What Is DLO Cable And What Is It Used For?

DLO stands for Diesel Locomotive because it is most commonly used for diesel locomotive applications. However, as a very powerful single conductor cable, it can be used in multiple single phase applications such as oil and gas drilling rigs, cranes, ship yards, motor leads and mining applications. DLO cables are rated for 2000 volts and used in industrial applications more often than residential areas.

Flexible and Protective

Rather than buying DLO cable for its high voltage rating, you might want to buy it for its flexibility or dually protective jacket. Diesel locomotive cables are manufactured with a layer of EPR insulation and a second layer of CPE insulation for industrial type protection. Imagine using a cable in an industrial setting compared to a residential setting to understand why the added protection is given to DLO cables.


Unlike residential portable power cables, industrial power cables carry UL, CSA and MSHA approvals. These approvals are stamped on the jacket to prove that Underwriters Laboratories, Canadian Standard Association and Mine Safety and Health Administration have tested and approved the ratings given to DLO cable. Without those third party approvals it will be difficult for industrial applications to pass inspection. Those needing cables without UL, CSA and MSHA approvals would typically be home owners and small machine shops that don’t need to pass inspection.

Is There a Cheaper Alternative to DLO?

That depends on your requirements. If your application can get by with a 600 volt cable, less protection and a lower voltage rating than the answer is yes, welding cable. Welding cable does not carry the approvals and it’s only rated for 600 volts with a single layer of rubber insulation. It’s much cheaper and offered in similar AWG (American Wire Gauge) sizes as DLO. Welding cable is also offered in black, red and orange where DLO cable only comes with black insulation.

Learning about the power cable you’re looking to buy is a very good idea because you could be buying more or less than you actually need. Speaking with your supplier will help you understand each attribute the cable has to offer and which of them your application needs. Cutting out one attribute, such as switching from 2000 volts to 600 volts, will save you a lot of money.