Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to commonly asked questions about the industry, services we provide, and other contract manufacturer problems we can solve.
What do I need to provide in order to get a quote for cables or a box-build?

Our quotation process is very thorough but it doesn’t require you to provide us with a lot of written documentation. If you don’t have formal drawings we can quote from a simple sketch, sample or prototype. A complete set of documentation would include:

  • Bill of Materials
  • Drawing with Tolerances
  • Wire Cut/Strip/Termination List
  • Assembly Instructions
  • Testing Instructions
  • Packaging instructions
  • Special Notes
  • Etc.

Of these, the Bill of Materials is the most helpful. If you don’t have complete documentation we can create it for our assembly team. With some good dialogue we can make the process simple but thorough. If you need help with a PCBA design or other electronic supply chain concerns, talk to us and we can definitely lead you in the right direction. Request a free quote. Please attach any documents to the quote request form.

If I don't already have my design locked in can you help me with the design?
We can provide you with professional design assistance. For small projects, like a simple cable, there is no charge for a couple of hours of design assistance. For larger projects, like a complex control box, we simply bill you by the hour. We are not an engineering firm so our hourly rates are very reasonable. But, because we aren’t an engineering firm, we ask you to consider our design assistance to be a suggestion. In the end, you have the ultimate responsibility for approving the final design.
What is a realistic tolerance for cable lengths?
You never want a wire length or cable assembly length to be too short, but a little extra length generally does no harm. This is why we always suggest a “service loop” for wires we connect inside an enclosure. It allows a field technician the flexibility of replacing a terminal or connector without running new wires. Regarding cables, a little extra length seldom causes a problem but if a cable is stretched tight it’s more likely to fail or worse …it might cause intermittent problems. Generally, you should specify lengths with a tolerance of plus 0.500″ (or more for lengths over 24 inches) minus 0.000″. If you can be more generous on the plus side it is always wise to do so. Also, always specify the wire length rather than the assembly length on your drawings if you can.
How do I determine the proper wire size to use?
Wire size and type is determined by:

  • The voltage of the circuit. Most UL wire types are specified for up to 300 volts or with thicker insulation for up to 600 volts. We can help you determine the most common wire types.
  • The load on the circuit. The more wattage the larger the wire.
  • The length of the wire. Longer wires have more resistance.
  • The operating temperature range. Higher temperatures create more resistance. Extremely cold temperatures require special insulation materials that won’t crack in cold environments.
  • The environment – chemicals, UV rays, etc can be a factor in choosing the proper wire or cable.
  • Flexibility requirements might also come into play. Finer stranding and less twist can make wires more flexible.
  • And there is more. Wire and cable manufacturers can be very helpful in choosing the right material for your requirements. We are always happy to help.

So, all of that is about the science and the physics involved. On the more practical side we suggest using a larger wire than required simply because we can make your assemblies more robust and longer lasting with larger wire gauges. Signal circuits are typically running very light electrical loads so you might decide a 32 AWG wire would be sufficient. However, we would advise you to use 20 AWG wire simply because it will reduce your labor costs and result in a more reliable product. Over kill? Yes, but absolutely practical. The cost of using larger wire is very likely to be much less than the labor savings. Terminal and connector selection becomes very limited with wires of 24 AWG or smaller.

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