SOOW Cable (600-volt)
About SOOW Cable (600-volt)
Service, oil-resistant and water-resistant (SOOW) cable is an excellent choice for portable electrical power. It provides flexibility and the necessary durability for portable applications, like resistance to abrasion, chemicals and ozone. These characteristics make it appropriate for heavy-duty applications, like battery chargers, industrial tools and heavy equipment, as well as less-demanding jobs, like motor leads.
You can use appropriately rated SOOW cable indoors and out, as well as for permanent or temporary applications. It is relatively simple to make and is UL-approved, so affordable prices and reliability are easy to find.
Let’s look a little closer at SOOW cable and what it can do for your projects.
What Is SOOW Cable?
SOOW cable is a multi-conductor power cable commonly used as a power supply cable. It’s just like your everyday extension cord without the plugs on each end. A lot of customers actually use this wire to make extension cords themselves. Other customers have a long run for a job where they need to bring power out onto the job site from a long distance away. The applications are many and supported by a range of sizes and configurations.
SOOW cables are available from sizes 2 to 18 AWG. Conductor counts available for SOOW cables can go from 2 to 60 depending on your chosen SOOW cable American Wire Gauge (AWG) size.
Each conductor in SOOW portable cord is made with flexible bare copper strands and a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) insulation. Then, the conductors are covered with a rubber chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) jacket for protection against weather, oil and solvents. The rubber also protects SO cable from the rough impact it receives on the job site. In some SOOW cables designed for light applications, you’ll find a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) jacket, but this material does not offer oil resistance or operation in high temperatures.
Other important characteristics of SOOW electrical cable include its 600-volt capacity and temperature range of minus 40℃ to 90℃. It can carry significant loads and operate dependably in everything from freezing cold and rain to sweltering heat. These properties help to make it particularly versatile and let it function well in different environments, including tough industrial zones.
SOOW portable cables also have many certifications from organizations like The CSA Group, UL LLC and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Most will also have certification for Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directives and the National Electric Code (NEC).
What Does SOOW Wire Mean?
The letters in the acronym of “SOOW” refer to the “service” cable type and the agents that it protects against:
- S: Service
- OO: Oil-resistant insulation and jacket
- W: Water-resistant
These characteristics offer impressive longevity and reliability. You might also see designations like Service Oil (SO) and Service Junior Oil (SJO) cables, which do not carry weather- and water-resistance. Plus, the one “O” refers to oil-resistance in the jacket only, not the jacket and insulation.
When to Use SOOW Electrical Cable
Thanks to its durability, SOOW portable cable is a great choice for a variety of both commercial and residential applications. You’ll often find it supporting small devices such as:
- Portable lighting systems.
- Portable tools.
- Remote control wiring.
- Portable appliances.
- Battery chargers.
You can also find SOOW wire in larger, industrial applications, such as:
- Processing machinery.
- Construction equipment.
- Mining equipment.
- Dockside power delivery.
Wherever you use SOOW, it’s important to know the demands of the job. SOOW cable will offer robust durability and is available for a wide range of environments. Its flexibility is particularly advantageous for many of these portable applications, where you may need to move the cable around a lot or know it can handle being stepped on and exposed to less-than-favorable conditions. It also helps make storage easier.
They also have many certifications for trustworthy operation. If your application requires more than 600 volts or doesn’t fit the size options for SOOW cable, you may need to use another cable. We’ll detail some of the cables used in similar situations below.
What’s the Difference Between SJOOW and SOOW?
The addition of the “J” simply adds the word “Junior” to the mix. It refers to cutting back the voltage rating from 600 to 300 volts, making this cable a more cost-effective option for less-demanding applications.
That means it comes with a thinner jacket in case you need that for your application. Most manufacturers won’t make SJOOW cable in gauge sizes bigger than #10 or in any cable with five conductors or more. Those cables commonly come in 600-volt configurations, so they are not worth making, meaning they would be a special order with the manufacturer.
Most manufacturers only make SOOW and SJOOW cable now because making SO and SJO was unnecessary. It was cheaper and easier to put all the approvals on each cable. The extra “O” and “W” now come on all cables that WesBell sells in the power cord area.
What’s the Difference Between SOOW Portable Cord and Type W Power Cable?
After SO cord, there’s the industrial power cord called Type W cable, which is basically the same as SOOW cable but much bigger and more heavy-duty. It will most likely be dragged across job sites and run over by heavy machinery all day, so it’s made with a much tougher rubber jacket to withstand the impact. It’s also a 2000-volt power cable usually made in American Wire Gauge (AWG) sizes #2 and up. The Type W has the same size ground wire with green insulation and it’s included in the conductor count.
You may also come across Type G-GC cable, which is the same as Type W cable but made with ground wires and a ground check.
Type W cables possess the same conduction and jacketing materials used in SO cables. While the two can seem similar, Type W cable is more flexible and often preferred by big industries because it is more durable than SOOW cables. A Type W cable can be bought as a single conductor or multiconductor cable, and you can find many kinds depending on the size and the conductor counts you need. Type W cables range from sizes 500 thousands of circular mils (MCM) down to 8 AWG and are available with up to five conductors.
While both SOOW cable and Type W cable types can be very useful for a range of applications, they differ in many respects. SOOW cables are rugged, but if you are looking for a more robust, tougher cable for industrial needs, then you may need a Type W cable. SOOW cables are meant for use with average types of equipment or portable tools like small motors or portable appliances you have at home. Type W cables are very useful in large industrial applications, such as powering conveyors, lifting magnets, loaders, large cutters, pumps, drills, diesel-electric locomotives, cranes and more.
The WesBell Advantage for SOOW Cables
Since there are a lot of electrical cables to choose from, all useful for different types of jobs, you have to know which cable fits your needs. If you’re still not sure if SOOW portable cable is the right cable for the job, reach out to us. We’re happy to talk about your project and help you choose the right one.
If it turns out you need an extension cord, we have some available for sale, with the same build as an SOOW portable cable but with plugs on the ends. We also have power cords with a plug on one end and stripped other end to attach it manually for certain applications. And, of course, we carry a wide range of standard SOOW cables, from sizes 18 to 2 AWG.
With all of our products, you get support from the experts at WesBell Electronics. We’ll help you match your cable to your application and even offer a wide range of services to help prepare wiring and cables for the task at hand. Browse our SOOW cables above or contact us if you have any questions.