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What is SOOW Cable?

Erin Shine posted this on Jun 3, 2014

All About SOOW Electrical Cable

As you are probably already aware, there are lots of different options out there when it comes to electrical cables. And you really need to be well-educated on what each cable offers to figure out which selection will work the best for you, depending on your current projects and its needs.


Here at, we want to help our customers make right pick the first time around, so we are committed to helping you be informed and know what's out there.


We've already told you all about SJOOW cable in another article. This time, we're going to talk all about SOOW cable. Although these two cables may have some similarities, they also have some differences that you need to be aware of. We'll take a look at what exactly SOOW electrical cable is, its uses, and is advantages and disadvantages, especially when compared to SJOOW cable.


What is SOOW Cable?

In its most basic, SOOW is probably the most popular type of portable cord available today.


Just like with SJOOW cable, you can learn a lot about what SOOW cable does just by knowing what each letter in its name stands for:


S = Service

OO = Insulation that is oil-resistant

W = Moisture and weather resistant


The SOOW cable is made from strands of flexible Class copper conductors. Depending on the size of your cable, the number of conductors inside can range anywhere from 2 to 60. In between the conductors there are placed wax paper filers, as well as a separator made of tissue paper between the conductors and the outside covering of the cable -- known as the jacket -- that adds extra insulation and makes it easier if for some reason the jacket needs to be removed to get to the conductors inside.


Also inside the cable is normally another type of insulating material. Many times it's EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) or EP (ethylene propylene) rubber. These types of materials are part of the thermoset group of insulations. Through the thermoset process, the materials are literally squeezed onto the wires and then with heat and pressure become one with them. That means the insulation will never fade even if it's placed under extreme heat or other situations.


Then this entire mass of wires and insulation is covered by the jacket. With the types of rugged applications SOOW electrical cable is used in, it is very important that the outer jacket be made of a material that can survive in those types of uses without tearing, cracking and breaking. Most times the SOOW cable's jacket is also a thermoset and will be made of CPE (chlorinated polyethylene elastomer), which is impervious to mostly anything -- heat, sunlight, oil and water. This also allows the cable to be used both indoors and outdoors.


And for SOOW cables being used in lighter applications, the jack may be made of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), which can also be used both inside and out, and is resistant also resistant to water and chemicals. However, when compared to the thermoset jacket, the TPE is not resistant to oil and cannot withstand as high temperatures.


SOOW Cable Uses & Applications

Being the SOOW electrical cable is so impermeable and durable, it's no wonder that contractors constantly pick it as their choice for both projects inside and outside.


Being the SOOW is a portable cable, that means it's a great option for supplying power to tools and equipment that move around a lot, from portable tools to small motors to even appliances in a home. That's right -- SOOW cables are not just for industrial applications, but can be used in both commercial and residential ones as well!


SOOW cables can also be used in heartier industrial applications as well, such as with construction equipment, cranes, processing machinery, and motors. They're also a great option for supplying power to portable lighting systems set up at construction sites or in garages, can be used in wiring remote control circuits and fire alarms, and can be use with battery chargers.


And for SOOW cables with jackets that are oil and water resistant, they can even be used in mining and oil manufacturing, as well as providing dockside power.


SJOOW Pros & Cons

As we've been discussing through this article, SOOW electrical cables offer a number of advantages – they have a very hearty construction, and this allows them to be used in a variety of applications, both indoors and outdoors. That outer jacket makes sure that the cable does not tear or break no matter how much it's thrown around, stepped on, or just generally manhandled.


Additionally, most SOOW electrical cables are rated to operate between ambient temperatures of -40°C to 90°C, which means you're going to have to come up with a pretty hardcore temperature to keep these cables from getting their job done!


Generally speaking, SOOW cables come with a number of certifications, helping you feel good about choosing them for your projects. For instance, most SOOW cables will be both CSA certified and UL listed, since they can be used both inside and outside. Other certifications can include MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration), OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances), and RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances), and and NEC (National Electrical Code). And some SOOW cables are even FT1 and FT2 flame tested, which checks the flame resistance of electrical cables.


SOOW electrical cables also offer a few advantages when compared to SJOOW cables. For instance, SOOW cables can handle a larger electrical capacity of 600 volts, while SJOOW cables (where the "J" stands for "Junior") can only be used in projects that require up to 300 volts.


SOOW cables come in more sizes than SJOOW cables. SOOW cables can be found in sizes ranging from 2 awg all the way up to 18 awg, while SJOOW cables are limited to sizes of 10 awg to 18 awg. That also means SJOOW cables are limited to the number of conductors they can have -- usually between 2 to 4. And SOOW cables usually have a larger overall diameter (OD) than SJOOW cables.


Although SOOW cables have a lot of great things going for them, it's also important to note their potential disadvantages. For example, the fact they can only be used for applications up to 600 volts could be a possible detriment depending on your project. And even the sizes it comes in could possibly be not acceptable for the application you need it for. This is why it's always important to know what your project's specific needs are, and to educate yourself about all the different options available for electrical cables.

Categories: Knowledge Base SOOW
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