What Is MC Cable: A Comprehensive Guide

What Is MC Cable?

MC Cable, also known as Metal Clad cable, is an assembly of insulated circuit conductors enclosed in an armor of interlocking metal tape or a smooth corrugated sheath.

It is a type of cable that offers various advantages such as smaller outer diameter, lighter weight, and protection against fire, vibration, pests, and physical harm.

MC cables have an equipment ground conductor and are commonly used in outdoor and indoor applications for power, lighting, and fixture control.

They can be installed in wet or dry locations, hazardous areas, cable trays, and even direct burial or encased in concrete.

MC cable does not require conduit and offers faster and cleaner installations compared to conduit installations.

It can range in size from #18 AWG to large feeder sizes.

Key Points:

  • MC Cable is an assembly of insulated circuit conductors enclosed in an armor of interlocking metal tape or a smooth corrugated sheath.
  • It offers advantages such as smaller outer diameter, lighter weight, and protection against fire, vibration, pests, and physical harm.
  • MC cables have an equipment ground conductor and are commonly used in indoor and outdoor applications for power, lighting, and fixture control.
  • They can be installed in wet or dry locations, hazardous areas, cable trays, and even direct burial or encased in concrete.
  • MC cable does not require conduit and offers faster and cleaner installations compared to conduit installations.
  • It can range in size from #18 AWG to large feeder sizes.

Did You Know?

1. MC Cable, also known as Metal-Clad Cable, is a type of electrical wiring commonly used in construction projects.

2. MC Cable consists of multiple conductors encased in a metallic armor, which provides protection against physical damage and acts as a ground path.

3. Unlike traditional conduit systems, MC Cable doesn’t require a separate grounding conductor, as the metallic armor serves as the ground.

4. MC Cable is often used in applications where flexibility is required, such as running wires through tight spaces or around corners.

5. The metallic armor of MC Cable also provides excellent protection against electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI), making it suitable for sensitive electronic equipment installations.

Introduction To MC Cable

MC Cable, short for Metal Clad Cable, is an electrical cable that consists of insulated circuit conductors encased in an armor made of interlocking metal tape or a smooth corrugated sheath. This armor provides enhanced protection to the conductors, making MC Cable suitable for a wide range of applications. It is commonly used in 600 volt and medium voltage power, lighting, and fixture control applications.

Compared to other types of cables, MC Cable has a smaller outer diameter and is lighter, making it easier to handle and install. It provides protection against fire, vibration, pests, and physical harm, making it a reliable choice for various electrical installations. Additionally, MC Cable can be installed indoors or outdoors, in wet or dry locations, hazardous areas, cable trays, messenger aerial cables, approved raceways, direct burial, or even encased in concrete.

Related Post:  How to Read Electrical Meter: A Comprehensive Guide

One important aspect to note is that the gauge of the wire, rather than the diameter of the armor, is what identifies MC Cable. This means that different sizes of MC Cable can be used depending on the specific requirements of the installation.

Advantages Of MC Cable

MC Cable offers several advantages over other types of cables. Firstly, its smaller outer diameter and lighter weight make it easier to handle and install. This can save time and labor hours for electricians, especially in large-scale projects. Additionally, the installation of MC Cable is faster, requires fewer workers, and results in cleaner installations compared to conduit installations.

MC Cable: A type of cable that offers several advantages over other types of cables, including easier handling and installation, faster and cleaner installations, versatility in application and installation options, cost-effectiveness, enhanced protection to conductors, and suitability for a wide range of applications.

Another advantage of MC Cable is its versatility in terms of application and installation options. It can be used in various environments, including wet locations, and can range in size from small gauges such as #18 AWG to large feeder sizes. The ability to use MC Cable without a conduit also adds to its convenience and cost-effectiveness, further saving time and labor during installation.

Moreover, MC Cable is designed to provide enhanced protection to the conductors. Its interlocking metal tape or smooth corrugated sheath armor helps shield the cables from potential hazards such as fire, pests, and physical damage. This durability makes MC Cable suitable for a wide range of applications, ensuring reliable and safe electrical connections.

Manufacturing Process And Limitations

The manufacturing process of MC Cable involves enclosing insulated circuit conductors within an armor made of interlocking metal tape or a smooth corrugated sheath. This process ensures the durability and protection of the cable. However, like any manufacturing process, there are potential risks involved.

One limitation of the manufacturing process is the limited options for conductor color, conduit color, and labeling. This lack of flexibility can sometimes make it challenging to differentiate between cables during installation or maintenance. Therefore, it is important to carefully plan and label MC Cable installations to avoid confusion and ensure proper identification.

Additionally, MC Cable must not be installed where it is susceptible to physical damage. It must be supported and secured at intervals not exceeding six feet to prevent sagging or stress on the conductors. Following these installation guidelines is crucial to maintain the integrity and reliability of the MC Cable.

Related Post:  Can You Reuse Wire Nuts? Discover the Surprising Facts

Differences Between MC And AC Cables

While MC Cable and AC (Armored Clad) Cable can appear similar, there are some notable differences between the two.

One significant difference is that MC Cable has an equipment ground conductor, while AC Cable utilizes an internal bonding strip. This distinction allows MC Cable to provide an additional level of safety by grounding the electrical system.

Another difference between MC Cable and AC Cable is their suitability for outdoor use. MC Cable is designed to withstand outdoor conditions, while AC Cable is not recommended for outdoor installations. Therefore, if the application requires an outdoor electrical connection, MC Cable is the preferred choice.

Furthermore, the National Electrical Code (NEC) recognizes different types of MC Cable based on their construction. These include:

  • Aluminum Interlocked Armor (AIA)
  • Continuously Corrugated Copper Weld (CLX)
  • Steel Wire Armor (SWA)
  • Galvanized Armor

Each type offers distinct properties and may be suitable for specific applications.

Applications And Installation Options For MC Cable

MC Cable is widely used in various applications, including service, feeder, and branch circuits. It is commonly employed in 600 volt and medium voltage power systems, lighting installations, and fixture control. The ability to provide enhanced protection against fire, vibration, and physical harm makes MC Cable ideal for critical electrical connections.

In terms of installation options, MC Cable offers great flexibility. It can be installed indoors or outdoors, in wet or dry locations, hazardous areas, cable trays, messenger aerial cables, approved raceways, direct burial, and even encased in concrete. This versatility enables electricians to choose the most suitable installation method based on the specific requirements of the project.

In industrial applications, MC Cable installations in cable trays can be a cost-effective alternative to wire in conduit. This option reduces labor costs and installation time while maintaining safety standards. Additionally, Teck90 cable, which is a type of MC Cable with smooth aluminum armor, is commonly used in industrial environments, including petrochemical facilities.

MC Cable is a reliable and versatile electrical cable that provides enhanced protection for insulated conductors.

Its smaller outer diameter, lighter weight, and ease of installation make it a favorable choice for electricians.

MC Cable continues to be a preferred solution in the electrical industry due to its ability to be installed in various environments and its numerous applications.


Check this out:


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a MC cable used for?

MC cables, or Metal-Clad cables, are essential for various electrical applications operating at 600 volts and medium voltage (MV) levels. These cables find extensive use in controlling power, lighting, and fixture whips. They are highly versatile, as they conform to the regulations stated in Article 330 and 725 of the National Electric Code (NEC), making them suitable for services, feeders, and branch circuits. MC cables are employed in a wide range of settings, including commercial, residential, and industrial environments.

Related Post:  How to Fix Electric Stove Burner Malfunctions: Quick Troubleshooting Guide

This type of cable is particularly valuable due to its ability to handle a range of circuits, such as power, lighting, control, and signaling circuits. In addition to their application in general electrical systems, MC cables are often employed in tasks demanding precise control or specialized functions, making them a necessity for various industries. Whether it is for powering essential equipment, illuminating spaces, or managing specific electrical needs, MC cables remain an indispensable component in ensuring dependable and efficient electrical operations.

What is MC vs AC cable?

MC vs AC cable refers to the differences between metal-clad cable and armored cable. One significant distinction lies in their grounding methods. While the metal-clad cable incorporates a standard ground wire, the AC cable relies on a jacket combined with a wire or thin strip for grounding. Furthermore, the metal armor in MC cables can serve as part of the earth grounding along with the bonding wire, making it an advantageous choice in certain applications.

Is MC cable aluminum or steel?

MC cable is primarily made with an aluminum armor, making it popular for use in various environments such as healthcare facilities, theaters, assembly plants, and power and lighting control. However, it is important to note that MC cable can also be used in wet locations as long as it is equipped with a PVC jacket to provide additional protection. This combination of aluminum armor and PVC jacket enables the MC cable to perform effectively in Class I, Division I hazardous locations, as they are commonly known as MC-HL cables.

How many types of MC cable are there?

MC cable, also known as metal-clad cable, comes in three main types based on the gauge of wire used. The first type is MC 14 gauge, which is commonly used for residential lighting and general-purpose circuits. This type of cable is suitable for applications where a lower amount of power is required.

The second type is MC 12 gauge, which is more commonly used for heavier loads in both residential and commercial buildings. This size is ideal for circuits that require a greater amount of power, such as kitchen appliances or HVAC systems.

Lastly, there is MC 10 gauge cable, which is the largest size available for MC cabling. This type is often used for industrial or commercial applications where higher voltages and amperage are required. Its larger size allows for the transmission of more power, making it suitable for equipment or machinery that demands a substantial electrical load. Overall, these three types of MC cables cover a wide range of electrical needs based on the gauge of wire used.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4