Types of Cables in Your Home – The Complete Guide

A Definitive Guide to Cables

Cables come in all sorts of sizes colors and they are have a different purpose. They can be used for a variety of applications and purposes ranging from:

Electrical Cables – These types of cables are generally used in electrical engineering to carry electrical currents, they are mainly used in buildings and industrial sites.

Mechanical Cables – These are used in Mechanics also referred to as wire ropes. They are used for lifting, hauling and towing.

Power Cables – Used for power transmissions where the distance is greater than a few miles.

A Cable is generally 2, 3 or 4 wires which run parallel and are can be twisted, bonded or braided together to form a single assembly.

Control Cables

There are a wide range of control cables on the market however in the field of process automation you are only likely to hear about three types. These are CY Cables, SY Cables and YY Cables (more on these below).

Control Cables are also referred to as Robotic Cables, Multicore Cables, Instrumentation Cables, Motor Cables and Control Flex Cables.

YY Cables

YY Cables are instrumentation cables designed to be used as an interconnecting cable for measuring, control and regulation and for signal and control equipment.

They are generally used within the building and construction industry as well as rail and transport networks.

A YY Cable is a versatile cable that works well in environments with light mechanical stress. It can be used outside when protected and indoors in dry and moist conditions.

SY Cables

SY cables are another style of interconnecting cables. The SY cable is used for measuring, controlling and regulation in control equipment.

SY cables are generally used in control equipment for both assembly and construction lines, but they are also used for conveyors and computer units. They are very suitable for use in fixed installations and they have a very flexible specification for use when under mechanical stress.

CY Cables

CY cables are like the SY and YY cables as they are used for measuring, controlling and regulation in control equipment for both assembly and production lines. These cables can also be found and used for conveyors and computer units.

CY Cables are suitable for both fixed installation and flexible use, as they have a high durability when used in conditions under medium mechanical stress. They are often used within projects outdoors when protected as well as in dry and moist places indoors.

Solar Cables

Solar cables are designed for use within photovoltaicsystems. They are used as one of the main cable choices for development as they have the right specifications to work correctly and efficiently within these systems compared to other cables that are manufactured.

There are different styles of Solar cables that have been designed for specific use, some of these are the cross-linked solar cable and the twin solar cable. Each cable used within the industry with their own advantages and disadvantages.

An example of a Solar cable is the Ölflex Solar XLS. This cable has been designed for use within applications such as solar modules and as extension cables between the individual module or the DC/AC inverter.

They can also be used within Gable and flat roof photovoltaic systems.

Low Smoke Halogen Free Cables

Many companies want their applications to be very safe towards their employees as well as the public surrounding them. Whether the applications are working fine or whether there are any problems, the surrounding members need to have not harm come to them.

Fires are a very common hazard within large applications. When cables burn they can release hazardous chemicals via gases which can cause harm to anyone who breathes them in.

This is where Low Smoke Halogen Free Cables come in handy. These types of cables only emit a small limited amount of smoke when they are exposed to sources of heat and high temperatures. Not only this, but they release no halogen into the air.

Due to their design, Low Smoke Zero Halogen Cables are often used within areas where fires can be hazardous to users and visitors.

These can be surroundings such as public buildings, train stations and airports.

Data Cables

Data cables are specifically designed for use with telecommunications and computing. They are made in such a way that helps transfer data efficiently from a transmitter to a receiver, without losing any data throughout the process. Most new home construction now include these sorts of cables to keep up with the data speeds now available to consumers.

They convert the messages and signals into binary, which consists of 0’s and 1’s. It is then sent in binary and converted back to the original message on arrival.

Data cables are used within the industry for fixed installations as well as applications that may have occasional flexing. These applications are normally computers, telecommunication methods, transport etc.

LiYY Cables

There are two different types of data cables that are manufactured. The first one is the LiYY cable. This specific type of cable are color coded the same as the applications they are used.

For example, the cable will be color coded correctly if they are resistant against chemicals. This shows the customer that the cables will be able to work within surroundings that may come in contact with chemicals.

LIYY cables are often used as control and signal cables within electronics in computer systems, electronic control equipment, office machines etc. The applications used must be in a dry or damp indoor area and the cables can be occasionally flexed.

LiYCY Cables

The other type of data cable that is used heavily within many applications within the industry is the LiYCY cable. This type of cable is used for computer systems, MSR technology, office machinery. These cables are screened cables with small dimensions for use indoors in dry and damp areas.

Polyurethane Cables

Polyurethane Cables are made out of very resistance materials. This gives them the right specifications for use within applications that have a very high rates of stress on them. From both mechanical and chemical materials.

As these cables have very high resistance to both of these, it makes these cables extremely valuable within the food and beverage processing industry.

These cables have such a high survival rate due to their design. They are equipped with a Polyurethane and Robust sheath, giving them very strong statistics when used in harsh environments. An example of a Polyurethane cable is the Ölflex classic 400 P.

Rubber Cable

There is vast selection of individual rubber cables that are used for a wide variety of different applications. They vary from the lightweight and for standard applications, to other roles under increased duress and with more robust properties.

All quality rubber cables should conform to the specifications set by the European Committee for Electro Technical Standardization. Being both flexible yet tough, these regulation rubber cables are perfect for using indoors, outdoors, and even in damp or wet conditions.

The H05RR-F, for example, is ideal for use in lightweight hand tools, whilst the H07RN-F is more suitable for higher levels of stress, such as when being applied in heavy duty equipment.

There are many industry standard cables that sometimes fall under different names. These cables are known by other industry names like PVC cables, harmonized cables, hi-temp cables, festoon cables, hi-volt cables, neoprene cables, torsion cables, crane cables and also lift cables.

UL & CSA Approved Cables

There are some cables that are so efficient they have been approved by both the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and CSA (Canadian Standards Associations.) These cables are called UL & CSA Approved Cables.

They have been approved for are large machines within the industry such as machine tools, conveyor and assembly line applications. The UL and CSA approve cables such as tri rated cables. These are for use within industry line equipment.

Tri rated cables are designed to withstand high temperatures as well as being flame retardant. The name tri comes from the cables extremely high quality. When a cable has been given the term tri rated, it means that they have been approved by three different standard issues.

These are the BS6231, UL and CSA. With this title give, a tri rated cable can be used within many different applications within the industry.

Bus Cables

Bus Cables have been designed for the cabling of industrial bus systems. These have been developed for process automation as well as instrumentation applications. The cables have been specifically designed to work in these applications in hazardous areas and intrinsically safe atmospheres.

Profibus Cable

Profibus cables are designed for the cabling of industrial field bus systems. These systems have been particularly developed for process automation and instrumentation applications. These cables have been designed to work within applications in specifically hazardous surroundings and intrinsically safe atmospheres.


ASI Bus cables have been designed specifically for use within various applications such as communication at senson and actuator level. Their specifications make them a very useful cable within applications as a fixed installations as well as occasional flexing. Even though they have been designed to be used within occasional flexing. The flexing must be free, non-continuously recurring movement without tensile load.

DeviceNet Cables

DeviceNet Cables have been designing and manufactured for use within the industry to help connect industrial devices such as limit switches, photo electric switches and valve islands etc. Within the DeviceNet industry there are two different designs for these cables. One of the designs is a halogen free material design whilst the other design is made using Polyvinylchloride. Each different cable has it’s own advantages within different surroundings and working areas.

Safety Bus Cables

Safety Bus Cables have been designed and manufactured for the transmission of safety-orientated data from a sender to a receiver. The cables have very simple designs, but very effective designs. They are very fine cables consisting of 3 cores twisted around each other with copper braiding. The outer sheath is also halogen free, so if the cables are exposed to sources of heat then there aren’t any hazardous gases released.

nterBus Cables

InterBus Cables provide the applications with consistent networking from the control level down to the last limit switch. It allows a single cable to interconnect all devices. Within the cables, there are no limits in the level of complexity. The cable allows its users to reduce overall control system installing and maintenance costs.

Cable Harnessing

Cable Harnessing Cable harnessing also referred to as Cable Harnesses, Harness, Cable Assemblies, Cable Loom is a group of cables that pass operating currents or information signals. Cable Harnessing is bound together using a variety of instruments including cable lacing, sleeves, tape, conduit and clamps.

Cable Harnessing is widely used in automobiles and aircrafts as well as construction machinery. It is normally manufactured by hand due to the amount of processes involved including; routing wires through sleeves, crimping terminals onto wires and taping with fabric tape.

Cable Harnessing in sound engineering is used for carrying audio signal.