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What is a Coaxial Cable Assembly?

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  • Written By: B. Turner
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2016
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A coaxial cable assembly is a special type of electrical cabling that combines two conductors into a single device. The assembly consists of four layers, two of which can conduct electricity while the other two act as insulators. The innermost layer of a coaxial cable assembly consists of a copper wire, which is surrounded by a protective layer of insulation. Braided or woven copper wire is then wrapped around this insulation to form the second conductor. The entire device is then covered with an outer layer of insulation to protect the conductors from damage and interference.

These devices are used in a variety of home electronics applications. They may be used to supply cable television service to the home, or to connect a television and a cable box or DVD player. A computer network may also rely on a coaxial cable assembly to supply Internet service or connect to central servers or printers. These cables are also widely used to carry radio signals in both consumer and industrial applications.

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In a coaxial cable assembly, alternating electrical currents run continuously through both conductors. They often run in one direction in the inner conductor, and in the opposite direction in the outer conductor, though this is not always the case. As long as the inner layer of insulation between the two conductors keeps them at a constant distance from one another, each will supply a smooth and constant stream of electrical current. If the insulation is damaged or misaligned, the two conductors may not be evenly spaced, resulting in signal disruptions.

The standard coaxial cable assembly features "RF" or "F-pin" connectors at either end, which are widely used for home electronic devices. These connectors consist of a copper ring to represent the outer conductor and a metal pin for the inner conductor. They can be plugged directly into most modern electronics, though converters are available for non-standard or foreign devices. Some coaxial cable assemblies feature "pig-tail" connectors at one end, where the two conductors are split to accommodate two separate connections or devices.

These cables are designed to protect the conductors from interference from outside sources, or even interference between the two conductors. One of the primary benefits of the coaxial cable assembly is that the length of the cable has no effect on performance. As long the inner insulating layer is uniformly sized and well-maintained, the cables can be run along indefinite lengths with no increase in interference. These cables also make it easy for homeowners to connect different types of devices without extensive wiring or electrical experience.

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