Heat Shrink Tubing vs Electrical Tape | Product Knockout

“Our Product Knock-Out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, same level of experience, and amount of exposure. The purpose of the Product Knock-Out posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products. These posts will also enable you to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purpose. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.”

Heat Shrink Tubing and Electrical Tape are both options used to insulate and protect electrical wires. They both can be used in a variety of applications and come in a variety of colors. As alike as these products may seem, they do have their differences. Let’s take a closer look and see who comes out on top.

What is Heat Shrink Tubing?

Heat shrink tubing is exactly what its name suggests. It is a type of tubing that when heated, shrinks to fit a specific application. The tube starts out larger in size to fit on or around a wire or set of wires. It is then heated to a smaller size which is a pre-determined shrink ratio. Heat Shrink Tubing comes in a range of shrink ratios for a multitude of applications.

In addition to shrink ratio, Heat Shrink Tubing also comes in a plethora of materials. These materials include FEP, Neoprene, Polyolefin, PTFE, PVC, Kynar, and many more. The application determines what material is best used. Different materials boast different qualities. Some materials have higher flexibility properties than others, but others may have better abrasion resistance.

Heat shrink tubing is used in an assortment of applications. These include strain relief, wire bundling, electrical insulation, environmental protection, and identification. Heat shrink can also be used for temporary repairs and preventative maintenance.

M23053 is a specific kind of heat shrink tubing that is most commonly used when military standard is required. This tubing can be used to increase the overall durability of wires, and in protection of outdoor elements such as chemicals, corrosion, water, and surface abrasion. To learn more about this specific type of heat shrink tubing, check out our Allied Encyclopedia article on M23053.

What is Electrical Tape?

Electrical Tape is a type of pressure sensitive tape that is used to insulate and protect electrical wires. It can be made of different plastics such as vinyl, rubber, mastic, and varnished cambric. Vinyl is the most popular and widely used material. Electrical tape has high flexibility and the ability to stretch which allows it to be used in many applications.

Electrical Tape comes in different materials and colors. The most common electrical tape color is black. Electricians use only the black tape, and not colored tape, for insulation. Unlike colored electrical tape, black tape is used for more than one purpose. It can be used for insulation, bundling, repair, and identification. Colored electrical tape is used to indicate voltage and the phase of the wire. This is its primary use. Each color represents either high, low or neutral voltage. When used in wire phasing, the colors tell electricians about the properties of the wires it is being used with.

Heat Shrink Tubing vs. Electrical Tape

Heat Shrink Tubing and Electrical Tape have their similarities, but their differences are what stand out the most. Both materials are used for electrical insulation, come in different colors, and are fairly easy to apply. That is where the similarities stop. Heat Shrink Tubing comes in predetermined shrink ratios. This allows for a more precise fit when applying. It also has more variety of materials that are specific to applications. Electrical Tape has a few different materials, but the most commonly used is vinyl. Heat Shrink Tubing is also more reliable. It will not come off with time or use, where electrical tape will eventually lose its adhesiveness. Electrical Tape will also not perform as well in applications that have a high risk of being affected by outside influences such as chemicals and abrasion. When compared to Heat Shrink Tubing, Electrical Tape is easier to apply and remove. Although both are fairly simple to apply, once heat shrink tubing is shrunk to fit, it will be secure and not as easy to remove as peeling off electrical tape. Electrical Tape also offers a quick way to identify voltage by its many colors and phasing. There is also a standard with Electrical Tape that specifies voltage for each color used in phasing and black tape is known to be the only color used for insulation. These products may seem similar at first, but when they are closely examined, their differences outweigh their similarities.

“Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision. In this case, it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application or use.”

Whether your application calls for something heavy duty like Heat Shrink Tubing, or you need Electrical Tape for simply phasing wires, Allied Wire & Cable is the place to go. Visit our website to submit an RFQ or call us for more information – 800-472-4655.

Raychem Spec 44 vs M27500 | Product Knockout

“Our Product Knock-out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, and same level of experience and amount of exposure. The purpose of these posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products, and to be able to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purposes. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.”

Tyco Raychem Spec 44 and M27500 are both cables used in military and aerospace applications. They are both designed for work in the most challenging and demanding conditions possible, while still providing consistent, reliable performance. Let’s take a closer look at these two products, and see how they stack up against one another.

What is Raychem Spec 44 cable?

Tyco Raychem Spec 44 was originally designed for military and aerospace applications. Spec 44 wire is used in a variety of different industries, such as aircraft, commercial and military electronics, helicopters, satellites, ships, and trains. It offers dual wall construction which combines the outstanding physical and electrical characteristics of radiation crosslinked polyalkene with the excellent mechanical and chemical properties of radiation cross-linked polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). Raychem Spec 44 is also highly flame retardant, non-melting, and easy to handle and install using conventional tools. In addition, it has a temperature rating of -65°C to +150°C with a voltage rating of 600 volts.

What is M27500 cable?

M27500 falls into the category of Mil Spec cable, meaning that it is military specific. Just like Raychem Spec 44, M27500 is also used in a variety of both military and commercial applications, including airframes, avionics, and ground support equipment. M27500 cable can also be manufactured to perform in almost every environment. It is insulated with cross-linked extruded Polyalkene (XL-PVDF), featuring a stranded tinned coated copper conductor. It offers a max temperature rating of 150°C with a voltage rating of 600 volts.

Construction and Electrical Specs

Raychem Spec 44 M27500
Conductor Silver-coated copper Stranded Tinned Coated Copper
Insulation Radiation-crosslinked, extruded polyalkene Cross-linked extruded Polyalkene (XL-PVDF)
Shield N/A Tinned Copper Braid, 85% Coverage
Jacket  Radiation-crosslinked, modified PVDF Extruded Cross-linked Polyalkene (XL-PVDF)
Min Temperature Rating -65°C -65°C
Max Temperature Rating 150°C 150°C
Voltage 600 600

Raychem Spec 44 vs M27500

There is a lot of overlap when it comes to Raychem and M27500 cables. They are used in similar industries and applications, have the same temperature and voltage ratings, and can withstand challenging environmental conditions. That being said, they do have a few differences in their construction. The M27500 cable has a tin copper braided shield while the Raychem Spec 44 doesn’t have a shield. The braided shield provides a low-resistance path to ground and high conductivity. They also have different jacket materials, with the Raychem Spec 44’s
being radiation-crosslinked, modified PVDF and the M27500’s Extruded Cross-linked Polyalkene (XL-PVDF). In this case, there is no clear winner between the products, and instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision. In this case it looks like our crowned
champ depends on your specific application use.

If you’re unsure if Raychem Spec 44 or M27500 would work best for your wire and cable needs, let Allied help you out! Compare full Raychem and M27500 specs or give your sales rep a call at 800-472-5655 with any questions.

LMR-100 vs RG316 | Product Knockout

“Our Product Knock-out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, and same level of experience and amount of exposure. The purpose of these posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products, and to be able to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purposes. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.”

LMR 100 and RG316 have some similarities and some differences. This product knockout post is going to examine the characteristics of LMR-100 vs RG316 cable. The two will then be compared and contrasted. Let’s take a closer look at these two cables.

What is LMR 100 Cable?

LMR 100 is a flexible, low loss, communication cable. This cable is ideal in applications such as short antenna feeder runs and jumper assemblies that are mostly in wireless communication systems. LMR 100 can also be used in applications that require easily routed, low-loss cable such as WLL, GPS, WLAN, etc. This cable features a flexible outer conductor which allows the tightest bend radius of any cable that is similar is size and performance. It also boasts the lowest loss of any flexible cable. LMR cable may be used as a drop in replacement for RG 316 or RG 174 cable.

What is RG 316 Cable?

RG 316 is a coax, military rated, communication cable. This cable can be used in applications such as military equipment, direct burial, transmission of radio frequency signals, and telecommunications. It can also be used for high frequency interconnections between PCB in telecommunications equipment. RG-316 is also an ideal choice for applications that require high performance and stability in high temperature environments or in applications that have minimal installation space.  RG316 coax is also a low loss cable. Due to the large size of its conductor, the attenuation of RG316 is lower than other options in this category. This cable is also in accordance with MIL-DTL-17 specifications. This part is M17/113-RG316.

LMR 100 vs RG316 Cable

LMR 100 cable and RG 316 cable have some similarities and some differences. The cables are also both coaxial cables used in communications/telecommunications applications. They both have an impedance of 50 ohms. Below is a chart that compares the similarity of low loss/attenuation characteristics. As the chart shows, the low loss is comparable at a variety of different frequencies, but the LMR-100 cable performs slightly better. Both of these cables have low loss, or attenuation characteristics.

LMR-100 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft) RG316 Loss (Attenuation dB/100ft)
30 MHz 3.9 4.3
50 MHz 5.1 5.6
1500 MHz 30.1 32

As the chart shows below these cables are constructed differently. LMR-100 has a conductor that is solid bare copper clad steel, where RG316 has a stranded silver covered copper clad steel conductor. RG-316 having a stranded conductor, makes it more flexible than the solid conductor of LMR-100. Another major difference one can see from the chart is that RG316 has a higher temperature rating. The higher temperature rating is made possible by the jacket type of RG-316 coax which is Fluorinated Ethylene Copper (FEP). This allows the cable to be used in specific applications that require that higher temperature environment in comparison to the LMR-100.

lmr-100, rg316, rg-316, lmr-100 cable

LMR-100 vs RG316

LMR-100 vs RG316 Specs for Construction
LMR-100 RG316
Conductor Type Solid Bare Copper Clad Steel Stranded Silver Covered Copper Clad Steel
Dielectric Material Solid Polyethylene (PE) Solid Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
Outer Conductor Aluminum Tape Silver Covered Copper Braid
Jacket PVC or FRPE Fluorinated Ethylene Copper (FEP)
Temperature -40°C to +85°C -55°C to + 200°C

Although LMR 100 can be used as a drop in replacement for RG 316, it does not have a mil-spec call out. This is another major difference when we compare LMR 100 vs RG316. RG 316 coax has a military call out, M17/113-RG316.

Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision.
In this case it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application use.

If you’re unsure about what cable you’ll need in order to meet the needs of your application, consult with one of Allied’s knowledgeable sales reps by submitting an RFQ. Visit our website to learn more about LMR 100 Cable or RG-316 Cable.

Gel Buffer Tubes vs. Dry Buffer Tubes | Product Knockout

Product_Knockout

“Our Product Knock-out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, and same level of experience and amount of exposure. The purpose of these posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products, and to be able to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purposes. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.”

It is important to define and discuss what buffer tubes are in relation to fiber optic cable before comparing and contrasting gel and dry. Buffer tubes are used in fiber optic cable to block water from getting inside the tubes and disrupting the fiber. The prevention of water is especially important in environments where the freezing of water can occur and expand, which will break the optical fiber.

What are Gel Filled Buffer Tubes?

Gel in a fiber optic cable serves as blockage of water to the cable itself. The gel fills the entire part of the tube that is not occupied by the fiber itself. In addition to blocking water from getting to the fiber optic cable, the gel also provides an additional protective layer for the fiber. It also creates cohesion between the fiber and the tube. Now, let’s talk about dry buffer tubes.

What are Dry Buffer Tubes?

Dry buffer tubes are also used to block water from reaching the core of a fiber optic cable. This is done by using materials such as strings, tapes, and foams. These materials are often treated with some kind of super absorbent polymer (SAP) within the tube. The material and SAP absorbs any water that enters the tube and blocks the tube from further water infiltration. In most conditions the SAP will dry and reactivate, which will provide long term protection to the fiber optic cable.

Gel vs. Dry Buffer Tubes

Dry and gel buffer tubes have some similarities but are mostly defined by their differences. Both types of buffer tubes are used to block water from reaching the fiber in the cable. They also both act as a filler within the tube between the outer part of the cable and the core.

The differences of the two types of buffer tubes stand out more than the similarities. To start, one is gel insulation and one is dry. The gel fills the entire tube to block water. The dry fills part of the tube and then expands to absorb the water that gets inside the cable. A slight disadvantage to dry buffer tubes is that the SAP (super absorbent polymer) may not perform the same every time water infiltrates the tube. A disadvantage of the gel is that it is messy when a cable is spliced and requires cleaning. The dry buffers require no cleanup, which makes for easier cutting and splicing. However, when it comes to the gel, it stands up better to things such as salt water, where the dry will break down over time if repeatedly exposed to salt water.

buffer-tube-types, gel buffer tubes, dry buffer tubes, gel, dry

Gel vs. Dry

Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision.
In this case it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application use.

If you’re unsure about what cable or what kind of buffer tube you’ll need in order to meet the needs of your application, consult with one of Allied’s knowledgeable sales reps by submitting an RFQ. Visit our website to learn more about fiber optic cable and all of our Prysmian/Draka Group products.

Single Mode vs. Multi Mode | Product Knockout

Product_Knockout“Our Product Knock-out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, and same level of experience and amount of exposure. The purpose of these posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products, and to be able to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purposes. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.”

Before this post gets into the compare and contrast of single-mode and multi-mode, it’s important to know what a mode is. To put it simply, a mode is the path that a light beam travels down the fiber. Single-mode and multi-mode both feature a core that allows light to travel down the center of the fiber and carry signals. However, the differences outweigh the similarities, so let’s take a closer look at the differences in these two kinds of cables.

What is Single-Mode Fiber?

Single-mode fiber optic cable is the simplest type of optical fiber. Signals that are in a single-mode fiber travel straight down the center of the core without bouncing off the edges. This type of mode is also very small with a very thin core. The core of a single-mode fiber optic cable is 5-10 microns in diameter which translates to millionths of a meter. Single-mode fiber optic cable is wrapped together in a large bundle and used in telephone signals, cable TV and internet applications. The signal from a single-mode fiber optic cable can travel over 100 km (60 miles). In single-mode fiber optic cable the MFD (mode field diameter) is large and easy to splice/connect. This also makes it sensitive to microbends. Microbends describe the source of signal loss or attenuation in fiber optic cable. 

What is Multi-Mode Fiber?

Multi-mode fiber is a more complex type of optical fiber. These fibers are larger than single-mode fibers at roughly ten times the diameter.  This size allows light beams to travel through the core by a variety of different paths/modes.  These paths can be straight through the core, or the light can be bounced off the edges. Multi-mode cables are used in applications where short distances are used, such as linking computer networks.

Single-Mode vs. Multi-Mode Fiber

When comparing single-mode and multi-mode fiber, the only real similarity between them is that they are both ways to send fiber optic signals.

singlemode_multimode

Single-mode vs. Multi-mode

Single-mode is smaller and used in applications where a signal needs to be sent great distances. In contrast, multi-mode is used in applications where short distances are being used. Single-mode only allows one signal to be sent straight down the core of the fiber, where multi-mode allows multiple signals to be sent and bounced off the edges of the core. In single mode fiber optic cable the MFD (mode field diameter) is larger than in multi-mode due to the core sizes. In single-mode the core is smaller, so the MFD is larger, where in multi-mode the core is larger which means the MFD is smaller. 

Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision.
In this case it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application use.
If you’re unsure about what cable or what mode you’ll need in order to meet the needs of your application, consult with one of Allied’s knowledgeable sales reps by submitting an RFQ.
Visit our website to learn more about fiber optic cable and all of our Prysmian/Draka Group products.

ETFE vs. XL-ETFE | Product Knockout

Product_Knockout“Our Product Knock-out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, and same level of experience and amount of exposure. The purpose of these posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products, and to be able to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purposes. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.”

ETFE and XL-ETFE are both common insulation materials used in wires for the aerospace industry. Aerospace wires are used in tough applications where severe temperatures are encountered. Both ETFE and XL-ETFE are thermal aging, solder and moisture resistant. These materials are used as insulation in slants within M22759 military wire. MIL-W-22759 has since been replaced with the classification SAE AS22759, however it is still commonly referred to by it’s mil-spec call out. The slants that will be compared in this post are /16-/19 which use ETFE and /32-/35 which uses XL-ETFE. These aerospace wires, for the most part, are very similar. Let’s take a closer look.

What is ETFE?

ETFE is an acronym for Extruded Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene. It is wire insulation used primarily in electronic aerospace and transit applications. These applications usually call for cable that is mechanically tough and flame retardant, as well as lightweight. The MIL Spec slants using this insulation are M22759/16-/19. These slants are primarily used in aerospace/aircraft applications where military specifications are needed.  Below is an expanded table on these slants.

Slant Conductor Insulation Voltage Temp. Rating
M22759/16 Stranded Tinned Copper ETFE 600V 150°C
M22759/17 Silver Plated Copper Alloy ETFE 600 V 150°C
M22759/18 Stranded Tinned Copper ETFE 600V 150°C
M22759/19 Silver Plated Copper ETFE 600V 150°C

What is XL-ETFE?

XL-ETFE is an acronym for Cross Linked Extruded Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene. It is wire insulation that is used primarily in avionic and airframe applications. These applications typically demand mechanically tough and flame retardant cable. In addition, XL-ETFE, a type of thermoset insulation, provides excellent fluid/oil/moisture resistance. Cross linking also creates increased stability at higher temperatures. The MIL Spec slants that use XL-ETFE are M22759/32-/35. Below is an expanded table on these slants.

Slant Conductor Insulation Voltage Temp. Rating
M22759/32 Tinned Copper XL-ETFE 600V 150°C
M22759/33 Silver Coated High Strength Copper Alloy XL-ETFE 600V 200°C
M22759/34 Tinned Copper XL-ETFE 600V 150°C
M22759/35 Silver Coated High Strength Copper Alloy XL-ETFE 600V 200°C

ETFE vs. XL-ETFE Aerospace Wire

As you can see, there is some overlap between ETFE and XL-ETFE insulated wires. Both are aerospace wires with a voltage rating of 600V, use similar conductor material, and meet military specifications.

Even though ETFE and XL-ETFE are similar, they do have some very noticeable differences. The main difference being that one is cross linked and the other is not. The cross linking in slants /32-/35 when using silver coated/plated copper alloy as the conductor, give them an overall higher temperature rating than slants /16-/19. Slants /16-/19 with silver coated/plated copper alloy are rated to 150°C, while in slants /32-/35, those that use silver coated/plated copper alloy are rated to 200°C. Cross linking also provides greater stability at these higher temperatures than its regular counterpart.

etfevsxl_etfe

ETFE vs. XL-ETFE

Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision.
In this case it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application use.

If you’re unsure about what cable you’ll need in order to meet the needs of your application, consult with one of Allied’s knowledgeable sales reps by submitting an RFQ.
Visit our website to learn more about ETFE Wire vs XL-ETFE Wire.

SJTOW vs SJOOW | Product Knockout

Product_Knockout“Our Product Knock-out series is a match-up between two similar products. In boxing terms, think same weight class, same caliber, and same level of experience and amount of exposure. The purpose of these posts are for you to see a side-by-side view of two similar products, and to be able to understand which one will be crowned champ for your specific purposes. Take your seats and prepare for battle, because the gloves are coming out.”

SJTOW and SJOOW are both types of portable cord cables. This means that they both are used in portable tools and equipment applications. SJTOW and SJOOW also both have a temperature range of -40°C to +90°C. Another similarity between SJTOW and SJOOW is the “SJ” in their names. The SJ means these portable cords are both rated to 300 volts because they are junior service cables. While these cables have their similarities, they also have their differences. Let’s take a closer look.

What is SJTOW Cable?

SJTOW cable is a stranded bare copper cord. It is designed to be used in portable tools, motors, floor maintenance equipment, washing machines and portable lights. SJTOW cable is also ideal for hospital and sound equipment. The letters in SJTOW will tell you about specific characteristics to this cable.

S- Service Cord

J- Junior Service, rated to 300V

T- Thermoplastic

O- Oil Resistant Jacket

W- Weather Resistant

With the breakdown of the cable letters we can see that this cable is a weather resistant, junior service cord that has an oil resistant jacket and plastic insulation.

What is SJOOW Cable?

SJOOW cable is stranded bare copper portable cord. It is designed to be used with many portable tools and equipment, portable appliances, small motors and associated machinery. The letters in SJOOW will tell you about the specific characteristics of this cable.

S- Service Cord

J – Junior Service, rated to 300V

OO- Oil resistant insulation and oil resistant jacket

W- Weather Resistant

With the breakdown of the cable letters we can see that this cable is a weather resistant, junior service cord that has an oil resistant jacket and insulation.

SJTOW vs SJOOW

As you can see, there is a lot of overlap between SJTOW cable and SJOOW cable. Both of these portable cords are weather resistant junior service cords that are rated to 300V and have similar applications.

So, what is the difference? The biggest difference between SJTOW and SJOOW comes down to the makeup of the cable. The “T” in SJTOW indicates thermoplastic materials in both the jacket and insulation. This specific thermoplastic material used in our SJTOW is PVC. The one “O” means that just the jacket is oil resistant, not both the jacket and insulation. When it comes to SJOOW, the absence of the “T” indicates that instead of thermoplastic, rubber is used. The double “OO” means that the jacket and insulation is oil resistant. In this case, the rubber materials used in our SJOOW cable are EPDM for the insulation and Neoprene for the jacket.

While both are highly flexible and oil resistant, the SJOOW has both the insulation and jacket that are resistant, along with the rubber making it even more flexible than the SJTOW. However, the SJTOW with the thermoplastic instead of rubber, allows flexibility in your application with a tad more sturdiness than the rubber of SJOOW.

sjtow_vs_sjoow

SJTOW vs. SJOOW

Winner by unanimous vote? Instead, it seems as if the match has ended in a technical decision.
In this case it looks like our crowned champ depends on your specific application use.

If you’re unsure about what cable you’ll need in order to meet the needs of your application, consult with one of Allied’s knowledgeable sales reps by submitting an RFQ.
Visit our website to learn more about SJTOW Cable vs SJOOW Cable.

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