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Introduction: One significant change to UL 44 (Standard for Safety for Thermoset-Insulated Wires and Cable) in the 2018 release is the addition of the 1000 Volt rating of US type designations. Now XHHW, in addition to having a 600 Volt rating, can be rated 1000 Volt. RHH and RHW cables, which had 600 V and 2000 V ratings, now can be rated 1000 Volts.

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Purpose: Insulation resistance testing is a non-destructive test procedure. The test measures the insulation resistance between the phases and/or between phase and ground. It is commonly used in the industry for acceptance testing prior to energizing the cable and for maintenance testing programs. General Testing Information • For single conductor non-shielded cable on a reel, insulation resistance testing cannot be performed due to the fact that low voltage single conductors do not have a grounding conductor, shield or ground plane. • For other cable on a reel, insulation resistance testing can be performed provided the sealing caps are removed. The procedure to test these cables is outlined below. • NOTE: It is important to remove sealing caps from both ends of the cable to be tested. Residue inside the sealing cap can be conductive and lead to false readings.

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Did you know that if you run cables that connect your variable frequency drives (VFDs) to your motors you could have a significant safety risk in your plant or factory? Fear not, there is a simple solution to this potential problem. It’s a fact. Non-shielded cables emit noise. In many cases, this is not a significant prob- lem. Most of us have heard that 60 Hz hum that happens when a phone line is run too close to a standard 600 Volt power cable. It’s really nothing more than a nuisance with standard power. But the same physics behind that hum may be creating a safety issue in your facility. VFDs change standard 60 Hz power in to variable frequency power that allow us to ex- perience significant energy savings, better control of our equipment, and reduced main- tenance costs. However, like most things in life, there are trade-offs. The down-side of a drive system is that it generates lots of high frequency voltage components that can cause problems with motors, drives, and other plant equipment. These same high frequency waveform components can also cause safety issues. Let’s look at how.

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Correctly sizing a VFD Cable for your drive and motor is really not difficult if you know where to look. By knowing what sections of the National Electrical Code (NEC) to ref- erence, you can correctly size cable conductor size for your system. Just follow these five simple steps to size cables for low voltage drive systems with operating voltages not greater than 575 volts. STEP ONE: Determine the minimum temperature rating of your equipment. Temperature ratings are important to know when derating the cable for the application as higher temperature ratings allow cables to handle more current. The NEC tables for ca- ble ampacity for low voltage cables have columns for 60°C, 75°C and 90°C. The column you use will be based on the minimum temperature rating of your drive terminals, your motor terminals, and your VFD Cable. Most drive terminals are rated for 75°C. All Southwire VFD Cables carry a 90°C conduc- tor temperature rating but this is not true of all VFD Cables from other manufactures. Motor terminal temperature ratings can vary from 60°C to 90°C. Each of these temperature ratings needs to be verified with the manufacturer’s datasheets or user manuals. If other equipment is being used that is in the cable’s path, like a quick disconnect, collect that devices temperature raring too. Once you have all the temperature ratings, record the minimum value.

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DC Hi-Pot Testing is used for proof testing shielded cables (5kV to 46kV) in the field. The test can be done at various times such as acceptance of new cable installation, maintenance testing to track insulation degradation and as a pre and post test for splicing existing cables to new ones. The test will expose gross imperfections that are caused by improper handling, installation techniques or termination workmanship. A DC Hi-Pot test is not capable of locating the point of failure, rather it gives you an assessment of the whole system.

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Background Southwire’s Medium Voltage Switchgear and Substation Cable is a non-shielded, insulated, finely stranded cable that has no voltage rating. The cable has no UL listing and is not recognized by the National Electrical Code (NEC). The cable’s primarily use is for installation in medium voltage switchgear, motor controllers, and substations. In regard to use inside enclosures and equipment, even though this cable itself is not UL listed, a UL approval can be obtained on the complete assembly by having the system tested and approved.

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Overview While it is acceptable to terminate the phase conductors of a VFD cable as you would any other industrial power cable, special attention needs to be paid to the termination of the cable shield. The shield is an important part of the VFD cable but if it is not terminated properly, most of the benefits that this shield provides are negated. If you don’t properly terminate a VFD cable’s shield you may as well have not spent the extra money on VFD cable to begin with! Proper shield termination allows the shield to become a low impedance path for high frequency common mode current to flow from the motor back to the inverter. Without this controlled path, these currents can travel through motor bearings and building infrastructure and cause problems with other sensitive equipment like PLCs, control, and communication systems located throughout your facility. There are three main types of shield found in VFD cables and Southwire makes VFD cables with each of these shield types. The shield types are: copper braid shield with aluminum foil (Copper Braid); A helically applied copper tape (Copper Tape); and a continuously corrugated welded aluminum used in MC cables (Aluminum Welded Armor). This application note will detail how to terminate each of these shield types.

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A variable-frequency drive (VFD) cable is a special cable construction for the inverter-to-motor cable that has some or all of the following attributes:
• An overall shield that keeps bad stuff such as electrical magnetic interference (EMI) from escaping.
• A robust insulation system that keeps good stuff such as voltage and current from escaping.
• A symmetrical design that reduces the amount of bad stuff in the cable, such as common mode current and EMI.

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