3 Wire Cable

3 Wire Cable

3 wire cable can refer to a cable with 3 conductors or a cable with 3 current-carrying conductors. The “current-carrying” distinction is important, since equipment grounding wire does not carry any current except under fault conditions (e.g. a wire comes loose and comes into contact with a bare metal surface in the equipment). Thus, the equipment grounding conductor does NOT count as a circuit conductor.

Our 3 wire cable is type SOOW flexible cable with 3 conductors. However, one of the conductors has green insulation, which means it must be used for equipment grounding (see “Color codes for multiconductor cables”). NEC article 250.119 forbids use of green insulated conductors for ungrounded (i.e. hots) or grounded (i.e. neutrals) circuit conductors.

This type of cable has three conductors: 1 white, 1 black, and 1 green insulated conductor, only two of which (the white neutral and black hot) carry current under normal operating conditions. Please see our 4 wire cable page for a description of our four conductor SOOW cable (1 ground and 3 current-carrying).

3 Wire Cable

Why use 3 wire cable?

First, make sure to specify if you just want 3 conductors or 3 current-carrying conuductors. A 3 wire cable can be used for any application where you require the convenience of 3 conductors bundled together in a cable. A common example is a power plug fitted with 3-prong connectors, used to provide 120V AC power in households and office buildings.

The conductors are typically color coded as 1 black (hot), 1 white or gray (neutral), and 1 green or bare copper conductor (equipment ground).

Product Selection

View our full selection of 3 wire SOOW cord here.