Category Archives: Flexible & Portable Cords

Diesel Locomotive Cable vs. Welding Cable

A frequent question these days in the specialty wire and cable world is the difference between Diesel Locomotive Cable, or DLO, and welding cable. This article briefly highlights the main differences for the reader.

While both DLO and Welding Cable use a stranded copper conductor, welding cable is a bare copper while DLO has a tin coating. This tin coating is highly resistant to corrosion helping DLO fair better in outside environments over a longer period.

DLO cable utilizes a rubber, EPDM, insulation over the tin copper conductors. Over that insulation is a hard usage jacket typically constructed of CPE. Welding cable only uses a single pass of EPR or Neoprene on its construction. The extra protection of the insulation end hard usage jacket again gives the DLO product more ruggedness and durability in harsher elements.

Both products are finely stranded giving maximum pliability to the user. The welding cable consists of more strands based on equivalent sizes but both are considered flexible products in the cord family.

Another key difference between the two products is the voltage. Welding cable is rated at 600 volts while DLO cable is 2KV or 2000 volts.

Based on the DLO Cable spec sheet, it is available in sizes from 14 AWG to 1111 MCM while the welding cable data sheet shows it is manufactured from 8 AWG to 500 MCM.

It should go without saying that DLO Cable is more expensive than welding cable with all of its extra benefits. Typically, the same size DLO Cable is 20-25% more expensive to its counterpart in welding cable.

Both of these items are very useful in our world today. Welding cable operates arc welders daily in our country helping to build and fix machinery while DLO cable can be found in mines and industrial plants across the globe helping to maintain operations.

DLO Cable: Diesel Locomotive Wire and Cable

DLO Cable, or diesel locomotive cable, is a flexible single conductor copper cable used in motor and power leads. DLO cable can also be used to wire diesel locomotives, transit and railroad cars, oil and gas drilling rigs, telecom power supply, storage batteries and various types of earth moving machinery. Standard DLO Cable carries a (2KV) 2000 volt rating. It is rated at 90 degrees Celsius. Sizes range from 10awg to 1111 MCM.

DLO cable is resistant to oils, acids, alkalies and heat. It has excellent impact and abrasion resistance. Combine these factors with its high strand count making for high flexibility it is a very popular product used frequently in many types of mines including coal, gold, diamond and copper.

Diesel locomotive cable is approved by MSHA ( which is the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Your DLO cable should always have MSHA printed on the cable. DLO insulation is typically a thermoset compound either EPDM or EPR. The jacket is also thermoset with the most popular constructions being CSPE or CPE for it. To the layman, it looks and feels like rubber. A key difference from DLO cable over other mining cords and welding cables is its conductors are tin coated copper. This provides an additional protection of corrosion resistance. Another important note is that sizes 1/0 and larger are CT (cable tray) rated on DLO. This means you can legally add this product to cable tray when it is 1/0 or larger in size. DLO cable is rarely found in any jacket color other than black.

DLO Cable Tips to Think About before You Buy:

You can identify the size someone needs if you know the ampacities required for the job. For example, if you require 420 amps to power your machine, you would want a DLO cable at least as large as 4/0.If your job requires additional voltage (over 600 volts), MSHA rating or increased flexibility that a welding cable can’t provide, DLO is the better option.

If you need additional corrosion resistance for your copper conductors, you should consider using the tin coated DLO product over a similar single conductor mining cord such as a Type W which has many of the same construction and ratings as a DLO cable. However, DLO cable can be an expensive option. The high strand copper count gives it its flexibility but that increases the cost and so does the process of applying the tin coating to the conductors.

In addition, the thermoset insulation and jacket are more expensive to manufacturer than most thermoplastics.

Mining Cords: Type W Mining Cord

Today’s featured article is in regards to Type W mining cable, its construction and applications in the work place. Type W is a highly flexible, durable cable that is designed for rugged applications as we will discuss in further detail below.

Let’s begin by breaking down it construction to give you a better sense of its quality and traits. Type W can be made anywhere from a single conductor construction up to five conductors. These conductors are made up of highly stranded bare copper wires. For example an 8 AWG conductor is made up of 133 total strands of copper. The reason for using such high levels of stranding is to increase the overall flexibility of the cable.

The insulation on Type W is also designed for greater flexibility but also for greater durability due to the harsh environments that the cable comes in contact with on a regular basis. Therefore, the insulation is typically made up of Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, or most commonly referred to as EPDM for short. This insulation is color coded for easy identification and is extremely ozone, oil, chemical and water resistant. The jacket that is also a rubber type material known as Chlorinated Polyethylene or CPE is also designed like the insulation to be flexible and rugged. On Type W the jacket is a reinforced, double-layered, and is an extra heavy duty CPE. Additionally, this double jacket helps to give the cable a good resistance to cutting, impacts, abrasions from dragging and flexing as well as flame and sunlight resistance.

One last note before we continue. Type W is rated for 600V continuous use or 2KV for temporary power. It is also the cable of choice in mining applications where bare grounding conductors are not required. If grounding is necessary then the cable of choice would be Type-G or GGC. Click Type G mining cords to learn more about these products.

Finally, Type W can be used in a number of different applications due to its excellent construction. Typically it is used for industrial mining applications and heavy duty service for power supply where high flexibility is needed. It is used in both surface mining applications to the toughest underground jobs. Its main function is to supply power to mining machines, cars, pumps as well as being used on Magnet cranes and hoists to name a few others.

SOOW: SO Cable and SO Rubber Cord

SO cable is one of the most popular and versatile portable electrical cords made today. These are multi-conductor cords, comprised of 2 or more conductors, which can be used in both indoor and outdoor applications. This versatility allows SO cable to be utilized in a variety of environments. Although it is found in commercial, residential and industrial facilities it has gained the most popularity in mills, mines, and marinas. The high stranding in SO cable creates an extra flexibility which makes it ideal for portable appliances and motors.

SO cable is manufactured in several forms in order to meet a variety of specifications. Listed below is the key that is commonly used in the wire and cable industry for this flexible rubber cord:

S = Service Cord (600 Volts)

J = Junior Service Cord (300 Volts)

T = Thermoplastic

E = Elastomer

O = Oil Resistant Outside Jacket

OO = Oil Resistant both inside insulation and outside jacket

W = CSA designation for weather/water resistance

SOOW is the most popular version of this flexible rubber cord. With a superior resistance to oil, water and chemicals SOOW is commonly used in industrial applications. SOOW is created by using thermoset, thermoplastic elastomer or thermoplastic. Thermoset, or rubber, is found in more heavy duty applications. The thermoplastic elastomer, or plastic that looks and feels like rubber, is ideal for withstanding cold environments. Thermoplastic is simply a lighter grade plastic that is used in very light SOOW applications.

SOOW flexible rubber cords carry a 600 volt rating. They are also manufactured as a 300 volt rated Junior Service cord designated as SJOOW. Using the key, a SJEOOW cord is a 300 volt (junior service) elastomer plastic oil resistant inner and outer jacket portable cord. By using the key you can see there are many types of SO cable that can be created beyond SOOW.

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Mining Cord: Type G Mining Cable

One of the most popular mining cords today is Type G. Standard Type G mining cord is a bare copper cord rated at 2000 volts (2KV). Type G uses a thermoset insulation, typically EPR, and a thermoset jacket, typically CPE. In other words, it looks and feels like rubber.

Standard temperature range of a G Cord is -40C to +90C. However, there are many constructions of this product which may increase or decrease the temperature rating on the cable. All G Cords should meet the approval of MSHA- The Mine Safety and Health Administration.

There are 2 common types of G Cord. One is called G and one is called GG-C.

Type G Cord – G Cord uses 4 conductors as well as 4 grounding conductors. The 4 grounding conductors are all the same size and that can vary depending on the size of the cable. For example, a 2 AWG G Cord would consist of 4 # 2’s and 4 # 9’s. The # 9’s are the ground wires so a total of 8 conductors are found in a G cord. All conductors and grounds are insulated and color coded.

Type GG-C Cord – GG-C Cord is a 3 conductor product that uses a 3 ground system. It has two standard grounds and one smaller ground called a ground check. It is constructed with a total of 6 color coded conductors. For example, a 2 AWG G-GC Cord has 3 # 2’s, 2 #10’s and 1 #7. The #7 is the ground check. All conductors and grounds are insulated on this product as well.

There is a wide range of applications for these 3 phase alternating current carrying mining cords where grounding is required. They can be found in all types of mines on cutters, loaders, conveyors, drill and pumps. The ruggedness and flexibility allows for heavy usage where temporary or permanent flex fatigue is required.