DLO VS Welding Cable: Which One Do I Need?
A diesel locomotive cable (DLO) is very often compared to other types of heavy-duty power cables, especially welding cables. But do their applications overlap? Let's compare the two to find out.
What are DLO and Welding Cables?
DLO is a heavy-duty cable mainly used to transmit the power within the diesel engine. Other than that, a DLO cable is used in industrial machines, motor leads, drilling rigs, mining equipment, telecom, and railroads.
As the name suggests, welding cables are primarily used in welding machines when performing arc welding. Besides their primary purpose, welding cables can be used in industrial settings when there is a risk of abrasion resistance or oil damage. They are also used as a substitute for entertainment and lighting cables and the building industry. However, welding cables can only be used for this purpose if they have an RHH/ RHW rating. Unfortunately, they are often misused when a flexible industrial cord is needed.
If you wish to know more about how different types of welder cables perform in various settings, read our blog about them.
What Are The Differences And Similarities Between DLO and Welding Cables?
Both DLO and Welder cable lead have highly conductive stranded copper conductors. However, the manufacturers of a welder cable use bare copper, whereas DLO's conductors are made of tinned copper. This basically makes DLO better for outdoor industrial applications as it is corrosion-resistant.
Another thing to consider is that a welding cable has a voltage ranking of 600 V, whereas DLO typically has a 2000V voltage rating. This rules out welder's cable for high-voltage industrial applications.
Welding cables only have a CPE, EPR, or EPDM jacket without the extra protection of insulation. DLOs, however, are typically equipped with both EPDM insulation and a CPE jacket, making them way more durable.
DLO is one of the most expensive power cables on the market, about 25 percent more costly than a welder. This is, of course, a serious point to consider if you wish to use DLO instead of a welding cable.
Both DLO and welding cables are considered flexible thanks to stranded conductors. However, welding cables are slightly more flexible due to a higher number of strands in their conductors.
An Important Note on NEC Compliance
When thinking of applying a welder cable or a DLO, note that neither is permitted to be used in NEC applications. However, welding and DLO cables can also be listed as RHH or RHW, which makes them code-compliant. Look for RHH or RHW ranking when selecting a wire for NEC applications. If the welding cable does not have an RHH/ RHW rating, it can only be used in secondary circuits of welding machines.
Are DLO and Welding Cable Interchangeable?
All in all, DLO cable can substitute for welding cable in some circumstances, namely, high-current applications, because it performs better under load. Though not a necessity, a DLO cable can replace a welding cable in a welding machine.
Basically, a diesel locomotive cable can be seen as a heavier version of a welding cable with sturdy and durable insulation and a jacket. It performs better when severe abrasion is expected. You should, however, consider not replacing a welding cable with DLO if the application calls for extra-flexibility.
However, a welding cable cannot be used to replace a diesel locomotive cable when it comes to its widespread applications, as it is mainly recommended for the secondary circuits of a welding machine, and DLO outranks it for most industrial uses. Welding cable also has a lower voltage rating, which makes it incapable of replacing DLO for high-voltage industrial applications. DLO is generally more versatile than a welding cable in industrial applications because it has more industrial rankings, such as CSA R90. However, you can absolutely use a welding cable for a specific industrial application as long as the RHH/RHW ranking allows it.