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Types of Wire

Basic Wire: (known as Hook Up Wire)

There are two main types of hook up wire for Motorsports use, MIL-W-22759/16 and MIL-W-22759/32. Both have the exact same inner wire with the same temperature, voltage and amperage rating. The difference is in the outer jacket. M22759/16 has an thicker Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) outer jacket and M22759/32 has a thinner Fluoropolymer Cross-linked Modified (ETFE) outer jacket. What that means is the M22759/32 is slightly smaller in OD and slightly lighter.

Unshielded Twisted Pair Wire (Known as UTP)

UTP cable is a type of cable made by putting two separate insulated wires together in a twisted pattern and running them parallel to each other. These two wires twisted together help to reduce crosstalk and electromagnetic induction and allow it to carry data at a faster rate of speed.

Shielded Twisted Pair Wire (known as STP)

STP cables have a conducting shield made of metallic foil encasing the twisted wire pairs, which blocks out electromagnetic interference, allowing it to carry data at a faster rate of speed. STP cables work by attracting interference to the shield, then running it off into a grounded cable. If the cable is improperly grounded, then its noise-canceling capabilities are severely compromised.

Battery Cable

Similar to basic wire, there are two types of battery cable that are best used for motorsports use, the main difference being the insulation. High grade motorsports battery cable has two insulation layers with a TFE outer jacket and a vinyl inner jacket. The typical battery cable is called "welding" cable which has a single rubber insulator. Both have the same Class K inner copper core specifications. In a club level motorsports application, welding cable is significantly cheaper and more than sufficient. 

Welding cable consist of fine copper strands enclosed inside a non-conductive and durable jacket made from synthetic rubber as stated above. Its fine copper strands (Class K = 665 strands of 30 awg wire) make the welding cable more flexible compared to other electrical conductors.  

The rubber insulating jacket  resists extreme impact and can withstand high heat as well as to overcome repeated movement over rough surfaces during operation. The insulating jacket has an excellent protection from coolants, acids, oils, abrasion, ozone, tearing, flame and other chemicals.

Wire Gauge Amperage Capacity

It is important that the wire to power your vehicle is sized appropriately. As electricity flows through a cable, there is an inherent resistance to the flow of that electricity which will generate heat in your wire and manifest itself in the form of what is called a voltage drop. Voltage drop is simply the voltage seen at one end of the wire minus the voltage seen at the other end of the wire. This voltage drop is influenced by the diameter of the copper conductors inside the wire, and the total length of the wire. The longer the wire is, the higher the voltage drop will be. The larger the diameter, or gauge (AWG) of the wire, the less the voltage drop will be.

Let's say that your length of wire has a voltage drop of 2%.  At the battery, you will read 12 volts using a voltage meter, but at the other end of the wire your voltmeter will only read 11.76 volts (12 volts - 2%). If your circuit needs 100 amps of current, the wire will absorb 24 watts of power because of it's resistance. Now lets say that your voltage drop is 10%. Now your voltmeter at the other end of your wire will read 10.8 volts (12 volts - 10%) and that same 100 amp current draw will cause your wire to absorb 120 watts of power. This amount of voltage drop will cause other devices to not work properly - light bulbs will be dimmer, fans and motors will be weaker, and if the voltage drop is high enough computer systems can fail.

MIL-W-22759/16 and MIL-W-22759/32

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Battery Cable Class K

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