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WIRING MATERIALS AND ACCESSORIES: Is a device, fittings, materials and equipment to form a complete wiring system In order to assemble properly and intelligently the great number of available electrical m, we must understand the basic principles regarding them. Page | 1


The term wire and cable are used more or less synonymously in house wiring In practice bare conductors, whether single or stranded together are termed as Wire and Conductors covered with insulation are termed as cables. The necessary requirements of cable are that it should conduct electricity Efficiently, cheaply and safely This should neither be small so as to have a large internal voltage drop nor be too large so as to cost too much. Its insulation should be such as to prevent leakage of current in unwanted direction and thus to minimize risk of fire and shock.

A Cable consists of three parts:

A) The conductor or core; the metal Wire or strand of Wires carrying the current. B) The insulation or dielectric; a covering of insulating material to avoid leakage current from the conductor. C) The protective covering for protection of insulation from mechanical damage2.2.


Copper and Aluminum are the materials used as conductors in power and lighting cables. 1. Copper. Though Silver is the best conductor but due to its higher cost it is hardly used anywhere. The next best conductor is, copper. It is cheaper comparatively The electrical resistivity of pure copper at 1.786 x 10-8 Ohm-m. It is mechanically strong, hard, extremely tough, durable and ductile. It is highly resistive to corrosion, Oxidation and pitting. 2. Aluminum. Aluminum is frequently used in place of copper for bare electric cables used for long distance power distribution. The electrical conductivity of aluminum is about 60% of that of copper (2.87x10-8 ohm-m at 20 0 c) so for the same resistance for a given length, the aluminum required be 1.61 times that of copper in volume and 1.26 times of that of copper in diameter. The only application of aluminum cables for wiring in buildings is for a continuous bus- bar system of distribution, used sometimes in blocks of flats or office buildings for rising mains and sub-mains of larger sectional area.

2.3. INSULATING MATERIALS The insulation material used in electric cable must possess following properties: I. High resistivity 1

ii. High flexibility Iii. Non- inflammability iv. High resistivity to moisture, acids or alkalis qualities. So the type of insulating material used depends upon the service for which the cable is required. Page | 2

The various types of insulting materials used in cables are :i. Rubber: Rubber may be natural or synthetic. Its relative permittivity is between 2 and 3 and its dielectric strength is 30KV/mm. Though it posses high insulting qualities, it absorbs moisture readily ,softens when heated to a temperature of 60 oC to 70 oC ,swells under the action of mineral oils and ages when exposed to light . Hence pure rubber cannot be used as insulating material. ii. PVC: Polyvinyl chloride is a man made thermo- plastic which is tough, Incombustible and chemically unreactive. Its chief drawback is that it softens at temperatures above 80oC. It does not deteriorate with age PVC insulated cables are usually employed for low and medium voltage domestic and industrial lights and power installations iii) Vulcanized India rubber. It is prepared by mixing India rubber with Minerals such as sulphur, zinc red lead, etc. The copper conductors used in this cable are tinned to protect them from corrosive action of rubber on copper. The use of VIR cables is limited to low voltage distribution and internal wiring as paper insulated cables have largely superseded them. iv). Impregnated Paper. It is quite cheap, has low capacitance, high dielectric Strength (30KV/mm) and high insulation resistivity (10 Mohm-cm) . The main advantage of paper insulated cables is that a cable of given size can be worked out at a higher current density than a VIR cable Paper insulated cables are used for conveying large power in transmission and distribution and particularly for distribution at low voltage in congested areas where the joints are to be provided only at terminal apparatus or where the joints are rare, owing to cheapness and durability over VIR cable. Mechanical Protection All the insulating materials used in the manufacture of cables are mechanically week, so requires some form of protection against mechanical injury. Mechanical protection is usually provided to power cables laid direct in the ground by providing two layers of steel tape in such a way that upper layer covers the joint in the lower layer. Where tensile strength of the cable is required steel wire armouring is employed. With regard to ordinary main cable, aluminum sheathing has been recently introduced. The cables provided with aluminum sheathing does not require such as rubber sandwich or covering of PVC.


The wires employed for internal wiring of buildings may be divided into different groups according to:-

The type of conductor


the number of cores The voltage grading and the type of insulation used. According to the number of cores, the cables may be divides into the classes known as:Single core, and Twin core, Page | 3 Twin core with ECC (earth continuity conductor) cables Etc. According to voltage grading the cables may be divided into two classes: 250/440 volt and 650/1100volt cables

According to the type of insulation, cable can be classified as

1. Vulcanized Indian Rubber (VIR) Cables: VIR cables are available in 250/440 volt as well as in 650/1100 volt grades and used for general conduit wiring. 2. Lead Sheathed Cables: These cables are also available in 250/440 volt grade and are used for internal wiring where climatic condition has moisture. The lead sheathed cable is a vulcanized rubber insulated conductor covered with a continuous sheath of lead. The sheath provides very good protection against the absorption of moisture and sufficient protection against mechanical injury and can be used without casing or conduit system. It is available as a single core, flat twin core, flat three core and flat twin core with an earth continuity conductor. 3. PVC Cables: These cables are available in 250/440 volt and 650/1100 volt grades and are used in concealed wiring system. Since PVC is harder than rubber, PVC cables do not require cotton taping and braiding over it for mechanical and moisture protection. 4. Weather Proof Cables: These cables are used for outdoor wiring and for power supply. These cables are not affected by heat or sun or rain. These cables are either PVC insulated or vulcanized rubber insulated conductors being suitably taped (only in case of vulcanized rubber insulated cable) braided and then compounded with weather resisting material. These cables are available in 250/440 volt and 650/110 volt grades. 5. Flexible Cords and Cables: A flexible cord consists of wires either silk or cotton or plastic covered. Plastic cover is more popular as it is available in various pleasing colours. Flexibility and strength is by using conductors having large number of strands. Most stranded conductors are built upon a single central conductor. Surrounding this conductor are layers of wires in a numerical progression of 6 in the first layer, 12 in the second layer, 18 in third layers, and so on. The numbers of wires contained in most common conductors are to be found in the progression 7, 19, 37, 61,127 Stranded conductors are used in both fixed wiring cable and flexible cords, the latter being flexible cables not exceeding 4mm2. Conductors for fixed wiring up to 25mm2 have seven strands; for example a 6mm2 conductor has seven strands each of 1.04mm diameter (7/1.04). Colors of Conductors The wiring regulations require that all conductors have to be identified by some means to identify their function. 3

For example, according to the British wiring regulation, the phase conductor of three-phase system is colored red, yellow and blue with the neutral colored black. Protective colors are identified by green/yellow. Color identification of bare conductors and cable cores (EELPA`s Regulation)

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Colour identification of core of rubber or PVC insulated cable.

Earthing Live of a.c single-phase circuit Neutral of a.c single-phase or three-phase circuit Phase R of three-phase a.c. circuit Phase S of three-phase a.c. circuit Phase T of three-phase a.c. circuit

White Green Black

Green Yellow Red

General Specification of cables

The complete specification of a cable will give the following information: -The size of the cable -The type of conductor used in cables (copper or aluminum). - Number of cores that the cable consists of (i.e. single core, twin core, three core, and twin core with ECC etc. -Voltage grade -Type of insulation, taping, braiding and compounding



The commonest method of installing cables is to draw them into a conduit. The conduit can be steel or plastic. Steel conduit is made in both light gauge and heavy gauge, of which heavy gauge is much more frequently used. In general conduits can be classified as: - Light gauge steel-plain (unscrewed) conduit

- Heavy gauge steel-screwed conduit -Flexible conduit -PVC conduit

Light Gauge Steel Conduit:

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This type of conduit is used with special grip fittings. It is available with an external diameter of 12mm, 16mm, 19mm, 25mm,31 mm,38mm and 50mm. In general light gauge is the cheapest and quickest of the conduit installations but should be used where the location is dry and there is little likelihood of mechanical damage

Heavy Gauge screwed Steel Conduit:

Though it is very expensive, this type of conduit provides a permanent installation with a maximum of protection for the cables. The joints into fittings are by means of screw threads which provide mechanical strength and good electrical continuity. These are available in approximately 3 meter lengths and are threaded at the two ends.

Flexible steel Conduit:

This usually consists of light galvanized steel strip spirally wound and, to some extent, interlocked, so as to form a tube. It is made in size from 19mm to 50mm internal diameter and in two grades: non-water tight and water tight. It can be made with an external covering of PVC sleeving. Flexible conduits are available in lengths up to 250m. So no coupling is required and hence threading. Since the conduits are flexible and are easily bent so no elbows is required. it is necessary to run an earth wire through the flexible conduit, as the spiral formation does not provide efficient continuity. One of the most common uses of flexible conduit is for protecting the final connections to motors. it has the additional advantage of reducing the transmission of vibration. However, the flexible conduit is costlier than the rigid conduit.

PVC Conduit:
This type of conduit wiring is finding wide applications in internal wiring because it is light in weight, shock proof, anti-termite, self extinguishing and fire resistant, acid and alkaline resistant. Such conduits can be used for surface, recessed or concealed type wirings. Conduits may be joined by the screwed or plain type of couplers (sockets) depending upon whether conduits are of the screwed type or plain type. In long runs of conduits, inspection type couplers are provided. Fixing method shall be the same except that in this case spacing shall be at every 60cm instead of 1.0m in case of metallic conduit.

Conduit Accessories and Fittings: Conduit Couplers:

Conduit is available in lengths from 3m to 5m and for straight runs of greater length,

Couplers are used to join two lengths of conduit. The lengths of the screwed conduit are always threaded at both ends on the outer side.

Bends, Elbows and Tees:

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In general conduit fittings include bends, elbows and tees. All these can be either of the inspection type (provided with the detachable lid) or solid. Bends are usually used for change in direction of conduit. these should never be sharp. The minimum allowable radius of curvature is 2.5 times the outside diameter of the conduit. Solid elbows and tees should be used only at the end of the conduit run( e.g. close behind a light fitting or accessory). The detachable lid provided in inspection type tees and elbows facilitate pulling of cables.

Conduit Boxes:
Conduit boxes are used in surface conduit wiring as well as concealed conduit wiring. The conduit boxes are of different designs.

These serve the following purposes: 1. For providing connections to light, fan and other points.
The conduit boxes serving the purpose are known as outlet boxes because conduit terminates at the boxes. These boxes may have entry either from side or from back or from sides.

2. For pulling of cables into the conduits.

The boxes serving this purpose are known as inspection boxes. These are provided after every 30m length of straight run.

3. For housing junction of cables.

The conduit boxes serving this purpose are known as junction boxes,

Wiring Systems

A wiring system is an assembly of parts used in the formation of one or more electric circuits. It consists of the conductor, together with its insulation, its protection against mechanical damage (sheathing and/ or armouring). Certain wiring accessories for fixing the system, and joining and terminating the conductors.

There are various wiring systems, of these, the most commonly employed wiring systems are

Sheathed wiring system

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Cleated " " All-insulated wiring system Catenary wiring system Conduit systems Trunking systems


Sheathed wiring system

The two main metal sheathed wiring systems found today include the lead-alloy sheated (LAS) and mineral-insulated metal sheated (MIMS)

The cables of the LAS system are insulated with vulcanised rubber and sheathed overall with a lead-based alloy containing tin and antimony. It is available in circular single core, or flat 2and3-core with or without a copper circuit protective conductor. LAS systems may be run on the surface or concealed. Generally they require no further protection, unless they are exposed to mechanical damage. The lead sheath is used as a CPC in which case it is important to ensure that sheathing is continuous , particularly at the metal junction boxes with which the LAS system is used .At these junction boxes , metal bonding clamps are used. Cables are fixed with clips or saddles. The following points should be noted when installing cables in the sheathed wiring system Precautions 1. 2. 3. 4. According to the IEE regulations, the lead sheath should be continuous throughout the installation either by soldering or bonding with clamps. The cables must be supported by proper metal clips , saddles etc. which must not be more than 35cm apart on vertical run and 22cm on horizontal run. The supports employed must not be of such material that reacts chemically with the sheath. While crossing a wall the cables must be run in the conduits. While passing through floors the conduits should be continued to a height not less than 1.5 meters above the floor. The cables should not be run over damp place. The lead sheath must be continuous electrically and earthed at some suitable point, preferably at the point of entry Sharp bends should be avoided and at corners bend of radius not less than six times the overall diameter of the cable is imperative. The cables should be properly protected by external sleeving where liable to mechanical damage.

5. 6. 7. 8.

9. 10. 11.
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When the cables are being clipped these should be dressed with a piece of hard wood to make it perfectly straight. LAS cables must not be allowed to come in contact with extra-low voltage wiring systems.(e.g bells and telephones), or with gas and water pipes All junction boxes used with the system must be accessible throughout the life of the system.

The MIMS cable consists of copper conductors insulated with a highly compressed MgO powder. If the sheath is a copper tube, it makes the copper-sheathed system(MICS). Where the conductors and sheath are both of aluminum , the system is known as MIAS system The MIMS cables has got the following advantages. - It is self-contained and need not further protection - It can withstand high temperatures (above 250C) and fire. - It is impervious to oil and water and is immune to condensation. - It is robust and has an indefinite life. The MIMS cable is saddled to the walls and ceilings in the same way as LAS cables. Small sizes of the cable can be bent sharply. Where the cables pass through floors, ceilings and walls, the holes must be made good with cement to prevent the spread of fire. The sheathing and joint boxes must be bonded throughout the installation to form an earth-continuity conductor. 2. Cleated Wiring System

In this system PVC-insulated cables are supported on cleats made of porcelain or plastic. The system doesn't give any protection against mechanical damage and so it is useful only for dry situations and where the cables remain inaccessible. The cleats are made in two halves one base and the other cap. The base is grooved to accommodate the cables and the cap is put over it and whole of it is then screwed on wooden plugs (gutties) previously cemented into the wall and ceiling. Thus the cables are firmly gripped between the two halves of the cleats and secured to the supporting wall and ceiling. The cleats used are of different sizes and different types in order to accommodate cables of different sizes and different numbers of cables respectively. The cleats are of three types: one groove, two grooves and three grooves to accommodate one, two and three cables respectively. For low voltage (up to 250V) installations, cleats shall be of such dimensions that cables shall not be less than 2.5cm apart for branch circuits and less than 4cm apart for submains. This type of wiring is very suitable for temporary installation in dry places. This is also accepted where appearance is not so important and cheapness is the main consideration. This system is not suitable for use in domestic premises.


All-insulated Wiring System

This wiring system includes TRS (tough-rubber sheathed) and PVC ( PVC-sheathed) cables. Their main disadvantage is that they don't offer adequate protection against mechanical damage, though they are relatively cheap and easy to install.
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The following points are to be observed when installing all-insulated wiring systems. 1. Wherever possible the cores of the cable must be identified by colours. 2. At switches, socket outlets and lighting fittings and junction boxes, the sheath of the cable must be taken inside the accessory. 3. TRS and PVC cables can be buried direct in plaster provided care is taken to ensure that there is no likelihood of damage being caused by say nails and screws. 4. Catenary System These systems are designed to take supplies from one building to another by overhead means, or else for building with high ceilings. In this system, insulated cables are carried on a steel wire strained between two points. For short runs the steel wire carries the cables which are taped to it.The composite caternary cable consists of a high-tensile galvanised steel wire round which are located the PVC cables. When installing this type of system it is important to ensure that the steel wire carries the weight and not the conductors themselves. If the system is used out of doors it is advisable to fill the connecting boxes with a plastic compound against the entry of moisture. The catenary wire must be securely fixed at each end. The clearance between the cables and the ground must be adequate. A pole may have to be used to act as an intermediate support between the two ends . The cable , where it leaves the catenary should pass through a suitable glazed porcelain lead-in tube. 5. Conduit Systems In this system of wiring conduits are installed on the surface of walls by means of saddles or pipe hooks or buried under the walls and cables are drawn into them. In damp situations the conduits can be spaced from the walls by means of wooden blocks fixed below the pipes at regular intervals . In order to facilitate drawing of cables a number of inspection fittings are provided along its length. The conduits should be electrically and mechanically continuous and connected to earth at some suitable point. Conduits are mainly used to accommodate single insulated non-sheathed conductors. They are, of course , used for sheathed cables where additional protection from mechanical damage is required . Conduits are available in steel PVC and flexible forms. Steel Conduit

Steel conduits are of two types. These are Page | 10

light gauge conduit and heavy gauge(screwed) conduit

The light gauge conduit is used for cheap work. It is not water tight and even damp proof and is not permitted for voltage exceeding 250V. Screwed steel conduit (solid drawn or welded seam) is used for medium voltage circuits and in places where good mechanical protection and absolute protection from moisture is desired . In general the finish of the conduit is black enamel( a smooth coat of enamel both on the inside and outside surface of the tube). Galvanized conduit is also employed, especially in damp situations when the conduit is on the surface but under ordinary conditions buried in walls it offers little , if any, advantage over good enamelled conduits. The main advantages of steel conduit include the following Good protection against mechanical damage. Complete protection against fire due to short circuits etc. The whole system is water proof Replacement and alteration of defective wiring is easy It can be used as a circuit protective conductor (CPC), though it is common practice to run separate CPC in the conduit. The main disadvantages of steel conduit are the following 1. 2. 3. 4. It is a very costly system of wiring Its erection is not so easy and requires time Experienced and highly skilled labour is required for carring out the job Internal condensation of moisture may cause damage to the insulation unless the system outlets are drained and ventilated. Conduit size is stated in terms of its outer diameter as 11, 13, 15, 16, 21, 23, 29, 36, and 48mm. The number of cables that can be drawn into one conduit is given by EEPCO's regulations. Table B-4. This is to allow for ventilation of current-carrying cables, to allow for removal and replacement of conductors and in some cases where the existing conduit capacity isn't up to its limit to allow new circuits to be drawn in. Drawing in cables is carried out by using a draw-in tape made from steel or nylon which is fed into the conduit and attached to the cables and then pulled through the conduit. Conduits can be fixed to the walls by using saddles. The following points should be noted in the installation of steel conduits. 1. The conduit must be electrically continuos and properly earthed at some suitable point. 2. Inspection tees, bends or boxes should be used at all bends.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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3. Edges of conduits should be filed before laying to remove burrs etc and to save cable insulation from mechanical damage. 4. In long horizontal runs of conduit , where there is a risk of condensation collecting inside the conduit , drainage points should be provided. 5. Over-Crowding of cables should be avoided in conduits. 6. Conduit pipes should be fixed by heavy gauge saddles at an interval of not more than one metre: but on either side of the couplers or bends or similar fittings , saddles should be fixed at a distance of 30- cm from the centre of such fittings. 7. The conduit must be erected and securely fixed before cables are drawn in 8. Threading should be done carefully and no damage should occur to the finish, particularly if the black enamel type is used. 9. No exposed threads are allowed 10. The phase and neutral conductors must be bunched in the same conduit. PVC Conduit It is available in both light and heavy grades and doesn't need to be threaded unless so specified by the job. The conduit is available as rigid, semi-rigid and flexible round. Expansion couplers are used at every 8m. PVC conduit is easy to work as compared to metallic conduit and virtually the same range of system accessories and supports used for metallic conduit is available for PVC. Bending can be done using bending springs . Jointing PVC conduits is by means of a push fit and sealed with PVC solvent adhesive used sparingly.

Flexible Conduit This type of conduit is used to provide a suitable connection between a rigid conduit system or trunking and some type of electrical equipment such as motors where there is a need for the equipment to be moved within small limits of its mounting position. The conduits are also used to absorb vibration: to prevent it from transmitted to the rigid installation. Flexible conduits may be metallic or plastic. A separate CPC is required and it can run inside or outside of the conduit. Trunking Trunking is a fabricated casing for conductors and cables, generally rectangular in shape with a removable lid which allows the conductors to be laid in rather than be drawn in as is the case with conduit. It is used where a large number of conductors are to be carried , or follow the same route. Trunking is not necessarily a complete wiring system and is thus associated with conduits to allow connection to wiring accessories and mounting boxes. Both steel and PVC trunking are available , with a wide range of such accessories as bends , tees, risers and reducers. Some of the trunkings used are the following.


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Compartmented trunking: It allows wiring at different voltages to be segregated but carried with the same unit run. This prevents services at one voltage accidentally becoming live to a higher voltage in the event of a fault. 2. Skirting trunking: It is used in offices where the services (socket outlets, etc.) can be sited on the perimeters of rooms. 3. Bench trunking: It is commonly used in schools and laboratories where access to a large number of socket outlets is required. Here the trunking units are mounted on benches, 4. Busbar trunking: It is basically a plain-section trunking containing fixed copper or aluminum bars. Access to the busbars is made by means of tap-off boxes. It is often used in workshops where the machinery or equipment may be shifted to different positions in the same area. Down drops are then available from the overhead busbar trunking tap-off boxes, via rigid or flexible conduits. The following points should be noted when the trunking system is used. 1. Trunking can be fixed directly to a wall (used round-head screws and washers to prevent damage to cables) or can be run overhead supported by the bottom members of the roof trusses. When compartment trunking is used , each of the three circuit categories (Mains-level voltage. Extra low voltage and fire alarm & emergency lighting) should be laid separately in each compartment. But if ELV conductors are insulated from mains voltage, then they can be laid together with mains voltage circuits. 3. 4. 5. 6. Any type of cable run in vertical trunking must be supported at 5m intervals Metallic trunking can be used as a CPC, through separate CPCs are recommended to be run with the circuit conductors. A separate CPC must be run for each circuit run in PVC trunking. When trunking is mounted vertically, fire barriers should be fitted at intervals not exceeding 5m. This is to ensure that the trunking doesnt allow fire to spread, and also helps to reduce the rise of temperature at the top of the trunking run.