Ensuring a reliable and efficient supply of electricity to residential and commercial properties hinges on service entrance cables. This cable is the conduit through which electrical power is transported from the utility pole to the primary electrical panel. It also acts as a protective shield, securing the electrical wiring from external elements, such as extreme temperatures and physical damage.
This article will explore the importance of service entrance cables, their different types, and their installation process.
What Are Service Entrance Cables?
A service entrance cable is the link between the power line provided by the utility company and the main electrical panel. It is typically constructed using aluminum or copper, two highly conductive metals that facilitate efficient electricity transmission.
Since the cable is often exposed to outdoor conditions, it is engineered to withstand the elements. Therefore, it is usually insulated and jacketed to protect against moisture, sunlight, temperature variations, and physical damage. The insulation and jacketing materials used in its construction also provide a protective barrier, ensuring the longevity and durability of the cable.
Types of Service Entrance Cables and Their Installation Processes
Three main types of service entrance cables are commonly used in electrical installations. Here is an overview of each:
Overhead Service Entrance Cable
An overhead service entrance cable is intended for installations where the utility lines are suspended above the ground. This cable is typically used in areas where power lines are mounted on poles or other structures. One of its features is its aerial installation, where the cable is suspended from utility poles or other support structures.
This cable is available in various sizes and configurations to accommodate power requirements and local electrical code regulations. It is typically made of aluminum or copper, both known for their excellent conductivity properties. Nonetheless, the choice of conductor material depends on factors such as electrical load, cost considerations, and local regulations.
Underground Service Entrance Cable
An underground service entrance cable is specifically designed for electrical installations where the utility lines are buried underground. It is commonly used in areas where the power lines are routed beneath the surface to provide electricity to residential or commercial buildings. It is also laid in trenches or conduits, ensuring they remain shielded and secured from external elements and accidental damage.
The use of this cable offers several advantages. First, it eliminates the visual impact of overhead power lines, providing a more aesthetically pleasing environment. Second, it reduces the risk of outages caused by adverse weather conditions, such as high winds, which can affect overhead power lines.
Combination Service Entrance Cable
A combination or duplex service entrance cable combines overhead and underground configurations into one assembly. This versatile and customizable cable is intended for overhead-to-underground power line transition properties. It simplifies the installation process and reduces potential points of failure, ensuring an efficient power supply.
It is important to note that a combination service entrance cable should adhere to local electrical code regulations and specifications. In addition, proper installation techniques should be employed to ensure safe and compliant electrical connections for properties with mixed overhead and underground power lines.
Choose Classic Wire & Cable for Your Wiring Needs
At Classic Wire & Cable, we take pride in providing reliable wires and cables of any length to meet our customers’ specific project requirements! We also offer various value-added services to support every project.
The cost of cables has increased due to the steady rise in copper prices in recent years. As a result, many customers are searching for alternatives to reduce expenses without compromising the quality of their assemblies. Using aluminum conductors instead of copper is one such option.
Although Copper and Aluminum exhibit some notable contrasts, they also share similarities that make them suitable for comparable uses. Thus, customers can save money on their projects by switching to aluminum conductors.
At Classic Wire & Cable, we offer a range of aluminum conductors suitable for various applications. Our engineering team can work with customers to select the right cable. We carry THHN, XHHW-2, RHW-2, and USE-2, SER, SEU, URD, MC products, all available in aluminum.
Using the Ampacity Conversion Chart
Suppose you are considering switching from copper to aluminum conductors to save money on your electrical project. This can be done using the ampacity conversion chart provided by the National Electric Code (NEC) 310.15(B)(16) 2017.
The chart lists the ampacity ratings for different sizes of aluminum conductors based on an ambient temperature of 30 °C. The dimensions are listed in AWG or square millimeters, and the ampacity ratings are listed in amperes (A). To use the chart, locate the size of the copper conductor you would normally use and find the corresponding ampacity rating. Then, find the size of the aluminum conductor with a similar ampacity rating.
Why Aluminum Can Be a Cost-Effective Alternative to Copper
Weight and Cost Savings
Aluminum’s lighter weight compared to copper results in substantial savings in transportation and installation costs. Due to its lower density, a larger quantity of aluminum can achieve the same electrical conductivity level while decreasing the overall product weight. Consequently, expenses for shipping and labor during installation are also reduced.
One way to offset aluminum’s lower conductivity is by designing conductors with larger cross-sectional areas. This approach can decrease resistance and enhance conductivity, improving overall performance.
Copper and aluminum are corrosion-resistant metals, making them suitable for usage in tough environmental conditions. Nonetheless, aluminum is better equipped to handle corrosive surroundings due to its ability to create a protective oxide layer upon exposure to the atmosphere. This layer helps to prevent further corrosion, ultimately extending the lifespan of the aluminum conductor.
Quality Aluminum Building Wire with Classic Wire & Cable
Classic Wire assists you in leveraging the advantages of utilizing aluminum building wires, particularly as copper prices continue to increase. With the aid of our knowledgeable engineering team, we can help you select the appropriate wire solution that suits your project requirements.
We provide various aluminum products tailored to different application needs. Furthermore, our team is dedicated to delivering superior-quality products and expert assistance. Thus, we can guarantee that you can transition to aluminum wires with peace of mind, achieving its cost-saving and performance-boosting benefits.
SO portable cords, or SOOW cords, are a type of power cable designed for use in electrical systems to safely transfer power from one source to another. The “S” in “SO” stands for service. If the “S” is not followed by a “J”, it means that the cord has a voltage rating of 600 volts; however, if there is a “J”, the cord has a voltage rating of 300 volts.
The “OO” means that the jacket and insulation of the cord are oil-resistant, and the “W” illustrates water and weather resistance. All in all, SOOW and SJOOW portable cords resist oil, water, weather, solvents, abrasion, aging, and ozone. They are also durable, flexible, and flame-retardant. At Classic Wire & Cable, we offer both SOOW and SJOOW portable cords to meet your electrical needs.
Benefits of SO Portable Cords
One of the primary benefits of SO cords is their flexibility, making them a popular choice for various electrical power applications. These adaptable cords can be used in both indoor and outdoor environments to suit the needs of applications such as:
Temporary lighting and electrical power at construction sites
Wiring for industrial equipment and machinery
SO cords feature contrasting plastic or rubber jackets enclosing the conductors. This gives you the freedom to choose the cord that offers the highest level of safety and cost-effectiveness for your project. While SO cables offer a wide range of advantages, it’s important to note that the rubber outer jacket and flexible nature of these cords make them a poor choice for permanent wiring installations, as they could cause conduit jams during wire pulls.
Classic Wire’s SO Portable Cables
Classic Wire and Cable offers two types of SO portable wires:
SOOW Copper 600V
Our SOOW cables offer resistance to sunlight, water, and weather, making them a great solution for both indoor and outdoor use. These cables can be submerged in shallow water for up to three months at temperatures up to 60°C. Common applications for our SOOW Copper 600V cables include portable tools and equipment, small motors, and associated machinery.
Classic Wire SJOOW
With a voltage rating of 300 volts, our SJOOW portable cables are suited for heavy-duty use in damp or dry environments up to 90°C. They are ideal for supplying power to lawnmowers, portable power tools, barbecues, and other outdoor equipment.
Construction for SOOW and SJOOW Portable Cables
Both our SOOW and SJOOW portable cables feature flexible thermoset rubber cordage capable of withstanding a wide range of temperatures. Designed to hold up in extreme heat and cold, these cables offer exceptional performance and flexibility.
The construction of our SOOW and SJOOW portable cords includes:
Conductors: Manufactured using flexible stranded Class K through 18 to 10 American Wire Gauge (AWG) conductors to meet ASTM B-174 standards.
Insulation: EPDM rubber insulation offers moisture and oil resistance and can withstand temperatures up to 90°C.
Assembly: Insulated conductors are cabled with non-wicking wax paper fillers. The assembly is wrapped with tissue-paper separators to ensure easier jacket removal.
Jacket: To complete the construction, an oil, moisture, and heat-resistant flexible CPE jacket is extruded over the assembly.
SO Portable Cords from Classic Wire and Cable
SO portable cords offer a flexible option for various indoor and outdoor electrical power applications. At Classic Wire & Cable, we’ve been serving electrical distributors with quality aluminum wire and cable solutions for over 200 years. Depending on your particular needs, we offer both SOOW and SJOOW portable cords designed to hold up under harsh conditions.
For more information about our selection of SO portable cables, contact us today.
Also known as metallic sheathed cables, metal-clad (Type MC) armored cables consist of one or more insulated circuit conductors. The cable is usually protected by an aluminum or steel interlocking tape armor, or a smooth aluminum corrugated sheath.
The aluminum interlocked armor, widely used with Type MC cables, acts as mechanical protection for electrical circuits. With over 200 years of combined experience, Classic Wire & Cable is a trusted supplier of aluminum conductor Type MC armored cables for electrical distributors.
Uses of Type MC Armored Cables
Though Type MC and Type AC cables bear a resemblance, the two should not be confused. Type AC cables are manufactured with an internal bonding strip, while Type MC cables have an equipment ground conductor (EGC). Due to these unique features, Type AC cables are not permitted in outdoor environments, specifically in damp areas while Type MC cables are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
However, it’s important to note that you should not install Type MC cables in areas where they are likely to be physically damaged. You must secure and support them at no more than six-foot intervals. Consult Article 330 in the National Electrical Code (NEC) for more information.
Common applications of Type MC cables include:
Service entrance cables
Feeders or branch circuits for power and lighting circuits
Flexible, protected whips to HVAC equipment, light fixtures, or other wiring methods and equipment
Compared to traditional cables, armored cables are more economical because you don’t need to install an electrical conduit then pull the conductors into place. Simply install the armored cable as a complete solution.
Type MC Aluminum Interlocked Armor XHHW-2 Rated 600V
At Classic Wire & Cable, we offer Type MC cables with Type XHHW-2 conductors. Type XHHW-2 conductors are commonly used in services, feeders, branch circuits, and raceways (conduit). The conductor insulation is a thermoset cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE), which means that it is more resistant to abrasion and chemicals.
Type MC Aluminum Interlocked Armor XHHW-2 cables are often used for indoor lighting and branch circuit applications. With a maximum voltage rating of 600V, these cables can also be used in dry or wet locations with a maximum operating temperature of 90°C.
Type MC Aluminum Interlocked Armor THHN/THWN-2 Rated 600V
These cables are manufactured with thermoplastic insulated conductors comprised of a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) insulation with a Nylon covering. These conductors are commonly used in control circuits, machine tools, and appliances.
These cables are flame-retardant and resistant to oil and gasoline. The nylon covering also protects the conductors from abrasion, puncture, or accidental cuts when the armor is removed and the conductors are pulled through a conduit to the device.
Type MC Aluminum Interlocked Armor THHN/THWN-2 cables are often used for indoor lighting and branch circuit applications. With a maximum voltage rating of 600V, these cables can also be used in dry or wet locations with a maximum operating temperature of 90°C.
These types of cables are manufactured, tested and identified in accordance with the following standards:
UL 83 Thermoplastic-Insulated Wire and Cable (Type THHN/THWN-2)
UL 44 – Thermoset-Insulated Wire and Cable (Type XHHW-2)
UL 1569 – Metal-Clad Cables (Type MC)
IEEE 1202 – Flame Testing of Cables for Use in Cable Tray, in Industrial and Commercial Occupancies (70,000 BTU/hr)
ICEA S-95-658 (NEMA WC 70) – Power Cables Rated 2000 Volts or Less for the Distribution of Electrical Energy
Get Top-Quality Type MC Armored Cables
Type MC armored cables offer many benefits, from corrosion resistance and flexibility to durability and continuous protection. Moreover, these cables are lighter and more cost-effective than other wiring methods due to their aluminum construction.
Do you want to purchase or learn more about Type MC armored cables? Contact us today, and we’ll be more than happy to help.
Service entrance cables are electrical cables that connect and carry electrical currents from electrical companies to commercial buildings. They come in different types that serve various functions. Read on to learn what service entrance cables are and their primary characteristics.
Service Entrance Cables
There are two main types of service entrance cables: SER and SEU. SER cables are with a Style R reinforcement tape, and they typically deliver power from the service drop-down to the meter base to the distribution panel. SEU cables aremost frequently used as panel feeders in branch circuit applications.
According to the National Electric Code (NEC), service entrance cables are designed to be used for services. All service entrance cables are produced, tested, and marked according to UL 854 standards. Service entrance cables for underground use are UL Type USE or USE-2, and service entrance cables for aboveground use are UL Type SE, Style R or U.
Service Entrance Cable Characteristics
Aboveground service entrance cables are either SER or SEU. They have a moisture-resistant and flame retardant covering that enables them to easily pull through framing members and wooden joists in commercial buildings. Installation and application of all service entrance cables are specified by NEC Article 338.
SEU and SER cables are manufactured with an AA-8000 series (ACM) electrical-conductor-grade aluminum alloy. Manufacturing underground UL Type USE and USE-2 cables that are not marked with any other type—such as RHH, RHW, or RHW-2—is done with an AA-8000 series (ACM) electrical-conductor-grade aluminum alloy or an EC-1350 grade aluminum alloy.
SER and SEU cables have different anatomies that make them suitable for various parts of a project. For example, an SEU cable has a neutral conductor but lacks a ground conductor. Because ground conductors and neutral conductors are only joined at the point of service disconnect, SEU cables are only safe to use at the point of disconnect. On the other hand, SER cables have both neutral and ground conductors, which makes them safe to use after the service disconnect.
Another difference between SER and SEU cables is their construction. SER cables are copper or aluminum wires reinforced with special Style R tape. SEU cables are Style U, which means they are unarmored and often used as panel feeders. Regardless of type, the installation of service entrance cables should always be done by a professional for safety reasons.
Service Entrance Cables From Classic Wire and Cable
Now that you have a good understanding of SER and SEU cables, the next step is to select a cable that fits your particular electrical project. With more than 200 years of combined cable and wire experience, Classic Wire and Cable’s experts specialize in serving electrical distributors. With warehouses in California and Pennsylvania and regional distribution centers throughout the U.S., we are always fully stocked with high-quality goods at competitive prices.
Ratings and Markings
See this table to learn more about our service entrance cable specifications.
SE Style R
SE Style U
2c + Bare Cabled3c + Bare Cabled4c + Bare Cabled
2c + Bare Concentric
3c + InsulatedGround
8 AWG to
8 AWG to
8 AWG to
2 AWG to
Thermoplastic (UL 83)
Thermoset (UL 44)
Thermoset (UL 44)
UL 83: THHN / THWN-2
UL 44: XHHW
RHH / RHW-2 / USE-2
75 deg C PVC
Minimum Average: 30 mil
Minimum Point: 25 mil
Joist Pull Tested
Selecting the right service entrance cable depends on the priorities of your electrical project. At Classic Wire and Cable, we offer a range of value-added services and use all available resources to make our customers’ projects a success.Contact us today for more information about our products and services.
Historically, utility companies have used aluminum cables for power transmission and distribution. However, in recent years, aluminum wire has gained popularity in commercial and residential building applications. In the correct application, utility aluminum cables have many advantages over other wire types while providing the same level of reliability.
At Classic Wire & Cable, our collective experience in the cable and wire industry exceeds 200 years, enabling us to exclusively provide electrical distributors with high-performance aluminum cables.
Why Use Utility Aluminum Cables?
Aluminum is a great choice for utility applications because it is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. Compared to copper cables, aluminum’s light weight makes it nearly twice as good of a conductor. For this reason, utility aluminum cables are a top choice for major power transmission lines.
Click to Expand
Utility Aluminum Cables Properties & Applications
Since aluminum is physically, chemically, and mechanically similar to other metals used as electrical current conductors, aluminum wire is a preferred, low-cost alternative in many situations. Aluminum wire is easy to work with, allowing professionals to quickly and effectively install the wiring in various locations. Utility aluminum cables are often the best choice for applications where weight is a concern since it is much more lightweight than copper wiring.
The construction industry uses aluminum wire because of its cost savings and better conductivity to weight than other wiring types, such as copper. Contractors install aluminum wire in multiple areas, such as service entrance conductors, large conductors, and power distribution conductors. Commercial facilities widely use utility aluminum cable, including high-rise buildings, shopping malls, stadiums, wastewater treatment plants, and manufacturing facilities.
Classic Wire and Cable Aluminum Cable Offerings
With years of experience, the aluminum wire and cable experts at Classic Wire & Cable can find the right cable for almost every application. We have strategically placed regional distribution centers, including Pennsylvania and California warehouse hubs, fully stocked with quality products, leading to reduced lead times and better service. Our distributors trust the Classic Wire & Cable professionals to offer full support for our entire product line and competitive prices.
We offer the following aluminum utility cable types:
Aluminum URD Cables (Underground)
QUADRUPLEX OH Service Drop Cables (Overhead)
ACSR Bare Aluminum Bare Aluminum Cables
Other types of wire and cable we offer include:
Type SE XHHW Aluminum Cable (SER)
Type SE XHHW Aluminum Cable (SEU)
THHN/THWN-2 Aluminum Power Cable Low Friction 600 V
XHHW-2 Aluminum Power Cable Low Friction 600 V / 1000 V
600 V Aluminum USE-2 RHH OR RHW-2
Mobile Home Feeder
Trust Classic Wire & Cable for Utility Aluminum Cables and More
Aluminum cables offer advantages in a wide range of applications. Whether you need help deciding if aluminum wire is best for your project or choosing the right type of aluminum wire for your application, our professionals can help. At Classic Wire & Cable, we boast over 200 years of combined experience in the wire and cable industry. We maintain a large utility aluminum cable selection at competitive prices while providing fast service and a network of trusted distributors.
With Classic Wire & Cable’s customer-first approach, we strive to provide a high level of customer satisfaction with quality cable offerings and a list of value-added services, ensuring our customers get the aluminum cables they need at the right time. Our knowledgeable and experienced team members are ready to assist with your utility aluminum cable needs. Contact us to learn about the types of aluminum wire we offer and how to choose the right cable for your application.
Wires and cables are integral components for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications. At Classic Wire and Cable, we offer a full product line of industrial wire and cables, competitively priced to meet the demands of our customers. Each product has a particular use and provides various benefits.
Industrial Wire Types
One of the most common industrial wires used in construction is aluminum building wire. When aluminum electrical conductors are used in commercial construction or industrial projects, aluminum building wiring is the preferred type of electrical wiring. Compared to other materials like copper, aluminum offers an improved conductivity to weight ratio, making it ideal for applications such as:
Wiring power grids
Overhead power transmission lines
Local power distribution lines
Power wiring of airplanes
From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, utility companies used aluminum wire in power grids for electrical transmission. The cost and weight advantages of the lightweight metal outweighed that of copper wiring.
Today, aluminum wire is still the preferred material in power transmission and distribution applications. Since copper is a better conductor than aluminum, most home wiring projects and small applications use copper wires. However, in the 1960s, when the price of copper skyrocketed, aluminum wiring became the preferred choice for home wiring.
Industrial Cable Types
There are several industrial cable types to choose from, each having its own unique uses and advantages:
Type MC Armored Cables
Metal-clad (MC) armored cable constructions offer a cost-efficient alternative to traditional wire and pipe. This industrial cable type eliminates the need for an electrical conduit, thereby reducing the labor costs typically involved with installation.
Contractors that use MC armored cable require:
Limited pulling equipment
Less time setting up pulls
No specialty bending or cutting tools
Key advantages of armored cable include:
Protection and durability. These cables provide the necessary protection and durability without needing an electrical conduit, costly offsets, elbows, and conduit couplings.
Corrosion resistance. Armored cable resists corrosion, making them suitable for locations exposed to excessive moisture.
Flexibility. The interlocked armor material is flexible, unlike continuously welded armor or other conduits, offering protection to the inner conductors. MC armored cable is also easy to install in complex, close-spaced bends.
No specialty tools. Installation does not require specialty cutting or bending tools.
A variety of industries utilize aluminum cables due to their many benefits. Even though aluminum is much lighter than copper, it maintains the same conductivity properties, giving it a distinct advantage compared to other metals. When weight is a primary concern, as in load-bearing jobs, aluminum cables are preferred because of their lightweight yet durable design.
When comparing copper cables to aluminum cables on a loading basis, aluminum offers several different advantages, including:
Lighter in weight
Has the same conductivity
SO Portable Cord Cables (Copper)
It is common practice to identify the properties of industrial wire and cable with a letter. With SO portable cord cables, the “S” stands for “Extra Hard Service,” and the “O” stands for “Oil Resistant.” This means that this type of industrial cable is ideal for applications requiring 600 volts or less, and its outer jacket is resistant to oil.
Experienced Wire and Cable Manufacturers
Many industries, such as construction, rely on industrial electric wire and cable components for various projects. Classic Wire and Cable has exclusively provided quality products to electrical distributors since 2016. We have two fully stocked warehouse hubs in California and Pennsylvania, with several strategically located regional distribution centers.
Our knowledgeable sales team and local NEMRA-affiliated representatives offer invaluable resources in selecting the proper industrial cable types to help our clients succeed. As a preferred supplier, Classic Wire and Cable offers Value Added Services and a wide variety of quality industrial wire and cable products, including those listed above.
If you can’t find the product you are looking for, contact us today, and one of our sales representatives can assist you. We’d be happy to provide you with more information about our catalog of products.