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Author Topic: Quality Test lead wires specifications - Get more understanding about them.  (Read 20588 times)

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Online Kiriakos GR

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Branded test leads cables these escorting a multimeter, these comes with fine print over them mentioning several identification codes which most people they are unable to decode.

The root of evil this is UL certification laboratories because in simple English ...  all meaningless descriptions as for example .. AWM  and or VW-1  these are name codes which are used to describe category or testing procedure which followed this classifying the product regarding flammability, and or ability to extinguish fire by it self and many more details.

Test lead stranded copper wire this is separate product than a complete test lead with attached connectors at its end.
Test lead wire, this is a special product including fine-wire copper  that is 100% pure (soft) and shines as to was gold.

UL category  description this is  Appliance Wiring Material - Component

PVC or Silicon isolation (sleeve) this is a choice according end customer requirements.
There is no strict rule regarding temperature tolerance which a sleeve isolation this must or should survive, neither it is a fact that every silicone sleeve this is superior to a PVC sleeve.

Generally speaking most people including my self, we have a preference to silicone sleeve because of feeling of softness, such a sleeve will deform less at wider range of weather temperatures as for example cold weather (10C or lower) and also it will look as wet spaghetti at 35C and above.

Today after significant research I came in the conclusion that industry involved at making test and measurement wires these are quit a few and less than five worldwide.
And some of them does not even have a website.  :(
Below are few examples of this non-charted industry. 

Test leads manufacturing Example No1: 

UL recognized code:  E173476     
UL classification   : AWM
UL sleeve isolation compliance : 3239
Copper diameter :  16AWG
Dielectric strength : 6KV
Temperature: 150C
Material silicone.   
Homo location ( origin marker ) unknown.   

Test leads manufacturing Example No2: 

UL recognized code: E302077
UL classification   : AWM
UL sleeve isolation compliance : 3135
Copper diameter :  18AWG
Dielectric strength : 600V  FT2
Temperature: 200C
Material silicone.   
Homo location ( origin marker ) DE  = GERMANY  (  :P )
(This wire found attached over at Parrot-Clip product)

Test leads manufacturing Example No3:     
UL recognized code:  E46560
UL classification   : AWM
UL sleeve isolation compliance : 1032
Copper diameter :  18AWG
Dielectric strength : 1000v AC/1400 DC ... FT1 
Temperature: 90C
Material PVC
Maker : TOTOKU  With additional certification codes:  LL32968 CSA TYPE  TR-32  90C  FT1 18AWG

Test leads manufacturing Example No4:   
UL description code:  E120880 
Use: Test Probe Lead up to +60 °C
Copper diameter :  SILI-E 2,5 mm2
Dielectric strength : 600V AC / Tested at 2500V  AC
Material silicone:
Maker : Staubli  / Multi-contac  MC  ( HQ in Germany )
Product line :  SiliVolt-E

In summary
Test lead wire this is no regular product produced by a generic cooking recipe, this wire it is actually LIFE and DEATH frontier and it is important every one to understand  TREMENDOUS importance of our decision when we plan making  our own  home-assembled  tests lead extension cables and or test leads repair by replacing the wire.

1) If you need teaching relative to UL description codes then here is your school http://database.ul.com/cgi-bin/XYV/template/LISEXT/1FRAME/showpage.html?&name=AVLV2.GuideInfo&ccnshorttitle=Appliance+Wiring+Material+-+Component&objid=1073744549&cfgid=1073741824&version=versionless&parent_id=1073744548&sequence=1   

2) Picture below this will help you widening further your understanding.

3) Unknown maker wire this selected for use in test leads ...   this is a ridicules thought,  poor quality stranded and tinned copper cable covered with silicone this is CHEAP cable for RC (radio control toys ), and other generic low voltage applications.

4) Most known victims in that market (shopping such poor and dangerous products)  are young in age or overage hobbyist whom are clueless regarding product specification and danger this hidden at everything working with 60V and above.
5) I is you own obligation to become better educated about product details and industry of  test and measurement wires ( cables).

6) Now the expert shopper he will face some additional dilemmas, some wires stocked at several eshop sold as test lead wire,  this be unbranded with out specifications offered by recognized manufacturer,  these can be year 2003 produced stock which at that time regulations was not tight and product compliance this is questionable today.

Branded sources to purchase wire by the meter ( foot) according your wish these are few, and their electrical specifications they look good but are not on par with for example Keysight test leads set with 6KV tested voltage.
Another problem this is the price, for example Staubli  / Multi-contact  MC this seems to offer SiliVolt-E wire (due retail channel) which is quality product but nothing extreme as leading product, at prices of 3.30 Euro per meter cut to length of five meter roll,  when 100M  reel this goes for 2.50 Euros (per meter) VAT included = 250 Euros per Reel.  ???

You may imagine that  5M of red and of black at 2.5mm2  this is close 32 Euros !!!!   And this is powerful pain in your ass.
Such pricing games are played at both sides of the big lake,  I do consider all involved players that they do push the envelope very high, and final result this is unavoidable consumers wallet ripoff.

7) Other than the USA and EU, similar market distortion this is happening in England in which electrical appliance safety testing this should be performed frequently, their market is full of PAT testers these using extensions test lead wire.
Today they are about two brands with unclear origin these selling PAT tester cables and test lead accessories at premium ripoff pricing.

8 ) Latest applicable certifications and manufacturing standards they are developed increasing safety and protecting human life.
Nowadays any largest size isolated alligator this it should not having exposed jaws at sideways when this is closed.
While known brands (internationally )  they did conform several years ago,  industry of low-cost test leads in China mainland this does not.
In conclusion, do your homework carefully when you are about shopping test leads or wire, search and find documentation signed by electrician engineers or brands which are still alive in the market.
Inspect date of delivered documentation ( product specifications ).
Avoid outdated stock of such products.
Demonstrate necessary passion to find the truth before delivering your money by buying a promise made by a stranger seller or faceless whole-seller.    ;)

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Online Kiriakos GR

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Lets add a bit more salt and pepper in this topic.

1) Nowadays Fluke-China Corporation this it did significant damage at test lead cables market, they use wires with out be labeled as AWM or including any other UL marking, this helped copycat industry to produce identical products which no one can identify as Genuine or Fake.
Fluke TL221 Surergrip Silicone Test Lead with a banana coupler, this is now offered less than 9$ USD shipped worldwide from China.

2) Unfortunately there is no well educated multimeter users, only very few will think by them self's that when measuring very high resistance values, then test wires insulation material this is of high importance.

Number one wire sleeve regarding highest electrical insulation is the one named as Double insulated TPE ( The one containing a white sleeve under the external sleeve).
Now if you need to find the second winner?   by comparing silicon with PVC , you need to do your own homework regarding insulation properties of its material, and in the end of the day do not expect getting what you hope for by shopping unbranded cables from eBay China.

3) Uni-T  (Unitrend China ) this now started offerings of test lead probe and wires and accessories, neither them are good players at following international rules.
All that you get is product description which this is good only for under-aged kids so them to believe.
Actual test accessories product design, this is known from the year 2011,  back then a Chinese factory named as CHI SHING was in-charge of production and marketing, suddenly this disappear and become 100% OEM with out doorbell and internet address. 
4) The major problem with latest OEM China factories ( test lead makers ) this is quality of plastics used for test leads insulation, and also their molding machines these are out of calibration.
Most know problematic item this is the cheapest female banana coupler due error at insulation sleeve diameter this does not have compatibility with 98% of insulated male banana plugs offered by other brands.
Third problem this is the softness of material used as sleeve and even it texture, both are problematic because diameter is not perfect and also this easily deforms, when such banana sleeve comes in contact with a male shrouded banana, increased friction of materials this is significant, the user should use lots of force so to achieve his goal.
Fifth problem this is date of supposed followed EEC standards, they mention compliance of the year 2010 ....  my own  calendar soon it will be at year 2019!   

I was had to touch by my self  Staubli  / Multi-contact shrouded manana plugs so to feel the difference, their banana sleeves are made by hardened insulation material, this also be non-porous, this recipe improves plugging and unplugging of banana connectors, by making this process an effortless task.

Staubli  / Multi-contact products sold on eBay they seem and are extremely overpriced, after significant research I am now aware that German whole-seller direct partners of Staubli, such a business will deliver 50% lower prices than eBay sellers.

Staubli made female banana coupler this goes for 1.5 EUR its one for small quantity, I am now thinking adding and few of them at my shopping list. 

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