Automotive Wire: Understanding Single Core Low Tension Primary Wiring

01 May 2019

Low-tension electrical wires draw small voltages. By saying “tension,” cabling suppliers aren’t describing some mechanical feature. It’s an electrical power parameter, not a spec that describes a physical loading value. Let’s just make that point clear from the beginning. Left unheeded, such misunderstandings can confuse people. Anyway, now that that issue has been made clear, this post can focus on automotive circuitry, which uses single-core, low-tension electrical wiring.

Tracking Low-Tension Automotive Wiring

Under the hood, bonnet, whatever you call it, thicker cables leave a blocky battery. Their main purpose is to start the car. Apart from those thick battery lines, the red and black flexible cables under the bonnet, vehicle primary wiring systems tend to use small cross-sectional area wiring. These L.T electrical wires power the dashboard, hook up to engine electronics, and thread outwards to provide power for every driver/passenger compartment subsystem, from the car stereo to the rear window heater and everything in-between.

Single-Core Power Transmission Efficiency

Understand this: there’s a finite amount of power in a car. That electrical energy is replaced as the vehicle moves, of course. Still, car manufacturers need to be careful when they’re transmitting this finite resource. Additionally, there’s not much room in a car. Picture this tug-o-war for a moment. The low-tension wiring has to be slender so that it fits in a recessed space. But, importantly, it also needs to be made of a high-quality copper conductor so that the power arrives without incurring any heat losses. Sure, those losses might be small, but they’ll still impact battery efficiency. That latter feature is measured in Ampere-hours, by the way.

Preserving Ampere-Hour Limitations

When you purchase a car battery, you’ll see how many ampere hours of electrical energy it can store. This is a power-limiting factor that car manufacturers plan for by installing low-voltage fittings. Supporting this approach, single-core low-tension wiring is arranged in multi-coloured looms, which tidily get stowed inside tight-fit vehicle voids. The solo wires deliver low dielectric losses and high current transmission gains, all while fighting off the oils and chemicals that somehow find their ways into the hidden recesses of a car’s electrical systems. Power efficient, the cabling is mechanically tough, with its flexible single-core conductors threading their way through some truly inhospitable cabling channels.

The insulation on the lone conductors is necessarily tough. It won’t scrape or abrade when passing through the engine compartment and into the driver compartment. Oily deposits can’t age the insulation, nor can engine heat. All the same, wiring is always tightly arranged in a series of loomed groups, which travel solo or grouped together in a flexible conduit.

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