A Helpful List of Wire Harness Terms
The list below includes a number of Wire Harness Terms and definitions. Many of our customers are new to outsourcing their wire harness assemblies. Hopefully, you will find these Wire Harness Terms helpful, particularly if this is all new to you.
Wire Harness IPC/WHMA-A-620 Standard
All of the Wire Harness Terms below are from the IPC/WHMA-A-620 which is an industry standard that provides criteria for commonly used wire harness assemblies. The standard sets a “collection of visual Quality Acceptability Requirements for Cable, Wire and Harness Assemblies.” To learn more about the IPC/WHMA-A-620, click here: http://www.ipc.org/ContentPage.aspx?pageid=IPC-WHMA-A-620
Wire Harness Terms and Definitions
American Wire Gage (AWG) – A standard system for designating wire diameter. Primarily used in the U.S.
Bellmouth – The raised portion at the front and/or back of the wire barrel crimp that provides a gradual entrance and exit for the wire strands without causing damage.
Braid – Woven bare metallic or tinned copper wire used as shielding for wires and cables and as ground wire for batteries or heavy industrial equipment. Also, a woven fibrous protective outer covering over a conductor or cable.
Cable – A group of individually insulated conductors in twisted or parallel configuration under a common sheath.
Cable Assembly – A cable with plugs or connectors attached.
Coaxial Cable – A cable consisting of two cylindrical conductors with a common axis separated by a dielectric.
Conductor – An uninsulated wire or the conductor of an insulated wire suitable for carrying electrical current.
Conduit – A tube in which insulated wires and cables are passed.
Connector – A device used to physically and electrically join two or more conductors.
Contact – The conducting part of a connector that acts with another such part to complete or break a circuit.
Crimp – Final configuration of a terminal barrel formed by the compression of terminal barrel and wire.
Crimp Height – The measurement of the overall wire barrel height after crimping the terminal.
Dielectric – Any insulating medium that intervenes between two conductors.
Double Crimp – The process of two or more mechanical crimping operations on the same location in a single terminal.
Ferrule – A short tube. Used to make solderless connections to shielded or coaxial cable. Also, a terminal crimped onto stranded wire to allow insertion into terminal blocks.
Grommet – A rubber seal used on the cable side of multiple contact connector to seal the connector against moisture, dirt or air.
Harness – A group of wire and cables, usually made with breakouts, which are tied together or pulled into a rubber or plastic sheath. A harness provides interconnection of an electric circuit.
Insulation – A material that offers high electrical resistance making it suitable for covering components, terminals, and wires to prevent the possible future contact of adjacent conductors resulting in a short circuit.
Insulation Crimp – Area of a terminal, splice or contact formed around the insulation of the wire.
Lanyard – A device attached to certain connectors that permit uncoupling and separation of connector halves by a pull on a wire or cable.
RF Connector – Connector used for connecting or terminating coaxial cable.
Ribbon Cable – A flat cable of individually insulated conductors lying parallel and held together by means of adhesive film laminate.
Strain Relief – A technique or item which reduces the transmission of mechanical stresses to the conductor termination.
Stress Relief – A predetermined amount of slack to relieve tension in component or lead wires.
Terminal – A device designed to terminate a conductor that is to be affixed to a post, stud, chassis, another conductor, etc., to establish an electrical connection. Some types of terminals include ring, tongue, spade, flag, hook, blade, quick-connect, offset and flanged.
Tubing – A tube of extruded non-supported plastic or metallic material.
Wire – Slender rod or filament of drawn metal.
Wire Diameter – The overall conductor plus insulation thickness.
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Also, if you are a circuit board junkie, check out our blog series on soldering printed circuit boards.