Hook Up Wire
About Hook Up Wire
The term “hook-up wire” is a broad umbrella for several different types of single-conductor wires. However, the term is mostly used in reference to electronic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) wire. Common applications for hook-up wire include appliance and lead wire, where its small sizes offer useful flexibility.
At WesBell Electronics, we supply many different types of hook-up wire in any odd length you need. Here, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into hook-up wire, including the different types, characteristics and ways to use it.
What Is Hook-Up Wire?
Hook up wire, lead wire, high-temperature wire, automotive wire and electrical wire are all broad terms describing certain types of single-conductor wire. Using these terms can be confusing because each type of lead wire has its own attributes that may or may not apply to all of the others. For instance, you might ask for a standard “lead wire” for your indoor project. UL1007 and UL1015 are both standard types of lead wire but one is rated for 300 volts and the other for 600 volts.
When referring to PVC wire, hook-up wire typically uses tinned copper strands. Tinned copper helps with the soldering process because it adheres to other tinned copper wires much better than the bare copper strands. Conductivity can take a slight hit due to the added tin, but this is negligible and shouldn’t affect most applications.
Here’s how some of the more common types of hook-up wire compare:
- UL1007: UL1007 specifies 300-volt PVC wire.
- UL1015: UL1015 is similar to UL1007 and offers 600 volts of power. Most UL1015 wire can handle high temperatures.
- UL1028: This type of hook-up wire also uses PVC insulation as a general-purpose, abrasion-resistant cable.
- Type E: Type E is made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) insulation, offering resistance to very high temperatures and chemicals.
- Type EE: Type EE is similar to Type E but with a thicker wall and greater voltage capacity.
- Type ET: Type ET is smaller than Type E or EE with a lower voltage capacity.
Hook-up wire is mostly used as an appliance wire or lead wire. It’s made with smaller American Wire Gauge (AWG) strands to be more flexible than electrical wire, which is why it is common in electronic equipment. In comparison, thermoplastic high-heat nylon (THHN) electrical wire is supposed to be less flexible so that it can be pushed through the conduit more easily. Its smooth nylon coating also helps the process. Electrical wire is made with bare copper because you shouldn’t need to solder it at any time, and if you do, you should consider a type of hook-up wire that will better suit your application.
Ordering Hook-Up Wire
There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing hook-up wire:
- Sizing: The size of your hook-up wire often correlates with voltage ratings. Types UL1007 and UL1015, for instance, are very similar, except the UL1015 has a thicker jacket and supports twice the voltage at 600 volts. Usually, the UL1007 version only comes in 16 AWG through 26 AWG and the UL1015 comes in 16 AWG through 10 AWG. These smaller sizes usually indicate lower voltage capabilities.
- Insulation: Several different types of insulation are available. There’s PVC wire, PTFE wire, electrical wire and even high-temperature wire. PVC wire is the cheapest and most basic type. Electrical wire has a PVC jacket with a nylon coating that allows it to slip through conduit easier and also resist water, oil and solvents. This resistance helps it power electronic equipment in many different environments. PTFE wire and high-temperature wire fall into the same category because PTFE wire is rated at 200℃, where PVC wire is rated from 90°C-105°C.
- Jackets: Jackets can determine some important characteristics of the wire. For example, PVC wire without a nylon coating should not be used outdoors because it won’t resist water or moisture of any kind. These elements can ruin the wire quickly, so PVC cable without a coating should not be used for applications like dog fences or other underground wiring. Tin coating is also very useful, as it makes it much easier to solder to bare copper during wire harness and assembly manufacturing.
- Strands: Hook-up wire is typically manufactured with a solid copper strand or thinly woven copper strands. Using thin copper strands will make the wire more flexible for those applications that need bendability. A solid strand of copper will keep the wire stiff so that it can be molded into the necessary position and remain there.
WesBell Electronics offers a long line of PVC hook-up wire. Hook-up wire UL 1007 and UL 1015 are the most basic forms, but we also offer 1,000- and 3,000-volt versions upon request. Other options include KYNAR wire, UL1028, UL1283, Type E, Type EE and Type ET.
Be prepared to answer a few simple questions about your project when speaking to a supplier. As a distributor for hook-up wire, we have many types of hook-up wire ready to ship for all of our customers’ unique applications. Therefore, we don’t want to assume that you’re using PVC wire when you actually need something else.
Cutting and Stripping Hook-Up Wire
When it comes to cutting and stripping your hook-up wire, there are two main methods to use.
The cheapest way to cut and strip hook up wire is by hand. You can buy a pair of wire strippers that will cut lead wires and strip the insulation off without damaging the copper strands. Each hole in the pair of wire strippers has a number that relates to the AWG of the wire you’re cutting. Make sure to use the correct number that matches your wire’s size.
Once your hook-up wire is cut and stripped, the copper strands can fray. You can use your fingertips to twist the strands back together and add a small amount of solder so that they won’t fray. That will also ensure a secure connection of all the strands to the device.
Hook Up Wire Stripping Machine
If you plan on cutting and stripping wire in large quantities, you might want to consider buying a machine that automates the process. You can set the machine to cut hook-up wire to 7 inches with a 1/8″ strip on both ends. Then, you feed the wire through, and it cuts about 5,000 pieces per hour. Even though it’s a machine, perfection isn’t guaranteed. It’s a good idea to set it for 1,000 pieces at a time, so you can double-check the length and make any necessary tweaks.
WesBell Electronics is an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001-certified company that cuts and strips hook-up wire. We abide by strict procedures for quality checks and get endless feedback from customers about the quality of our parts.
3 Types of PVC Hook-Up Wire
As you’ve seen, there are many different types of hook-up wire, and PVC hook-up wire has several of its own subsections.
1. Basic PVC Hook-Up Wire
Basic PVC hook-up wire comes in 300 and 600 volts and can be purchased on many online websites, including this one. It’s rated to withstand 105°C and many solvents, gases and oils. These lead wires are commonly used in wire harnesses that are placed in electronic devices and appliances that require lighting or controls. Each switch or light will need a wire connection to be turned on and off.
2. Irradiated PVC Hook-Up Wire
Irradiated hook-up wire is also known as solder-resistant hook-up wire because it resists solder iron heat during the assembly process. Most times, lead wires are cut to length and a small amount of insulation is stripped to expose the copper strands. The copper strands are then connected to a circuit board or a terminal for a wire harness.
This process often requires the use of solder and it’s applied at very high temperatures that normally melt basic PVC insulation. That problem was fixed with irradiated PVC insulation. You may want to use a soldering iron to protect the insulation which, in turn, protects the copper strands.
3. Alpha PVC ECO Wire
Alpha Wire recently designed their brand of EcoWire®, which is an environmentally friendly PVC hook-up wire. Alpha’s very popular EcoWire® and EcoWirePlus® wire are great for going green. It’s manufactured with a more durable PVC insulation that can withstand much more than your average lead wire. The best part is that the EcoWire® insulation doesn’t harm any part of the environment during production. Alpha Wire has always been a few steps ahead in the industry with a high-quality product.
10 General Hook Up Wire Phrases
We mentioned earlier that there are many different names for hook-up wires, some of which mean the same things and some of which differ greatly. Here’s how some of them compare.
1. Hook-Up Wire
Hook-up wire is generally described as a single-conductor-wire that “hooks up” electricity. The problem with asking a supplier for hook up wire is that there are many different types of insulation that exert different voltage and temperature levels. Be sure to dig a little deeper before buying anything online.
2. Lead Wire
Lead wire is another term that means the same as hook-up wire. Small lead wires are used in wire harness assemblies, electronic devices and appliances. Again, be careful when buying lead wire online because there are insulation and protection levels that alter the price of lead wire.
3. PVC Wire
PVC wire gets more specific because PVC is a type of insulation with standard voltage and temperature levels. You can get UL1007 300-volt wire or UL1015 600-volt wire, but you can’t vary the temperature or protection level of PVC wire.
4. PTFE Wire
PTFE wire and high-temperature wire are both terms that require a temperature level higher than PVC insulation. PTFE withstands temperatures up to 200°C instead of 105°C. PTFE hook-up wire can accommodate 600 or 1,000 volts.
5. Automotive Wire
GXL, TXL, SXL and SGX are all types of automotive wire which have a little more protection than PVC wire. They are used in automotive assemblies that require slightly higher heat protection up to 150°C. When you state that you need automotive wire, there will be a few more questions to answer before we can match you with the exact lead wire you need.
6. Electronic Wire
Electronic wire is another phrase used in place of PVC and PTFE wire. Electronic wire is used in electronic equipment and appliances that remain indoors. You’ll need to determine specific temperature, voltage and flexibility needs to ensure an accurate installation.
7. Electrical Wire
Electrical wire refers to wires that come out of your electrical box. They travel throughout a home to light switches, outlets and appliances. They’re designed to be stiff instead of flexible, because once they’re installed, they remain in the same spot for life. They are typically much bigger in size than PVC and PTFE wire and rely more on the amount of copper than the insulation.
8. Building Wire
Building wire is another term very similar to electrical wire that contractors and electricians like to use. They need building wire for the electrical installation of THHN and NM-B cable. Homes and buildings have very similar electrical wiring that travels from the electrical box throughout the walls to anything that needs power.
9. Mil-Spec Wire
Many government agencies and contractors require hook-up wire to be Mil-Spec approved. Mil-Spec is short for Military Specification, which is basically a military part number. Some of the wires mentioned above also have Mil-Spec numbers or a UL number that shows it has been approved by a third party. These standards help to ensure that manufacturers are actually meeting the selling points they advertise, such as reaching specific voltage requirements and temperature ratings. It also helps buyers know that the wire they’re buying has been approved for use in specific applications.
10. Dog Fence Wire
People often go online to find cheaper dog fence wire to lower the cost of an all-in-one kit. Dog fence wire uses polypropelene insulation, which can be buried directly in the ground without affecting the life of the insulation. Many people will try to use THHN electrical wire in its place because it’s cheaper, but that’s because THHN is not approved for direct burial. Dog fence wire, on the other hand, is approved and lasts much longer.
Working With WesBell for Hook-Up Wire
WesBell sells all types of hook-up wire and if you can’t find what you’re looking for online or need help picking the right one, please call and speak to one of our sales representatives. Not only will they help you price out the best wire, but they’ll also help you find the cheapest wire or cable for your application. Our sales team can utilize their knowledge and expertise to find exactly what you need without trying to oversell you.
When buying hook-up wire, we make it easy to buy small amounts of wire and cable because we understand the need to avoid waste. Most of our electrical wire can be purchased by the foot, and we also sell small 100-foot spools of our hook up wire. In addition, we can cut and strip your hook-up wire to make the installation process quicker and easier once it gets to you.
Click on the links above to view our different types of hook-up wire, or reach out to us today if you have any questions on the products or selecting the right kind of wire.