Good place to order heat resistant cabling?

pianoman

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2007
I need some place where I can order the kind of cable one would use to wire an instrument with. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. What I'm familiar with is heat resistant individual conductors (3) with a fiberglass sheath around them. That would work, as well as whatever else there is out there that is for this purpose. I just need to order probably 15 or 20 feet of it from somewhere. Where can I get this stuff?

Thanks,
Dan
 

loki

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
How much heat does it have to take?
 

icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Location
Lititz, PA
Most electrical supply stores should carry fiberglass sheathed cable. You can probably also order it through your local theatre supplier. You probably will have to buy it by the roll, so you will get plenty more than 20 feet. You can definitely pick it up from places like BMI Supply and Production Advantage.
 

Charc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
What's an electrical supply store? Well that's a stupid question, but where are they? Are they common, what is a brand name in electrical supply stores? Never heard of 'em before.
 

soundlight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2005
Location
NJ & NYC
Electrical Supply Stores are stores that sell contractor-grade electrical parts for much lower prices than hardware stores, and they also have the more obscure electrical stuff. Apparently their website isn't working right now, but Dauphin Electric is our local store, and apparently a decent-sized company.
 

Footer

Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
Graybar is a huge one, as well as Anexter, but they tend to deal more with data cabling. There are plenty of mom and pop places out there. Just drive down to your nearest industrial pit type area, near the welding suppliers and whatever industry center you have and you will find a large scale electrical suppliers. When I used to work for an electrical contractor I used to carry a binder listing about every supplier in the area. These are the places that know nearly everyone by name when you walk in. Some do not even have a credit card machine because nearly everyone is on a PO account.
 

stantonsound

Active Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2005
Location
Charlotte
I just bought 500' spools at Advanced Auto Parts. They had to special order it and it took 3 days to come in, but not bad.
 

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Location
Michigan
Footer, you made a good point. I am known by name at both my local rental house back in Detroit, and at one of the local industrial lighting supply companies I would frequent for lamps and sockets. It's a valuable asset to know people in your area, not to mention it's fun to come in and be shown the "new stuff they just got in".

As has been said, look in the yellowpages or just do a google seach of something like "lighting supply" and "your town" and see what comes up.
 

church

Active Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2007
Location
Canada
for anyone looking for this stuff in Canada the RONA and Canadian Tire stores both carry fibreglass hi temp wire in black and white insulation. For ground you just need to run a continuous green line along the wire with a permament marker - to comply with code. RONA keeps it in two guages. Both stores sell it by the metre.
 
Last edited:

len

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2004
Location
Chicagoland
While less focused on electrical stuff, you might also try Grainger.

Crest Electrical is big in the midwest. Where I typically go to get breakers for tie-ins.
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Location
Seattle, WA
These are the places that know nearly everyone by name when you walk in. Some do not even have a credit card machine because nearly everyone is on a PO account.
You also are going to get a pretty bad price until they know you by name. Prices are wildly variable at these places based on the volume you purchase.

As for the original post... on second thought your best bet for such a small quantity is probably to just go with your favorite local/national theater supplier, or just drop BillESC a P.M. The price won't be as good as someone like Ship can get from his electrical supplier, but you don't buy thousands of dollars of wire a year like he does. Not being known by the local electrical supplier you will probably see some outrageous prices and you may have to buy a huge quantity.
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Cable supplier or electrical supply prices verses theater lighting suppliers are for the most part one in the same range and based on volume of their purchases and at times reflective of your purchases of their product. All about the discount factor. Often unless near a dealer of a sort in a major city such a thing won't be stock thus won't be volume discount but its possible to be just as cheap. I normally buy 500' spools of it in all the wire gauges and types thru all the above suppliers and more to keep in stock. McMaster Carr also sells heat wire as a source - as with Grainger, not the cheapest but they got it when you need it. Your theater supplier will be more likely to stock it than any place else at a reasonable price. Not all that common a wire to use elsewhere in the wiring industry.

For starters, the initial question of what temperature range you are asking for is very important.

Consider three classes of heat wire. 150c, 200c and 250c. That's celeious temperature. After that Silicone and Teflon heat wire are the same for all intensive purposes in the temperature rating and more dependant upon the mixture of those materials used for the cable for achieving a temperature rating than what material is used. Both within that temp. rating will react the same. Beyond this there is fiberglass sleeved and non-sleeved conductors that can both have the same temperature rating and materials. (I prefer fiberglass coated in having an extra layer of protection.)

There is also multi conductor heat wire available tuch as Tempflex that's these days like a Euro-cable with the hot neutral and ground already in a silicone 200c temperature rated cable. Way back when there was also a better cable called Rockbestos that was much like a type SJ cable but as with the above both rated for 200c. (600v AWM #4418, Rockbestos 14/3 Supernat Heatzone 200̊C - good stuff but discontinued.) Than there is a fiberglass braided varish like coated three conductor cable which is rated in the 250c range. Ainxter www.anixter.com can get it special order but it's not cheap, nor is it flexible. There is other cable available beyond these but the above and below types would be the main types used in theater type lighting gear.


Most cable used on lighting fixtures will be Teflon or Silicone based 200c heat wire that's either fiberglass coated or not. It is called type SF-2 and at 16ga has 24 strands of wire to each conductor. (There is also a type SFF-2 amongst other types out there so be careful with what you purchase. SFF-2 is only rated for 150c.)

Cole Wire & Cable www.colewire.com catalog p.C4: "Fixture Appliance Wire Type SF-2, 600 Volt, 200C, Stranded tinned copper, silicone insulated, Impregnated glass braided jacket, Stocked (or dipped but special order) in various colors. CSA Type SEW-2." This is available from 18ga to 10ga in size. Cole is like many cable distributers, that's all they do and often cheaper buying direct but again based upon volume.

This SF-2 is the most common type of lighting fixture wire both for temperature rating and flexibility balance. IN certain fixtures I will uses type TGGT 250c wire but while it is rated for more temperature it's less flexible in strands of wire able to flex. Not the type of stuff that will last a lifetime being plugged in and moved about and for that reason it does not make a very good fixture whip. Often I'll use something 200c for the whip and 250c inside the fixture itself - this especially inside an audience blinder or studio Fresnel where the conductors don't have to flex as much but will be near a lot of heat.

In the same respect, I will also use a type K/ FEP 150c wire for the ground. I want to know if my fixture is overheating and the best way to know this is to use 150c wire for the ground - something that can be safely exposed and if seen to be melted you know you have a problem with the other conductors. This using the ground in a lower temperature rating than the other conductors will be more safe to use given your fixtures are inspected. Not less money, just the concept of having something that will indicate a problem. Kind of like a radiation tag on your lab jacket. Not going to protect you, but it will indicate when you get too many rads.

Again, lots more types of heat wire out there on the market, as with fiberglass and other materials used for the sleeving. That and vinal and silicone coated fiberglass sleeving, grades of fiberglass sleeving and thermoplastic sleeving to over cover your conductors. Gets involved with lots of things to playtest. I'm a big fan of vinyl coated fiberglass sleeving for many things such as a fixture whip on an audience blinder or cyc light for instance. For some reason gear that has three individual whips braided together seem to take more abuse than other equipment with a single whip thus more reinforcement is needed. McMaster Carr has a really good selection of different types of sleeving. As the temperature rating goes up on the fiberglass sleeving, so does it's abrasion resistance. This in addition to stuff like Kevlar reinforced etc types of sleeving.
 

pianoman

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2007
Thanks for all the information! I had forgotten I posted this topic, and I forgot to turn on notifications so I sort of forgot about this for a couple days...

I am going to be wiring up some old Kliegl Olivettes, so it's basically a 500W incandescent screw-base lamp. The wiring will be going from the top, out the bottom. I will look around town for some SF-2, but if not, I'll be in touch with Bill or someone to get the cable I need.

-Dan
 

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Location
Michigan
Old Olivettes you say? Well, with all the old fixtures nuts around here (myself included) you should post some pics if you can.
 

pianoman

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2007
Actually, I had asked some questions about them before this spring, I just got busy with other stuff. They need to be stripped and repainted for the most part, and I also have to replace the nuts/bolts that hold the bits together. I will then have to get some yokes made up for them. So, I haven't gotten anything done on them. They're a bit dented up, but I already have the lamps for them. I do also need to get a safety screen made up for them, and some frames for gel. So it will be an ongoing project...

-Dan