Electrical cables and wires serve as the foundation of every industrial setting or factory. Suppose cables fail or are disrupted, even for a few moments. In that case, the entire system comes to a standstill, resulting in significant downtime and loss.
Furthermore, sensitive wires and shielding are within your USB, FireWire, or Cat cable intended for high transmission speed and noise reduction. Although reasonably robust, communication faults may occur if the cables are folded, bent, or squeezed.
To resolve these issues, cables and wires must be adequately maintained. Some of the fundamental dos and don’ts of suitable cable and wire installation, maintenance, and preventative actions must be understood.
In this article, there are some general suggestions and preventative steps that can help you extend the life of your cables. But first, let’s discuss the types of cables in our everyday use.
Types of Cables
There are many types of cables, i.e., charging cables, earphones, fiber optics, electric wires, etc. Some of them are the following.
- Ribbon Electric Cables: Ribbon cables are made up of several conducting wires that are strung up side by side to form flat, broad cabling. It gets its name from the fact that its structure resembles a ribbon. It’s sometimes referred to as flat cable or multi-planar cable. This cable is typically found in electronics that require several data buses to connect internal devices such as disk drives to their drive controllers.
- Twisted Pair Cables: A twisted pair cable is a type of cable formed by twisting two independent shielded cables and running them parallel to one another. This cable is frequently utilized in several types of data and communication infrastructures.
- Coaxial Cables: Coaxial cable is a type of copper wire specially designed with a metal shield and other elements to prevent signal interference. Cable TV companies primarily use it to communicate their satellite antenna facilities to client businesses and homes. Telephone companies may also utilize it to link central offices to telephone poles near users.
- Shielded Cables: A shielded cable is an electrical wire with one or more conductive shields encasing the conductor and its surrounding insulating layer. Typically, these are made of metallic foil or braided cables. A protective jacket typically forms an outermost part. This reduces the electromagnetic interference (EMI) that the cable emits and receives.
- Fibre Optics Cable: A fiber optic cable is a type of network cable that consists of strands of glass fibers enclosed in an insulated casing. They are intended for long-distance, high internet connections, and communications. Fiber-optic lines have a higher bandwidth than conventional cables and can carry data across long distances.
To improve the longevity of all these cables, certain measures must be taken. Read on to find out!
Tips To Improve Cable Longevity
It happens – cables fail. But this does not have to happen regularly. The life of cables is usually about 40 years.
Here are some tips for ensuring that your cables endure as long as possible.
1. Wrap Carefully
Every cable is constructed from twisted wires. Sometimes there are more wires, but even the most basic cable has a copper wire within the plastic coating. Taking care of the cable entails caring for the copper contained within the wire.
While the copper wire is flexible, it is not indestructible. Most cables’ tiny copper strands will break over time, producing signal deterioration and, finally, failure. Mishandling cables increase the wear process; thus, the less cautious you are with them, the shorter their lifetimes will be.
Wrap a cable around your arm, hand, or wrist only if necessary. That is the most straightforward technique to snap a cable. Wrap the cable loosely in a circle, following the outlines of the natural curvature of the wire.
2. Store Carefully
After you’ve wrapped your wires correctly, attach them with a Velcro tie or a twist-knot leftover from electronics packing. Cables of comparable sizes, once securely wrapped, can be stored next to one another like records or pizzas, depending on the form of your container.
Smaller cables can be organized in a variety of ways, including paper tubes, grid boxes, plastic containers, hooks, and other storage options.
3. Avoid Sharp Bends and Stretches
Sharp bends should be avoided to protect your cables. For example, if the socket is too far away and you are charging your gadget but still want to use it, you may, but the cable could be bent or stretched to the maximum.
It is advised to refrain from doing so. It will deteriorate the insides of your cable, and doing so regularly will result in the connection sliding off – the cable will break open and reveal the wires internally, rendering your cord worthless.
4. Installation Temperature
To improve cables longevity, you need to install cables while the cable and ambient temperatures are between 0oC and +40oC.
Suppose the cables were stored at temperatures below 0⁰C or above +40⁰C. In that case, they should be allowed to achieve the installation temperature as specified above. Otherwise, extremely high or low temperatures can damage the cable and decrease its life.
5. Cable Management in Use
Cables typically fail around their connecting points, i.e., mobile charger, USB-C cable, external hard disk cable, etc. This is because these junctions are subjected to the highest stress.
The connectors are the most often modified parts of the cable. Making a practice of yanking or bending a plugged-in wire will ultimately destroy the connection, so avoid doing so. And it would help if you also prevent your PC cables from damaging, for doing this, you need to manage the cables properly.
6. Improve the Life of Fiber Optic Cable
To increase the longevity of fiber optic cable, follow these steps.
- Don’t bend the cables any further than the recommended bend radius.
- Make sure there is no stress on the wire or cable.
- During the installation, avoid twisting and kinking.
- Make sure that cables and wires do not come into touch with anything that might damage them.
- Keep wires and cables away from the heat of a naked flame.
- Maintain a frequent analysis of the performance of wires and cables.
If you are an electrician or cables usage is a frequent thing for you, the above tips and suggestions will ensure that your chargers, earbuds, and cords last longer and save you from spending more money on cables.
When it comes to data cables, remember that it is preferable to prevent damage than to repair afterwards.