Mil-Spec Wire vs. Hook-Up Wire: Are They Identical?
Military cables are often interchangeably referred to as hook-up wire. However, regular hook-up wire is not suitable for the military. This blog explains the paradox.
Defining the Terms
Hook-up wire is the cable with just one conductor that is mostly used for the internal wiring of different appliances. Despite this, the range of cable applications is quite wide. It can be used as a motor cable, power cable, control cable, and switchboard wire. Hook-up wire is another name for lead wire.
Similar to hook- up wires, military cables also have one conductor and are used for the internal wiring of appliances. Their range of applications is practically the same as hook-up wire. Therefore, all mil-spec wires except for data/communication cables are hook-up wires. In particular, mil-spec wires are very flexible hook-up wires with a high-temperature range and improved flex life.
Explaining The Difference Between Military Cable and Lead Wire
If a military cable is, in fact, a hook-up wire, then what is the difference between the two? The answer is specifications.
Regular hook-up wire in the United States that is not used for military purposes falls under UL and CSA standards. UL is the standard created in the United States, while CSA is a Canadian standard.
Some of the common standards for hook-up wire are UL 1015, UL 1007, UL 1061, and UL 1569. On the other hand, mil-spec wire is approved only by military specifications and is not listed by UL and CSA.
M16878 is the most direct analog to UL/CSA-certified hook-up wire on the market. The first nine products in the M16878 range ( M16878 /1, M16878 /2, etc.) are the direct analogs to the regular hook-up wire, just with different specifications.
Other popular mil-spec wires, like M22759 and M81044, have some differences in construction, so they are not direct analogs of hook-up wire in the UL/CSA range.
Can Regular Hook-Up Wire and Mil-Spec Wire Be Used Interchangeably?
Regular non-military hook-up wire is not approved for military applications. Mil-spec wire can be used as a hook-up wire for non-military purposes as long as UL/CSA approval is not needed. Some types of non-premium mil-spec wire can be cheaper than UL/CSA-approved hook-up wire, so using them makes sense in terms of project budgeting.
Where to Buy Mil-Spec Wire and Hook-Up Wire?
At Nassau National Cable, you can buy regular hook-up wire and mil-spec wire at excellent prices. The range of hook-up wires includes Hook Up Lead Wire AWM UL 3340-3374, Hook Up Wire UL 1061, Hook Up Wire UL 3173 Cross Link (XLPE), and others. Available military wire includes M22759, M16878, and M81044.