Mechanical control cables provide a simple, lightweight, economical, and reliable way to activate throttles, latches, gas springs, electromechanical devices, and many other mechanisms. The basic design of mechanical control cables features a movable core that’s free to travel axially inside a conduit. Actuating a lever or similar device at one end of the cable assembly produces output force and motion at the other end.
Because backlash, deflection, and friction are critical factors to consider when designing mechanical control cables, engineers should consider the parameters of load, routing, friction, stretch, permanent set, lost motion, temperature, environment, exposure to contaminants, and other considerations when specifying cables. In this white paper, the design factors of load, travel, lost motion, backlash, and deflection and the friction factor affecting efficiency are discussed and mathematical calculations are presented for consideration.