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4 Gauge Welding Cable: Official Guide To 4 AWG Welding Cables

September 26, 2020

4 gauge welding cableThe 4 gauge welding cable is an essential welding cable that comes in red or black EPDM coating and provides insulation against elements and high temperatures. 4 gauge welding cables are nicknamed "4 AWG welding cables" and they contain 264/30 annealed copper conductors. The cable’s conductors are designed to enhance the functional flexibility of the wire for welding purposes while retaining conductivity you need while welding. If you're looking for new or used welding leads for sale, you can find them at ZW Cable - the premier source for welding cables on the internet. Our standard 4 AWG welding cable has a voltage rating of 600V.


ZW Cable is one of the largest cable suppliers in the world and we can supply the best 4 gauge welding cables and give our clients the ability to order by the foot. Our cables are heat-resistant and yet flexible with high color retention (important when you're welding to differentiate between positive and negative cables!). Welding cables are the most similar to battery cables; however, there are practical differences when they’re being used. Battery cables are made of thicker copper, which means they're hardly flexible while welding cables are flexible and withstand higher voltages.

How Do 4 Gauge Welding Cables Work?

The 4 gauge welding cable is used in numerous electric machines in order to power electrodes - an industrial metal rod which effectively conducts the charge. The electrodes carry the charge which is needed for the production of an electric arc (the heat source) between this particular electrode and the materials which the welder works on. This is why 4 gauge welding cables are designed for durability to resist the high heat, but they're also flexible in order to give welders the ability to move the cable to their own desires. The most common use of these cables is arc welding.


Arc welding, carried out by professional welders, requires them to move an electrode in the workshop along the parts being welded, and this is why a 4 AWG cable is ideal to ease the movement in the workshop. Our cables have a high strand count and high isolation that helps with the flexibility of the cable. The cable can withstand all industrial burns, oil/water spillages, and accidental cuts.

The 4 gauge welding cable serves as an electric conductor and the core pathway of the current in the workshop. In order to transfer the current on the welding electrodes, you're going to need the adequate cable. Most 4 AWG cables have a number of copper strands which are all wrapped around a protective layer called a "jacket". The jacket on this welding cable serves to protect the internal copper and tends to be made of synthetic rubber or other insulation materials.


Copper strands make the difference in welding cables because they give welders great flexibility compared to other materials that conduct electricity. The 4 gauge welding cable is not the only welding cable size, and there are also 2 gauge and 6 gauge welding cables. The electricity levels are measured in AMPs or total amperage. The 4 gauge version is only the most popular.

4 AWG Welding Cable Amperage


How do 4 gauge welding cables stack up against other welding cables and what are the advantages? As a rule of thumb, the longer the welding cable, the thinner the cable is going to be - this means the amperage is lower. If the job requires a long cable, you're usually going to have fewer amps to work with and you should always look for thicker sizes in order to compensate for the loss of amps and to prevent damage to the machines.


or 4 gauge welding cables, the max amperage is 100 (depending on the manufacturer). For comparison, 6 gauge welding cables have 115 amps and 2 gauge cables have 205 amps. The nominal OD of 4 gauge welding cables is 0.331" while the concoctor diameter is 0.228". Welding cables can also be used for non-welding power supply applications up to 600 volts.


2 Welding Types #4 Welding Cable Is Used For:

The 4 gauge welding cable can be used for regular power applications up to 600 volts, but for welding, it's usually used for two main types of welding: Arc welding (most common) and resistance welding. In both types, the cable is used for powering the electrode.


Type 1) Arc Welding

Arc welding is the most common type of welding using welding cables. The process of arc welding involves utilizing a welding power source in order to build up an electric arc between the work piece being welded and the electrode. The electric arc starts melting the electrode, and the metal that remains is used in the weld. The reaction is sustained by blowing inert gas between the work piece and the electrode.


Type 2) Resistance Welding

Resistance welding is conducted by taking two metal pieces and fusing them together. In this case, the heat is generated using the resistance of the materials. Resistance welding starts by placing 2 pieces of metal between welding points (sometimes called 'electrodes') and then electricity is passed from one point to another. Welders use low voltage and high current electricity for resistance welding. In essence, the materials start resisting the flow of the current and then heat builds up fast - this heat is used to fuse the metals together.


welding cableWhen Is A 4 Gauge Welding Cable Needed?

How do you know if a 4 AWG welding cable is ideal for the job or if you need a 2 AWG or 6 AWG cable instead? The size of your cable depends exclusively on the electricity level that it's designed to conduct. As we pointed out above, if the amperage rises, the diameter of the cable has to increase as a result. To handle the increased level of the current, additional strands of copper wire are needed.

· There are no "superior" welding cables, but the size should be determined based on the requirements of the job. If the copper wire has more wire strands, it's going to have better conductivity. If you fail to supply the right size, the wire may overheat and cause a fire.


How do you decide whether you need a 4 gauge welding wire for the job? The answer is easy: You only have to determine the length of your welding circuit. Start by measuring the length of the electricity path you would need in order to weld effectively. Note that this measurement should include every possible path that the electricity could travel through, including the individual components you use when you're welding.


Once you've calculated the distance, calculate the max amperage that your circuit would have to conduct when you're welding. If it doesn't surpass 100 amps, you could use a 4 gauge welding cable. If you've pieced together the measurements, it's easy to determine the size of the welding cable you need.


Warning: Always be mindful of the diameter of the cable. When noting the size charts of cables, this information could be misleading. The larger the diameter of the cable, the lower the gauge is going to be. AWG or "American Wire Gauge" is the default measurement used to mark different welding cables. AWG categories work like this: The smaller the diameter of the cable, the higher the AWG rating. In essence, gauge sizes that are larger than one either have a 0 rating of 1/0, and two zeros are marked as 2/0, etc. The most common cable used for welding is the 4 gauge (4/0) cable.


How To Select A 4 AWG Welding Cable: Buyers Guide

Welders may ask the following questions: What makes an effective 4 AWG welding cable? What are the temperature and voltage limits you should be looking for? We'll cover the most important information that you need to make your decision as a welder. If you're going to use a 4 gauge welding cable to get the job done, you should factor in certain differences between the manufacturers.

The importance of the quality of the welding cable shouldn't be overlooked: It's a core part of the welding process because it's used to carry the current for welding purposes. Virtually all 4 gauge cables will be made from copper strands and have basic insulation. However, not all of them can handle the maximum output needed for welding. Let's have a look at the top features to look out for:


·Temperature Rating

The temperature rating of the 4 AWG cable is one of the most essential safety features as the cables are always exposed to high temperatures. The flow of current can increase the temperature, and this is why you need high insulation to ensure the cable won't melt and cause a fire. The protective jacket of the wire has its own temperature ratings and this is used to determine the temperature rating of the cable. The average rating of welding cables is between 75-105°C (167-200°F). Most 4 AWG welding cables are also rated at around 30°C (85°F) compared to the ambient temperature

Note: The ambient temperature of the room can affect the temperature of the cable too. You should take into account the ambient temperature of the workshop and not just the temperature you're exposing the cable to deliberately. The ambient temperature reduces the ability of the cable to dissipate heat, and this can affect the amperage.


· Amperage Limits

The amperage limits or the capacity of the 4 AWG cable is the maximum amount of electric current that can pass through the cable safely. In some cases, this is capped 'ampacity' - i.e. the total limit before the cable becomes unsafe. The higher the limit, the safer you are when you're welding. Most 4 AWG cables can handle between 100-150 AMPs.

To stay on the safe side, pick a 4 AWG cable with 150 AMP limits. If the AMP rating is not listed, there are few indicators that can help you calculate the amperage such as the cable's OHM rating, length, ambient temperature, and the temperature rating of the jacket. The length can impact the amperage of the cable. If the cable is short, it can carry more current than a longer cable.


· Voltage Output

The voltage output or the 'rate output' of the welding cable is the rating for the maximum power output capability of the cable. The output is measured in volts (V) and tends to range between 400-700V on most welding cables, while the average output rating for 4 AWG cables is 500-600V. In most cases, the output is directly listed on the cable's name and you can have cables such as "4WG 550" which would mean the cable is capable of outputting 550V.

In essence, the voltage output is the highest-rated current level that the cable should be used for. However, this is not indicative of the maximum capacity as most cables can transfer higher voltage in temporary/short intervals.


4 AWG Welding Cable Maintenance: How To Maintain Your Cable

If you order one of ZW Cable’s new or used welding leads for sale, you'll get to re-use them with regular maintenance. If you apply special precautions, you'll effectively extend the life cycle of your welding cables. The maintenance measures should start at the onset of your purchase, especially if you invest a lot of money in your cable. The following are the main guidelines for 4 AWG cable maintenance:


· Frequent Inspections

Carry out frequent cable inspections. Most wires are damaged eventually, and certain damages can go unnoticed unless you specifically look for them. This can affect the performance of your cable. To ensure your cable is always in operational condition, make sure to inspect the full length of the cable closely.

If you notice small damage at a certain part of the cable, try to patch it up and fix the damage. Small fixes like that can save you from having to replace the full cable. If you have crushed or cut wires, make sure to remove them because these can be fatal.


· Adequate Storage

If the cables are not in use, remove them from walkways or paths that people can walk over in the workshop. This precaution should be applied even when the cable is in use in order to avoid causing damage. As a general rule, you should avoid all twisting or kinking. If the cable is laid out over the ground, people will likely step on it and this can add tension to the transmission.

Damage to cables is done when a very heavy object crushes the cable, and this can have an effect on the copper inside the cable jacket or even the jacket itself. Keep the cable at a distance from flame or hot objects which are usually found in a welding environment. The cable reel should always be adjusted adequately. If one end of the cable was exposed to harsh elements for a while, take the other end and switch them out.


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