What Is XLPE Hook-up Wire?

XLPE hook-up is a single core wire manufactured under the UL 758 Appliance Wiring Material (AWM) standard. Several types exist with different voltage and temperature ratings. XLPE is an abbreviation for cross-linked polyethylene and refers to a process where the molecular structure of polyethylene changes as a result of including additives such as silane or peroxide or using high-energy electron or microwave radiation. This process changes polyethylene from a thermoplastic material that softens with heat to a thermoset material that does not soften or shrink when heated. It's also much tougher.

Why Use XLPE Hook-up Wire?

XLPE insulated hook-up wire has superior properties to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and standard polyethylene insulation. The most obvious one is that XLPE does not soften or degrade except at high temperatures. You can use XLPE insulated wire at temperatures up to 125 degrees Celsius, and some types will go even higher. The material has superior fire-retardant properties.

From an electric point of view, XLPE exhibits lower dielectric losses, and it's commonly used for high-voltage cables. The material has good water and excellent chemical and oil resistance and exhibits good aging characteristics compared to PVC, except in direct sunlight. This is because XLPE's ultraviolet properties aren't as good as PVC. XLPE wires used outdoors should have a UV-resistant jacket. However, XLPE wire has excellent abrasion, crush and deformation resistance and is suitable for direct burial in the ground.

Types of XLPE Wire

Allied Wire and Cable carry several types of XLPE electrical cable based on several UL styles. For convenience, the AWC lists these cable types under the corresponding UL standards, including:

  • UL 3265: A solid or stranded copper XLPE hook-up wire that’s rated for 150 volts AC, has a maximum temperature rating of 125°C and complies with UL 94 horizontal flame test requirements.
  • UL 3266: A similar wire to UL 3265 but rated at 300 volts AC and 125°C.
  • UL 3271: An XLPE insulated wire with solid or stranded copper wire rated at 600 volts AC and 750 volts DC at a temperature of 125°C.
  • UL 3289: This is similar to UL 3271, but rated for a maximum temperature of 150°C and available in a wider range of sizes up to 750 MCM.
  • UL3321: Very similar to UL 3289, but this standard covers a smaller range of sizes up to 4/0 American Wire Standard (AWG).

AWC can supply all types of XLPE hook-up wire with a WV-1 vertical flame test compatible fire-retardant compound.

XLPE Wire Specifications

Conductors: Soft annealed solid or stranded tinned copper
Insulation: XLPE
Wire Size: 26 AWG - 4/0 AWG
Maximum Usable Temperature: 125°C and 150°C, depending on UL Style
Voltages: 150, 300, and 600 volts AC
Fire-retardant properties: Good, complies with UL 94 Horizontal Flame Test requirements
Chemical Resistance: Excellent
Oil Resistance: Good
Abrasion Resistance: Excellent
Aging Properties: Good
UV Resistance: Poor

XLPE Hook-up Wire Certifications

AWC cross-linked polyethylene XLPE hook-up wire has the following certifications:

  • UL 3265, 3266, 3271, 3289 or 3321
  • CSA-certified
  • Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS)
  • UL 94 horizontal flame test
  • WV-1 vertical flame test-optional

Contact us at AWC for further information on XLPE hook-up wire.