The Cables are the primary means of transferring EU from one device to another. There are several different types of cable, each type made from different metals, and each type can tolerate a different maximum EUP, usually referred to as Voltage. If an applied Voltage exceeds a cable's maximum, the cable will instantly melt. This is NOT to be confused with (EU/t), usually referred to as Current; all cables can handle an infinite amount of current.
All cables suffer from energy losses over distance. Long cables will lose energy in the process of transferring it. There are several ways to reduce losses - Transformers , insulation, and daisy-chaining storage devices.
Un-insulated cables shock the player and NPCs.
Insulating cables with rubber reduces energy losses, reduces shocks, and allows the cable to be painted using the Painter. Painted cables will not connect to different colored cables. This also greatly reduces the strain on CPU, as large cable meshes with many intersections require the game to perform many CPU-heavy calculations.
Not all of this information is as updated as it should be, so I (BlueBanana45) am fixing up this article.
A Basic Tutorial on How to Make And Use All Cables!
Cable can be insulated by adding 'rubber'. Insulation reduces the EU loss over distance of cable.
Placed cable can have insulation added or removed with Insulation Cutters.
Uninsulated cables (except glass fibre) cannot be coloured with the Painter.
More detailed information and a larger recipe list is available by looking at the page for each cable type.
Tin cables can only tolerate Micro Voltage (up to 5 EUP) but they're very cheap to make and have extremely low energy loss. Since no transformer can "step down" voltage this low, Tin cables are only suited for lower-output generators like Solar Panels, Water Mills, or Wind Farms.
Copper cables are the most common cable tier. They are only capable of handling Low Voltage (up to 32 EUP), however, they suffer the smallest distance-related energy losses out of all the conventional cables, with insulated copper cables having even less energy losses.
Gold cables can transport Medium Voltage (up to 128 EUP) but has higher energy loss than copper. The loss can be remedied to some extent by giving the cable up to two layers of insulation. If carrying full 128EUP, the gold cable will lose less energy than copper over distance, see below for more information.
HV (Iron) Cable
HV Cables can handle the highest amount of current possible at Extreme Voltage (up to 2048 EUP OR higher) however it loses energy very quickly over distance. When operating at 2048 voltage using transformers, HV Cable is actually far more energy efficient than either Gold or Copper Cable. Only Glass Fibre cable is more energy efficient over distance (at 512 EUP), at the expense of Glass Fibre's diamond material cost.
Glass Fibre Cable
Glass Fibre cable is a special type of cable capable of transporting High Voltage (up to 512 EUP). It does not shock anything standing too close and has only a tiny amount of energy loss, however it is very expensive to make. If you have a mod installed that adds Silver as an ore, then you can use Silver to replace the Redstone to create cables at an improved rate; however, Silver does not spawn in a regular IC2 installation.
The Detector Cable is a special cable which outputs a redstone current when EU is flowing through it. Detector Cables can only handle up to 512 EUP.
The Splitter Cable is a special cable which prevents EU from flowing through it when a redstone current is applied. Splitter Cables can only handle up to 512 EUP
All cables suffer distance-related energy losses, and depending on the tier and insulation of the given cable, the losses can vary greatly. The general unit for cable efficiency is EU/block. It shows how much EU every EU Packet looses per block. The number is accumulated along the whole length of the cable, and then rounded down to the nearest integer. Therefore, if a distance is short enough, there EU loss will remain zero. For example, since Copper Cable loses 1 EU every 5 blocks, a 4 block long Insulated Copper Cable won't lose any EU.
|Tin Cable||Copper Cable||Gold Cable||HV Cable||Glass Fibre Cable||Detector / Splitter Cable|
|EU/b||EU loss||EU/b||EU loss||EU/b||EU loss||EU/b||EU loss||EU/b||EU loss||EU/b||EU loss|
|Uninsulated||0.025||1 EU every 40 blocks||0.3||1 EU every 3.33 blocks||0.5||1 EU every 2 blocks||1.0||1 EU every block||0.025||1 EU every 40 blocks||0.5||1 EU every 2 blocks|
|Insulated (1")||---||0.2||1 EU every 5 blocks||0.45||1 EU every 2.22 blocks||0.95||1 EU every 1.05 blocks||---||---|
|Insulated (2")||---||---||0.4||1 EU every 2.5 blocks||0.9||1 EU every 1.11 blocks||---||---|
|Insulated (3")||---||---||---||0.8||1 EU every 1.25 blocks||---||---|
Depending on the EUP traveling trough a cable it may be more efficient to use higher voltage cables and packets. This is because EU/b isn't applied on the total EU/t that travels the cable but on every single EU-Packet. So a copper cable carrying 384 EU/t over 10 Blocks of insulated copper cable is really carrying 12*32 EU-Packets and instead of: 384EU-2EU=382EU you get: 32EU*12-2*12=360EU. But when using 128 EU-Packets and 2x insulated gold cables you get: 128EU*3-4*3=372EU. In this example this is a difference of 12 EU over 10 Blocks.
What can be concluded from a cursory glance over the numbers is that, when using maximum allowable voltage, Copper cables are actually the most lossy cable type (at 25.0% per 40 blocks), followed by Tin (at 20.0% per 40 blocks), then Gold (at 12.5% per 40 blocks), then Iron (at 1.56% per 40 blocks), and the most lossless is Glass Fibre (at 0.195% per 40 blocks). Remember, these values only apply if current is passed at the highest voltage available for that cable type.
The formula for overall EU/b is: Combined EU/t divided by Desired packet size multiplied by Cable's EU/b per Packet equals Combined EU/b
Below is an example of different EU/t packed into different EU-Packets and carried with different cables, cables are full insulated, EU-P equals EU-Packet, results are in Overall / Combined EU/b (not EU/b per Packet), results can't be rounded down to nearest integer.:
|Example EU/t||Tin Cable||Copper Cable 1"||Gold Cable 2"||HV Cable 3"||Glass Fibre Cable|
|2 EU-P||2 EU-P||32 EU-P||2 EU-P||32 EU-P||128 EU-P||2 EU-P||32 EU-P||128 EU-P||512 EU-P||2048 EU-P||2 EU-P||32 EU-P||128 EU-P||512 EU-P|
- Blue color indicates that EU-Packets under 32 EU can't be obtained by transforming. They can only be generated with generators as they always emit EU-Packages the size of their output EU.
- Green color indicates the optimal EU-Package for that EU/t example. Blue fields are ignored.
- Orange color and red color indicates sub-optimal EU-Packages.
Up to 6 cables can connect to one other cable. Current will only flow through a cable when requested by a consumer if the loss from the cable length will allow some energy to get to the consumer. i.e. a Batbox (32EU) will send across insulated copper to a furnace up to 155 blocks away (5x31). No energy will be sent to a furnace 156 blocks away.
Keep in mind, however, that an excessive number of cable intersections will increase strain on your CPU (and more importantly, the server, when playing on a multi-player server). Don't do things like having rows of adjacent cables with every block connected to every other block. Also, separate cables connected to an energy storage device (BatBox, etc.) or transformer do not count as a cable intersection, so take advantage of that when possible.