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What’s a Diesel Locomotive Cable? 2017 DLO Buyers’ Guide


Diesel locomotive cables just as the names suggests are specially designed cables used to transmit power within diesel engines. Typically, a diesel locomotive cable is a very flexible 2000 volt UL cable with a UL rating used for effective wiring of diesel-powered engines. These cables are usually made of tinned copper class 1, 24 AWG stranded conductor and insulated using ethylene propylene rubber. Though not all of them are jacketed, the most common type of jacketing used on the DLO cable is chlorinated polythene. Read More

What’s a diesel locomotive?

A diesel locomotive is basically any machine in which the prime mover is an engine that runs on diesel. There are very many engines out there that run on diesel as fuel. These could be industrial machines, wind turbines, cars and train wagons.

Why Go for the DLO Cable?

Diesel engines essentially run on the same principle but the manner in which the power is conveyed to the driving wheels depends on the Industrial Cables used to do the wiring. This is where the Diesel locomotive cable comes in handy. It is a cable that’s highly specialized to its application to ensure that all the power generated by the engine is defectively transmitted to the driving wheel for uttermost performance. Unlike many general application cables, the DLO is a single conductor cable which can work well multiple single phase systems to guarantee excellent results.

The most outstanding feature of the diesel locomotive cable would be its tough structure. Engines are made of moving parts and these moving parts do exert some forces on each other as they move in a bid to convert energy from one form to another. These movements cause a lot of abrasive forces and call for very tough materials to make up the parts. Materials that can withstand the heat generated and the rigorous dynamics that occur within the engine, and of cause a very special tough cable to convey the generated power from the engine to the gears it drives. The toughness of the DLO cable puts it as an option way above other cable products which would otherwise wear out in shorter duration. It can defy the punishing environment and outlive the locomotive.

Size and Ratings

The DLO cables come in wide range of sizes for use in different locomotives. Not all locomotives have the same-sized engines and hence the size of the cable should be relative to the size of the engine. If you apply a small size cable on a big engine, and vice versa, it negatively impacts the efficiency of the system.

The most common type of the DLO Cable is the standard 14 gauge which is extensively used by manufacturing companies in the United States. The gauges vary from the 14 gauge all the way to the largest which is 1111 gauge which is tailored for a few customized applications. The size of DLO cables and conductor cross-section depends on the special needs of your project and Nassau national cable understands that every project is unique and needs a unique conductor specification so we are always readily available to help customize the cables to meet the special needs of your diesel locomotive.

For instance, cables used to make the power leads for oil drilling rigs and trains may have the same conductor type and shape but the jacketing would be different because the marine oil rig DLO Cable power lead will be operating in a moist saline environment which increases chances of corrosion so it must have a special insulation and jacketing to keep corrosion at bay.

A typical DLO cable would have a rating of 2000v which means that under favorable conditions it can safely convey up to 2000 volts. Favorable conditions in this case refers to a maximum temperature of 900 in dry areas and a maximum temperature of 750 in wet environments. That defines a heavy duty conductor which can pretty much give the desired performance in any operating environment.

Parts of a DLO cable

Like all other cables, the DLO cable too has different components which differentiates it from other cables. Here’s a breakdown of the ideal parts of a conventional DLO Cable.

The Conductor

A DLO Cable has one conductor made of annealed tinned copper. That simply means that the copper is fully covered using tin though this is not a must, on some occasions it could be left bare depending on the application. It’s usually rated at 10 AWG. Copper is a very strong electrode which can defy many years and still give the required power output even after the machine has outlived its lifespan. However, copper is not prone to corrosion and must be protected from rust to ensure consistent power conveyance through the conductor over many years. That’s why it is tinned. Tin is a metal which cannot be corroded as easily as other metals, when it is applied on the conductor, it successfully keeps the underlying copper conductor from rust hence offering a layer of protection while at the same time improving conductivity of the copper electrode.


The purpose of insulation on any Cable and Wire product is to make it safe by preventing shocks. An insulator is a material with low to nil conductivity so it prevents the power from electrocuting anyone who comes into contact with the cable while it is conveying current. Additionally, it also offers some protective covering that keeps the conductor safe from deteriorating elements live water and abrasive forces which would adversely affect power transmission.

Nassau National Cables’ DLO cables are specially insulated using a thermoset compound which is incombustible. In case of a fire breakout, the insulator melts into a tough resin which does not burn and consequently keeps the underlying copper conductor very safe from the fire and the handler very safe from the current. There are two types of this resin; EPDMs (ethylene-propylene-propylene-diene elastomer) and EPRs (ethylene-propylene rubber). Both of these materials are cross-linked coatings which are highly flexible over a wide range of temperatures meaning that they can bend and twist without wearing out as other insulators do.

The cross-linked insulation is also neutral to alkali and acids so they will not react with acids or bases whenever they are laid. This means they will always be there to protect the conductor no matter the environment.


A jacket on a wire is a conventional way of classifying or identifying the wire or cable. The Nassau National Cable DLO has a decent black jacket made of a thermosetting material called chlorosulfonated polyethylene. The jacket is a tough coating which is resistant to acids, cuttings, scratches and alkali.


These are also called lugs. The purpose of cable lugs is to ensure that where a DLO Cable is connected to another DLO Cable, the consistency of power transmission is not only consistent but boosted. This cable has connectors which are made of tinned pure copper and have flared ends with entrance chambers.

Approvals and Certification

The Nassau National Cable’s DLO Cable is safe and reliable product which has be tested against a number of international standards and proven to be genuine high quality product. We at Nassau value our reputation so we never take chances with the quality of the products we supply to the market. Here are some of the standards which our DLO Cable adheres to:

  • MSHA
  • NEC (National Electric code)
  • RoHS
  • CSA FT4
  • UL 44/CSA RW90
  • Applications of the DLO Cable

    There are very many viable industrial and commercial applications of the DLO Cable. Basically, all its applications revolve around diesel engines so it can be put to use on pretty much anything that runs on a diesel engine whereby it’ll work as a power lead transmitter from the engine to the rotating wheels. It’s scope of application further widened by the fact that it has a fire resistant insulation and jacketing so it can be used as a general building wire.

    The DLO cable can transmit up to 2000v which is a heavy duty transmission but that is not a limiting factor because a custom cable can be availed by Nassau National Cable depending on the needs of your application so don’t imagine that the application should be limited by the ratings.

    The jacketing makes it very suitable for marine applications which require a tough air and water tight cable considering that the marine environment is highly saline and every other corrodible conductor would not last long on ships and oil rigs. So for sea-bound diesel locomotives, this is the ideal cable.

    Where to buy the DLO Cable

    There are very many wire and cable suppliers from all over the world. Not all of them would make reliable business partners. In fact, most of them are just tradesmen with the intention of making profit, they really don’t mind the quality of their services to you. Some have physical premises while others and online-based. If you’d like to get genuine products, I would recommend that you do an in-depth research on your supplier and be sure that they are reputable before you put your money to it. I would recommend manufacturers or their online stores. Nassau National Cable is a reliable store which stocks wire and cable products from a wide range of manufacturers and we’d be glad to be your cable and wire products supplier of choice. We care about you and we appreciate you.

    We hope that you found this post insightful. If there’s anything more you’d like to know about us or about the DLO Cable, please feel free to get in touch with us today and we’ll be glad to help you out. 

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  • ROYAL DLO Diesel Locomotive Cable RHH/RHW HDFPC 2KV
    ROYAL DLO Diesel Locomotive Cable RHH/RHW HDFPC 2KV