House feeder cables and aluminum URD duplex, triplex, and quadruplex cables are the most popular aluminum cables on the market. In terms of their primary applications, they don’t have a lot in common, but they are interchangeable for many other uses. However, this has caused a lot of confusion in the electrical community due to the complex rating system of these cables. Read this blog to get a full grasp of the differences between aluminum mobile home feeder cables and aluminum URD cables.
What is an aluminum house feeder?
An aluminum house feeder or MHF cable is an aluminum cable with XLPE insulation used for permanent wiring in houses, primarily as a service entrance cable. The cable is rated RHH/RHW-2/USE-2 and can be used for home feeders, distribution panels, and direct burial as long as it is within its RHH/RHW-2/USE-2 rating.
What is a URD cable?
Underground Residential Distribution (URD) is an aluminum wire used in underground utility systems and installed in ducts or pipes for secondary distribution. The cable consists of multiple strands of stranded or compressed aluminum wire (usually THHN or XHHW). If it comes with additional ratings, it may be approved for other common applications. Depending on the number of conductors, the cable may be duplex, triplex, or quadruplex. The cable usually also has XLPE insulation.
Common facts about aluminum home feeder cables
MHF cables are approved in NEC applications for direct burial.
Aluminum home feeder cables are always triple rated RHH or RHW-2 and USE-2. Therefore, access to the interior of the building is permitted. The original goal of the aluminum home feeder cable was to connect the exterior of the mobile home to the interior panels located in the building.
Common factual confusion about other applications of URD cables
URD aluminum cable translates to underground residential distribution cable.
Only URD-rated URD cables are not allowed for indoor applications. If the cable does not have an additional rating, it is only approved for utility use. URD cable itself is not a recognized name in the National Electrical Code for NEC applications.
However, the cable can be used for a variety of other applications, including home feeders, distribution panels, and direct burial, if they require additional ratings.
The confusion about URD cables stems from the fact that some electricians refer to aluminum cables collectively as URD. However, if you wish to use these cables for any purpose other than utility service, always check the other ratings.
URD cables can triple RHH RHW-2 and USE-2 but are not guaranteed.
Aluminum URD cable usually has either XHHW or THHN dual ratings, as it may consist of a combination of separate XHHW or THHN wires. In these cases, the cable should be treated as either XHHW or THHN.
Even though it is underground, the URD cable is not approved by the National Electrical Code for direct burial applications. To be buried underground, the URD cable must be twice the size of USE-2. Aluminum USE-2 cable is a common alternative to copper when it comes to direct burial. It is safe, effective, and helps reduce the cost of electrical projects.
Generally, aluminum URD cable is less expensive than aluminum mobile home feeder cable, but its price can vary greatly depending on the additional ratings. If URD cable has the required ratings, it may be an excellent inexpensive solution for electrical projects. In addition, there is a cable that is easy to pull.
Depending on the store or region, both URD and mobile feeder domestic cables may be less expensive than single-core aluminum XHHW cables.
URD vs. MHF: Summary
In terms of construction, the difference between URD and MHF cables is that the standard URD has only one N wire, while MHF has both a center wire and a ground wire.
Most importantly, both mobile feeders and URDs can be used in many common aluminum cable applications. However, the mobile feeder may be better because it automatically carries the RHH/RHW-2/USE-2 and direct burial ratings, which are only optional for the URD. When it has no additional ratings, it is simply a utility wire.
Because of its versatility, aluminum mobile home feeder cable is considered an inexpensive alternative for many common electrical applications. For high-quality URD and MHF cables at prices that no one can beat, visit ZMS Cables. These two cables have been the most popular products in our store for years, with thousands of satisfied customers. Our URD cables are available for direct burial.