DLO Cable Uncovered: Definition, Construction, and Applications

Imagine a cable that not only powers locomotives, but also excels in the most demanding industrial environments. That is diesel locomotive (DLO) cable – a versatile and durable powerhouse in industrial wiring. Renowned for its robustness and reliability, DLO electrical cable is a critical component in various heavy-duty applications. We will detail the construction and specifications of DLO cable, alongside a look at their current ratings. Furthermore, we also discuss practical issues like locomotive wire compatibility with conduit systems and explore viable alternatives for different scenarios. Now, let’s discover.


What is DLO Cable? 

DLO cable meaning Diesel Locomotive Cable, is a flexible portable power cable known for its high flexibility, durability, and excellent resistance to severe conditions and abrasion. Dlo electrical cable has traditionally been used in railroad locomotives and rolling stock; however, due to its unique properties, its use extends beyond locomotives to a variety of industrial applications in harsh environments, including oil and gas rigs, cranes, shipyards, and mining applications. DLO is typically UL approved.

DLO Diesel Locomotive Cable

Construction and Specifications of DLO Cable.

Diesel locomotive cable is a double extruded product consisting of Ethylene Propylene Rubber (EPR) insulation and thermoset Chlorinated Polyethylene Rubber (CPE) sheath, which is constructed to meet harsh industrial demands:

  • Conductors: The conductor of DLO cable is typically made from finely stranded tinned copper. This structure offers excellent flexibility and high conductivity, which is crucial for the demanding applications these cables are used in.
  • Insulation: Usually made of Ethylene Propylene Rubber (EPR), known for its excellent resistance to heat, moisture, and chemicals, EPR insulation ensures reliable performance even in harsh environmental conditions.
  • Sheath: The use of chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) as a sheathing material adds extra mechanical and environmental protection to diesel locomotive cables. Known for its excellent weather, heat, oil, and chemical resistance, CPE also offers good flexibility and durability, which is essential in heavy-duty applications. The sheath color is typically black.
  • Voltage Rating: Typically rated for 600 volts, but can also be designed for higher voltage requirements depending on the specific application.
  • Temperature Range: Combined with EPR insulation and CPE sheath, dlo wire can operate in a wide temperature range, typically -40°C to +90°C, making them suitable for extreme environmental conditions.
  • Size Range: The cables come in various sizes to suit different power requirements, typically ranging from small gauges suitable for light applications to large conductors needed for heavy-duty power transmission.

DLO cable

Fully annealed, Class I tinned copper conductors, EPR insulation and a heavy-duty black thermoset CPE sheath make locomotive wire exceptionally flexible and durable, resistant to abrasion, UV rays, grease, chemicals, and heat. And locomotive cable specification has a significant impact on their current carrying capacity, to understand this better, we have provided a DLO cable size chart.

tinned copper vs bare copper
Tinned Copper vs Bare Copper: Which One is Better?

Tinned copper vs bare copper is a common topic of discussion. Generally speaking, the conductor material of the wire and cable will be bare copper, aluminum and tinned copper, etc. There will be differences between them, and most people will have difficulty in choosing between them when buying the wire and cable. Today we will analyze …

Read More


DLO Cable Ampacity Chart.

Dlo electrical cable ampacity represents the maximum current that the cable can safely carry without overheating, which is crucial for ensuring electrical systems’ safe and efficient operation. The table below, sourced from our comprehensive data, presents a detailed overview of various dlo cable specs and their corresponding rated capacities and diameters:

DLO Cable Ampacity Chart.
Part NumberConductor Size (AWG or MCM)Nominal Overall Diameter (mm)Ampacity 30℃ in Air
14-01 DLO144.8835
12-01 DLO125.4640
10-01 DLO107.0455
8-01 DLO87.6780
6-01 DLO69.40105
4-01 DLO410.77140
2-01 DLO213.41190
1-01 DLO115.57220
1/0-01 DLO1/017.04260
2/0-01 DLO2/018.06300
3/0-01 DLO3/019.99350
4/0-01 DLO4/022.45405
262-01 DLO262.624.13471
313-01 DLO313.125.78511
373-01 DLO373.127.58590
444-01 DLO444.429.69656
535-01 DLO535.330.99731
646-01 DLO646.433.30815
777-01 DLO777.735.48905
929-01 DLO929.238.381005
1111-01 DLO1111 MCM45.691115

DLO cable is typically single conductor with sizes ranging from the smaller 14 AWG to 1000 MCM. The larger the size, the higher the current carrying capacity. As we can easily see from the dlo cable spec sheet above, the 535 dlo cable ampacity is 731A, and the 4/0 dlo cable ampacity is 405A. Now that we know about the capacity of locomotive cable, let’s see if dlo can be installed in the conduit.


Can DLO Cable Be Used in Conduit?

DLO cables can be used in conduit, and in many cases, it’s highly recommended, especially in environments where additional mechanical protection is necessary.  In fact, DLO electrical wires can be used in a variety of applications, including wet and dry areas, conduits, Earthmoving equipment, and trays. When installing DLO cable in conduit, factors such as conduit size, bend radius, heat dissipation, and waterproofing must be considered to ensure that the performance of the cable is not compromised. Diesel locomotive cables are typically thicker and more rigid than other types of cables and may require larger conduits. The minimum bend radius for locomotive wire is typically 6 to 8 times the diameter of the cable, and the conduit bending should be adapted to it. Having discussed DLO cable in conduit, let’s look at alternate options for cable DLO.



Alternatives to DLO Cables.

While diesel locomotive cables are highly versatile, certain applications may call for alternative solutions. Alternatives include:

  1. THHN/XHHW-2 Cables: General-purpose power cables for service, feeder, and branch circuits in conduit and cable trays; they have good resistance to moisture and heat, but are less flexible than DLO wires.
  2. Welding Cable: Highly flexible welding cables are designed to handle constant movement and bending during welding. However, they are less durable than locomotive cables, as their conductors are stranded bare copper, whereas dlo is tinned copper.
  3. Type W Cable: A portable power cable designed for portable power distribution and mining applications. Type-w cable is also double insulated and may be somewhat thicker than DLO wire, but is slightly less flexible. In contrast to cable DLO, W-type cables not only have single-core configurations but are also available in up to 5-core ones.
  4. Type G and G-GC Cable: These are robust and heavy-duty cables used in industrial and mining applications. They come with grounding conductors and are suitable for applications that require grounding for safety. Type G and G-GC cables offer good flexibility but might not match the high-temperature resistance of DLO wires.
  5. Type SC (Stage Cable): Primarily used in the entertainment industry for lighting and sound equipment, type SC cables are highly flexible and resistant to abrasion. However, they are inferior to DLO wires in terms of voltage rating and environmental resistance.
  6. Type P Cable: Often used in the oil and gas industry, type P cables are designed to be flame retardant and resistant to oil, drilling mud, and moisture. They are a good choice for harsh environments but may not offer the same level of flexibility as DLO cables.

dlo cable alternatives

When and why to consider alternatives.

Compared to other copper power cables such as THHN or XHHW, welding cables, and type W, G, and P cables, DLO electrical cables are heavier and more costly due to the fine-stranding process and more expensive materials. Given these characteristics, it becomes practical to consider alternatives, especially in applications where the unique benefits of locomotive wire may not be strictly necessary:

  • If your budget is limited and the application does not demand the high-flexible features of cable DLO, THHN or XHHW-2 cables can be a more cost-effective solution. For example, when you need good moisture and heat resistance in less flexible installations, consider choosing THHN or XHHW-2.
  • Welded cable and stage cable are ideal for applications requiring high flexibility and lower voltage ratings.
  • In industrial applications where additional features such as multi-core configurations, integrated grounding, and specialized resistance to harsh chemicals and flames are required, consider using Type W, G, or P cables instead of locomotive cables.

Choosing an alternative to cable dlo requires a comprehensive evaluation of environmental conditions, flexibility requirements, voltage specifications, and budget constraints. But the most important thing is to comply with regulations and standards. Finally, let’s group together all the points discussed.


In summary, diesel locomotive cables are an excellent choice for applications requiring robust, flexible, and durable wiring solutions. Understanding their construction, specifications, and carrying capacity is key to maximizing their benefits. While DLO cables are ideal for many industrial applications, knowing when to choose other alternatives can also ensure an efficient and cost-effective project. For those seeking DLO cable price, ZW cable, as a specialist DLO cable manufacturer, can provide you with an accurate quote, with sample mailing support.


{{ reviewsTotal }}{{ options.labels.singularReviewCountLabel }}
{{ reviewsTotal }}{{ options.labels.pluralReviewCountLabel }}
{{ options.labels.newReviewButton }}
{{ userData.canReview.message }}
About Me
Richard Zi
Richard Zi

My name is Richard Zi, and serve as the General Manager of ZW Cable. With a deep and extensive background of more than 15 years in the cable industry, I am excited to share my wealth of knowledge and experience.ZW Cable is a renowned company in the field of cable manufacturing in world, we specialize in selecting the best cable sizes and effectively solving all your cable challenges. If you have any questions or needs regarding cable solutions, please contact me and I assure you of the highest standards of personalized and effective guidance and support.View All My Posts >>

View My Profile On Social
Table of Contents
Contact Us
Get in touch with us today and see how we can help you reach your goals!
Related Posts
Scroll to Top