Power Cable VS Control Cable: What’s the Difference?

We may often hear about power and control cables in electrical engineering projects. Power cables vs control cables are both important types of cables used to transmit current and signals, but do you really understand the difference between them?

In this new installment of our blog series, we will delve into the following notable difference roles between these two types of cables in a variety of ways to help you better choose the right cable for your project’s needs.

  • Power cables: the role of transmitting energy
  • Control cables: the role of sending signals and controlling equipment.

What is a power cable?

Power Cable

Basically, a power cable is a common type of cable used to transmit electricity from a power source to a device. Power cables are used for overhead and underground energy transmission, as well as in industrial environments.

Depending on the application, cables can be installed overhead or buried and usually consist of two or more electrical conductors with an outer jacket. Copper and aluminum are the main conductors used because of their high electrical conductivity, while polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the most common dielectric because of its good insulating ability. The outer jacket is usually made of materials such as PVC, PE (polyethylene) or halogen-free compounds.

Types of power cable

1. Low Voltage cable: LV cables intended for the transmission of electrical signals up to 1 kV. Common applications include data communications, security systems, and lighting control.

2. Medium Voltage Power Cable: Medium voltage cables are considered to be cables with a voltage rating between 1000V and 30KV. They are typically used in industrial applications.

3. High Voltage Cable: High voltage cables are a type of cable used to transmit electricity above 35KV. They are mainly used in power plants and other large industrial applications.

4. Service Entrance Cable: Service entrance cables deliver power to residential buildings. Both SER and SEU cables are rated at 600 volts and are suitable for both dry and wet environments.

5. Aluminium Service Drop Cable: Service Drop Aluminum Conductor Cables are used to supply power from utility lines to customers. Its lightweight design and corrosion resistance make it ideal for residential and commercial electrical systems. It has a maximum temperature of 90°C for cross-linked insulated conductors and 75°C for polyethylene insulated conductors.

6. THHN wire: Thermoplastic High Heat Resistant Nylon Covered Wire (THHN) is a single-conductor wire featuring PVC insulation and a nylon jacket. It is widely used for electrical wiring within building conduits.

What is a control cable?

control cable

Control cables are multi-core cables used in automation systems and instrumentation applications. They send signals to various lines in electrical equipment. Cables have flexible qualities and must be able to withstand bending for trouble-free installation in the most difficult locations. They are vital for robots, assembly lines, and power distribution systems, among others. There are various types of cables used for control applications, with the main three being YY, CY, and SY cables.

Types of control cable

SY cables have a steel wire braid and are suitable for control applications where additional mechanical protection is required. CY cables are flexible control cables with a shield, similar in construction to the YY type, but with a tinned copper braid added to the laid core. YY cables are flexible control cables with PVC insulation and grey PVC sheaths. They are mainly used for connecting electrical equipment and distributing electricity in industrial applications.

Get further on sy, cy , yy cable detailed comparison:The Ultimate Guide to Understanding SY Cable

After reviewing the information above, we now have a better grasp of both types of cables. But, curious about what sets control cables apart from power cables? While both are essential in electrical systems, their purposes and structural designs markedly differ. In the subsequent section, we will jointly understand the disparities.

Difference Between Control Cables and Power Cables

power cable vs control cable

Power cables are essential for transferring energy from the power source to various devices while control cables are used to send signals that regulate and manage the operation of equipment. Beyond that, we can read on to learn more about the differences between power cords and control cables.

  • Difference in rated voltage:

Control cables typically come in voltage ratings ranging from 300V to 600V, while power cables are generally available in higher voltages of 0.6/1kV.

  • Difference in number of cable cores:

Power cables usually contain fewer cores, ranging from a single core to five cores, depending on the specific requirements of the grid. On the other hand, control cables are specifically used to transmit control signals in different applications. Unlike power cables, control cables are available in a larger number of cores, usually ranging from 2 cores to 61 cores or even more. The higher number of cores allows for a wide range of requirements for modern control systems.

  • Difference in core wire color:

Control cable insulation core is typically black with white lettering. In contrast, power cables are available in a variety of colors to differentiate between different functions and provide safety during installation and maintenance.

  • Difference in cable sheaths:

Power cables require thicker insulation and jacketing than control cables when the same specifications are used in the same industrial environment.

  • Difference in carrying capacity:

Control cables typically operate with a voltage range of 300V to 600V, making them suitable for managing and controlling electrical signals in various applications. On the other hand, power cables are designed to handle higher voltages, commonly rated at 0.6/1 kV, and are used to transmit electrical power over distances.

  • Difference in usage:

A power cable is a type of cable used to transmit and distribute electric energy. It is commonly utilized in urban underground power grids, power station outlets, and underwater transmission lines. On the other hand, a control cable is used in computer systems and information transmission systems. It includes fiber optic cables, electromagnetic wires, and power communications. Shielded control cables, in particular, provide good shielding performance and are extensively used in power plants and power stations.

Power Cable VS Control Cable Conclusion

Specifically, power cables vs control cables in the use, shielding, appearance and structure of the differences exist. Through the above comprehensive difference analysis, I believe you have a clear understanding of this. Understanding these differences is essential to securing the proper use of power and control cables in residential, commercial and industrial applications. For any cable queries, you can contact ZW Cable. we can manufacture them as per the requirements of the users, your inquiries are welcome!

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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 >>

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