How to Terminate SWA Cable

Updated April 17, 2017

Steel wire armoured, or SWA cables, are normally high-voltage cables with integrated steel protection. Found between two layers of insulated tubing, this armour is made to replace or augment Romex armour, found on all properly installed AC wiring. Terminating SWA cables is relatively easy, with the major challenge being cutting the armour to length.

Strip 1 inch of outer insulation from the SWA wire, using the wire cutters. This will expose the steel jacket, with the second layer of insulation beneath.

Fray the steel insulation carefully. Snip the shielding at the base strand by strand, using the wire cutters. This is far easier than attempting to cut the entire shield at once.

Strip the second layer of insulation, so that it is 1 inch longer than the steel armour. This exposes the inner individual conductors.

Strip 3/4 inch of insulation from each inner conductor, using the wire strippers.

Set the SWA wire's inner conductors parallel with the wires in the junction box. Slide a wire nut over each connection. Screw the nuts on clockwise until hand-tight. Do not overtighten.

Tighten the strain relief clamp at the junction box's entry point that the SWA cable passes through. Use the Philips or flathead screwdriver to make this termination.

Screw the cover plate onto the junction box, using the flathead screwdriver.


Make sure to consult local electrical code to determine if an additional layer of metal shielding is required over the SWA cable, prior to terminating it. You may also use a cable gland to serve as strain relief and a secondary ground, if the junction box does not have a strain relief collar. Remember to use a waterproof gland if used outside.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Philips or flathead screwdriver
  • Wire nuts
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About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.