What is a Strain Relief?

We all know that an electrical power cord is made up of two or more wires running side by side to form an assembly, in which the ends can connect to two devices, allowing electrical signals to flow from one device to another. However, most of us wonder what that big molded thing at the end of a connector is. That big “thing” is called a strain relief. Sounds pretty self-explanatory, right? Just like its name, a strain relief relieves a cable of stresses and tensions that could break the conductor inside or even the connection between the plug and the cable.

There are different types of strain relief too. The first one always comes molded to the jacket and part of the plug. This type of strain relief is mainly designed to avoid any damage to the conductors and separation of the plug from the cord itself.

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Second, we have a type of strain relief called Cable Glands. Continue reading What is a Strain Relief?

How to Crimp Terminals

I bet you’re wondering what an electrical terminal is. A terminal is the point at which the conductor of an electrical component comes to an end and provides connection to external circuits.

And how do we crimp terminals, you ask?
Let me explain. The word crimping, in this context, means to combine two pieces of metal together by deforming one (or both) to hold the other. It’s called “crimp” because of the deformity.

You’ll need a crimping tool in order to correctly crimp connectors onto the wire. Please remember that pliers are NOT crimpers! To verify that you have the right crimper, the crimper Continue reading How to Crimp Terminals

AC & DC — For Those about to Flow We Salute You!

Ever wonder how the Aussie band AC/DC got their name? Or what makes it possible for them to ROCK and ROLL?

There are two types of current flow in a circuit: Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC).

Have you ever sat down and looked over at your desk lamp and thought, “how does the light come on?” Well, just like every home and office, AC power comes in through the power lines to your home and is what is available to pDifference ACDC 1ower outlets. AC stands for Alternating Current. Your lamp is being powered by AC because of the direction of the flow of electrons. There is a rotating magnet along the wire which causes the electrons to keep switching directions forward and backward. Also, the amount of energy that can be carried through alternating current is easy and also economical to transfer over longer distances and provides more power.

For example: here’s your power plant. It can yield 1 million watts of power. How does this work? Well there’s a way to Continue reading AC & DC — For Those about to Flow We Salute You!

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Male to Male Cords

I’ve read several stories on why people choose to purchase and/or make these male to male power cords, but for some reason, they’re referred to as “suicide cables.”

male to male 1Why? See, power cords have two ends: the male and the female end. The male end is the plug and the female end is the receptacle. When you plug the male end into a wall outlet, the female end or connector is ready to be plugged into a device or equipment, which will allow the electricity to flow through. That is a safe connection. BUT, if you plug the male end into an outlet and have a male plug on the other end, this leaves an exposed conductor (which is the biggest NO-NO).

Continue reading Why You Shouldn’t Buy Male to Male Cords

Ferrite Beads: What are they?

IEC-60320-C13 GREY WITH FERRITE_GREYYou see them all the time on your power cords. They may look like a little mini donuts or tubes close to one end of the power cord but what are they and why do we need them? Those are called ferrite beads and they are very useful in reducing electromagnet interference (EFI) and radio frequency (RFI). This can be important when you don’t want your machines to have any disruptions or interference of other kinds of signals. The beads can also be referred to by different names such as blocks, cores, rings, EMI filters and chokes.

Continue reading Ferrite Beads: What are they?

Difference Between Jacket Types – Brrrrrr!

wiresWell, we all know you have your parkas, pea coats, or even your 80’s stylish windbreakers but do you know the difference between the jackets on your wire? Choosing a cable jacket for your wire can be just as important as choosing a jacket for the snow, the rain, or even one to protect you from a fall on your motorcycle. There are many different types of jackets used for the outside of the wire, all helping it stay protected from different elements. It could be oil, fire or even the nasty weather.


Let’s start with the material used for wire jackets. They can go mainly into two categories:  the Thermoplastics and the Thermosets. Thermoplastics are more popular as they are lower in cost to produce and lighter in weight.  Thermosets are more flexible and offer heat resistance.  The most commonly used is PVC which is part of the Thermoplastic category. It offers great flexibility for your cord and are typically used for general purpose wire.  Next we have silicone rubber which offers great flexibility and heat resistance up to 2500°. Silicone rubber belongs to the Thermoset category. Continue reading Difference Between Jacket Types – Brrrrrr!