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Some people see electronics and wiring equipment as a colorful mess of spaghetti cords, wires, and circuit boards. However, as any electronically savvy person will tell you, there is a method to the madness. In fact, there are things that exits solely to make sense of the tangle, and make installation easier more user-friendly. These are known as wire harnesses.
1) What is a wire harness?
In order for technology to work, it needs order. The transition from a simple electrical current, to a circuit, then a system that performs a complex function, a wire harness is what keeps it all in place, so that chaos can be avoided. They allow people without technical experience or training to configure electrical wiring with ease, and quick, standardized installation.
2) Where are wire harnesses used?
The most common use of wire harnesses is in cars, but they are also used in almost any and every type of machinery from regular cars to trains, planes, other automobiles, and even spacecraft. The main reason that wire harnesses are needed is so that the wires and cables that connect and power these machines can be secure. This protects them from the damage caused by vibrations and abrasions that come from being inside a moving vehicle, as well as from moisture that could hurt the electronics. This also makes the wiring take up less space, since it is wrapped up to be more efficient.
3) How are wire harnesses made?
Even though the advancement of technology brings automation in most fields, wire harnesses tend to still be manufactured by hand since there are some complex processes involved that the human hand can do more precisely, such as routing the conducting wires through the protective sleeves, and crimping terminals onto wires. Also, there are certain companies that specialize in customizable wire harnesses that will meet your specific needs, which will also need to be made by hand for the best finished product. Once everything is in place, there are parts of the process that are automated, such as soldering wire ends, twisting wires, and cutting wires.
4) What are the parts of a wire harness?
The core of the wire, which will be conducting electric signals, is usually made of copper, but there are alternatives as well. For the protective sheathing around the wire, this could be made from shrink-wrapped plastic, vinyl, rubber or thermoplastic. This is in addition to an insulation sheath that goes around the wire itself. The sheaths are usually color-coded by function, and then wrapped again in the harness that is designed to keep the cables in a working formation so that they can better serve their function.
5) Can I buy a wire harness?
Wire harnesses can be bought at most electronics goods stores. Usually, there are standard wire harnesses that are designed to work for specific functions, for example, no matter where you buy a car stereo harness, they should all be the same functionally. For those who need more complex wiring, or wiring that is not standardized, you can look into having a custom wire harness made for you.