Q&A about portable power and entertainment cable

Electrical Cable Questions and Answers with Gencable’s Operations Manager

Selecting the right cable assembly for your application can be a daunting task that can be made easier by knowing exactly what to look for. Let’s face it, industrial and entertainment industries need cables that do the job without fail.

Who better to break down power cable assemblies than an expert in the field? In an effort to find out answers to the most commonly asked electrical cable questions, we asked Gencable’s Operations Manager to share his knowledge.

How are portable cables different from those used for stationary generators?

Cable used for portable applications are typically more flexible then assemblies utilized in permanent installations.

What types of portable cable does Gencable stock?

Gencable stocks a wide range of finished power cable assemblies in various gauge and conductor sizes. Type-W & PPE Generator (Feeder) Assemblies, 6/4 50amp California, 5 wire banded, NEMA extensions, and Quad Box Stringers.

What type of entertainment cable does Gencable stock?

Gencable stocks finished entertainment assemblies in various gauge and conductor sizes: Feeder Cable; 19pin Assemblies; Stage Pin Assemblies; Powercon Assemblies and Edison assemblies

What is the difference in PPE and Type W cable? When is each type of cable useful?

PPE power cable utilizes a Thermoplastic Elastomer Compound while Type-W is made with CPE Chlorinated Polyethylene jacket. Both constructions are UL & MSHA rated. PPE performs better in warmer climates while cooler conditions suits Type-W cables.

Some cable products say NEMA, some say no-NEMA, what is the difference?

NEMA connectors and power plugs are used for AC electricity and abide by standards set fourth by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. NEMA wiring devices are comprised of current ratings between 15 and 16amps. NEMA certifies connectors/plugs and other equipment that is exposed to liquids, rain, ice, corrosion and contaminates, and other hazardous materials.

Are all of your wire connectors insulated? Why or why not?

Yes; our connections are insulated on our assemblies. When building a portable power cable, it is important to use non-conductive material on your terminations that offer high resistance to the flow of electric current.

How do you determine what type of conductor to use when purchasing stage lighting cable?

How much ampacity is required to power the connected devices will determine the Gauge/Conductor size of the cable.

What else can stage lighting cable be used for?

SC lighting or EISL cable should only be utilized for their intended purposes.

What is the general life value of cable?

There is no set time frame with regards to the shelf life of a cable assembly. A lot is determined by proper usage as well as proper storage of the cables.

How can the user tell the difference between good quality vs. bad quality entertainment and portable cables?

Visually that can be challenging. You always want to make sure that the cable has the correct certifications or listing required by the respective safety authorities (UL, cUL CSA, MSHA). Always review product specification sheets to ensure the cable meets necessary requirements.

What custom features can customers access (i.e. name on the wire or colored flags)?

Cable identification is important to deter theft. Gencable offers custom print and heat shrink logos as an option on most cable assemblies.

Do the cables have to meet certain guidelines in order to be sold?

In many instances, cables have to abide by certain standards set fourth by independent testing agencies such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Both [UL and CSA] are private companies that draft standards for use in certifying product safety.

When people use cable, what are some safety measures they should keep in mind (i.e. location, flexibility, weather conditions, oil/spill resistant)?

Ensuring that customers are utilizing the correct cable construction and gauge size for their specific job requirement.

What protocols for quality and safety do you maintain in your warehouse?

Quality assurance and safety is one of Gencable’s most important procedures, which form the foundation of all we do. Our actions to ensure quality and safety are guided by the company’s Quality Policy which describes our commitment to:

  • Build trust by offering products that match consumer expectation and preference.
  • Comply with all internal quality and safety requirements.
  • Gain a zero-defect, no-waste attitude by everyone in our company.
  • Make quality a group-wide objective.

To create and maintain safety and quality, we stay current with industry best practices and marketplace conditions, and engage with standard setting and industry organizations. Ensuring the safety and quality of our products has always been our number one priority, and is directly linked to our core values.

What are some ways to look after the wire so they can be used again? In what ways can you protect the wire?

It is important to properly store cable/cable assemblies when not in use. Typically, when coiled on a reel or in a cardboard or plastic ropak, cables can be used over and over again. It is also a good idea to routinely check connections and terminations.

Why do the prices of cable fluctuate so much?

The main component of power cable is copper. Like gold or silver, copper is a commodity which is traded on the open market. Prices of copper rise and fall with supply and demand.

Check out our FAQs for additional electrical cable questions or to request a quote, contact Gencable today and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on the best products for your industry.

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