Wiring System Sizing, Selection, and Design

Posted November 24, 2020


When picking out the appropriate electrical wire size for a wire harness wiring system, designers should take several factors under consideration to make certain the application functions as intended to the satisfaction of the main manufacturer or consumer. For instance, a wire harness that can’t carry an electrical load or malfunctions in adverse environmental conditions will, ultimately, result in a commercial setback - a waste of production time and material, and a loss of business. It’s important then to fully research the product to make certain it has the appropriate wiring system for the application. Doing so will ensure a perfect fit. 

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a wiring system to ensure the success of the application: 


WireHarness1-COMPRESSEDBecause a harnesses' wiring system is vital for the success of the application, its initial design must ensure the effectiveness of the system, but also anticipate any further modifications or upgrades the product may, and in all likelihood, eventually require. In designing a wiring system, priority is to accommodate the product specifications, one with the flexibility for minor alterations during product development.

Environmental Considerations

One of the prime application requirements for any wiring system is in knowing where the application will be used and under what conditions. More than simply for use indoors or outdoors, especially with regard to the latter, the system must be able to work in a range of environments - harsh or mild, damp, wet, or humid, hot, cold, icy or snowy. Wiring must be insulated - moisture, heat, or fire resistant - to ensure it is not damaged or weakened by the environment it is intended for. 


Directly related to environmental considerations is the durability of the wiring system itself. Wire harnesses must be able to efficiently transfer power for extended periods of time without overheating, shorting out, or failing. A wiring system should be built to last. A harness needs to transfer a full load of power over a substantial period of time without failing. The components selected to manufacture the harness, wiring and sheathing, must be able to function for years. Using cheap parts and material may be inexpensive in the short run, but over time replacement and repair costs will exceed the initial savings and, in all likelihood, have a negative effect on business. 


Safety is critical in using any device. Because a wire harness’s wiring system is specifically designed to carry electricity from a power source to a device or product, safely delivering that power is top priority. In short, wiring systems for wire harnesses need to be designed to prevent the chance of any electrical hazards from occurring. The wiring system must be properly insulated, grounded, able to support the load requirements of the device, and tested. Otherwise, it can lead to electrical shorts and shocks to the end users, become a fire hazard, and permanently damage the product. Consider safety a must when designing a wiring system.

Wire the System for the Electrical Load

As safety is a critical factor, it is vital to know the product’s voltage loads when designing the wire harness for it. Using a smaller wire diameter to carry high voltage loads can result in product failure and harm to the user. Use the correct wire diameter for wiring the harness. The wiring system design needs to be able to handle sufficient voltage loads necessary to power the application. 

Managing Costs for Wire Harnesses

Cutting costs on cable assemblies and wire harnesses with factors such as design, durability, and safety is key. The integrity of the product will in large part relate to the quality of the components used to make it. When selecting components for a wiring system, quality of material should be factored into the cost. Look for quality material that will meet the design and safety requirements of the application, but also meets or, even better, comes in under the price point. 

Selecting the appropriate wiring system for a wire harness can present challenges for any manufacturer. There are a number of factors that designers may consider to ensure a wiring system’s success. Taking the time to research product specifications will effectively lead to a design best-suited for the product application.

Need Help Balancing Cost and Quality in Your Wiring System Needs?



Stay Up to Date on Industry Insights and Company News!

Recent Posts