is enhanced ed wave voltage is then defined by (1).
with a full size tinned copper drain wire between a 100% cov-
erage foil shield and 85% coverage tinned copper braid shield.
The overall jacket is sunlight resistant Poly-Vinyl Chloride
(PVC). All conductors are tinned and finely stranded for
extreme flexibility. Chemical resistant jackets and armor cover-
ing are possible design options available. As the cable is a contributing factor to this increase in
(2) VNTC®: Vinyl Nylon Tray Cable (VNTC) is a gener- reflected wave voltage from (1), it can also be designed differ-
ic representation for the insulation system that is used in this ently to reduce its affect of this phenomenon. As seen above, if
cable. The conductor’s insulation utilizes PVC with a Nylon the impedance mismatch of the cable was smaller, (the cable
skin, referred to as “PVC-Nyl”. PVC-Nylon is also an insulation more closely matched the impedance of the motor), the reflect-
system that is used with National Electric Code (NEC) listed ed waves would be smaller than those seen on a cable-motor
THHN single conductors in conduit, which can be approximat- combination with a larger impedance mismatch. As impedance
ed by the values seen in the testing and tables as “VNTC.” mismatch is related to standing waves, cable impedance calcu-
lations show that common cables used in VFD applications to
date may have a wide variety of impedance values. To illustrate
this impedance mismatch, Fig. 5 shows the average difference
of cable surge impedance between industry standard cables and
motors. Motor Surge Impedance Zmotor of Fig. 5 was experi-
mentally derived in [7].

Fig. 2 Vinyl Nylon Tray Cable using 4 PVC-Nylon THHN conductors, fillers and an overall
PVC outer jacket.

Fig. 4 PWM Drive output voltage waveform and resulting motor terminal voltage with 1.8x
Fig. 3 Type MC continuous welded aluminum armor cable with 3 XLPE insulated conductors, the drive output voltage peak caused by reflected wave cable to motor surge impedance
ground wires and external PVC outer jacket. mismatch

(3) Type MC Cable: Metal Clad (Type MC) cable is

another cable referred to as a preferred cable for VFD applica-
tions, and is another viable alternative. It also uses XLPE insu-
lation, however, it is much thinner than the Focus Cable. It may
incorporate one or more ground conductors as allowed by UL,
and is constructed specifically with a continuously welded
impervious aluminum sheath and PVC outer jacket.


Fig. 4 shows a single pulse from a PWM drive output
waveform and the associated waveform as seen at the motor ter-
minals, where it is not necessarily the drive DC bus voltage
(Vbus) but a much larger value. Drive peak output voltage is the
Vbus value which is ~ 1.37*(Vac_rms_input). The peak tran-
sient voltage at the motor in Fig. 4 is caused by “Reflected Fig. 5 Surge impedance of ac motor, Focus Cable, Type MC cable and VNTC cable vs. Motor
Waves” on the cable as a result of motor and cable surge imped- hp range.
ance mismatch, and the effects of the extremely small rise times
associated with PWM drives [5,6]. Although this theory could
be examined more closely, it can be summarized that a reflect- Cable Surge Impedance Zcable in Fig. 5 was experimen-
ed wave may occur at the motor-cable connection, if there is a tally measured for the XLPE Focus cable, PVC-VNTC cable
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 51

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 51

and the XLPE Type MC armor cable. motor insulation stress is reduced with the Focus cable used in
As shown in Fig. 5, the largest difference is between the short application lengths. Field site testing of the Focus Cable
motor and the 0.019 inches of PVC-Nylon. Substitution of versus a VNTC construction, showed average reflected wave
VNTC Zcable and Zmotor into (1) yields theoretical peak motor voltages, seen line to line at the motor, were reduced by 4.1%
voltages in per unit (pu = Vpeak/Vbus) for the low hp drives for a 100 ft run of #12 AWG cables with a 5 hp IGBT drive and
between 1.85 pu to 1.9 pu. Based on the impedance mismatch 3 hp 460V AC induction motor. This agrees with Fig. 6 informa-
of the motor to cable, the reflected wave phenomenon differ- tion provided.
ence between the two cables using XLPE is insignificant. Use of high PWM carrier switching frequencies and
However, as seen in Section II-B, it is important to note that application cable lengths longer than the critical cable length
motor life stress reduction of even 5% may result in a signifi- shown, may have up to 3 pu reflected wave motor voltage for all
cant increase in the insulation life expectancy of some motor cable types. This is due to a complex interaction of repetitive
manufacturer’s windings. PWM pulses and cable dynamics not allowing the transient
Reflected wave phenomenon has always been possible reflected wave voltage to decay to zero before arrival of the next
with VFD applications, but smaller pulse rise times of IGBT PWM pulse [8]. The 3 pu stress at the switching edge only
technology have now led to motor voltages of ~ 2 x Vbus or 2 occurs a few times during a complete fundamental cycle, but
pu at very short cable distances [5,6]. Fig. 6 is a plot of motor must be taken into account in terms of cable and motor dielec-
pu overvoltage vs. output cable distance for typical IGBT pulse tric withstand capability. There are some PWM drives available
risetimes of 100 ns to 400 ns. Fig. 6 is generated by determin- that can reduce the 3 pu stress down to the theoretical 2 pu volt-
ing the (l/4) critical wavelength where 2 pu reflected voltage age stress by appropriate PWM control methods.
peak occurs from (2). The equivalent pulse frequency (fu), is
where the transient energy of the pulse risetime (trise) is con- A. REFLECTED WAVE IMPACT ON MOTOR INSULATION
centrated and is defined as (1/p trise). The reflected wave veloc- Motor insulation failures may occur depending on
ity is a function of the speed of light (c = 3.0 E+8 m/s) and insu- reflected wave peak voltage magnitude and risetime [9-12]. The
lation dielectric constant er. For wires separated in air, er =1.0, fast risetimes of IGBT drives place a higher non-linear voltage
while er =5.5 for bundled PVC wires and er =3.2 for bundled stress across the phase winding, such that the first few turns in
XLPE wire insulation. a random wound machine may be stressed above the insulation
CIV limit. Likewise, the first coil wire end to the line end wire
is also a place of maximum voltage stress that might be above
the insulation CIV limit. None of the cable types listed will sig-
nificantly or beneficially slow down the reflected wave pulse
risetime. However, the XLPE insulations from Fig. 5 have a
lower reflected wave magnitude, which aid in voltage stress
Fig. 6 results show that as the motor cable length increas-
es for a given pulse risetime and insulation type, the reflected
wave voltage measured at the motor line to line terminal
increases in a quarter-sinewave gradient from 1 pu at the drive
terminals to the theoretical 2 pu magnitude at the l/4 critical

Fig. 6Predicted Motor Overvoltage transient vs. output cable distance for typical IGBT rise-
times when using bundled PVC cable or bundled XLPE cables.

cable length.
Fig. 6 data shows that for various IGBT risetimes used
with short drive to motor cable runs, the XLPE bundled cables
have ~ 5% to 10 % lower peak reflected wave voltage than bun- Fig. 7 Predicted Motor Failure Probability vs. applied peak line to line reflected wave volt-
dled VNTC cables for the same output cable length. Thus, the age for various motor manufacturer’s tested.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 52

52 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

reduction. XLPE type insulated cables also extend the output found to have a long-term dielectric withstand of 550 v/mil
cable distance where 2 pu voltage stress occurs as compared to under load cycling tests. The actual in-service life expectancy of
PVC-VNTC cables. this cable type should be a minimum of 40 years. Also, Section
A CIV test method of the winding insulation was done to III shows measured CIV of the 0.045” XLPE insulation is well
determine the average and statistical variances of typical motor above applied 2 pu to 3 pu transient voltage stress for a 600 Vac
insulation CIV limits [13]. Predicting motor life leads to a com- drive system. Section III shows how the insulation CIV level
parison of the percentage probability of motor failure based on degrades with environments containing moisture. From Section
the motor insulation CIV statistical quality variation with an III, predicted in-service life expectancy of 0.045” XLPE insulat-
applied peak reflected wave voltage determined by the cable- ed single conductors is > 55 years, when used with a 600 Vac
motor combination. Fig. 7 shows the probability that various drive with 2 pu voltage spikes. A 480 V drive with 2 pu voltage
motor manufacturer’s will fail, relative to motor peak transient spikes will have a predicted cable life in excess of 100 years
voltages of 2 pu and 3 pu voltages on a 480 V system. under wet or dry conditions. The 0.045 inches of XLPE also
The 5% to 10% difference in lower peak reflected wave affords the single conductors a RHW-2 rating, which is rated for
voltage of the two XLPE constructions, as compared to the PVC 90 degree C in wet or dry locations, compared to typical PVC
cable, may have a significant impact on motor life in the low or PVC-Nylon rating, which is only rated at 75 degree C for wet
grade range of standard duty motors of Fig. 7. locations.
The preferred system solution is to: (i) use the Focus Predicted life expectancy of 15-mil PVC-Nylon THHN
cable to mainly control EMI conducted and radiated emissions, insulated single conductors under 480V drive operation is 10
while simultaneously guaranteeing a 20-year dielectric with- years from Section III and could be as low as 3 years with 3 pu
stand to the repetitive 2 pu to 3 pu transient stress. (ii) use a voltage spikes applied. Life expectancy predicted for 600 V
PWM drive that reduces the 3 pu stress in Fig. 7 down to 2 pu operation with of 15-mil PVC-Nylon THHN insulation and 2 pu
by use of an intelligent PWM controller. (iii) chose a 1600 Vpk voltage spikes is an unacceptable 5-year life. For this reason,
inverter duty motor per Nema specs [1] for 480 V systems and VNTC constructions and lead wires are not recommended for
a 1,850 Vpk motor for 600 V systems. As seen the probability drive applications.
of motor failure is not as much cable dependent, if the motor has
a higher insulation rating. C. CABLE IMPACT ON MOTOR BEARING FAILURE
Motor bearing failure due to bearing currents induced by
B. REFLECTED WAVE IMPACT ON CABLE INSULATION VFD operation has become a recent concern with users and has
Predicting in-service cable life for the various cable types been addressed in literature [15-19]. Balanced motor operation
requires a comparison of the insulation material properties, on a 60 Hz utility system has a stator neutral voltage to ground
insulation thickness and cable geometrical construction. The near zero volts and has an electro-magnetically induced rotor
comparison must also consider the mechanical, environmental shaft voltage of < 1 volt. The low rotor voltage implies a bear-
and electrical stresses applied to the cable insulation material. ing race to ground voltage that cannot charge the bearing oil
The combined stresses will dictate where the cable will fail, if film through bearing currents and therefore cannot cause bear-
at all, as a direct result of operation on the PWM drive. Table 1 ing damage.
summarizes some of the mechanical and environmental proper- The motor stator neutral to ground voltage waveform
ties of the PVC, CPE and XLPE compounds as used on insula- under VFD operation is not at zero volts but has modulation
tion or outer jacket [14]. steps of (Vbus/2) peak magnitude possible [20] which can elec-
The dielectric (conductor insulation) directly affects the tro-statically induce a rotor shaft voltage up to 30 volt. The high
cable surge impedance value and, therefore, impacts the reflect- rotor voltage implies a bearing race-to-ground voltage that can
ed wave voltage magnitude that a given motor-cable combina- charge the bearing oil film to a 7 to 15 Volt breakdown level and
tion will have. Ultimately, the dielectric must withstand the cause Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) currents to flow
repetitive 2 Vbus to 3 Vbus electrical transient voltage spike that damage and pit the bearing race [15]. Reflected wave volt-
stress, occurring at the drive-switching rate, that is caused by ages may appear on the step like edges of the stator neutral-to-
the reflected wave phenomenon. ground voltage waveform and may increase the potential for
The stronger the dielectric strength, the less likely the EDM breakdown. Section II-A shows CWA armor or the Focus
insulation will break down under extreme voltage stress. cable may reduce the reflected wave voltage peaks depending
However, rated dielectric breakdown voltage and rated volts/mil on cable length and drive risetime. However, for a solidly
dielectric strength are not necessarily the only insulation param- grounded VFD source input, the output cables cannot effective-
eter to coordinate with applied stress. Firstly, the breakdown ly change the modulated (Vbus/2) peak stator neutral-to-ground
value is an instantaneous failure point and, secondly, partial dis- voltage magnitude step, so that the rotor shaft eventually will
charge and corona inception voltage (CIV) failure mechanisms charge to 30 Volts, with the potential for damaging EDM cur-
may start at a voltage much lower than the breakdown voltage rents to occur.
value. Therefore, the conductors must be capable of maintaining A paper mill recently verified this fact at a field site that
insulation resistance at the repetitive 2 Vbus to 3 Vbus values. was initially experiencing motor bearing failures with VFDs.
Thus, the cable will have long term life if the applied repetitive The output Type TC tray cable was replaced with Type MC
2 Vbus to 3 Vbus voltage is less than the corona inception volt- Continuous Welded Aluminum Armor cable grounded per
age of the cable [2,6]. Section III measures the CIV levels for installation recommendations. Motor bearing failures returned
various cable insulation types and insulation thickness available within 6 months. Thus, cable construction may help reduce tran-
and estimates the effect of the VFD induced reflected wave tran- sient voltage peak magnitudes on the modulation neutral to
sient 2 pu and 3 pu over-voltage on cable life. ground voltage waveform, but cannot be expected to eliminate
The Focus Cable, using 0.045 inches of XLPE, was bearing failures due to bearing currents induced by VFDs. It is
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 53

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 53

important to note that reduction of EDM bearing currents is pos-
sible through several other mitigation techniques [21].


Small drives < 5 hp are susceptible to Instantaneous
Over-Current (IOC) trips as a result of cable charging currents
caused by capacitive coupling of conductors of the motor cable
[5]. Any two conductors, if not shielded, will have a capacitive
interaction. From the capacitor theory, the higher the frequency,
or in this case the faster the rise times, the more likely that a
small capacitance between two conductors is likely to allow a
current flow. Fig. 8 shows capacitive coupled charging current
spikes approaching overcurrent trip levels that may occur on a
low hp phase current lead, which are due to the numerous 2 kHz
PWM voltage switching instants.
The smaller the capacitance is, the less likely that a cur-
rent will flow at a given frequency or rise time. Cable capaci-
tance for a three wire cable can be approximated in (3) and is a
function of the insulation thickness, a constant known as strand-
ing factor (a), insulation dielectric constant (er), conductor Fig. 9 Cross section of three types of cables compared for capacitance calculations and test-
diameter (d), physical spacing of the conductors (h), and fre- ing. Shaded conductors are of equal diameter with drawings to scale.

Another contributing factor to capacitance is the cable

shield or armor. It has an additive effect to the cable capacitance
and can increase the capacitance from conductor to all other
conductors of the cable. This can offset the effectiveness of the
increased insulation thickness and improved dielectric constant.
However, using a shielded cable prevents capacitive coupling
between conductors of multiple motor leads routed in the same
tray or conduit. This is because the only capacitive interaction is
between adjacent cable shields, which are grounded. The shield-
ing only carries the noise current elements, and is not consid-
ered to be a current carrying conductor in system operation. The
Fig. 8 Output Phase current of a low hp VFD showing capacitivly coupled line to line and number of shielded Focus cables per tray or conduit is only lim-
line to ground current spikes. ited by standard NEC ampacity derating factors.


Thus, from (3), capacitance will decrease as the insula- The largest cause of external susceptible circuit failure is
tion thickness is increased and the dielectric constant is electrical Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI) noise. Electro
decreased (assuming near uniform zero spacing between con- Magnetic Interference is defined as unwanted electrical signal
ductors). Fig. 9 is a graphical representation of two isolated con- that produces undesired effects in a system, such as errors,
ductors used in each of the three conductor types listed and degraded performance and malfunction or even non-operation
highlights the dimensional differences of the insulation systems [22]. This noise can be radiated EMI or conducted in the ground
used in each of the cables. reference grid as Common Mode (CM) noise. CM noise is an
The Focus cable’s increased XLPE insulation and lower electrical interference with respect to a reference ground or, in
dielectric constant of XLPE compared to PVC will reduce the most cases, a portion of the ground grid of the plant.
cable charging currents in a given application and reduce possi- CM noise caused by a PWM drive is due to the fast rise
ble overcurrent trips. Table 2 below has typical capacitance val- times associated with the high speed switching transistors used
ues for PVC-Nylon insulated conductors in a Tray Cable and in new drives. The capacitance between both the motor line to
XLPE insulated conductors in a Tray Cable or armored cable for ground and the cable line to ground acts as an open to low fre-
the popular #12 awg conductor used in low hp drives. quencies and as a high impedance path to frequencies in the
Table 2 Cable Capacitance Values range of most PWM carrier frequencies. However, the equiva-
AWG VNTC Type MC Focus Cable lent frequency of the fast rise time of the pulses used in IGBT
#12 79-85 pF/ft 38-40 pF/ft 30-32 pF/ft based PWM drives is so high, that the capacitance between both
phase conductors to ground and motor stator winding capaci-
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 54

54 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

tance to ground now looks like a low impedance path to ground. follow on cable CM noise oscillation frequency. Equivalent
This causes a ground current to flow, but mostly at the higher noise pulse frequency is centered at (1/ p trise), or 1 MHz to 10
frequencies. Therefore, smaller conductor to ground capaci- MHz for 50 ns to 400 ns IGBT risetimes. CM noise oscillation
tance will reduce the amount of ground current that is coupled frequencies are typically 1 MHz for 100 ft. cable and 50 kHz for
and reduce the CM noise problems. 1000 ft. output cable runs.
Some of the circuits that are most susceptible to CM Section IV-A shows that CM noise exiting at the motor
noise are 0 - 10V interface circuits and 4 - 20 mA current loop winding to ground will take the path of least resistance back to
sense [5]. Other circuits with high levels of susceptibility are the drive. CM current magnitude flowing in the ground grid is
communication links, and equipment such as temperature sen- determined by impedance divider rule between cable ground/
sors, vision systems, proximity or photoelectric sensors and shield impedance and ground grid resistance. The ideal cable
computers [5]. Some of these same circuits are susceptible to has a common mode surge impedance at both low and high fre-
radiated EMI, but not as large of a degree as the CM noise. quency (HF) noise that is less than the typical 1 to 5 ohms DC
These specific circuits are capacitive proximity, photoelectric resistance of the ground grid system. Fig.10 measures the com-
sensors and thermocouple temperature sensors. However, most mon mode surge impedance of various cable constructions.
difficulties with radiated EMI noise can be resolved by using The first configuration uses a phase source wire that has
appropriate equipment spacing and shielded components and an isolated PE ground return wire. This setup has acceptable
instrumentation cables. impedance only below 100 kHz. The wire self inductance pres-
Most equipment failures are caused by CM noise of a ents high impedance to HF noise and is not useful for diverting
high level present on the ground plane. Equipment is designed and containing HF noise.
to operate with a solid zero potential ground reference, and this The conduit plus PE wire system has an internal return
is not the case when high frequency noise exists on the ground wire bonded at both ends of the conduit. The ground return wire
grid. Causes and implications of this phenomenon are discussed in close proximity to the phase wire results in a lower effective
more in [5]. wire inductance that is in parallel with low inductance coaxial
Properly designed cables can further contribute to the steel tube. This system has a substantial reduction in impedance
reduction of this CM noise by having a shield and ground con- in the 100 kHz to 1 MHz range. However, skin effect resistance
ductors that can carry the noise back to the drive with an imped- of the steel tube and wire inductance still forms unacceptable
ance that is several orders of magnitude smaller than the ground high impedance in the 10 MHz range. In addition, the non-iso-
grid impedance. The Focus cable’s low ground circuit imped- lated conduit system suffers from the fact that HF CM noise can
ance diverts any current flow from the ground grid to the jump from the conduit surface to the ground grid at the conduit
shield/ground of the cable. At most low frequencies, cable strap points, if the grid HF impedance is lower than the conduit
ground circuit impedance is composed mostly of DC resistance HF impedance.
that is generally very low in comparison to the ground grid. At The VNTC without a shield has unacceptable impedance
higher frequencies, the phenomenon of common mode noise characteristics and follows the separate PE wire discussion of
becomes more difficult to combat, as the cable insulated ground the first configuration. A VNTC with a foil shield and PE
conductor between drive and motor begins to look like a high ground wire was tested to have similar impedance to the conduit
impedance path back to the drive from motor ground. The obvi- system at 100 kHz to 1 MHz, while providing a lower CM
ous cable design solution is to incorporate a return path in the impedance than the conduit at high 10 MHz frequency. The
cable that has low impedance at high frequencies, and does not shielded VNTC system is not recommended because of the PVC
negatively impact the capacitance or other performance features dielectric degradation problems of Section III-B and because
of the cable. The Focus cable uses a coaxial-type shield that has the foil shield resistance still presents higher impedance than
comparable or improved ground circuit impedance in the noise desired.
frequency range of interest corresponding to pulse risetime and The Focus cable has an internal PE ground wire for low
frequency noise, foil shield/drain wire for 2 MHz to 10 MHz
high frequency noise and a low inductance/low resistance coax-
ial tinned copper braid covering both low and high frequency
noise ranges. The Focus cable has the lowest CM impedance
over the entire frequency range and is best suited to divert HF
CM noise out of the user ground grid.
The CWA cable was not tested at this writing, but is
expected to have slightly higher impedance than the Focus
cable. This is due to high frequency AC skin effect and the high-
er DC resistance of the aluminum armor as compared to the
Focus cable tinned copper braid.


This section estimates the effect of the VFD induced
reflected wave transient 2 pu and 3 pu over-voltage on cable life
for various cable insulation types and insulation thickness avail-
Fig. 10 Comparison of measured common mode impedance vs. frequency for 30 ft. cable
lengths of VNTC cables, Conduit with PE ground wire, Focus cable and use of a source wire A. DIELECTRIC DEGRADATION OF XLPE CABLE INSULATION
with isolated PE return wire. The AC dielectric breakdown strength of insulation
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 55

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 55

decreases with time when a continuous dielectric stress is upward, until the corona tester detected some partial discharges
applied [23]. Thus, the tested dielectric strength of a new instal- occurring in the sample. Peak sinewave voltage where the dis-
lation will be lower a year later when operated under continuous charges occurred was recorded in Fig. 12 for each insulation
voltage stress. A predominant aging mechanism is electrochem- type and thickness. Although discharges start at this point,
ical treeing or “water treeing”. The insulation absorbs moisture BEGIN CORONA measurements represent the point at which a
over time leading to “tree like” growth within the insulation. small % probability of insulation failure may occur. Factors
This mechanism occurs at an electrical stress much lower than such as high humidity and high temperature will lower the
breakdown value and leads to reduced dielectric strength versus BEGIN CORONA point.
time as shown in Fig. 11 for XLPE insulation [23]. Utility com- “EXTREME CORONA” measurements were made by
panies prefer XLPE and EPR insulation to PVC insulation adjusting the sinewave 60 Hz test voltage upward from the
because of their reduced water tree effect. Fig. 11 is well docu- “BEGIN CORONA” value, until the corona detector screen was
mented and based on actual utility field experience under con- full of partial discharges. Peak sinewave voltage where this dis-
tinuous voltage operation and where the presence of moisture or charge magnitude occurred was recorded in Fig. 12. EXTREME
water is possible. Use of Fig. 11 curve represents worst case corona is an indicator of a corona process leading to a large
condition even though an individual application site may not (90%) probability of cables with short-term end of life failure.
contain moisture to a similar extent. The rate of PVC dielectric Measured test results of Fig. 12 prove XLPE has superi-
degradation with time under same conditions is accelerated due or corona resistant properties as compared to PVC at the low
temperature 25oC, low humidity test condition. XLPE CIV val-
ues exceed PVC by 1.4x when comparing BEGIN corona meas-
urements for the same insulation thickness. Interpolation curves
for both XLPE and PVC BEGIN corona data have exponents of
~ 0.4 in Fig. 12. The 0.4 exponent measured follows the gener-
ic dielectric strength rule for solid organic insulation [24],
where dielectric strength typically increases as the square root

(0.5 power) of the insulation thickness ratio.

Also, the thinner XLPE insulation thickness has an
EXTREME corona value 1.5x higher than the BEGIN CIV
value, while the thicker XLPE insulation has a 1.32x higher
EXTREME value as compared to the BEGIN CIV value.

Fig. 11 Degradation of XLPE dielectric breakdown voltage strength vs. life under utility
based service conditions [23]

to PVC insulation absorbing water at a faster rate than XLPE.

Industrial plants expect a 20-year cable service life while
power utilities expect 50 to 100 years service life [23]. To get
this life, a larger thickness insulation than initially thought nec-
essary must be used to account for aging, so that the breakdown
strength at 20 years is still above the dielectric stress imposed
by the application. The following corona test procedure pro-
posed verified this known field proven result.
The corona inception voltages (CIV) between two-bun-
dled insulated phase wires of PVC & XLPE insulation types and
of various insulation thickness’ were measured with a corona
tester. Table 3 shows typical variation of insulation thickness
with wire AWG and insulation type of 600 V rated wire.
Previously unstressed and bundled PVC wires of 15, 20 and 30- Fig. 12 Measured XLPE & PVC Corona Inception Voltage Level vs. Insulation Thickness for
mil insulation and XLPE wires insulation of 15, 30 and 45-mil 600V rated cable
thick insulation were tested in a 25oC ambient with a Relative
Humidity of < 50%. Assignment of a 10% cable failure probability to the
“BEGIN CORONA” measurements were made by BEGIN CIV value and 90% cable failure probability to the
adjusting the sinewave 60 Hz test voltage from zero voltage EXTREME CIV value is based on medium voltage XLPE test-
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 56

56 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

ing [Fig. 2, Ref. [23]. Reference data exhibits a greater proba- Vpk) sinewave system voltage, since peak corona inception
bility of breakdown failure as the volts/mil dielectric stress is level of the degraded insulation is always higher than the peak
increased beyond a BEGIN volts/mil value. Referenced data application voltage. This has historically been proven by field
shows volts/mil stress increases of 1.32x to 1.55x from a experience. Initial AC hypot testing of this cable at [2Vrated
“BEGIN” value to an “EXTREME” value will change the % (rms) + 1000 Vrms] = 2,200 Vrms (3,111 Vpk) also does not
probability of cable insulation failures from 10% to 90%. Since degrade insulation, since applied peak voltage is less than 4,150
corona inception is a precursor to AC breakdown of dielectric Vpk BEGIN corona value. Basic Impulse Level (BIL) testing at
strength and since the ratio of EXTREME/BEGIN corona meas- (1.25*Peak Voltage) or 3,889 Vpk also does no damage to this
urements also span an identical 1.32x to 1.55x ratio, it appears cable.
that the BEGIN corona measurements may predict the onset of The 15-mil THHN insulation is the minimum PVC insu-
a small number of failure possibilities in the field. Likewise, the lation thickness allowed for UL 600V cable. Fig. 13 predicts no
measured EXTREME corona which is 1.32x -1.55x greater than insulation failures with 15 mil PVC at 100 years on a 480V
the BEGIN value may tend to predict that 90% of the cables are sinewave system (678 Vpk). However, 575 V sinewave system
certain to fail. operation may have a small % of failures at 20-year life, since a
BEGIN corona value corresponding to < 10% failure was used.
C. ESTIMATED CABLE LIFE UNDER SINEWAVE VOLTAGE STRESS UL should specify the 3,111 Vpk 60 second, hypot test, but
Once corona starts in any insulation, dielectric failure is rather specifies initial peak test voltage as 2,828 Vpeak. Fig. 13
usually rapid due to the formation of ozone attacking the insu- verifies this practice, since BEGIN corona voltage where dam-
lation and high electric fields, which create ionic bombardment age can start to occur was measured at exactly 2,800 Vpeak.
of the insulation and change its chemical composition. Since the Applying a BIL impulse test of 3,111 Vpk clearly degrades the
degradation of XLPE dielectric breakdown strength vs. time is 15-mil PVC wire.
known to reduce at the rate of Fig. 11 and since corona incep-
tion voltage is always lower than the breakdown strength, it fol- D. CORRELATION OF SINEWAVE TO REFLECTED WAVE VOLTAGE STRESS
lows that the CIV also degrades by the same time rate curve. This section correlates peak corona inception voltage
Thus, by determining the CIV of a new insulation thickness levels under sinewave operation with PWM twice DC bus over-
sample and applying Fig. 11 time degradation curve to the ini- voltages that occur at every edge of the PWM waveform as in
tial CIV value, it is possible to speculate when a given applica- Fig. 4.
tion peak voltage exceeds the degraded CIV curve of the insu-
lation. The intersection point marks the end of cable service life.
Un-aged samples of 15-mil PVC and 20-mil XLPE 600V cable
were corona tested under 60 Hz sinewave voltage between
phase wires. BEGIN corona peak voltage values are plotted in
Fig. 13 @ 0.1 years.

Fig. 14 Prediction of 600V PVC and XLPE insulation service life and 2 kV XLPE insulation
service life obtained by using measured corona inception values for each material type and
Fig. 13 Conservative estimate of 600V PVC and XLPE insulation service life under sinewave thickness, and applying the well documented time aging degradation factor from Fig. 11.
system voltage stress obtained by using measured corona inception values for each materi- Cable life predictions are for 480V BJT & IGBT peak reflected wave cable voltage stress.
al and applying the well documented time aging degradation factor from Fig. 11.

The 20-mil XLPE insulation is the minimum thickness Insulation that is dielectrically tested at (2 Vrated + 1,000
value for 600V rated cable of Table 3. A 100-year cable service V) with 60 Hz sinewave voltage may have as many as 6,000
life is predicted from Fig. 13 when operated on a 575 Vrms (813 partial discharges occurring at the positive and negative peaks
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 57

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 57

over a 1 minute interval [24]. This corona discharge quantity is which inhibit the generation of voltage spikes > 2 pu on the
possibly more than ever transiently seen in its sinewave system cable, so this higher stress is never seen [8]. However, if the > 2
voltage life. Thus, manufacturers discard equipment after four pu voltage spikes on the cable appears, it occurs at a rate of sev-
AC hypot tests, since insulation life is reduced 20% after each eral times per fundamental output cycle. This is due to interac-
test. tion between PWM pulse spacing and cable dynamics [8].
IGBT PWM drives with output cables as low as 50 ft. Ultimately, the large quantity of 2 pu voltage spikes predomi-
may have peak transient microsecond voltages at twice the Vdc nantly determine cable life, while the effect of the lower quan-
bus level and occur at the carrier rate. The voltage-time dielec- tity of 2.5 pu - 3 pu peak spikes should still be analyzed for
tric stress is not present long enough to affect the normal long- effect on cable life.
term cable aging breakdown failure mode effect. However, the
peak transient may invoke a corona discharge failure mode that E. ANALYSIS OF REFLECTED WAVE VOLTAGE STRESS ON
is a precursor to cable failure. Consider the PWM drive output CABLE LIFE
with a peak over-voltage equal in value to the tester sinewave Fig. 14 is a plot of peak application voltage vs. cable
peak where discharges occurred. The reflected wave transient service life for various PVC and XLPE standard insulation
overvoltage peaks that reach the same sinewave peak voltage thickness’. Fig. 14 is generated by measuring the initial CIV
where corona discharge voltage level occurred should also have level of the insulation and applying Fig.11 life degradation
partial discharges. These discharges occur at the PWM carrier curve to the initial CIV value. The following statements can be
frequency rate, for IGBT drives 4,000 to 12,000 times a second made from Fig. 14 graph.
or 240,000 to 720,000 in 1 minute interval. Thus, using the • 230V IGBT drives with even 3 pu transients (900 Vpk
known cable life curves under peak sinewave corona inception = 3*300 Vdc) have an acceptable 50-year life when using 15-
voltage and applying the degradation curve to PWM 2 pu tran- mil PVC wire from Fig. 14.
sient over-voltages should be acceptable, since the number of • 480V BJT drives of 1985 vintage had a 1 ms PWM
partial discharges are at least equal to or greater than those pulse risetime so that a typical cable length of 400 ft. only had
under sinewave operation. a 1.5 pu peak reflected wave voltage (1.5 * 650 Vdc = 975 Vpk).
This results in a 40-year life with 15-mil PVC. The last 15 years
of operation without cable failure incidence has field proven
this result.
• 480V IGBT drives of 1995 vintage have a 0.1 ms PWM
pulse risetime so that a typical cable length of 50 ft. has a 2 pu
peak reflected wave voltage (2 * 650 Vdc = 1,300 Vpk). The
graph predicts a low 10-year life with 15-mil PVC insulation.
However, larger drives which use PVC cables of 30-mil insula-
tion or greater may have an acceptable life of 40 years. The pro-
posed Focus cable with 45-mils of XLPE has a predicted life >
100+ years for the same condition.
• 480V IGBT drives of 1995 vintage and cable length of
400 ft. may see a 2.5 pu peak reflected wave voltage (2.5 * 650
Vdc = 1,625 Vpk). Fig. 14 predicts an unacceptable 3-year life
with 15-mil PVC insulation. The proposed 45-mil XLPE Focus
cable has a predicted life > 35+ years.
• 575V IGBT drive cables will have a 2.0 pu peak reflect-
ed wave voltage (2.0 * 800 Vdc = 1,600 Vpk) at 50 ft. Fig. 15
graph predicts an unacceptable 5-year life with 15-mil PVC
insulation, 20 year life with 30-mil PVC insulation, and 55-year
life with 45-mil XLPE insulation of the proposed Focus cable.
Fig. 15 shows a 77-mil XLPE 2 kV rated cable is in excess of
what is required for acceptable cable life on a 600V system. The
45-mil XLPE Focus still provides an acceptable 20-year life for
those drive modulators that generate a 2.5 pu reflected wave
voltage spike at the cable terminations.
• Fig. 15 shows the use of cable termination devices, or
Fig. 15 Prediction of 600V PVC and XLPE insulation service life and 2 kV XLPE insulation possibly line reactors, dv/dt filters and sinewave filters will
service life obtained by using measured corona inception values for each material type and reduce the peak reflected wave voltage to < 1,000 Vpk and
thickness, and applying the well documented time aging degradation factor from Fig. 11. increase the cable life even for 15-mil PVC insulation.
Cable life predictions are for 480V & 575V IGBT peak reflected wave cable voltage stress,
as well when used with reflected wave reduction solutions. F. FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS OF VOLTAGE SPIKES ON
FEAs were performed on three random lay #12 AWG 15-
IGBT PWM drives with long output cables may have mil PVC insulated wires installed in a grounded conduit and
peak transient microsecond voltages at 2.5 to 3 times the Vdc operated on a 575V IGBT drive with a long cable. Fig 16 shows
bus level depending on the drive manufacturer PWM modulator a shaded contour plot of the Electric field magnitude between
used. Some drive manufacturers now have PWM modulators two phase conductors with 1,950 Volts peak reflected wave
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 58

58 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

voltage between copper phase conductors. The FEA revealed ed tray cable were randomly laid in cable tray. NEC motor
that a high electric field intensity of 400 V/mil exists in the 1mil grounding requirements were met with a separate wire taken to
air gap between the PVC insulation, and that it exceeds the 110 the closet ground pole of the plant ground grid. Due to the slow-
V/mil to 150 V/mil corona inception stress for air @ 1-mil dis- er switching speed of old VFDs, the system may not have had a
tance with #12 awg wire. Corona breakdown actually starts on system ground noise problem. However, the high dv/dt outputs
the insulation outer surface and works inward. The V/mil stress of the new drive technology now capacitively couples noise into
in the 15-mil PVC insulation is higher than normal but not suf- ground from the stray output cable capacitance (Ccable stray)
ficient to cause short-term cable failure in itself. The reason is and from the motor stator capacitance to ground (Cslot). The
that dielectric stress is inversely proportional to dielectric con- motor ground wire as shown in Fig.17 permits noise current to
stant er. Thus, the high ers of PVC (er = 5.5 dry to 9 wet) and 4 flow into the full ground grid. These transients CM noise cur-
mil Nylon (er = 6-11) shift voltage stress to the air gap ( er = 1), rents must flow through the ground grid to the drive feed trans-
which has low corona inception tolerance at close spacing. The former, drive input wires and back to the drive where they are
Focus cable has a low XLPE er = 3 which reduces voltage stress sourced. Fig. 17 shows drive logic ground Potential #1 is elevat-
in the air gap and which itself has a higher corona inception ed from Building Steel Ground by the CM noise voltage devel-
voltage level. oped. Thus, this wiring method is not recommended, since drive
The FEA plots confirmed a few field failures of THHN interface signals to susceptible equipment, which is grounded at
wire used in high humidity locations. The sections of wire fail- a quieter True Earth (TE) Ground Potential #4, will see a CM
ure were analyzed to initially have localized damaged spots on voltage impressed on it and may malfunction.
the outer nylon where the two wires were close but not com- Fig. 18 shows the CM high frequency noise path taken
pletely touching. Sections of the cable that were more damaged
actually had the nylon and PVC insulation eroded with a carbon
track remaining between two exposed bare conductors.

Fig. 17 CM high frequency noise path taken for a Non-Recommended drive installation with
3 random output wires or unshielded tray cable laid in cable tray and connected to a motor
with separate ground wire to the closet pole ground.

during drive switching for an improved drive installation using

3 output wires and insulated Power Earth (PE) ground wire in
Fig. 16 Finite element Electric field magnitude plot of two THHN #12 awg conductors (15
mil PVC plus 4 mil Nylon) separated by a 1-mil air gap and showing the Electric Field inten-
steel conduit. The PE ground wire bonded at both ends meets
sity is greater than the CIV of the air gap. NEC Article 250 motor ground requirement. An additional
motor ground wire to closet pole ground is sometimes used to
insure the motor frame is grounded. The conduit PE ground
IV. CABLE IMPACT ON CONDUCTED & RADIATED EMIS- wire provides a low resistance path back to the drive for the
SIONS lower frequency CM noise current which, hopefully, is lower
The latest generation of PWM drives use IGBTs that than the ground grid impedance. However, at high noise fre-
have output voltage waveforms with risetimes an order of mag- quencies the ground wire skin effect resistance increases ten to
nitude faster (e.g. 0.1 ms vs. 1 ms). The faster dv/dt during out- fifty-fold. Also, ground wire inductance at high frequencies
put voltage switching now creates a higher, capacitively cou- contributes to high ground impedance. Thus, CM current tends
pled, transient noise current to ground that does not return on to flow on the conduit tube which acts as a coaxial return of CM
the output phase leads [5,20,25]. This ground noise current pol- noise current. Conductivity of the steel is low at high frequen-
lutes the ground grid and is called Common Mode (CM) or zero cies and many conduit coupling joints may be corroded or not
sequence current. The flexible shielded cable is one viable alter- in proper contact, so that CM noise may return to the ground
native solution to control the drive’s high frequency noise cur- grid via conduit straps or conduit accidental contact with
rent path and divert it from conducting into the plant system grounded surfaces. Thus, control of the CM noise path is not
ground. Shielded cable also reduces radiated cable emissions. guaranteed with conduit and system ground noise problems may
or may not occur. This is verified by a computer malfunction
A. REDUCTION OF CONDUCTED VFD GROUND NOISE incident, in which conduit mounting straps accidentally ground-
CURRENT ed the VFD output conduit to the same pole ground where a
Fig. 17 shows a possible wiring installation with previous computer network was grounded. The CM noise found a lower
generation VFD drives in which the 3 output wires or unshield- return impedance path via a computer ground wire that was con-
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 59

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 59

nected back to plant system
ground, and injected high fre-
quency ground noise into the
computer network.
Fig. 19 shows the CM
high frequency noise path
taken with a preferred IGBT
drive installation using
shielded output wires plus
insulated ground in a PVC
jacket. Shield and ground
wires are bonded at both
drive and motor grounds to
prevent motor winding CM
noise entering the ground
grid. The low resistance full
rated ground wire meets
motor grounding require-
Fig. 18 CM high frequency noise path taken for an improved drive installation with 3 output wires and insulated ground in a conduit ments, while conducting
and connected to a motor with an additional motor ground wire to the closet pole ground. some of the lower frequency
components of the CM noise
current. The tinned copper
braid shield acts as a low
resistance and low inductance
impedance coaxial return for
the higher frequency CM
noise currents. The insulated
PVC jacket insures most of
the CM noise current returns
back to the drive on the shield
and out of accidental contact
with the ground grid.
Fig. 20 shows the CM
high frequency noise path
taken when using the Best
installation practices possible
for a low noise IGBT drive
installation. Shielded input
Fig. 19CM high frequency noise path taken for preferred IGBT drive installation with shielded output wires plus insulated ground in a and shielded output wires,
PVC jacket. Shield and ground wires are bonded at both drive and motor grounds.
with their respective insulat-
ed ground wires and PVC
jacket are used. Shield and
ground wires are bonded at
both drive and motor grounds
to prevent motor winding CM
noise entering the ground
grid between the drive and
motor. Shield and ground
wires are bonded at both
drive PE and input trans-
former PE grounds to prevent
drive CM noise entering the
ground grid between drive PE
and transformer PE ground.
Shielded input wires are rec-
ommended for installations
where AM radio interference
is not acceptable, when the
drive input transformer is
Fig. 20CM high frequency noise path taken for recommended IGBT drive installation with shielded output wires with insulated ground in physically located far away
a PVC jacket and shielded input wires with insulated ground in a PVC jacket. Output Shield and ground wires are bonded at both drive
from the drive or when a
PE and motor PE ground. Input Shield and ground wires are bonded at both drive PE and transformer PE ground to reduce CM noise
current in the user ground grid. large amount of sensitive
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 60

60 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

equipment referenced to ground exists at the application site. 21 verifies a substantial reduction of CM ground noise current
Fig. 21 shows field test results of an IGBT VFD with out- and shows the Focus cable is a viable installation solution to
put voltage risetimes of 50 ns, connected through 300 ft. of VFD induced noise problems.
Focus cable that is wired per Fig. 19 with an additional motor
ground wire. A CT measured output CM noise ground current of A. RADIATED NOISE REDUCTION WITH SHIELDED CABLES
6 Apk, during a voltage switch transition, by placing all phase There is a large radiating loop antenna area formed
leads through the CT. The current in the braid and foil was between the unshielded phase leads and ground of Fig. 17, with
found to capture most of the high frequency CM noise current CM noise current frequency as the driving source. The large
and return it back to the drive out of the ground grid. The PE loop antenna occurs on both output as well as input leads. The
ground wire absorbs some but not all of the higher frequency conduit system of Fig. 18 is better in terms of radiated emission
noise during the voltage transition, but is found to be ineffective area due to the internal ground wire return reducing the effec-
during the CM noise high frequency oscillation period as pre- tive loop area and the attenuation properties of steel conduit.
dicted. Net CM current conducted into the actual ground grid is However, the CM noise exiting to ground at incidental ground
determined by placing the entire Focus cable through a CT. Fig contact may still allow RF emissions to escape. The Focus cable
of Fig. 19 and Fig. 20, uses an internal PE ground wire, coaxial
85% coverage braided shield and 100% coverage Mylar/foil
film to form a tight closed loop area that minimizes external RF
Both low and high frequency shielding effectiveness tests
were done to address the issue of radiated noise from the cable.
Fig. 22 contains test results of voltage induced on a loop anten-
na that is in direct contact to a standard tray cable and a Focus
cable with a braided copper shield of 85% coverage, but with-
out a foil shield. The unshielded cable couples a direct square
wave voltage replica of the 10 kHz PWM pulses onto the pick-
up coil antenna, while the braided shielded cable substantially
attenuates the low carrier frequency components and most other
frequencies. Fig. 22 shows an attenuation ratio of 30 dB as
defined by 20*LOG(0.1div/3.6 div) when braided cable emis-
sions (0.1 div) is compared to unshielded (3.6 div) coupled RF
emissions. There is some cable high frequency emissions during
the rising and falling edges of the PWM waveform, probably
due to CM currents on the shield developing shield voltages
during the high frequencies associated with the fast PWM volt-
age risetime. A high frequency analysis was done to further
Fig. 21 Measured VFD CM output current, return shield current, PE wire current & net investigate the risetime effect.
ground current flowing outside of Focus cable (all traces 2 amp /div) for Fig. 19 field

Fig. 22 Relative low frequency shielding effectiveness of standard unshielded cable com-
pared to Focus cable using only 85% coverage braid. Data obtained for one complete PWM Fig. 23 Relative high frequency shielding effectiveness of tray cable compared to Type TC
cycle using a voltage pickup antenna coil in direct contact with outer cable surface. plus foil vs. Focus cable braid/foil/ground wire system.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 61

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 61

The high frequency shielding effectiveness associated impact, moisture, and flame exposure. There are other factors
with the steep dv/dt voltage switching edge was investigated by covered as well, such as vibration, ease of installation, allowed
passing the VFD output cable through a RFI chamber, lined usage according to the National Electrical Code (NEC) and
with absorption tiles, and returning the cable to a motor con- installed cost of cabling system.
nected outside the RF chamber. A high gain dipole antenna Termination is another very important installation con-
measured 10 MHz to 50 MHz RF emissions at 10 feet from the sideration, as improper termination could negate any benefits of
output cable for both standard shielded tray cable (TC) and the a good design. Termination of the MC cable is very crucial to
Focus cable. Fig. 23 shows a relative attenuation comparison of proper shielding and grounding effectiveness, but is not the
the shielded TC to the Focus cable. intended scope of this paper [2,25]. The unshielded VNTC con-
Attenuation peaks and valleys of Fig. 23 most likely cor- struction is not a preferred cabling solution for VFD applica-
respond to the cable’s minimum and maximum impedance tions, so termination methods need not be discussed.
nodes that occur at multiples of the cable’s resonant frequency. Termination of the Focus Type TC construction is also
An average attenuation of 26 dBuV is obtained from the cable important, yet quite simple. The shield, drain wire, and ground
with the (Mylar/Foil) shield accounting for 7 dbuV. Foil shield wire combination is critical for proper cable system perform-
attenuation is predominant over the braided shield for frequen- ance as discussed in the paper. A solid termination must be made
cies > 40 MHz. It is seen the variation of shielding effectiveness of the drain and ground wire at the PE (Power Earth) ground of
with frequency makes it difficult to test rank various cables the drive and motor.
unless a desired frequency is identified as the comparison base. The minimum cable termination recommendation for
In terms of actual applications, the Focus cable will have a radi- typical industrial applications is to use a sealed, moisture resist-
ated noise of 30mV or less at real world distances from adjacent ant gland to attach the cable at the drive cabinet and the motor
cables or components. junction box as in Fig. 24. Glands that are explosion proof and
The high frequency CM noise current path of Fig. 20 nickel plated, (for corrosion resistance), are superior, but add
shielded input/shielded output system results in the lowest loop cost to the installation. For an installed cost comparison of the
antenna areas between input and output phase leads to ground XLPE constructions, refer to Table 6. Termination of the shield
due to the coaxial shields. Therefore, system RF emissions are is satisfactorily done with the drain wire, as the full size drain
reduced with this wiring installation. wire has extremely low resistance. If this method is chosen, the
shield should be trimmed and taped at the same point the jacket
V. APPLICATION SPECIFIC CABLE CONSIDERATIONS is cut away, so as to prevent stray strands from shorting other
Non-electrical considerations such as environmental, electrical circuits in the motor cabinet.
mechanical and installation considerations are also important The shield should be terminated as in Fig. 25 for applica-
aspects when choosing the correct cable type for an application. tions requiring full conformity to European CE noise interfer-
Tables 4 through Table 6 include such information that aid in the ence levels. A shield termination gland should be selected that
cable selection process. In order to use the tables, you must have has a shield termination ring that slides over the core of the
a good understanding of external factors that affect cable life. cable and makes 360º contact with the shield. The termination
The tables include information such as compound suitability gland should also have a low contact resistance to the cabinet
with respect to temperature, chemical exposure, abrasion, mounting. It is important that the shield integrity be maintained
well within the metallic portion of the gland and the motor junc-

Fig. 24 Recommended Focus cable and connector installation at drive and motor when CE compliance is not required.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 62

62 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Fig. 25 Recommended Focus cable and special 360° shield connector installation at drive and motor when CE compliance is required.

tion box or drive cabinet. This will insure maximum shield dental ground contact of conduit and potential increase in
effectiveness. Common Mode noise.
The Focus Cable can be made to meet an OPEN
WIRING rating according to NEC article 340, by UL. This VI. FIELD COMPARISON, SO VS. FOCUS CABLE
allows installation of the cable without the use of conduit or Figs. 26 and 27 show a comparison of an actual field
cable tray for the first and/or last 50 feet of the run. The benefit application of the Focus cable (Fig. 27), vs. the same identical
realized is both cost reduction and an isolation of a conduit from installation of an unshielded 4 conductor SO cord. The compar-
the motor PE to the drive frame ground that could cause acci- ison is from an OEM machine builder who used the Focus cable
to reduce supply and encoder noise in a new process. The out-
puts compare noise coupled to the motor position encoder sig-
nal while the motor was sitting still and the signals were high.
As seen in Fig. 26 the noise could result in false encoder feed-
back using the unshielded cable, even with the ground wire in
place. Under the same situation but using the Focus cable, the
encoder feedback has near zero coupled noise, allowing error
free encoder feedback to the controller as a result of reduced
radiated and Common Mode noise.

The design and application of a 600 V shielded Tray
Fig. 26 Coupled noise to motor position encoder using SO cord with full size ground, but no Cable suitable for use on 600 V IGBT variable frequency drives
shield. was discussed. The main electrical feature discussed was
increased XLPE insulation thickness on smaller gauge cables to
guarantee long service life under wet or dry conditions with 600
V IGBT drives having 2 pu and 3 pu reflected wave transient
voltage spikes. A methodology to predict cable life at 2 pu and
3 pu voltage spikes for various insulation thickness was pro-
posed. Increased XLPE insulation thickness also minimizes
cable capacitance, which reduces drive over-current trip prob-
lems due to cable charging current.
Another electrical feature of the Focus shielded Tray
Cable is the low common mode surge impedance that was
demonstrated to be effective in containing VFD conducted and
radiate emissions. The VFD noise current paths were described
Fig 27 Coupled noise to motor position encoder using Focus cable with full size for various wiring practices and cable constructions possible.
ground/drain/foil/braid shield. Mechanical and environmental application specific
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 63

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 63

attributes of the Focus cable were compared to presently avail- [12] Sung, J., Bell, S., “Will Your Motor Insulation
able cable technology, along with a cable-connector cost com- Survive a New Adjustable frequency Drive”, IEEE 1996
parison for the various cable constructions. Petroleum & Chemical Ind. Conf.
[13] Erdman, J., Pankau, J., Campbell, J., Skibinski, G.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS “Assessing AC Motor Dielectric Withstand Capability to
Special thanks is given to T. Barney of Belden, K. Reflected Voltage Stress Using Corona Testing”, IEEE Industry
Phillips, Advanced Development Mgr. of Rockwell Application Conf., Oct 1996
Automation, B. Weber RA Development Mgr. and R. Hepperla, [14] Union Carbide Corporation, PP 71-191A,
M.Bailey and E. Sahagun of the RA Commercial Marketing 1990,1993
group for initial support in the development phase of this VFD [15] J. Erdman, R. Kerkman, D. Schlegel, G. Skibinski,
cable. “Effects Of PWM Voltage Source Inverters On Ac Motor
Bearing Current And Shaft Voltage”, First appeared APEC
REFERENCES March 1995 Conf. rec., also IEEE Transaction on Industry
[1] NEMA Recommended Motor -Generator Standards, Applications”, Vol. 32, No. 2 March / April 1996 pp. 250-259
MG 1-1993 Revision 1 Part 31 Section IV, “Definite Purpose [16] J. Erdman, R. Kerkman, D. Schlegel, G. Skibinski,
Inverter Fed Motors”, Paragraph, Voltage “Bearing Currents and their Relationship to PWM drives”,
[2] E. J. Bartolucci, B.H. Finke, “Cable Design for PWM Industrial Electronics Conf. IECON 1995 No, 1995, pp. 968-
Variable Speed AC Drives”, IEEE Petroleum and Chemical 705
Industry Conference”, Sept, 1998 [17] D. Busse, J. Erdman, R. Kerkman, D. Schlegel, G.
[3] J. M. Bentley, P. J. Link, “Evaluation of Motor Power Skibinski, “System Electrical Parameters and their Effect on
Cables for PWM AC Drives,” IEEE 0-7803-3148-6-5/96 bearing Current”, IEEE Applied Power Electronic Conf.
[4] B. Babiarz, W. Delans, R. Hughes, “Cable or Conduit (APEC), march 1996 pp. 570-578
- Who uses it and why ? “, IEEE 1997 Petroleum & Chemical [18] D. Busse, J. Erdman, R. Kerkman, D. Schlegel, G.
Ind. Conf, Calgary , CAN Skibinski, “The Effects Of PWM Voltage Source Inverters On
[5] G. Skibinski, “Installation Considerations for IGBT The Mechanical Performance Of Bearings., IEEE Applied
AC Drives,” Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) Conf., Power Electronic Conf. (APEC), March 1996 pp. 561-569
Nov 6-7, 1996. [19] J. Erdman, R. Kerkman, D. Schlegel, G. Skibinski,
[6] Evon, S., Kempke, D., Saunders, L., Skibinski, G., “An Evaluation of the Electrostatic Shielded Induction Motor:
“Riding the Reflected wave - IGBT Drive Technology Demands A Solution for Rotor Shaft Voltage and Bearing Current, 1996
New Motor and Cable Considerations”, IEEE Petroleum and IEEE Industry Application Society Conf. Rec.
Chemical Industry Conference”, Sept, 1996 [20] G. Skibinski, B. Wood, L. Barrios,J. Nichols,
[7] Skibinski, G., “Design Methodology of a Cable “Effect of variable speed drives on the operation of low voltage
Terminator to Reduce Reflected Voltage on AC motors”, IEEE ground fault interrupters”, IEEE 1999 Petroleum & Chemical
Ind. Appl. Soc. Conf., 1996 Industry Conf, San Diego, General Session
[8] Kerkman, R., Leggate, D., Skibinski, G., “Interaction [21] S. Bell, R. A. Epperly, T. Cookson, A. Fischer, G.
of Drive modulation & Cable Parameters on AC Motor Skibinski, S. Cope, D. Schlegel, “Experience With Variable
Transients”, IEEE IAS Conference, Industrial Drives section, Frequency Drives and Motor Bearing Failure”, IEEE Petroleum
Oct, 1996 and Chemical Industry Conf., 1998 PCIC Indianapolis
[9] Bonnet,A., “Analysis of the Impact of Pulse Width [22] ANSI/IEEE 518-1982 IEEE Guide for the
Modulated Inverter Voltage Waveforms on AC Induction Installation of Electrical Equipment to minimize Electrical
Motors”,0-7803-2028-X-6/94 1994 IEEE Noise Inputs to Controllers from External Sources.
[10] Bonnet,A., “A comparison bewteen insulation sys- [23] “Dielectric Enhancement Technology Papers”, IEEE
tems avaiable for PWM Inverter Fed Motors”, IEEE Petroleum Electrical Insulation Magazine March ,1994
and Chemical Industry Conference”, Sept, 1996 [24] High Voltage Technology, Alston, Oxford Press
[11] M. Melfi., J. Sung, S. Bell., G. Skibinski. “Effect of [25] G. Skibinski, J . Pankau, R. Sladky, J. Campbell,
surge voltage risetime on the insulation of low voltage machines “Generation , control and regulation of EMI from ac drives”,
fed by PWM converters”, IEEE Industry Application Conf., Oct IEEE Industry Application Conf., Oct 1997
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 64

64 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Table 1 Compound Comparison, Jacket Options and Insulation

Property PVC Insulation / Jackets XLPE Insulation CPE Jackets (optional)

Tensile Strength 1,400 - 3,500 psi 2,000 psi 1,500 psi

Elongation 100 - 500 % (300 % typical) 325 % typical 465 % typical
Heat Aging % of original tensile strength 80 % typical 95 % typical 97 % typical
Cold Temperature Brittleness -30oC typical -55oC -35oC
Dielectric Constant 4 to 8 (5 to 6 typical) 3.2 - 3.4 NA
Limiting Oxygen Index (flame resistance higher better) 27 to 28 28 to 30 32
High Temp Deformation 5 to 30 % 10 % 3 % max
Oil Resistance Fair Good Excellent
Moisture Resistance Fair Excellent Good - Excellent
Acid Resistance Good - Excellent Good - Excellent Excellent
Hydrocarbon Resistance (aromatic and aliphatic) Poor - Fair Fair Fair
Underground Burial Poor - Good Excellent Excellent
Sunlight Resistance Good Good Excellent
Ozone Resistance Good Good - Excellent Excellent

Table 3 Insulation Thickness of Commonly Used Drive Cables & Wire

Voltage (rms) 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600 600
Temperature 90C 90C 90C 90C 90C 90C 90C 105C 105C 105C
Type MC TC TC wire wire wire wire wire wire
NEC listing MC TC TC VW-1 VW-1 YHHN, MTW, -
using XHHW2 RHW2 PVC (+) TW
THHN RHH Nylon No nylon
USE2 jacket jacket
UL spec 1569 MTW 1015 1015 -
CSA spec TEW- TEW-105 -
Military spec W-76B W-76B 16878D

AWG Insulation Thickness (mils)

18 30 32 32/31 10
16 30 32 32/31 10
14 30 20/30 15 30 15+4 30 45 32/31 10
12 30 20/30 15 30 45 15+4 30 45 32/30
10 30 20/30 20 30 45 20+4 30 45 32/30
8 45 30/45 30 45 60 30+4 45 45 32/45
6 45 30/45 30 45 60 30+5 60
4 45 35/45 40 45 60 40+6 60
2 45 35/45 40 45 60 40+6 60
1 55 45/55 50 55 80 50+7 80
1/0 55 45/55 50 55 80 50+7 80
2/0 55 45/55 50 55 80 50+7 80
3/0 55 45/55 50 55 80 50+7 80
4/0 55 45/55 50 55 80 50+7 80
250 65 65/65 60 65 95 60+8 95
350 65 65/65 60 65 95 60+8 95
500 65 65/65 60 65 95 60+8 95
750 80 80/80 70 80 110 70+9 110
1000 80 ??/80 70 80 110 70+9 110

Note: “/” in Table implies multiple manufacturers with different insulation thickness listed
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 65

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 65

Table 4 Application Specific Attributes



VIBRATION SUITABILITY Minimal vibration Extreme vibration
EASE OF INSTALLATION Standard cable type, can be difficult to route Standard cable type, easily bent by hand,
in tight locations simple termination
ABRASION RESISTANCE Excellent to Outstanding Excellent
MOISTURE RESISTANCE Excellent to Outstanding Excellent
DESIGN OPTIONS Jacket Compound changes Jacket Changes, and addition of Shielding or Armor

Table 5 Allowed Installation Environments According To NEC


0.030” XLPE 0.045” XLPE

Class I Division 1 (NEC art. 501-4(a) (1) Exception 2 ) YES YES (requires conduit)
Class II Division 1 (NEC art. 502-4(a) Exception) YES YES (requires conduit)
Class I Division 2 (NEC art. 501-4(b) ) YES YES
Class II Division 2 (NEC art. 502-4(b) ) YES YES
Indoor/ Outdoor YES YES
Intermediate Metal Conduit YES YES
Electrical Metallic Tubing YES YES
Direct Buried YES YES
Cable Trays YES YES
Raceways YES YES
Open Wiring (per NEC article 340) YES YES
Wet Locations YES YES
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 66

66 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 67

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 67

By Francisco de León, CYME International T&D
Abstract - This paper introduces the heat transfer mech- space in the conduit.
anisms in underground cable installations and analyzes the Convection of heat occurs in moving fluids (air, water,
available solution methods of the diffusion equation. The heat etc.) and obeys Newton’s Law. The flow of heat is proportional
sources and thermal resistances of the different layers of a cable to the temperature difference. In an underground cable installa-
installation are described. The basic concepts behind the Neher- tion, convection takes place in the air space inside the ducts and
McGrath method (IEEE) are discussed, along with its differ- at the surface of the earth.
ences with the IEC standards for underground cable installa- The Stefan-Boltzmann Law describes the radiation of
tions. The available commercial computer programs, designed heat phenomenon as being proportional to the difference in the
to perform ampacity calculations are listed along with a descrip- temperatures at the power of four (tf 4 –t0 4). In underground
tion of the modeling capabilities of CYME’s CYMCAP. cables, radiation of heat occurs from the cable(s) to the ducts.
Figure 1 shows a typical temperature distribution for a
I. INTRODUCTION TO CABLE AMPACITY duct bank installation using an engineered backfill on top of the
AMPACITY is a term given by Del Mar in 1951 to the duct bank. From the figure, one can appreciate the diffusion of
current-carrying capacity of a cable. Ampacity in an under- heat that occurs in underground cable systems. Diffusion is a
ground cable system is determined by the capacity of the instal- process by which heat is transferred for one region to another in
lation to extract heat from the cable and dissipate it in the sur- a slow, space-limited fashion described by decaying exponen-
rounding soil and atmosphere. The maximum operating temper- tials. Therefore, there is a practical distance, away from the heat
ature of a cable is a function of the damage that the insulation source, beyond which the heating effects are not felt.
can suffer as a consequence of high operating temperatures. The
insulation withstands different temperatures as function of the
duration of the current circulating in the conductors. There are
three standardized ampacity ratings: steady state, transient (or
emergency) and short-circuit. Only steady state ampacity rat-
ings are discussed in this paper.
Ampacity calculation techniques are as old as the cables
themselves. Anders has summarized the history of ampacity cal-
culations in his 1997 book [1]. There are analytical and numer-
ical approaches to calculate cable ampacity. The two major
international standard associations, the IEEE and the IEC, have
adopted the analytical methods as the basis for their standards
[2], [3-9]. The numerical approaches are mainly based on finite
differences or finite elements techniques. The finite elements
technique is better suited for cable ampacity because of the
round geometry of cables. Figure 1. Typical temperature distribution of an underground cable installation
This paper focuses on the analytical techniques for the
computation of cable ampacity in steady-state through the use
of assumptions that simplify the problem. For transient (or
emergency) calculations the reader is referred to [1], [8], [9], III. HEAT SOURCES IN CABLE SYSTEMS
[12] and [13]. Calculation of short-circuit ratings is described in The heat sources in cable installations can be divided into
[14] for both adiabatic and non-adiabatic conditions. two generic groups: heat generated in conductors and heat gen-
erated in insulators. Figure 2 shows a complex cable construc-
II. AN OVERVIEW OF HEAT FLOW tion, for illustration purposes, containing many of the possible
There are three physical mechanisms for heat transfer: layers in a cable. The losses in the metallic (conductors) ele-
• Conduction ments are by far the most significant losses in a cable and they
• Convection are caused by: (a) Joule losses due to impressed currents, circu-
• Radiation lating currents or induced (eddy current) losses; (b) Hysteresis
Fourier Law describes the heat transferred by conduc- losses in conductors that are also magnetic.
tion. The following metallic components of a cable system
In very simple terms, the heat flux is proportional to the will produce heat:
ratio of temperature over space. In an underground cable instal- • Core conductors
lation, heat conduction occurs everywhere except in the air • Sheaths
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 68

68 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

• Concentric neutrals c = Volumetric thermal capacity of the material
• Armors W = Rate of energy (heat) generated
• Skid wires Equation (3) cannot be solved in closed form for the
• Pipes/ducts complicated geometry of an underground cable arrangement
The losses in those components are functions of the fre- (see Figure 1). Additionally, numerical solutions could not be
quency (f) and the temperature (t) of operation and proportion- obtained in the pre-computer era (before 1950s). However,
al to the square of the current (I). Customarily, the dependency cables are being installed since the 1890s. Furthermore, since
with temperature and frequency is included in an equivalent AC numerical solutions, considering all particularities of the instal-
resistance to express Joule law as: lation, require the solution of a large number of linear (or non-
linear) equations only with the powerful computers available
nowadays, it is becoming practical to get numerical solutions
for cable rating purposes.
Insulating materials also produce heat. The heat pro- In view of the complications of the ampacity problem,
duced in the insulating layers is only important under certain engineers have found practical solutions by combining analyti-
high voltage conditions. The following components could be cal solutions to simplified geometries with heuristic results. In
considered: particular the use of thermal-electrical analogies with empirical
• Main insulation work has been very popular with cable engineers.
• Shields To that effect, the paper published by Neher and McGrath
• Screens in 1957 [10] is remarkable; they summarized the knowledge on
• Jackets the ampacity calculation field to that date, and today (2005), the
• Beddings/servings Neher-McGrath method is still being used and it is the base for
The loss relationship is given by: the IEEE and the IEC standards.


The technique known as the Neher-McGrath method for
ampacity calculations is based on a thermal-electrical analogy
where C is the capacitance, V is the voltage applied and method due to Pashkis and Baker (1942) [11]. The basic idea is
δ is the loss angle. to subdivide the study area into layers. Then one substitutes the
heat sources by current sources, the thermal resistances by elec-
IV. HEAT FLOW IN UNDERGROUND CABLE INSTALLATIONS trical resistances and the thermal capacitances by electrical
In an underground cable system, the main heat transfer capacitances. Figure 3 shows the correspondence between the
mechanism is by conduction. With the exception of the air cable installation components and the electric circuit elements
inside the conduits in duct banks or buried ducts installations, for steady state ampacity calculations. Note that the capaci-
all the heat is transferred by conduction. Since the longitudinal tances play no part in steady state ratings.
dimension of a cable is always much larger than the depth of the To find the ampacity, we first note that the potential of
every node in the circuit is analog to the temperature of the

Figure 2. Illustration of a complex cable construction

Figure 3. Thermal-electrical equivalent

installation, the problem becomes a two-dimensional heat con-
duction problem. In Cartesian coordinates one must solve the
diffusion equation given by [1]:

where: Figure 4. Electrical equivalent

ρ = Thermal conductivity of the material
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 69

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 69

regions between the layers. Thus, the potential difference ments) have been used to determine extensions to the geometri-
between the terminals of the circuits and the innermost current cal factors when heuristics do not exist.
source represents the temperature rise of the core of the cable The external to the cable thermal resistivity is common-
with respect to the ambient temperature. Therefore, the temper- ly computed assuming that the surface of the earth in the neigh-
ature of the cable’s core is the ambient temperature plus ∆τ; see borhood of the cable installation is an isothermal.
Figure 4. Kennelly made this assumption in 1893 and it is still
From Figure 4 we can compute ∆τ as follows: being used. This assumption allows for the application of the
image method to compute the external to the cable thermal
resistance (T4). The following expression results from the
image method:

To derive an expression from where the ampacity can be

computed directly, the heat sources (electrical losses) Ws are
expressed as a proportion of the conductor losses (Wc). The The thermal resistance of the layers external to the cable
conductor losses are computed using the AC resistance and the (T4) must also include the duct, when present, and the air inside.
current. Thus, by substituting the following expressions: The duct itself is of tubular geometry and a very easy model,
however, the treatment of the air inside of a duct is a complex
matter. The heat transfer is dominated by convection and radia-
tion and not by conduction. There exist simple formulas which
in (4) and rearranging we have: have been obtained experimentally and that work fine for the
conditions tested.


Loss factors in equation (5) relate to the losses that metal-
lic layers (sheaths, armors, etc.) produce in proportion to the
From expression (6) one can compute the ampacity of a losses in the cable core. These losses include circulating cur-
cable. Of paramount importance for cable rating is the accurate rents and induced currents (eddy currents). The geometrical
calculation of the thermal resistances Τ, the loss factors λ and arrangements are diverse and some are quite complicated.
the AC resistance Rac of the core of the cable. The bonding used for sheaths (or concentric neutrals)
The loss factors λ take into account eddy losses induced plays a very important role in the current intensity that circu-
and circulating currents, while Rac considers the temperature lates in them. Thus, the losses are very much dependent on the
dependency of the resistances. bonding type and the geometrical arrangement of the cables
(flat or triangular formation). The possibilities are too many to
CALCULATION OF THERMAL RESISTANCES discuss in this article; the interested reader can see all the details
In the Neher-McGrath method, the thermal resistances in references [1], [3] and [4]. Currently, even finite elements
are either computed from basic principles or from heuristics. ampacity programs use analytical expressions to compute the
One can appreciate, from Figure 3, that some of the internal lay- losses produced in every layer of the cable installation.
ers of a cable can be considered as tubular geometries. The fol-
lowing expression is used for the computation of the thermal AC RESISTANCE
resistance of tubular geometries: The operating resistance of a cable is a function of the
temperature and the frequency. The temperature variation is
described by:

Equation (7) is applicable for most internal layers to the

cable layers (T1, T2, T3). For complicated geometries and for
the layers external to the cable, such as three-core cables, duct where:
banks, etc., heuristics are used. For uniformity with (7) the fol- Ro = Resistance at a base temperature (to = 20°C)
lowing expression has been proposed: α = Coefficient of variation with temperature
Although there exists an analytical expression, using
Bessel functions, for the modeling of eddy current effects in
cables, for low frequencies (50 and 60 Hz), there are very sim-
is called the geometrical factor because it is a function of ple and accurate formulas adequate for ampacity calculations.
the shape and dimensions of the particular geometry under The eddy current effects are covered by two factors. One con-
analysis. There are a number of heuristics used in the calcula- siders the skin effect (ys) and the other, the proximity effect
tion thermal resistances. For example, there are expressions for: (yp). The mathematical expression to account for these losses is:
equally or unequally loaded cables, for touching or not touching
cables, for flat or triangular formations, trefoils, backfills, duct
banks, etc. There are too many possibilities to consider in this
article. The interested reader can find all the details in list refer-
ences at the end of this paper. Numerical methods (finite ele- Combining (10) and (11) we have:
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 70

70 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

alty free, with no documentation or technical support.

The values for ys and yp are computed from simplified CYMCAP is a dedicated computer program for perform-
analytical expressions particular to each cable core construction ing ampacity and temperature rise calculations for power cable
(solid, stranded, segmented, etc.). installations. A description of its main features is given below.
A detailed description of the difference between the two • Iterative techniques based on the IEC Standards.
methods can be found in Appendix F of [1]. For steady state • A detailed graphical representation of virtually any type
ampacity simulations, the two approaches are virtually the of power cable. This facility can be used to modify existing
same. The greatest difference is that the IEC equations use the cables and enrich the program’s cable library with new ones,
metric system while Neher-McGrath uses the imperial system. including single-core, three-core, belted, pipe-type, submarine,
Thus, equations look very different, but the two methods sheathed, and armored cables.
are equivalent. In the Neher-McGrath method, there are explic- • Different cable installation conditions such as directly
it equations for the transient rating, while in the IEC, detailed buried, thermal backfill, underground ducts, duct banks and
methodologies are given. In general, IEC methods are more up multiple soil layers with different thermal resistivity.
to date and consider more cases than the Neher-McGrath • Cables in pipes with the pipe directly buried or in a ther-
method. Following is a description of the most important mod- mal backfill.
eling differences: • Independent libraries and databases for cables, duct-
banks, load curves, heat sources and installations.
EDDY LOSSES • Simulation of cables on riser poles, groups of cables in
• In the Neher-McGrath approach, only the eddy losses air, moisture migration, nearby heat sources and heat sinks, etc.
for triangular configurations are computed. IEC includes flat • Different cable types within one installation.
formations as well. • Non-isothermal earth surface modeling.
• In the IEC standards, the magnetic armors are consid- • Cyclic loading patterns as per IEC-60853.
ered, while they are not in the Neher-McGrath method. • Multiple cables per phase with proper modeling of the
sheath mutual inductances, which greatly influence circulating
THERMAL RESISTANCES current losses, and thus derating.
• IEC gives expressions for geometric factors of three- • All bonding arrangements for flat and triangular forma-
core, oil-filled, belted, etc., cables. tions are supported with explicit modeling of minor section
• IEC considers more insulation materials than Neher- lengths, unequal cable spacing, etc.
McGrath. Figure 5 presents a typical graphical display screen of a
• IEC makes a distinction between trefoil and flat config- duct bank installation containing trefoil arrangements, threecore
urations (touching and not touching) for T4. cables and single-phase circuits. Also, any of its cables can be
• IEC considers in detail unequally loaded cables. displayed and edited simultaneously.
• Soil dry-out is considered in IEC.


The first and most advanced commercial program for
cable ampacity calculations is CYMCAP. Its development start-
ed in the 1980s jointly by Ontario Hydro (Hydro One),
McMaster University and CYME International, under the aus-
pices of the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA).
CYMCAP is based on the IEC Standards and features a
very friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface). Over 100 compa-
nies in close to 50 countries use CYMCAP. This program can
compute steady state ampacities and transient ampacities.
CYMCAP features a duct bank optimizer and the possibility of
handling several duct banks with different thermal resistivities
in the same installation. USAmp is next in the development lad-
der. It is based on the Neher-McGrath method for steady state
ampacity calculations. Figure 5. Typical CYMCAP Screen
It supports transients based on the CIGRE report [13]. It
has a GUI, but data is entered and displayed mostly in tabular
form. USAmp has been used to obtain the IEEE Standard tables TRANSIENT ANALYSIS
published in [2]. The program supports transient thermal analyses includ-
ETAP is another tabular program based on the Neher- ing the following:
McGrath method. It does not support transient ampacity calcu- • Ampacity given time and temperature.
lations. There are other smaller programs such as: • Temperature analysis given time and ampacity.
PCORP, Underground Cable Ampacity Calculator, etc. • Time to reach a given temperature, given the ampacity
with rudimentary GUIs and calculation engines. Some are roy- • Ampacity and temperature analysis as a function of
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 71

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 71

sion to CYMCAP designed to determine the steady state ampac-
ity of cables installed in several neighboring duct banks and/or
backfills with different thermal resistivity. The module presents
a unique solution combining standard and nonstandard calcula-
tion methods. The module computes the values of T4 (the exter-
nal to the cable thermal resistance) using finite elements and
then the ampacity (or operating temperature) of the cable sys-
tem is obtained using the IEC standardized solution method.
The following capabilities can be highlighted:
• Modeling up to eleven rectangular areas with different
thermal resistivity.
• Modeling up to three duct banks in a single installation.
• Modeling one heat source or sink in the installation.
• Computation of the steady state ampacity or tempera-
Figure 6. Typical transient simulation report Figure 8 exemplifies two of the many possibilities that
the MDB (Multiple Duck Bank) modeling facilities of CYM-
• User-defined load profiles per circuit.
• Multiple cables per installation.
• Circuits can be loaded simultaneously or one at a time.
Figure 6 shows a graphical display of the results of a
transient simulation. In CYMCAP one can display the tempera-
ture as a function of time simultaneously with the load curve,
the installation arrangement and the cables used.


The Duct Bank Optimizer is an add-on module to CYM-
CAP that allows the user to determine the optimal placement of
several circuits within a duct bank. More specifically, the mod-
ule can recommend the various circuit dispositions within the
duct bank in order that:
• The duct bank overall ampacity, i.e. the sum of the
ampacities for all circuits, is maximized.
• The duct bank overall ampacity, i.e. the sum of the
ampacities for all circuits, is minimized. Figure 8. Illustration of the MDB module of CYMCAP
• The ampacity of any given circuit is maximized.
CAP can handle.

CYMCAP has been validated against field tests. In
Figure 9 a comparison between time simulations and field tests
is presented. One can appreciate that the simulated and meas-

Figure 7. Results of a duct bank optimization simulation

• The ampacity of any given circuit is minimized.

Figure 7 presents a 3 by 4 duct bank with three trefoils
and one three-phase circuit (one phase per conduit). There are
over 110,000 possible combinations. However, CYMCAP has
an elaborated mathematical algorithm that prevents the repeti-
tive calculation of equivalent cases; therefore, the solution is
obtained very efficiently. The left-hand side condition in Figure Figure 9. CYMCAP simulations versus field tests
7 shows the cables placed automatically.
On the right-hand side, one can see the optimal cable ured results match with reasonable accuracy.
location that maximizes ampacity. CYME offers the very best customer support with the
commitment of answering support questions within 24 hours.
MULTIPLE DUCT BANKS Additionally, CYME holds a one-day CYMCAP seminar
The Multiple Duct Banks module (MDB) is the exten- during its yearly User’s Group in Montreal.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 72

72 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Part 3: Sections on operating conditions – Section 1: Reference
IX. SUMMARY operating conditions and selection of cable type. IEC Standard
An introduction to the heat transfer mechanisms in 287-3-1 (1995-07).
underground cable installations was given. An analysis of the [8] Calculation of the cyclic and emergency current rat-
possible solution methods of the diffusion equations was pre- ing of cables – Part 1: Cyclic rating factor for cables up to and
sented. A description of the heat sources and thermal resistanc- including 18/30 (36) kV. IEC Publication 853-1 (1985).
es of the different layers of a cable installation has been offered. [9] Calculation of the cyclic and emergency current rat-
The basic concepts behind the Neher-McGrath method were ing of cables – Part 2: Cyclic rating of cables greater than 18/30
discussed together with the differences between the IEEE (36) kV and emergency ratings for cables of all voltages. IEC
(Neher-McGrath method) and the IEC standards for under- Publication 853-2 (1989-07).
ground cable installations. A description of the modeling capa- [10] J.H. Neher and M.H. McGrath, “The Calculation of
bilities CYMCAP, CYME’s cable ampacity program, was pre- the Temperature Rise and Load Capability of Cable Systems”,
sented. AIEE Transactions Part III - Power Apparatus and Systems, Vol.
76, October 1957, pp. 752-772.
X. REFERENCES [11] V. Pashkis and H. Baker, "A method for determining
[1] George J. Anders, “Rating of Electric Power Cables: the steady-state heat transfer by means of an electrical analogy",
Ampacity Computations for Transmission, Distribution, and ASME Transactions, Vol. 104, pp. 105-110, 1942.
Industrial Applications, IEEE Press / McGraw Hill, 1997. [12] J.H. Neher, “The Transient Temperature Rise of
[2] IEEE Standard Power Cable Ampacity Tables, IEEE Buried Cable Systems”, IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus
Std. 835-1994. and Systems, Vol. PAS-83, February 1964, pp. 102-114. See
[3] Electric Cables – Calculation of the current rating – also the Discussion by McGrath.
Part 1: Current rating equations (100% load factor) and calcula- [13] CIGRE, "Current Ratings of Cables for Cycling and
tion of losses – Section 1: General. IEC Standard 287-1-1 Emergency Loads. Part 1. Cyclic Rating (load factor less than
(1994-12). 100%) and Response to a Step Function", Electra No. 24, pp.
[4] Electric Cables – Calculation of the current rating – 63-96.
Part 1: Current rating equations (100% load factor) and calcula- [14] Calculation of Thermally Permissible Short-Circuit
tion of losses – Section 2: Sheath eddy current loss factors for Currents, Taking into Account Non-Adiabatic Heating Effects,
two circuits in flat formation. IEC Standard 287-1-2 (1993-11). IEC Standard 949, 1988.
[5] Electric Cables – Calculation of the current rating –
Part 2: Thermal resistance – Section 1: Calculation of the ther- XI. BIOGRAPHY
mal resistance. IEC Standard 287-2-1 (1994-12). Francisco de León currently works with CYME
[6] Electric Cables – Calculation of the current rating – International T&D in St. Bruno (Quebec, Canada). He develops
Part 2: Thermal resistance – Section 2A: A method for calculat- professional grade software for power and distribution systems
ing reduction factors for groups of cables in free air, protected and is the leading technical support of CYMCAP, CYME's
from solar radiation. IEC Standard 287-2-2 (1995-05). cable ampacity program.
[7] Electric Cables – Calculation of the current rating –
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 73

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 73


Courtesy of The Siemon Company

INTRODUCTION These specifications are identified as Level 2e (Class D /

Category 5e) and Level 3 (Class E/Category 6).
This presentation discusses the issue of field testing
Link testing is probably the hardest specification to com-
structured cabling. Testing Standards are developed for testing
ply with, especially for class E/category 6. This is as a result of
devices to ensure a uniform minimum performance of these
very small margins between component specifications and link
devices. The Testing Standards describe test procedures to
specifications, leaving very little room for error by the installer.
enable test comparisons to be made in a meaningful way.
Marginal test results are due to the inherent inaccuracy of
Performance standards that include specifications for compo-
the test device near the specified limit. In this region, the test
nents, links and channels reference the test standards.
device cannot accurately decide whether the measurement result
For copper cabling, a number of parameters have been
is a pass or a fail with a high degree of accuracy. The Siemon
defined to describe the performance of cabling components,
Company does not recognise marginal passes.
links and channels. Collectively, they present a picture of the
quality of the communication channel and its ability to deliver
signals for different applications under different conditions.
Standards such as AS/NZS 3080, TIA/EIA 568 and Calibration of the test device is essential if there is any
ISO/IEC 11801 include specifications of links, channels and meaning to the measurements.
components, design and installation guidance. The device needs to be calibrated against a more accurate
Installation methods have a big influence on the perform- test instrument, such as a network analyzer, over the frequency
ance of high speed communication channels. band of interest. Field calibration is also possible, though this
The standards provide guidance for installation of copper generally has nothing to do with measurement accuracy. The
cabling, separation from EMI sources and guidance on immuni- Network Analyzer is a test instrument recognised in the indus-
ty and susceptibility. Temperature effects are also considered. try as a highly accurate device capable of measuring small sig-
nal amplitudes over a wide frequency range.
VENDOR WARRANTIES Measurements are conducted with both test instruments
and a scatter plot is produced. The field test instrument is adjust-
Component manufacturers provide various long term
ed as necessary to ensure meaningful and repeatable test meas-
warranties for installed cabling.
Testing installed cabling is vital in assessing the perform-
ance of warrantied installations.
The Siemon Company provides a number of long term
warranties, such as System 5e, Premium 5e, System 6 and Specifications for field Test Instruments (Draft TIA/EIA-
System 7. These can be either 16 or 20 years duration. 568-B.2-1 (Category 6)) define the following parameters:
Link or channel models can be selected by the end-user The dynamic range for NEXT loss and FEXT loss is 65
to be covered by the warranty. dB maximum + 3 dB.
Applications warranty is only provided for the channel The dynamic range for PSNEXT loss and PSFEXT loss
model. Additionally, parts and labour are covered for the entire is 62 dB maximum + 3 dB.
term. Dynamic accuracy requirements shall be tested up to the
The Siemon Company requires 100% testing for a war- specified dynamic range for NEXT loss and FEXT loss.
ranty, not sample testing. No marginal passes are accepted. This Dynamic accuracy ELFEXT assumes a dynamic accura-
gives the end-user an automatic headroom equal to the measure- cy requirement of ± 0.75 dB for FEXT loss, which shall be test-
ment accuracy tolerance defined in the testing standards. All ed, and that dynamic accuracy performance for attenuation and
applications defined by the standards to be supported by the rel- FEXT loss add to the ELFEXT requirement.
evant cabling channel system will be covered by the Siemon The verification of residual NEXT loss and FEXT loss is
Company warranty for the duration of the warranty. up to 85 dB maximum. It is assumed that the frequency
response changes at a rate of 20 dB/decade.
STANDARDS FOR FIELD TEST DEVICES The verification of output signal balance and common
mode rejection is up to 60 dB maximum. It is assumed that the
Field test devices need to comply with standard-defined
frequency response changes at a rate of 20 dB/decade.
specifications. These ensure meaningful test results that give
For the following transmission parameters, a frequency
confidence to the end-user that the installed cabling will support
resolution is defined that determines the minimum number of
the intended applications.
tests that the test device needs to perform.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 74

74 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2


Unlike copper installations, there are essentially only two
parameters that need to be controlled in an optical fibre installa-
Resolution Frequency range 1 - 250 MHz tion. These are attenuation (insertion loss) and return loss.
Frequency Band Frequency Resolution Although bandwidth is an essential characteristic, this parame-
1 MHz to 31.25 MHz 150 kHz ter is unaffected by the installation process.
31.25 MHz to 100 MHz 250 kHz
Field test device specification parameters include
Optical fibre attenuation is caused by a number of fac-
Dynamic accuracy, Source/load, return loss, Random noise
tors. Some are internal to the fibre, others are dependent on
floor, Residual NEXT, Residual FEXT and Output signal bal-
external factors. Installation techniques have a great influence
on the loss in a fibre communication channel. Excessive bend-
ing of the fibre core (on pathways and at termination points)
COMMON FIELD TEST FAILURES causes light to escape from the core, resulting in higher losses.
Testing links and/or channels at an installed site can be This is called macro-bending. Micro-bends are small bends that
very demanding. The installed cabling needs to be tested to the generally occur at spots of high stress, such as point deforma-
specified standard using suitable test equipment.Common test tion of the fibre coating. These are very hard to detect and can
parameter failures in the field include wire-map, return loss, be caused by sudden temperature changes or the presence of
NEXT and length. Test devices provide detailed test reports and particles under heat shrink sleeves, such as in splice protectors.
diagnostic tools to aid in fault finding and rectification.
When a transmission parameter fails, it is important to ATTENUATION TEST REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURE
note the frequency of failure. This usually leads to identifying
Once the installation is complete, all optical fibres should
the component that caused the link to fail test. Also, plots can
be tested for attenuation (insertion loss). The TIA/EIA 568 B
suggest the fault location.
specifies the One Reference Jumper method (ANSI/TIA/EIA-
526-14A method B) for measuring attenuation in a structured
cabling application. This is a Power meter Light source test.
An actual case where Category 6 was installed which had For horizontal cabling, this standard requires an insertion
a number of problems was a multi-story building. In this case, loss of 2.0 dB independent of fibre type and test wavelength.
S210 punchdown hardware was used in the telecommunications For backbone cabling, the TIA/ EIA 568 B standard
room and at consolidation points; modular outlets at TO s. requires a link loss budget (LLB) to be estimated ( LLB for pas-
Category 6 cable was used throughout. Level 3 test devices; sive cabling components only is given by the sum of mated pair
Permanent Link Category 6 test specification selected. A high connector loss at each end, optical fibre loss at a given wave-
number of marginal passes were recorded, which included the length for a given length and the splice losses, if any). This esti-
following parameters: mate is used to compare against the test results obtained in the
field to determine the quality of the installation. The measured
PARAMETER(S): NEXT, RETURN LOSS. loss shall always be less than the estimated loss.
Employing sensible fault finding techniques led to the
conclusion that these marginal passes were attributed to the fol- TEST METHOD TIA/EIA 526-14A
lowing causes:
TIA/EIA 568 B specifies the One Reference Jumper
In general, there are a number of causes of test failures.
method (ANSI/TIA/EIA-526-14A method B) for measuring
NEXT: mainly attributed to termination techniques. attenuation in a structured cabling application. The procedure
Return Loss: was harder to resolve. Test cords contributed described is as follows:
as well as cable slack at the Consolidation a) A test cord, T1 supplied by the test device manufac-
Points.Device calibration also resolved some turer is connected between a light source and a power meter,
problems. The two devices are turned on and set to the appropriate wave-
length (850nm or 1300nnm). The power, M1 is recorded and
These include cable, connecting hardware, excessive untwisting
used as the reference for subsequent comparison.
of pairs, exceeding minimum Bending Radius, excessive cable
stress. Additionally, test devices may inadvertently contribute to
test failures as a result of loss of calibration, worn out test cords,
low batteries and wrong test standards


A number of test device manufacturers operate in the b) The test cord, T1 is disconnected from the power
marketplace. These include : meter (if the light source was disconnected, the reference would

Fluke Networks DSPxx series Digital Signal Processing techniques using FFT and inverse FFT algorithms
Microtest OmniScanner series Analog signals used to stimulate and analyze response for certain parameters
Agilent HP350, Wirescope 155
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 75

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 75

be lost). Another pre-tested low loss optical fibre cord, T2 is the optical fibre loss is the more significant, compared to the
connected to the referenced test cord, via an adaptor at one end. connector loss.
The other end of the cord is connected to the power meter. Testing of optical fibre links needs to be done carefully.
Measure the loss of the new cord. The value shall be less than It is important to reference the first test cord properly. Measured
0.75 dB. loss values should always be positive.
OTDR attenuation testing is not recommended as this
device is intended for fault finding and length measurements.
An OTDR attenuation measurement of short links will always
result in a small value being recorded. This is because the
OTDR uses a laser source, which underfills the multimode core.
Also, only one connector at a time is tested, when an OTDR is
used to measure attenuation. This increases the cost of testing.
c) Disconnect the two cords at the adaptor interface. The test method specified in ISO/IEC 11801 and
Insert the link under test between the two cords and measure the AS/NZS 3080 call up the IEC 61280-4-1 method for multimode
new loss (M2). The difference between the first power measure- and the IEC 61280-4-2 for single mode. One standard follows
ment M1 and M2 is the attenuation or insertion loss of the link the ISO standard and specify the maximum attenuation values
under test. for horizontal channels, intra building backbones and campus

In a perfect world, testing is not required. In the real
world, testing is the ONLY way transmission channels can be
assessed for performance to established criteria.
This method is suitable for short links and patch cords, The observed and the observer together determine the
where the connector loss is the most significant loss in the link. outcome of the test process!
For long optical fibre links, another test method is used, where
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 76

76 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 77

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 77


Courtesy of EPRI
Accurate life evaluation of underground transmission Findings from those studies, including the relationships
cables yields major economic benefits. A utility avoided more established between operating conditions, cable parameters, and
than $5 million in replacement costs based on the determination deterioration of paper insulation that led to the development of
that one of its aging cable systems could reliably operate for aging rate equations, will be used in this TC project to develop
many more years. approaches for estimating the remaining life of existing pipe-
Underground cable systems have long been an attractive type systems.
transmission alternative in large cities and other places where
overhead lines are problematic. However, these circuits are 2 to DELIVERABLES
20 times more expensive to install than overhead lines, depend- • In-depth evaluation of the condition and remaining life
ing upon the operating voltage and installation environment. of the participant’s pipe-type cable systems based on previous-
Much of the approximately ly derived relationships and rate equations
2500 circuit miles of pipe-type, high- for aging circuits
pressure fluid-filled (HPFF) cable - •· Commercial tool/service for condi-
the kind traditionally used for under- tion assessment and life evaluation of in-
ground transmission in the United service pipe-type cables
States - is approaching or has reached
the stage where replacement becomes BENEFITS OF PARTICIPATION
an issue. In particular, approximately Companies that participate in this TC
20% (500 miles) of the circuits in use project will receive critical information
are more than 30 years old, while about the long-term performance and relia-
planned system life is typically 40 bility of their in-service pipe-type cable sys-
years. Because of the circuits’ tems. Better understanding of the condition
expense, accurate measures of the and expected service lives of underground
integrity of aging systems are critical circuits will allow participants to intelli-
to prioritize maintenance expendi- gently plan for any needed maintenance or
tures, maximize lifetimes, and ensure replacement. It will also enable cost reduc-
replacement only when absolutely tions by improving maintenance scheduling
necessary. and extending reliable use of underground
systems beyond traditional design life.
PROJECT SUMMARY In addition, participants will gain a better understanding
New life evaluation procedures will be developed and of the tradeoffs involved with operating pipe-type cables at
applied to aged in-service cable systems owned by TC partici- higher-than-rated temperatures. This information could be used
pants. Accurate condition assessments and remaining life esti- to enhance the capacity of existing cable systems without unac-
mates will enable informed run/replace decision making for ceptable acceleration of the aging process.
costly underground circuits.
This project builds on previous EPRI research, complet- DEMONSTRATED VALUE
ed in 1998, that identified the mechanisms responsible for the Previous life evaluation studies of pipe-type cables at
deterioration of impregnated paper insulation in pipe-type New York Power Authority’s St. Lawrence hydroelectric plant
cables. In those accelerated aging studies, a number of full size indicated that the cable systems had, over their lifetime, operat-
138- and 345-kV cables representative of those used over the ed at or below conductor design temperatures with very little
past 40 years were maintained at operating voltage and elevated mechanical stressing. Based on these findings, the cables were
temperatures, with and without mechanical stresses, until they predicted to last at least another 30 years. By forestalling
experienced breakdown. replacement costs, the utility saved an estimated $5.83 million.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 78

78 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2


By Dan Friedman
Aluminum wiring, used in some homes from the mid- single-purpose higher amperage circuits such as 240V air con-
1960s to the early 1970s, is a potential fire hazard. According to ditioning or electric range circuits.
the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fires and even
deaths have been reported to have been caused by this hazard. HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK IN BUILDINGS WITH
Problems due to expansion can cause overheating at connec- ALUMINUM ELECTRICAL WIRING
tions between the wire and devices (switches and outlets) or at To date, only two remedies have been formally recom-
splices. mended by the CPSC: discontinued use of the aluminum circuit
CPSC research shows that “homes wired with aluminum or, less costly, the addition of copper connecting “pigtail” wires
wire manufactured before 1972 are 55 times more likely to have between the aluminum wire and the wired device (receptacle,
one or more connections reach “Fire Hazard Conditions” than switch, or other device).
are homes wired with copper. “Post 1972” aluminum wire is The pigtail connection must be made using only a special
also a concern. Introduction of the aluminum wire “alloys” in connector and special crimping tool licensed by the AMP
1972 time frame did not solve most of the connection failure Corporation. Emergency temporary repairs necessary to keep an
problems. essential circuit in service might be possible following other
Aluminum wiring is still permitted and used for certain procedures described by the CPSC.
applications, including residential service entrance wiring and
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 79

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 79


Courtesy of CodeCheck.com

PURPOSES OF GROUNDING In other words, neither wire is a shock hazard unless a

person is grounded, and then only the hot is a potential shock
Grounding system has three main purposes:
hazard. Of course, if a person were to touch both wires at the
same time, he would be shocked simply because his body is
completing connection between “hot” and “ground” wires.
Lightning, line surges or unintentional contact with high-
er voltage lines can cause dangerously high voltages to the elec- METAL CASE SAFETY
trical distribution system wires. Grounding provides an alterna-
Back in the early days, equipment and appliances fitted
tive path around the electrical system of your home or work-
with the two wire power plug were readily accepted to be safe
place minimizing damage from such occurrences.
from shock hazard because the metal housing was not connect-
ed to either wire of the line cord (called floating case).
One of the problems with appliances and equipment
There are many sources of electricity. Every transformer which have a “floating metal case” is that a shock hazard exists
can be considered a separate source. If there were not a common if the case comes into contact with the hot wire. This so-called
reference point for all these voltage sources, it would be “fault condition” may happen in many ways with some of the
extremely difficult to calculate their relationships to each other. more common causes being a “pinched” line cord, failure of
The earth is the most omnipresent conductive surface, and so it installation systems, or movement of components due to shock
was adopted in the very beginnings of electrical distribution or vibration which will cause the “hot wire” terminal to touch
systems as a nearly universal standard for all electric systems. the case.
Naturally, if for any reason the case does become “live”,
CURRENT PATH IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE OPERATION OF OVERCURRENT then a person touching it may be shocked if he is grounded. If
DEVICES this “hot chassis” is connected to another chassis or instrument
This purpose of grounding is the most important one to by a typical shielded cord, then that chassis or instrument will
understand. Grounding system provides a certain level of safety also become hot. The entire purpose of the present three wire
to humans and property in case of equipment damages. system is to provide a separate ground path which will effective-
ly eliminate any possibility of shock.
GROUNDING OPERATION IN ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION NETWORK If the live wire touches the grounded metal case, the
The main reason why grounding is used in an electrical ground connection in the case causes that the situation becomes
distribution network is safety: when all metallic parts in electri- a short circuit as drawn in picture below.
cal equipment are grounded and the insulation inside the equip-
ment fails, there are no dangerous voltages present in the equip-
ment case. The live wire touches the grounded case, the circuit
is effectively shorted and the fuse will immediately blow.
Safety is the primary function of grounding. Grounding
is quite often used to provide common ground reference poten-
tial for all equipment, however, the existing grounding systems
in a building might not provide sufficient ground potential for
all equipment, possibly leading to ground potential differences
and ground loop problems, common in computer networks and
audio/video systems.

The “hot” wire is at 120 volts or 230 volts (depending on This short circuit situation causes very high current surge
the mains voltage) and the other wire is neutral or ground. If a to flow in the circuit which will cause the distribution panel fuse
person were to touch the neutral wire only, no shock would to blow almost immediately. The current in a short circuit situ-
result simply because there is no voltage on it. If he were to ation can be extremely high because of the low resistance of the
touch the hot wire only, again nothing would happen to him mains distribution wiring.
unless some other part of his body were to become grounded. A The integrity of the separate ground path is directly relat-
person is considered to be grounded if he comes in contact with ed to the quality of the chassis/green wire/ground pin combina-
a water pipe, metal conduit, the neutral or ground wire, or stands tion. When the ground pin is removed, the separate ground path
barefoot on a concrete floor. is destroyed and then fault conditions may cause shock hazards.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 80

80 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

wires! There will always be some capacitive leakage current
GROUNDING AND INTERFERENCE SUSCEPTIBILITY from the live wire to the ground wire. This capacitive leakage
Whenever audio equipment is operated without a ground current is due to the fact that the wiring, transformers and inter-
(floating chassis), strange things can happen. Under certain con- ference filters all have some capacitance between the ground
ditions, the amplifier will be more susceptible to radio frequen- and live wire. The amount of current is quite low (limited to be
cy interference (picking up radio stations or CB radio). Also, between 0.6 mA to 10 mA depending on equipment type) so it
without a suitable ground, amplifiers sometimes “hum” more does not cause danger. Because of this leakage current, there is
when the musician picks up his/her instrument and provide a always some current flowing in the ground wire and the ground
“pseudo” ground through him or herself. potentials of different electrical power outlets are never equal.
The only solution is to find a ground point to connect to The leakage current can also cause other types of prob-
the chassis. Sometimes this may cause more problems than it lems. In some situations there are ground fault detect interrupter
solves. (GFCI) circuits in use the leakage current caused by many
equipments together can make the GFCI to cut the current.
GROUNDING IN WIRING Typically, GFCI circuits are designed to cut current when there
is a 30 mA or more difference in currents flowing in live and
Today’s modern (US) mains cable consists of three sepa-
neutral wires (the difference must flow to ground). Some GFCI
rate wires: black, white, and green. One end of the green wire is
circuits can cut the mains feed even at 15 mA leakage current,
always connected to the large ground pin on the plug, and the
which may mean that if you connect many computers (each of
other end is connected to the chassis of the equipment. The
them having 0.5 to 2 mA of leakage) to a GFCI protected power
black wire is always considered to be the “hot wire” and, as
outlet, you may cause the GFCI to cut the power feed.
such, is always the leg which is connected to the switch and
fuse. The white wire is always the neutral or common wire.
European coloring is a somewhat different. The ground
wire is green with a yellow stripe. The neutral wire is blue. he In Europe it is not important how much ohms the ground-
live wire is brown (additional colors for the live wires used in 3 ing is but the maximum current before the unit switches off is
phase systems are black and black with white stripe). important (So a grounding of 230 volts and a safety of 24 volts).
Any modification of the above 3 wire mains system com- We say it must be less then 30 mA in our body. So for 16 amps
pletely eliminates the protection given by the three wire config- and 24 volts it is 1.5 ohms. This means that the maximum volt-
uration. The integrity of the separate ground path is also direct- age on the case is 24 volts even when all current is flowing
ly related to the quality of the receptacle and the wiring system through the grounding wire. In places where even this 24V is
in the building itself. considered very dangerous (for example in hospitals), the
The neutral (grounded conductor) must be solidly con- ground resistance must be made lower to make sure that there is
nected (bonded) to the home’s ground system at the first discon- never dangerous voltage present in the case. For example, in
nect (main panel). This keeps large voltage differences from Finland the grounding resistance for medical room outlets must
developing between the neutral and ground. be less than 0.2 ohms to be considered safe.
The above is the objective, and everything around it is
CURRENTS IN GROUNDING WIRE just to make it difficult. Ground means something connected to
the surrounding and it must be less then x ohms measured with
Ground wires should not carry current except during
AC and the wire must handle the short circuit current present in
faults. If the ground wire carries any current there, will be a
the circuit without overheating.
potential difference between different grounding points
(because the current flowing in the wire causes a voltage drop
because of wire resistance). This is why a common wire which
works as neutral and grounding wire is dangerous. Frequently Asked Questions on Electrical Wiring by
When there is separate wiring for grounding you still Chris Lewis and Steven Bellovin
cannot completely avoid the current flowing in grounding
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 81

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 81


By Robert A. McCullough
One of the most fundamental elements of an electrical this and have the wires run, it has to get simpler doesn’t it? Well,
installation is the connecting of the wiring method to an over- not really. There are two basic sections of Article 240 that you
current device. Seems simple right? All most people seem to do have to look at before determining the rating of the overcurrent
(including inspectors) is to look at Table 310.16 and match up device to be used. The first one is 240.3 which deals with pro-
the numbers to a fuse or breaker. Unfortunately, the actual selec- tection for equipment and Table 240.3 lists the other articles for
tion process can be much more complicated than that. specific equipment that must be reviewed to find any unique
To begin with, you must do a load calculation based on requirements for overcurrent protection that must be met. The
Article 220. Once the load is known, the proper size wire can be other section is 240.4 which deals with overcurrent protection
determined by reviewing the ampacity of the conductor. To do for the conductors themselves. This section simply states that
this correctly, it is necessary to
look at the XXX.80 section,
where applicable, of the partic-
ular wiring method article and
see if there are any special lim-
itations or restrictions placed
on the ampacity of those wiring
methods. One example of this
would be 334.80 for Type NM
cable which is basically limited
to 600 C even though it is man-
ufactured with 900 C insula-
tion. This is also true for Type
AC cable, where installed in
thermal insulation. Some
wiring method articles give you
specific ampacities or refer you
to another article to be used to
determine the allowable
ampacity of the conductor.
Where the wiring methods are
installed in cable trays, careful
attention must be given to the
provisions contained in Article
392 in order to determine the
conductor ampacities. Section
310.15 needs to be reviewed you protect conductors against overcurrent
for any adjustment factors and according to their ampacities specified in
you must also check to see if 310.15 unless otherwise permitted or required
any correction for ambient tem- in 240.4(A) through (G). So the trail starts all
perature must be done. Just over again. In order to properly apply this
when you thought it was safe to seemingly simple requirement, each of the sec-
get out of the truck, the very tions, (A) through (G) must be reviewed for
important temperature limita- applicability to the specific installation. (A)
tion provisions in 110.14(C) deals with power loss hazards and the text is
must also be taken into self-explanatory. (B) deals with devices rated
account. Remember that all this 800 amperes or less and is commonly referred
is done before you even uncoil to as the “rounding-up rule”. Proper applica-
the wire! No wonder electri- tion of this provision involves the use of 240.6
cians charge so much and elec- for the standard rating of overcurrent devices.
trical permits cost so much. (C) covers devices rated over 800 amperes
Now that you have done and, in general, does not allow for rounding
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 82

82 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

up. Keep in mind that this may be modified for specific equip- any requirements covered by the listing that may call for a spe-
ment or conductor applications. The next provision deals with cific type of overcurrent device, such as fuse only or time delay
small conductors which are stated as being 14, 12, and 10 AWG. fuses.
Section 240.4(D) places limits on the overcurrent protection for Hopefully this brief overview of wiring methods and
these conductors unless different values are specifically permit- overcurrent devices hasn’t scared you. It seems that most of
ted in (E) through (G). Here we go again. (E) deals with protec- these checks and calculations occur to the “seasoned” installer
tion of tap conductors and refers to eight other sections for those or inspector on the subconscious level, that is, we take all of this
specific requirements. (F) contains requirements for protection into account without really realizing how many steps are really
of transformer secondary conductors. Finally, (G) provides us involved in performing this basic task.
with a list of specific applications for conductors where the ref-
erenced sections from Table 240.4(G) provide unique require- Robert A. McCullough, director of Ocean County Construction
ments for overcurrent protection based on specialized usage. Inspection Department, is chairman of NEC CMP-19 represent-
Among these applications are air-conditioning and refrigeration ing the IAEI, member of UL Electrical Council, IAEI Eastern
circuits, motor and control circuit conductors, and motor-oper- Section Education Committee, Experior Assessments National
ated appliance circuit conductors. These special application Certification Program for Construction Code Electrical Test
rules have been developed to provide short-circuit and ground- Development Committee, NFPA Task Group on the Usability of
fault protection for the circuits and equipment while allowing the NEC, HUD National Manufactured home Advisory Council,
for the higher starting currents involved. Motor overload protec-
and chairman of New Jersey State Electrical Subcode
tive devices are provided to deal with overload conditions. Once
the size of the overcurrent device is determined, don’t forget to Committee.
review the equipment nameplate or installation instructions for
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 83

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 83


Courtesy of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)

6.1.2. Backbone cable section, ANSI/TIA-568-B.2-1

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN Category 6 standard. Four-pair 100. UTP and ScTP cables are IF WE USE A CAT 5E RJ45 CONNEC-
ENHANCED CATEGORY 5E CABLE RATED recognized for use in Category 6 backbone cabling systems. The TOR AND CONNECT IT TO A CAT 6
FOR 400 MHZ AND CATEGORY 6 CABLE cable shall consist of 22 AWG to 24 AWG thermoplastic insulated UTP CABLE, WILL THE INSTALLATION
RATED FOR 250 MHZ? solid conductors that are formed into four individually twisted-pairs BE CAT5E OR CAT 6?
and enclosed by a thermoplastic jacket. The cable shall meet all of
Category 5e require- By definition (of the
the mechanical requirements of ANSI/ICEA S-80-576 applicable
ments are specified up to 100 standard), it will be a Cat 5e
to four-pair inside wiring cable for plenum or general cabling
MHz. Cables can be tested up to channel. The actual per-
within a building. In addition to the applicable requirements of
any frequency that is supported formance will probably be
ANSI/ICEA S-90-661-1994, the physical design of backbone
by the test equipment, but such somewhat better, but
cables shall meet the requirements of clauses to of
measurements are meaningless nowhere near Cat 6 require-
ANSI/TIA/EIA -568-B.2. NOTE: Additional requirements for 100
without the context of applica- ments. Of course, you can
ScTP cables are located in annex K of ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.2.
tions and cabling standards. The set up a channel using any
Category 6 standard sets mini- 6.1.3 Bundled and hybrid cable, ANSI/TIA-568-B.2-1
components and measure it
mum requirements up to 250 Category 6 standard. Bundled and hybrid cables may be used for
using a Cat 6 (level III)
MHz for cables, connecting horizontal and backbone cabling provided that each cable type is
compliant tester, and if it
hardware, patch cords, channels recognized (see clause 6.1.1 of this standard and clause 4.4 of
passes, it is Cat 6 perform-
and permanent links, and there- ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.1) and meets the transmission and color-
ance compliant. It would not
fore guarantees reasonable per- code specifications for that cable type as given in ANSI/TIA/EIA-
be standards compliant
formance that can be utilized by 568-B.2, ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.3, and clause 7 of this standard.
however, because the com-
applications. Additionally, for all frequencies from 1 MHz to 250 MHz, the total
ponents have requirements
power sum NEXT loss for any disturbed pair from all pairs internal
in and of themselves to
WHY DID ALL CATEGORY 6 CABLE USED and external to that pair’s jacket within the bundled or hybrid assure interoperability with
TO HAVE A SPLINE, AND NOW IS cable shall not exceed the values determined using equation (1). other Cat 6 components.
OFFERED WITHOUT ONE? Calculated power sum NEXT loss limit values that exceed 65 dB
Some Category 6 cable shall revert to a limit of 65 dB. I AM RECEIVING A LOT OF QUES-
designs have a spline to TIONS ABOUT A MULTIPAIR CAT 6. IS
increase the separation between ANY SPECIFICATION AVAILABLE FOR
pairs and also to maintain the THIS CABLE? DOES IT EXIST?
pair geometry. This additional separation improves NEXT per- Multipair cables are not specifically called out in
formance and allows Category 6 compliance to be achieved. ANSI/TIA-568-B.2-1, the Category 6 standard. See section
With advances in technology, manufacturers have found other 6.1.2 above which recognizes 4-pair cables for backbone appli-
ways of meeting Category 6 requirements. The bottom line is cations. Additionally, hybrid cables consisting of multiple 4-pair
the internal construction of the cable does not matter, so long as cables in a single jacket or binder may also be used for both hor-
it meets all the transmission and physical requirements of izontal and backbone applications provided that the require-
Category 6. The standard does not dictate any particular method ments of section 6.1.3 below are met. Since Category 6 cabling
of cable construction. is based on a 4-pair, 4-connector, 100 meter channel, multipair
cables are implemented as hybrid cables consisting of 4-pair
There is no limit imposed by the standards on the maxi-
mum number of Category 6 cables in a bundle. This is a matter CATEGORY 6 CABLING SYSTEM AND APPLICATION
for the market and the industry to determine based on practical QUESTIONS
considerations. It should be pointed out that after six or eight WHY DO I NEED ALL THE BANDWIDTH OF CATEGORY 6? AS FAR AS I KNOW, THERE
cables, the performance in any cable will not change significant- IS NO APPLICATION TODAY THAT REQUIRES 200 MHZ OF BANDWIDTH.
ly since the cables will be too far away to add any additional Bandwidth precedes data rates just as highways come
external (or alien) NEXT. before traffic. Doubling the bandwidth is like adding twice the
number of lanes on a highway. The trends of the past and the
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 84

84 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

predictions for the future indicate that data rates have been dou- Category 5e in their networks. Applications that worked over
bling every 18 months. Current applications running at 1 Gb/s Category 5e will work over Category 6.
are really pushing the limits of Category 5e cabling. As stream-
ing media applications such as video and multi-media become WHAT DOES CATEGORY 6 DO FOR MY CURRENT NETWORK VS. CATEGORY 5E?
commonplace, the demands for faster data rates will increase Because of its improved transmission performance and
and spawn new applications that will benefit from the higher superior immunity from external noise, systems operating over
bandwidth offered by Category 6. This is exactly what hap- Category 6 cabling will have fewer errors vs. Category 5e for
pened in the early ’90s when the higher bandwidth of Category current applications. This means fewer re-transmissions of lost
5 cabling compared to Category 3 caused most local area net- or corrupted data packets under certain conditions, which trans-
work (LAN) applications to choose the better media to allow lates into higher reliability for Category 6 networks compared to
simpler, cost effective, higher speed LAN applications, such as Category 5e networks.
100BASE-TX. It is also important to note that cabling infra-
structure is generally considered a 10 year investment as I UNDERSTAND THAT A CAT 5E CONNECTOR IS AN RJ45. IS A CAT 6 CONNECTOR
opposed to two or three years for electronics. Work has already ALSO AN RJ45 AND WILL IT FIT INTO OUR CAT 5E SOCKET?
started on 10G BASE-T, and Category 5e cabling is not being The standard connector is defined in IEC 603-7 and FCC
considered. With additional throughput requirements right part 68 as an “8 position modular interface”. This is commonly
around the corner, it makes sense to plan ahead. Note: referred to as an RJ-45 in the United States. The interface is
Bandwidth is defined as the required by the standard at the
highest frequency up to which telecommunications outlet, but
positive power sum ACR * “Electrically balanced” relates to the physical geom- may be used at any connection
(attenuation-to-crosstalk ratio) etry and the dielectric properties of a twisted pair of conductors. point in the channel. The physi-
is greater than zero. If two insulated conductors are physically identical to one anoth- cal dimensions of the Cat 6 con-
er in diameter, concentricity, dielectric material and are uniform- nector interface are identical to
WHAT IS THE GENERAL DIFFERENCE ly twisted with equal length of conductor, then the pair is electri- Cat 3, Cat 5, and Cat 5e modu-
BETWEEN CATEGORY 5E AND CATEGORY cally balanced with respect to its surroundings. The degree of lar connectors and are fully
6? electrical balance depends on the design and manufacturing backward compatible.
The general difference process. Category 6 cable requires a greater degree of preci-
between Category 5e and sion in the manufacturing process. Likewise, a Category 6 con- WHEN SHOULD I RECOMMEND OR
Category 6 is in the transmis- nector requires a more balanced circuit design. For balanced INSTALL CATEGORY 6 VS. CATEGORY 5E?
sion performance and exten- transmission, an equal voltage of opposite polarity is applied on From a future proofing
sion of the available bandwidth each conductor of a pair. The electromagnetic fields created by perspective, it is always better
from 100 MHz for Category 5e one conductor cancel out the electromagnetic fields created by to install the best cabling avail-
to 200 MHz for Category 6. its “balanced” companion conductor, leading to very little radia- able. This is because it is so dif-
This includes better insertion tion from the balanced twisted pair transmission line. The same ficult to replace cabling inside
loss, near end crosstalk concept applies to external noise that is induced on each con- walls, in ducts under floors and
(NEXT), return loss and equal ductor of a twisted pair. A noise signal from an external source, other difficult places to access.
level far end crosstalk such as radiation from a radio transmitter antenna generates an The rationale is that cabling will
(ELFEXT). These improve- equal voltage of the same polarity, or “common mode voltage,” last at least 10 years and will
ments provide a higher signal- on each conductor of a pair. The difference in voltage between support at least four to five gen-
to-noise ratio, allowing higher conductors of a pair from this radiated signal, the “differential erations of equipment during
reliability for current applica- voltage,” is effectively zero. Since the desired signal on the pair that time. If future equipment
tions and higher data rates for is the differential signal, the interference does not affect bal- running at much higher data
future applications. The addi- anced transmission. The degree of electrical balance is deter- rates requires better cabling, it
tional performance parameters mined by measuring the “differential voltage” and comparing it will be very expensive to pull
provide a sort of “forgiveness to the “common mode voltage” expressed in decibels (dB). This
out Category 5e cabling at a
factor” for things that happen measurement is called longitudinal conversion loss “LCL” in the
later time to install Category 6
within a cabling infrastructure Category 6 standard. * The ABCs of the Telephone, Vol. 7
cabling. So why not do it for a
over its lifetime assuring that premium of about 20 percent
bandwidth remains available over Category 5e on an installed
for applications. Please note that the bandwidth referred to basis?
above is the bandwidth to achieve a positive signal to noise ratio
between insertion loss and power sum near end crosstalk WHAT IS THE SHORTEST LINK THAT THE STANDARD WILL ALLOW?
(PSACR is greater than 0). Cat 6 cabling performance is speci- There is no short length limit. The standard is intended to
fied to 250 MHz, or 25 percent beyond the 0 dB PSACR fre- work for all lengths up to 100 meters. There is a guideline in
quency of 200 MHz. ANSI/TIA/EIA-568-B.1 that says the consolidation point
should be located at least 15 meters away from the telecommu-
WILL CATEGORY 6 SUPERSEDE CATEGORY 5E? nications room to reduce the effect of connectors in close prox-
Yes, analyst predictions and independent polls indicate imity. This recommendation is based upon worst-case perform-
that 80 to 90 percent of all new installations will be cabled with ance calculations for short links with four mated connections in
Category 6. The fact that Category 6 link and channel require- the channel.
ments are backward compatible to Category 5e makes it very
easy for customers to choose Category 6 and supersede WHAT IS A “TUNED” SYSTEM BETWEEN CABLE AND HARDWARE? IS THIS REALLY
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 85

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 85

NEEDED IF PRODUCT MEETS THE STANDARD? or even worse due to the quality of the electronics. The 2 volt
The word “tuned” has been used by several manufactur- nominal signal for both drops away due to signal strength past
ers to describe products that deliver headroom to the Category 6 295 feet in the link, which then allows for a further 33 feet for
standard. This is outside the scope of the Category 6 standard. patching and cross connecting. 10BaseT uses a 5-volt nominal
The component requirements of the standard have been careful- signal that can support further distances more frequently, but it
ly designed and analyzed to assure channel compliance and still comes down to the quality of the transceivers. For example,
electrical/mechanical interoperability. just because port 1 in a switch can support a 110% of the rec-
ommended length for a particular protocol doesn’t mean that
WHAT IS IMPEDANCE MATCHING BETWEEN CABLE AND HARDWARE? IS THIS REALLY port 2 will. You can have great noise reduction, but if your sig-
NEEDED IF PRODUCT MEETS THE STANDARD? nal strength isn’t sufficient, any extended length support is lost.
The impedance matching requirements of the standard The problem network administrators face is that they don’t
are addressed by having return loss requirements for cables, know which ports have the best signal strength to support longer
connectors and patch cords. than standard runs. Cycling back to 10BaseT half duplex is the
safest bet for such circumstances, but then not only slows the
IS THERE A USE FOR CATEGORY 6 IN THE RESIDENTIAL MARKET? speed, but introduces localized collisions and in many cases
CRC/FCS errors.
Yes, Category 6 will be very effective in the residential
The use of a repeater/hub/switch can be implemented to
market to support higher Internet access speeds while facilitat-
support extended runs at the end of the link. This will then allow
ing the more stringent Class B EMC requirements (see also the
for further extension, but add an additional hop and latency. As
entire FCC Rules and Regulations, Title 47, Part 15). The better
extended runs are typically the exception rather than the rule,
balance of Category 6 will make it easier to meet the residential
this solution will ensure full speed is supported, but will limit
EMC requirements compared to Category 5e cabling. Also, the
the amount of network management on the drops extended,
growth of streaming media applications to the home will
without SNMP at the repeater.
increase the need for higher data rates which are supported more
It is also important to check the full length of the cable
easily and efficiently by Category 6 cabling.
run to be sure that there is not interference being introduced
such as a cable sitting on top of a fluorescent light or having
sheaths cut. Consult the manufacturer for specific warranty pro-
You can certainly do that, but you will find that a fiber visions that may be applicable.
system is still very expensive. Ultimately, economics drive cus-
tomer decisions and today optical fiber, together with optical CATEGORY 6 CONNECTING HARDWARE QUESTIONS
transceivers, is about twice as expensive as an equivalent sys-
tem built using Category 6 and associated copper electronics.
Installation of copper cabling is more craft-friendly and can be
accomplished with simple tools and techniques. Additionally, Although Category 6 and Category 5e connectors may
copper cabling supports the data terminal equipment (DTE) look alike, Category 6 connectors have much better transmis-
power standard developed by IEEE (802.3af). PCs ship with sion performance. For example, at 100 MHz, NEXT of a
copper network interfaces included, in fact, recent announce- Category 5e connector is 43 decibels (dB), while NEXT of a
ments indicate that the major PC vendors are shipping Category 6 connector is 54 dB. This means that a Category 6
10/100/1000 with all new systems. Moving to fiber would mean connector couples about 1/12 of the power that a Category 5e
buying a fiber-based network card to replace equipment already connector couples from one pair to another pair. Conversely,
included in the PC. one can say that a Category 6 connector is 12 times less “noisy”
compared to a Category 5e connector. This vast improvement in
WE HAVE A CATEGORY 6 INSTALLATION IN A CAMPUS DORMITORY ENVIRONMENT performance was achieved with new technology, new process-
AND RECENTLY DISCOVERED THAT SEVERAL HORIZONTAL RUNS EXCEED 295 FEET. es, better materials and significant R&D resources, leading to
higher costs for manufacturers.
The application is 10/100 access from the dormitory
room to the Internet. For those locations beyond the 295 feet, we
found the only workable solution is for the PCs to run 10Mbps
1/2 duplex.
WHAT IS MEANT BY THE TERM “ELECTRICALLY BALANCED”? The requirements for installation of Category 6 are
essentially the same as the requirements for Category 5e.
A simple open wire circuit consisting of two wires is con-
Installation practices are in the TIA-568-B.1 and TIA-569-A
sidered to be a uniform, balanced transmission line. A uniform
transmission line is one that has substantially identical electrical
properties throughout its length, while a balanced transmission
line is one whose two conductors are electrically alike and sym- WHICH STANDARD ADDRESSES THE COMBINATION OF ELECTRICAL CABLE AND CAT
metrical with respect to ground and other nearby conductors. 6 REGARDING PERFORMANCE OR SENSITIVITY?
I’m an ICT Consultant for a university and in the process
I WAS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT CAT 6 COULD RUN 1000 MBPS OUT TO 295 of designing the infrastructure for them. They are using Cat 6
FEET. THAT BEING THE CASE, WHY CAN’T WE RUN 100 MBPS BEYOND 295 FEET IF cable as horizontal cabling and fiber optic as backbone. We are
THE CAT 6 SPECIFICATIONS PROVIDE FOR BETTER PERFORMANCE? IS THERE A DIS- facing a problem with M & E consultant on the trunking design.
TANCE MATRIX FOR CAT? They are proposing the use of a 4-way service box which con-
100 Mbps will have the same constraints as 1000 Mbps tains cables for electrical and Cat 6. We cannot find in the stan-
dard about the combination of electrical cable and Cat 6 cabling
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 86

86 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

either of performance or sensitivity. TIA/EIA-569 “Commercial (TIA-568-B.1).
Building Standard for Telecommunications Pathways and
Spaces” includes all necessary provisions for service boxes and
enclosures. There are no special considerations associated with CATEGORY 6 TESTING QUESTIONS
WARE? provide assessment services for various products. Typically the
If the components are Category 6 compliant, then you tester manufacturer participates in a program with one or more
will be assured of Category 6 performance. Consult the manu- of these facilities. These services are much wider in scope than
facturer for specific warranty provisions that may be applicable. simply verifying the accuracy and calibration of a particular
testing device. For more information on calibration services you
CATEGORY 6 PATCH CORD QUESTIONS should refer to the technical documentation accompanying your
Category 6 patch cords are precision products, just like
the cables and the connectors. They are best manufactured and WHEN CATEGORY 6 SYSTEMS ARE BEING INSTALLED, DO THE STANDARDS ENCOUR-
tested in a controlled environment to ensure consistent, reliable AGE BOTH CHANNEL AND PERMANENT TESTING? I HAVE HEARD THAT CHANNEL
performance. This will ensure interoperability and backward TESTING HAS BEEN TAKEN OUT OF THE CAT 6 STANDARD. IS THIS TRUE?
compatibility. All this supports patch cords as a factory-assem- No, Cat 6 channel testing is still in the standard. There is
bled product rather than a field-assembled product. nothing in the standards to preclude you from doing this. There
may be issues relating to the installation, bend radius of the
DO YOU HAVE TO USE THE MANUFACTURER’S PATCH CORDS TO GET CATEGORY 6 cable, etc., but these can be overcome with the correct design of
PERFORMANCE? back box, etc.
The Category 6 standard has specifications for patch
cords and connectors that are intended to assure interoperable WHY DO FIELD TESTER MANUFACTURERS OFFER MANY DIFFERENT LINK ADAPTERS
Category 6 performance. If manufacturers can demonstrate that IF EVERYONE MEETS THE STANDARD?
each component meets the requirements in the standard, mini- This was an interim solution while the standard was still
mum Category 6 performance will be achieved. However, man- being developed and the interoperability requirements were not
ufacturers may also design their products to perform better than yet established. It is likely that soon one or more adapters will
the minimum Category 6 requirements and, in these cases, com- work for testing of cabling from all vendors.
patible patch cords and connectors may lead to performance
ARE THERE ANY ISSUES WITH A SCENARIO OF CATEGORY 6 HORIZONTAL RUN, BUT You should expect to get passing results if both the link
A USER WITH A CATEGORY 5 OFFICE PATCH CABLE? adapter interface and the mating jack that is part of the link are
The main issue with using Category 5 patch cords with both compliant to Category 6 requirements. Consult the manu-
Category 6 horizontal cabling is transmission performance and facturer for specific warranty provisions that may be applicable.
Category designation by TIA standards. TIA-568-B standards
series require that all components of a link or channel be I JUST INSTALLED A CATEGORY 6 SYSTEM AND TRIED TO CERTIFY THE CHANNEL
Category 6 for a horizontal run to be classified as Category 6. WITH “FIELD TESTER A” AND IT FAILED. THEN MY OTHER TECHNICIAN BROUGHT
Testing installed cabling is additional and optional in TIA and if OUR “FIELD TESTER B” TO THE SITE AND THE CHANNEL PASSED. WHY AM I GET-
used there are additional requirements for links and channels for TING SUCH DIFFERENT RESULTS BETWEEN TESTERS?
Category 5e and Category 6. The horizontal run containing This is a difficult question to answer from a general
Category 6 cable and Category 5 patch cords will be designated standpoint. There may be a calibration problem or adapter prob-
by the lowest Category component, i.e., Category 5. lem with field tester A for example. It may be also instructive to
Transmission performance of Category 6 is significantly look at the detailed results for the test. It may be that the chan-
improved over Category 5, especially in the areas of NEXT, nel configuration is just barely passing with tester B and just
ELFEXT and Return Loss. Hence, using poor patch cords could barely failing with tester A. All test equipment has a finite level
easily degrade the performance of the horizontal run, especially of accuracy and repeatability. These levels are stated in the
since these cords are so close to the equipment where cross-talk tester documentation. Also with Cat 6 cabling, the magnitude of
coupling is very strong. So, depending on the application, this many parameters being measured is much lower than that of Cat
may potentially translate into increased frame errors, or CRC 5e. The measurement frequency range is also much wider. So
errors. while it may appear that two testers have greatly different
results (in dB), the total difference may be less than the Level
CAN CAT 5E PATCH CORDS BE USED WITH A CAT 6 HORIZONTAL INFRASTRUCTURE, III accuracy requirements. To cover this issue in detail is beyond
SPECIFICALLY FOR 10/100 MBPS ETHERNET APPLICATIONS? I IMAGINE LOWER CAT the scope of this document and requires a working understand-
Cat 5e patch cords can be used with a Cat 6 horizontal
cabling infrastructure. This is one of the advantages of Cat 6 in
that it is backward compatible. However, the resultant channel
will be rated Cat 5e, because a channel is rated according to the
lowest performing component that is included in the channel
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 87

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 87


Courtesy of Hubbell

The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter plays a critical role

in everyday electrical safety. The subsequent details describe
GFCI devices

You may not think of the GFCI as an electronic device,
but it is the most sensitive and important life saving device you
can find wherever electricity is used. GFCIs are designed to
minimize and reduce the chance of electrocution when using
electrical appliances.
The sensitive electronic circuits inside GFCIs have two
differential sensing circuits.
The first one detects the amount of current being used by
the tool, hair dryer etc. The second sensing circuit detects the
amount of current returning to the power supply.
When these two detecting circuits do not see the same
amount of current, the leakage current must be returning to
ground some other way. If that leakage current flows through
you, a lethal shock is possible. GFCIs are designed to detect
leakage and eliminate or stop a lethal shock and shut off within
1/40th of a second. The maximum amount of leakage current is
about 4 to 6 mA (0.004 to 0.006 Amperes). 0.010 Amps can be
lethal. Hotels, Motels, Commercial Kitchens etc are now required to
There are many variations of GFCIs manufactured. You comply. Check with your local inspection authority.
will find receptacles, plugs, extension cords and breakers with
GFCI protection. All of these variations work on the same prin- GFCI TYPES: MANUAL RESET AND AUTOMATIC RESET.
ciple. The 2-way flow of electrical current is monitored, and if A manual reset type does not provide power when it is
there is a slight imbalance on how much electrical current initially powered.
returns back to the source, it’s designed to shut off. This type is commonly used on power tools where, if
there were a power failure or when a tool is initially plugged in,
WHERE ARE THEY REQUIRED? the tool would not turn on again and possibly injure someone or
GFCI products are generally required where water and damage something. Automatic versions imply that when power
electricity are used in close proximity. is first supplied or power failure occurs, the device keeps pro-
Some typical examples are: Bathrooms, laundry rooms, viding protection. GFCIs in bathrooms are the automatic type. It
outdoors, pools, saunas, hot tubs and most construction sites. would be a nuisance to reset all GFCI receptacles in your house
Electrical tools and or appliances and water just do not mix. if there was a power failure. Would you always remember to
Would you cut the grass in the early morning dew with an reset that GFCI that protects your basement sump pump?
electric lawn mower in your bare feet? Some people would not Automatic reset is used when the return of power would
think of the possibility of electric shock. Some portable prod- not be a hazard.
ucts like power washers are manufactured with GFCI type
That is why the Canadian Electrical Code mandates GFCIs should be tested monthly.
GFCI in many locations, to protect people. • Simply push the TEST button.
In January 2003 Ontario introduced a new requirement • The GFCI will self test and trip.
for GFCI to be installed within 1 meter of any Kitchen Sink. • Reset will re-energize the unit.
This new requirement is not just for residential applications. • Keep a record. Always replace a defective unit ASAP.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 88

88 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 89

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 89


Courtesy of Wiremold
Few things age faster than a building with an inadequate through the conduit stem of the fitting while low voltage cabling
wiring and communications cabling infrastructure. A building runs outside the conduit stem through holes in the intumescent
may be structurally sound in every way, but if the wiring and rings. In the event of a fire, these holes, like the slab penetration
cabling is outdated or inaccessible, the flexibility - and hence itself, are filled by the intumescent material.
the value - of the space is sharply reduced. This is particularly A current trend is toward high device capacity and low-
true of open-landscape buildings or traditional-plan facilities profile activations. These new devices offer enhanced service,
that are being converted to open plan. convenience, and flexibility for single or multiple workstations.
Yet the demand for flexible space is rising dramatically.
To meet this demand, a growing number of owners and devel- RENOVATION SOLUTIONS
opers have come to recognize the value in renovating existing Any existing multistory concrete slab structure is a can-
buildings. A key to taking advantage of the savings inherent in didate for electrical and structured cabling system renovation
renovation versus new construction is to economically upgrade utilizing poke-thru devices. (Since poke-thru devices require
the wiring and cabling infrastructure to provide the flexibility access to wiring and cabling run in the plenum space below,
that is vital in today’s work environment. Fortunately, there are they cannot be used in slab-on-grade structures.) Holes must
wire management solutions that can create flexibility in open have a minimum on-center spacing of 2 ft.; and not more than
spaces, even in older buildings. one hole is allowed per 65 square feet in each span. Thus, poke-
Poke-thru devices are among the most versatile fittings thru density can be as great as one for each 8-ft. by 8-ft. work-
for renovation and retrofit of electrical and structured cabling station.
systems. Poke-thru devices enable wiring and cabling to be Numerous poke-thru profiles and activation fittings are
located virtually anywhere on the floor plan using core-drilled available for electric service, dedicated communications
slab openings. Today’s advanced poke-thru devices offer signif- cabling, and combinations. Service fittings fall into two general
icant flexibility without sacrificing safety since they maintain categories: raised and flush. High-capacity poke-thru devices
the fire rating of the slab. enable multiple workstations to be fed from a single location.
Flush, raised, and furniture service fittings and a variety of face
FIRE SAFETY plates are available to meet power and/or voice and data wiring
Prior to the development of the newest generation of fire- in renovated buildings.
rated poke-thru devices, core drilling of concrete floors required Poke-thru devices are not the only wire and cable man-
installation of fire stopping material to maintain the floor’s fire agement systems that are well-suited to renovation and retrofit
retardant capabilities. Unfortunately, these operations could not applications. Perimeter raceways, cable tray, service poles, and
always be adequately policed, and code enforcement agencies even infloor ducts have been employed successfully. While
moved to limit the practice. The solution was to incorporate fire these systems differ in their design and location, they share
stopping material into the fitting itself, guaranteeing that each common attributes, including the flexibility to accommodate
penetration maintains the slab’s fire rating. both routine changes and large-scale system expansions and
The key to a poke-thru serving as a fire stop is one or replacements.
more rings of intumescent material and phenolic spacers around
the conduit stem at the slab level. When exposed to high tem- OVERHEAD DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS
peratures, the intumescent material expands to fill any space Overhead distribution systems, whether concealed in sus-
between the fitting and the floor slab. In the event of a fire, the pended ceilings or installed in open overhead spaces, offer a
slab penetration is quickly filled by the expanding intumescent high degree of flexibility, both in terms of locating the compo-
material, effectively blocking flames and heat and maintaining nents and accessing the cabling contained within them.
the slab’s fire rating. Overhead systems include wireway and cable tray systems that
are available in single-channel and divided configurations with
COMMUNICATIONS CABLING a variety of sizes, covers, and hanging options.
Manufacturers of poke-thru devices have responded to Cabling from any overhead distribution system must
the growth and increased complexity of structured cabling sys- eventually be dropped to floor-level equipment and worksta-
tems by developing specialized fittings for Category 5 cabling. tions. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. Solid bot-
These devices feature separate channels for electrical wiring tom cable tray or wireway can be installed vertically against a
and low-voltage cabling and, in some recent designs, a metallic wall or a suitable support column. Drop-out fittings guide the
shield that drains EMI/RFI interference through contact with the cables from cable tray or wireway into these vertical enclosures.
conduit system. In poke-thru devices that support both electric Another option is service poles that distribute power wiring and
service and low-voltage cabling, the electric wires are run low-voltage cabling from overhead systems to individual work
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 90

90 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

spaces where the communications systems are accessed by INFLOOR DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS
modular jacks and other connectivity devices located on the
Although used primarily in new construction, infloor
duct systems are an option for improving wire and cable flexi-
bility in renovated structures. In typical renovation applications,
PERIMETER RACEWAY SYSTEMS channels are cut into the existing slab. After the duct system is
Another general type of wire management system is installed, the floor is finished with new concrete. Access to
perimeter raceways that route wiring and cabling securely along wiring and cabling is provided by low profile service activations
the building’s walls. Perimeter raceway systems are often spec- in the floor.
ified for areas that require aesthetically pleasing, easily accessed These wire and cable management systems provide ren-
cabling systems, such as conference rooms, offices, classrooms, ovated facilities with both operational and systems flexibility.
and training centers. Unlike conventional conduit, wire and Operation flexibility encompasses the day-to-day or month-to-
cable remain easily accessible at all times. month changes required for the workplace to keep pace with the
Available in a variety of materials, raceways offer single functions being performed in it. A good example of this type of
or multiple channels and accept integrated communications flexibility is changing a conference room into a multimedia
activation devices. Perimeter systems are frequently installed in training center overnight. Systems flexibility, on the other hand,
combination with overhead or infloor systems. For example, enables a facility to accommodate new or expanded communi-
voice and data cabling may run through an infloor duct system cations technologies over the long term. An example of long-
from the communications closet to a workstation area. The term flexibility is upgrading to a Category 5 or fiber optic sys-
cabling is then routed from the trench to surface raceways that tem. Flexible wire management systems also add value to reno-
are attached to workstation partitions, providing convenient vated buildings by lowering operational and long-term systems
access to the communications networks. costs by efficiently and economically managing increasingly
complex building wiring requirements.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 91

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 91


Courtesy of Wiremold/Legrand
The design adage “form follows function” is still true rung configuration allows cables to be laid in and eliminates the
today even as employees function entirely differently than they need for labor-intensive cable pulling.
did just a few years ago. But the form of a traditional office can Solid bottom cable trays offer an effective way to man-
severely restrict new and emerging functions like hotelling, net- age wiring in open environments while keeping it accessible,
working, and video conferencing. Permanent offices and semi- organized, and secure. Solid bottom cable tray can be specified
permanent work stations – even those with access to conference with or without internal dividers, covers, and ventilation lou-
space or a “war room” – can impede the work of specialized vers. Hanging systems include center rod support, C-hanger, or
teams. a two-hanger trapeze configuration.
Today, facilities need spaces that can be customized so Ladder cable trays offer strength and high capacity and
that form can follow function quickly and cost effectively. But are thus well-suited to heavy-duty power distribution in indus-
moving temporary partitions and rearranging modular furniture trial facilities. They do not, however, offer the wire and cable
does not translate into true flexibility unless power, voice, data, management flexibility of solid bottom or center spine cable
and even video cabling can be repositioned just as quickly. trays, since cables must be pulled rather than laid in place.
Conventional “behind the wall” wiring does not provide the Wireway is a totally enclosed wire management system
kind of fast, easy access required to support constantly chang- that, unlike cable tray systems, does not include provision for
ing personnel and ever-evolving technology. To reconfigure activation of the wiring or cabling contained within. Hinged or
conventional wiring and cabling, contractors must break into screw-on covers provide complete protection, while allowing
walls, pull wire and cable, and install new outlets and connec- convenient access to add, remove, or reconfigure cabling.
tivity devices – a time-consuming and costly process. Wireway differs from solid-bottom cable tray mainly in the
There is a better way to achieve flexibility in premises requirement that the cables be covered.
wiring: wire management systems that enable cable to be locat- Cabling from any overhead distribution system must
ed where it is needed and make relocations and upgrades quick eventually be dropped to floor-level equipment and worksta-
and efficient. tions. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. Solid bot-
tom cable tray or wireway can be installed vertically against a
WIRE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS wall or a suitable support column. Drop-out fittings guide the
Wire management systems, such as cable trays, race- cables from cable tray or wireway into these vertical enclosures.
ways, in-floor ducts, power poles, and poke-thrus were initially Another option is service poles that distribute power wiring and
developed to route and protect electric wiring – a role that they low-voltage cabling from overhead systems to individual work
continue to perform. However these systems are also well suit- spaces where the communications systems are accessed by
ed for low-voltage applications because they offer accessible modular jacks and other connectivity devices located on the
and secure pathways for all types of cabling. While wire man- pole.
agement systems differ in their design and location within a
facility, they share common attributes, including the flexibility PERIMETER RACEWAY SYSTEMS
to accommodate both routine changes and large-scale system Another general type of wire management system is
expansions and replacements. perimeter raceways that route wiring and cabling securely along
Wire management systems may be grouped into three the building’s walls. Perimeter raceway systems are often spec-
general categories, based on their location within a facility: ified for areas that require aesthetically pleasing, easily accessed
overhead, perimeter, and in-floor. cabling systems, such as conference rooms, offices, classrooms,
and training centers.
OVERHEAD DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS Unlike conventional conduit, electronic cabling that is
Overhead distribution systems, whether concealed in sus- laid into a raceway requires no cable pulling and remains easily
pended ceilings or installed in open overhead spaces, offer a accessible at all times.
high degree of flexibility, both in terms of locating the compo- Available in a variety of materials, raceways offer single
nents and accessing the cabling contained within them. or multiple channels and accept integrated communications
Overhead systems include wireway and cable tray systems that activation devices. Perimeter systems are frequently installed in
are available in single-channel and divided configurations with combination with overhead or in-floor systems. For example,
a variety of sizes, covers, and hanging options. voice and data cabling may run through an in-floor duct system
Center spine cable trays consist of a central support from the communications closet to a workstation area. The
member from which extend a series of rungs that support the cabling is then routed from the trench to surface raceways that
cable. The cable tray is suspended from a series of single hang- are attached to workstation partitions, providing convenient
ers, rather than the conventional trapeze hanger. The spine-and- access to the communications networks.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 92

92 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

quickly, but premises wiring systems developed an early repu-
IN-FLOOR DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS tation for poor aesthetics. Because the benefits of local area net-
In-floor wire management systems are an increasingly works and other communications systems were so great, many
popular option for designed-in cabling flexibility. Available in a facility managers were willing to overlook a cabling infrastruc-
variety of one-, two- and three-duct configurations, in-floor sys- ture that was a forced mixture of colors and uneven or nonexist-
tems offer support and security for communications cabling in ent styling. However, aesthetically pleasing work environments
reinforced concrete and steel constructions. In-floor systems are has become a high priority. Today’s integrated connectivity and
installed during construction under poured concrete. Access is wire management systems are designed to be aesthetically
provided by low profile service activations in the floor. pleasing as well as functional. Now products that are common-
In contrast to in-floor duct systems, which must be ly used together, such as raceways and information outlets, are
installed during construction, poke-thrus lend themselves to perfectly color matched and manufactured for a seamless look.
retrofit applications in multi-story buildings. Poke-thru fittings
are installed in holes that have been core-drilled through con- FUTURE FLEXIBILITY
crete floors. They carry cabling from the overhead area to the Installing communications cabling in wire management
floor above. The newest poke-thrus are fire-rated and can systems provides facilities with both operational and systems
accommodate Category 5 cabling. flexibility. Operation flexibility encompasses the day-to-day or
month-to-month changes required for the workplace to keep
CATEGORY 5 AND FIBER OPTIC CONSIDERATIONS pace with the functions being performed in it. A good example
The wire management systems discussed above are of this type of flexibility is changing a conference room into a
designed to accommodate all types of communications cabling. multi-media training center overnight. Systems flexibility, on
However, high-performance Category 5 and fiber optic cabling the other hand, enables a facility to accommodate new or
present some special considerations. Maintaining the precise expanded communications technologies over the long term. An
bending requirements of high-performance cabling is essential example of long-term flexibility is upgrading to a Category 5 or
to ensure noise reduction integrity and overall performance. fiber optic system.
Well-designed wire management systems include specialized In today’s complex and competitive environment, prem-
cable drop-out and radiused fittings that ensure proper installa- ises wiring involves more than just the modular copper connec-
tion of fiber optic and Category 5 cabling. These fittings allow tivity portion of an installed cable plant. There are other issues,
cables to be routed around corners, elbows, and Ts, while con- including the demand for ever-increasing data transmission
trolling cable bending in excess of 1.25 in. Dropout fittings used rates, desktop video, and audio applications, must be addressed
with cable tray systems facilitate a smooth transition from the in providing a true end-to-end premises wiring system. Wire
overhead tray down to the workstation without excessive bend- management systems efficiently and economically manage
ing or cable stress. increasingly complex building wiring requirements while offer-
The growth of premises wiring and the trend toward rout- ing maximum workplace flexibility.
ing advanced cabling in wire management systems has also cre- Flexible wire management systems also add value to
ated a need for a wider array of communication connectivity both new and renovated buildings by lowering operational and
interfaces. Easily interchangeable inserts and a common inter- long-term systems costs by efficiently and economically man-
face simplify original installation and later alteration of low aging increasingly complex building wiring requirements.
voltage unshielded twisted pair, shielded twisted pair, coaxial, When selecting a premises wiring system, it is important to con-
and fiber optic cable. These device plates install into metallic sider the difference between installed and life cycle costs.
and nonmetallic raceway systems, vertical poles, and a wide Installed costs include the time and money incurred during the
range of surface and flush mount boxes. Devices with snap-in actual installation process.
designs enable installers to secure inserts to both plastic and Life cycle costs are the cumulative costs to maintain a
metallic surfaces without the use of special tools. Changing con- cabling infrastructure over its full life cycle period. Both costs
figurations is also easy because it’s not necessary to remove can vary greatly, depending on the type of wiring system
face plates and trim plates. installed. It is important to realize that while a flexible wire
management system may be more expensive to install than
PREMISES WIRING AND AESTHETICS other solutions, the system’s accessible design will offer labor
Perhaps it was because the technology developed so savings over the life of the installation.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 93

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 93


3M Canada
PO Box 5757 Cablofil Inc.
London, Ontario N6A 4T1 8319 State Route 4
Tel: (800) 3M Helps Mascoutah, IL 62258
Fax: (519) 452-6286 Tel: (800) 658-4641
E-mail: innovation@ca.mmm.com Fax: (618) 566-3250
Web: www.mmm.com E-mail: info@cablofil.com
Description of products/services: Web:www.cablofil.com
• Terminations and splices, using Cold Shrink® Technology, Cablofil Cable Tray
moulded rubber, resin and heat shrink Product Presentation: Since its introduction, wire cable tray
• Motor lead connection systems has proven to be an ideal choice for cable management in virtu-
• Scotch® vinyl insulation tapes, splicing and terminating ally any type of installation. First marketed in Europe in 1972,
tapes, corrosion protection sealing and general use tapes Cablofil is one of the best-known brands in the world. For
• Scotchloc® terminal, wire connectors and insulation dis- decades, Cablofil has been providing effective, efficient and
placement connectors, lugs, copper and aluminum connec- innovative cable management solutions with more than 80,000
tors miles installed around the world. Cablofil products have been
• Scotchtrak® infrared heat tracers and circuit tracers independently evaluated by UL, CSA, ABS, ETL, VDE and
• Fastening products, coatings and lubricants DNV to meet applicable standards and requirements.
• Duct- , packaging, filament-, and masking tapes Applications: Engineers and Contractors around the world
• Abrasive products have found Cablofil to be the solution to any installation, large
• Personal safety products, sorbents. or small. Stainless Steel 316L and 304L for corrosive environ-
ments, Hot dipped Galvanized for exterior applications and
electrozinc for indoor spaces. Additionally, Cablofil has
designed a wide range of unique supports and accessories,
including a Fast Assembling System that further reduces install
Benefits: Cablofil Cable Tray can save up to 20% to 50%
over conventional tray or ladder rack, giving the installer more
Boca Wire Corp. margin and ability to be more cost competitive. The lightweight
736 N Western Suite 126 construction and patented Fast Assembly System secures the
Lake Forest, IL 60045 tray to the support system without any special fasteners, only a
Tel: 1-800-809-9473 screwdriver is required. Just one person can complete the
Fax: 1-800-329-2650 installation. This leads to faster installations and more efficient
utilization of the work force.
E-mail: info@bocawire.com
Visit Cablofil at www.cablofil.com for downloadable spec-
Web: www.bocawire.com ifications and detailed technical information.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 94

94 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

Lapp Canada
G.T. Wood Co. Ltd.
A Lapp Group Company
3354 Mavis Road
93 Skyway Avenue, Unit 111
Mississauga, ON L5C 1T8
Toronto, ON, M9W 6N6
Tel: (905) 272-1696
Fax: (905) 272-1425
Doug Wood, General Manager
E-Mail: lsnow@gtwood.com
Tel: 416-674-1544 Ext. 3001
Specializing in High Voltage Electrical Testing, inspec-
tions, maintenance and repairs. Refurbishing and repair of New Zack Cvitak, CET New Business Development
and Reconditioned Transformers, Structures, Switchgear and Tel: 416-674-1544 Ext. 3005
Associated Equipment. Infrared Thermography, Engineering E--mail: sales@lappcanada.com
Studies and PCB Management. Web: www.lappcanada.com
As part of the worldwide Lapp Group, Lapp Canada offers
a complete one-stop solution for power/signal cable and con-
nector needs throughout various automation markets. Lapp
Canada has the broadest range of products, which includes
OLFLEX® flexible, oil-resistant and continuous-flex cables,
cable track and accessories, EPIC® multi-pin rectangular and
circular connectors, EPIC® Pin & Sleeve Connectors, SKIN-
TOP® strain relief and cable glands and EPIC ® remote access

Mine Cable Services Corporation

9950 – 75 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta,
T6E 1J2
Tel: (780) 439-1113
Fax: (780) 439-4443
E-mail: sales@minecableservices .ca
Web: www.minecableservices.ca
Mine Cable Services Corporation designs and manufac-
tures medium /high voltage cable connection systems. These
systems include; Cable Couplers up to 35kV, Cable Junction
Boxes c/w posi-clamp connection systems, Cable repair sys-
tems, equipment and materials, including Cable Vulcanizers and
Molds plus hot air over cable vulcanizing equipment.
Mine Cable Services Corporation is a preferred Raychem
distributor. With an excellent stock of individual components,
MCS can assemble custom termination kits for overnight ship-
Other products manufactured by Mine Cable Services
includes; Cable Reelers and reels, cable x-over mats, strain
relief clamps, cable “D” Rings , road crossing systems etc
MCS specializes in the repair of medium voltage reeling
and trailing cables, both on site (international) and at our
Sparwood (BC) and Edmonton (AB) repair facilities, together
with full training in cable repair and termination techniques.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 95

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2 95

Noramco Wire and Cable

300 Kennedy Rd. S, Unit D
Brampton, Ontario
L6W 4V2
Tel: (905) 654-8180
Fax: (905) 654-8181
E-mail: nortor@ncsintl.com
Electrical, Electronic wire and cable and data communi-
cation specialists. With over 30 years in business the Noramco
team can respond to your every need backed with an extensive
inventory in our 7 locations across Canada.
Please visit our web site at www.noramco.ca
Vancouver (604) 606-6980
Edmonton (780) 468-5678
Calgary (403) 291-2955
Winnipeg (204) 661-8302
Toronto (905) 654-8180
Hamilton (905) 385-4188
Montreal (514) 595-9595

Powertech Labs Inc.

12388-88th Avenue
Surrey, BC V3W 7R7
Tel: (604) 590-7500
Fax: (604) 590-5347
Web: www.powertechlabs.com
Powertech Labs is an international, multi-disciplinary
research and testing facility dedicated to providing world-class
service and expertise in: electrical and gas systems, material,
chemical, civil, mechanical and environmental engineering sci-
ences. Powertech’s leading-edge research and testing facilities
and professionals are headquartered in Surrey, B.C., Canada.

6408 S Eastern Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73149
Tel: (405) 672-0000
Toll Free: (888) 873-4000
E--mail: tsimmons@reelomatic.com
Web: www.reelomatic.com
Manufacturer of Reel Handling Equipment for: Wire,
Cable, Wire Rope, Tubing, Hose and other flexible Materials.
Wire & Cable handbook vol. 4/17/06 3:11 PM Page 96

96 Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Vol. 2

W&CV2cover_spread 4/11/06 3:00 PM Page 2

OLFLEX® VFD Slim with CSA TC Industrial Grade Cables according to OLFLEX® VFD Symmetrical with CSA
Approval including MSHA PROFIBUS® for Flexible Applications TC Approval including MSHA

OLFLEX® VFD SLIM is a reduced diameter UNITRONIC® PROFIBUS cables are a series of data Lapp has designed a new Lead-Free, RoHS
shielded motor supply cable for variable frequency cables for use in FIP (Factory Instrumentation compliant VFD Symmetrical Cable, for use in large
drives. The LAPP Surge Guard insulation coupled Protocol) field bus systems, as well as other high horse-power VFD drives. The new OLFLEX® VFD
with a specially blended PVC jacket is designed performance data networks. They are specially Symmetrical is a large gauge VFD cable designed
to hold up to the non-linear power distortions designed with a foil and a tinned copper braided with 3 symmetrical grounds and longitudinal applied
associated with VFD drives. Typical approvals shield to provide excellent protection against EMI copper tape shield, and a black PVC outer jacket.
include UL Type TC-ER and c(UL) CIC/TC 600V interference. These cables have an oil resistant and The copper tape shield provides 100% protection
90oC FT4 providing TC approvals for both flame retardant violet PVC or PUR outer jacket. from EMI and RFI interference.
Canadian and US markets. In addition, the cable Within the series there are individual characteristics,
is also UL AWM rated at 1000V Available sizes which offer extra features customized to your needs. OLFLEX® VFD Symmetrical is a UL TC-ER, CSA
range from 16 AWG to 2 AWG. OLFLEX® VFD Please see below for more information. TC/CIC FT4 approved cable. It is available in sizes
SLIM also conforms to CE, NOM, MSHA, and that range from 1 AWG to 500 KCMIL for 75 HP and
RoHS requirements making it a globally accepted For more information, call toll free (877) 799-5277 or larger VFD drives.
solution. visit www.lappcanada.com.
For more information, call toll free (877) 799-5277
For more information, call toll free (877) 799-5277 or visit www.lappcanada.com.
or visit www.lappcanada.com.

Metal SKINTOPS® UL/CSA approved “Do It Without TECK”

with ATEX approvals for Hazardous
Optimize your cable selection with easy to install LAPP OLFLEX®
TRAY II cables.

Achieve improved tray loading with lighter

and reduced diameter OLFLEX® TRAY II

Approved for use in harsh

SKINTOP® MS-M ATEX and MSR-M ATEX were Canadian environments
developed for use in hazardous locations according
to ATEX for equipment Group II categories 2G and
1D. These cable glands offer optimum sealing • -25oC Installation
performance with TC rated cables. Recommended Rated
for use in the Chemical and Petrochemical industry.

For more information, call toll free (877) 799-5277 or • UV Resistant

visit www.lappcanada.com.

EPIC® Rectangular - Plug & Play • 600V 90oC CIC/TC

FT4 Approved

• Class 1 Zone 2
(Div 2) Approved

• Perfectly round for

optimum weather sealing

CONTACT® Environmentally Protected Industrial LAPP Canada Tray Cables are globally approved, lead free and
Connectors are the ultimate solution for all your RoHS Compliant, including CSA, UL, and CE approvals
power, control, and instrumentation applications
where reliability and durability is essential. The
connectors allow for quick connect/disconnect Check out the LAPP Canada line of flexible Tray Cables and
between control panels and equipment. Available
connector variations include screw, crimp, or spring accessories by calling 1-877-799-5277, or visit us on our website at
cage terminations from 2 to 280 contact points. www.lappcanada.com.
The connectors are UL & CSA approved. Optional
Class 1 Zone 2 (Division 2) approval is available
upon request.
For more information, call toll free (877) 799-5277 or www.lappcanada.com
visit www.lappcanada.com.
W&CV2cover_spread 4/11/06 3:00 PM Page 1

Wire & Cable and Wiring Methods Handbook Volume 2

Product Line - Up
Underground service cables such as USEB90, USE190, or
M302 are available, plus overhead service cables such as duplex,
triplex, quadruplex, ACSR, or AAC. High voltage power cable in
either copper or aluminum, from 5000 to 46000 volt, is available in
concentric neutral, PILC, airport lighting, or XLP power cable.
Noramco is Canada's source for electrical,
electronic wire and cable, as well as prem-
ise wiring products for networks. We take
pride in the high quality of our products, our
BUILDING WIRE selection, and the service for which we are
We stock copper or aluminum building wire to fill every need. renowned and recognized.
From non-metallic NMD90 and NMWU; armoured AC90 and
ACWU90; underground RWU90 and TWU-40; copper building wire
such as TW75, RW90, T90. Or bare copper.


Any electronic wire and cable for a multitude of applications is
immediately available. From equipment and hook̂up wire, audio,
video, telephone, intercom, and microphone cable to thermostat,
fire alarm, speaker wire, plenum, data communication, and fiber
optic cable.

Noramco carries a variety of specialty cables designed to meet
critical environmental applications. Polarfex 40 welding cable, as
with our portable cord, is specially formulated to remain tough, light,
and flexible in temperatures ranging from desert heat to arctic cold.
Submersible pump cable, irrigation and golf course sprinkler wire,
high temperature wire, guy wire, blasting wire, tracer and water
meter cable are all part of our specialty cable lineup.

Standard service; special purpose; thermoplastic; multi-
conductor; portable mining cable; motor and lead wire, coil or re-
tractile cords.

Teck cables known for their quality of design and manufacture,
are the only cables for use in pulp and paper, chemical and petro-
leum facilities, or in similar areas where there is a risk of cable
damage due to chemical or mechanical abuse. Teck cables are
available in single, multi-conductor, or composite configurations
with voltages of 600V through 25000V, with either aluminum or
steel interlocked armour.


Instrumentation and thermocouple cable is available in unar-

The Electricity Forum

moured, aluminum or steel interlocked armour, with either 300 or
600 volt insulation thickness. Unshielded, overall, individual, or
overall and individual shield are also available. Other control cables CONTACT YOUR NEAREST NORAMCO LOCATION
include tray, traffic signal, street lighting, and loop detector cable.
We supply a variety of specialty industrial cables from stock, for
marine, automotive, or other industrial applications. Bronze or alu- VANCOUVER 604-606-6980
minum braid marine, PVC/PVC brake cable, GPT, SXL, trailer and EDMONTON 780-468-5678
boat cable, oil rig, transit, trolley wire, and magnet wire.
CALGARY 403-291-2955
We carry a wide range of cable accessories including electrical HAMILTON 905-385-4188
and electronic connection products as well as a complete selection TORONTO 905-654-8180
of premise wiring and networking products. MONTREAL 514-595-9595

Você também pode gostar