Cables are used in many electrical applications. Some are used for wiring while others are used in different electrical appliances. For example, if you are manufacturing an electrical device, you may need cables for the transmission of power and communication.

Do you want to buy cables in China? Here is a complete guide for buying cables.

What are Cables?

Cables are electrical or optical conductors that are used for transmitting signals. You can use them in vehicles, aircraft, ships, appliances, computers, and other electronic devices.

Cables are very essential components of electrical equipment since they increase efficiency and maximize output.

They come in different shapes, sizes, and types depending on their function. They also come with different connector types to match the electrical port on a device.

Cables are common products in the modern world. You may need them if you are manufacturing electronic devices like cars, computers, televisions, and other appliances. Therefore, it is important to know how to choose the best cable for your application.

How do cables work?

Cables work by transferring electrical signals from one part to another. They can either be used for power transmission or communication purposes. Different cables have different functions since they come with application-specific designs and materials.

For example, if you are using a cable for transmitting data, it should be lightweight but strong. On the other hand, a cable used for power transmission will be designed with thick insulation to prevent high temperatures.

Types of Cables

Types of Cables

There are different types of cables. Each type has a unique feature and application area.

Telecommunications cable

This type of cable is used for transmitting data over long distances. They are good for home and office use since they support high bandwidth transmission. It has a metallic conductor that is surrounded by plastic insulation and a metal shield. You can use them to connect phones, cable TV, or computers in a local area network (LAN).

For example, in an office environment, you can use this cable to connect computers. You can then create a local area network (LAN) for communication purposes.

Power cable

This cable is used for transmitting high voltage electricity over long distances. They come in different types like hard-drawn power cables, lead sheathed cables, compound cables, and rubber cables. They are also used to connect electrical equipment in circuits.

Shielded cable

This cable is insulated with a metal shield that protects it against electricity-related interferences. It is made of one or more conductors covered by an electrically conducting material like copper tape, aluminum foil, or wire braids. It is mostly used in cable TV and cable internet applications for cable data transmission.

General cable

This cable is made of one or more conductors covered by an insulator like plastics, rubber, or vinyl. They can be used in different home appliances like ovens, washing machines, and dryers. You can use them with a cable connector such as cable TV cable, cable modem cable, and so on.

Cable connectors

Apart from cables, you may need cable connectors to complete the cable system in an application area. They come with different types and shapes that can connect with different cable types or ports.

For example, if you are connecting a power cable and a computer cable, you will need a cable connector with USB types A and B. Sometimes, cable manufacturers combine cable connectors to reduce cable size and weight for convenience purposes.

Flat flex cables

This cable is mostly used in cable TV and cable internet connections. It has a flat cable connector on one side and an insulation displacement contact (IDC) on the other side. The cable itself comprises many conductors covered by insulation and a shield.

Round cable

This cable has a circular cross-section and can be either flexible or inflexible. Like the flat cable, it has cable connectors on both ends. It is mostly used in complex cable applications like connecting computers with printers.

Multicore cable

This cable is made of two or more round cables stacked one above another. You can use them for power transmission or cable TV purposes, unlike round cables that are mainly used for cable data transmission.

Modular flat cable

Modular flat cable is used for cable data transmission. It is made of two flat cable connectors with a cable in between them. They are often used in short cable connections like those that connect your TV and cable box or computer and router.

Speaker cable

This cable has one end with connector pins and another end fixed to the speaker enclosure. This cable is mainly used in cable TV and cable internet applications.

Coaxial cable

This cable has a solid central conductor surrounded by an insulator and a metal shield. It is mostly used for cable TV purposes to transmit analog signals, unlike cables that transmit digital signals.


Shielded twisted pair cable

A shielded twisted pair cable is made of two insulated conductors twisted together to form a cable. It is mostly used in cable internet applications to transmit digital signals, unlike coaxial cable that transmits analog signals.

Optical fiber cable

This cable has one end fixed to the equipment enclosure and another end with optical fibers sealed in an environmentally protected casing. For example, you can use it in cable TV and cable internet applications.

Industrial cable

This cable is mostly used in industries related to oil, gas, and petrochemical applications. It is made of a coiled cable covered by a metal shielding layer with very thick insulation or rubber cover. You can also use them with cable connectors such as cable lugs, cable clamps, and cable rings.

Telecommunications cable

This cable is made of many insulated and bundled conductors covered by a cable insulation layer and a cable jacket. They are mostly used in cable TV and cable internet applications for data transmission.

Flat ribbon cable

They are used in cable TV and cable internet cable connectors due to their flat cable structure. They are made of one or more cables typically solid or stranded with flexible insulation material. You can use them for short cable assembly purposes like making small patch cords.

Shielded ribbon cable

Unlike the flat cable, it is made of a cable with a conductor and a shield. The cable is usually flexible and has flat cable insulation.

Naming and Taxonomy of cables

Naming and Taxonomy of cables

There are various ways of identifying cables, One of the methods is by using a naming taxonomy. Here, cable manufacturers specify cable type, cable size, cable structure, and cable arrangement using a set of numbers.

The numbering system for cables

The numbering system for cables

Cable numbering systems are always the same regardless of cable manufacturer or cable application.

Naming Taxonomy

Manufacturers categorize cable types by using cable nomenclature. You can use cable nomenclature as cable type, cable size, and cable structure.

Nomenclature cable type: cable type is defined by the cable structure and the cable arrangement.

Nomenclature cable size: cable size has both a number and a letter. The number refers to the cross-sectional area of the cable conductor in circular mils (CM), while the letter refers to material thickness, such as THHN or THWN wire sizes.

Nomenclature cable structure: cable structure is defined by the cable components and cable insulation.

-Cable Components: cable components include conductor, shield, filler, and jacket. Cable component nomenclature includes solid conductor, stranded conductor, and flexible cable. Cable component identification consists of numbers and letters (e.g., 13/24, 19/30).

-Filler: cable filler can be made of different materials like insulation, gas, and tape. Cable filler nomenclature includes gel, glass, and foam materials. The cable filler identification consists of numbers and letters (e.g., 3/16″ cable filler, 1/8″ cable filler).

-Jacket: cable jacket is the outermost layer of a cable sheath that protects it from external elements like water, chemicals, and abrasion. Cable jacket nomenclature includes black solid conductor cable jackets. Cable jacket identification consists of two numbers (e.g., cable Jacket 18/0)

-Cable Arrangement: cable arrangement has both a number and a letter to describe the cable components. It is different from cable nomenclature because it doesn’t have cable size or cable structure elements.

Cable color code for cables

In cables, cable color codes can be used as cable structure and cable arrangement. For example, here, the cable structure is made of one solid conductor cable, cable arrangement is made of one cable layer, cable insulation is black and cable jacket is blue.

Tips for Buying Cables

Cable type

The cable you use should depend on the cable application. For example, for low-power applications, shielded or unshielded twisted pair cable is used. On the other hand, a coaxial cable with a center conductor and a shield of braided wire is used for high-power applications.

Cable length

It depends on the cable application. For example, short cables are often used in cable assemblies with high power applications like generators or welding machines where cable length is 5 to 6 ft (1.5 to 1.8 m). On the other hand, long cables are needed for trams and cable cars where cable length can be up to 100 ft (30.5 m).

Cable impedance

Cable impedance is the ratio of voltage to current at a specific point in a cable and it affects cable performance. However, cable manufacturers usually consider cable impedance as a standard specification because cable impedance depends on cable application and cable environment. For example, for cables having different operating temperatures (e.g. -40 to 105 °C), cable impedance is the same (e.g., 100 ± 20 ohms).

cable color code

Cable color code

The cable color code can be used in cable structure and cable arrangement, and cable length

For example, here cable insulation is black, the cable jacket is green and the cable number is 120.

Wire gauge

Wire gauge refers to standard wire size in North America where cable wire gauge is the diameter of the wire divided by its cross-sectional area.

Cable jacket material

Cable jacket materials are polyethylene, PVC, and rubber. It depends on the application. For example, oil-resistant rubber or neoprene is often used for cables that handle corrosive chemicals.

Cable color

It depends on cable sheath. For example, in cables having different cable sheaths (e.g., black cable sheaths), cable colors are also different (e.g., black cable jackets).

Cable filling material

Cable filler materials are gel, glass, and foam. It depends on cable application because cable filler materials have different cable properties.

Cable conductor material

It depends on cable application because cable conductor materials have different cable properties and cable performance. For example, in cables having low temperatures (e.g., -40 to 105 °C), copper alloy is used as a cable conductor material because it has high electrical conductivity at low temperatures.

Cable assembly

The cable assembly refers to cable with cable jacket, cable filling material, and cable conductor material. The cable assembly is used for cables that handle corrosive chemicals in oil or gas industries.

Cable lay direction

It depends on cable application because the direction of the wire in a cable affects its electrical performance. For example, cable lay direction is often applied as a cable standard specification, for example, the cable lay direction of cable number 120 is 7 or 9.

Cable structure

It distinguishes cable types because cable structures have different cable properties and cable performance depending on cable application. For example, in cables having high flex resistance (e.g., chemical cable), the cable structure is cable number 120 (0.25 cable diameter and 0.10 cable cross-sectional area).

On the other hand, the cable structure of cable number 170 (0.19 cable diameter and 0.08 cable cross-sectional area) is used for power cables that handle high currents.

Choose a reliable cable supplier

At the very top of it all, what matters is choosing a reliable cable supplier in China. This way, you will be sure of the quality of the cables that you will get. Once you pick a cable supplier, it will be smooth sailing from there.

Another way is to buy cable is through buying cable online. There are tons of cable suppliers in China that offer cable wholesale. As long as you are careful enough with your research, finding the right supplier will never be a problem.

ICRFQ: Reliable Cable Supplier in China

We at ICRFQ are cable experts. We have been in this industry for more than 20 years. It is our priority to give our clients top-quality cable products at very reasonable prices. Do check out our website today so you can see for yourself the kind of excellent cable products we are offering.

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