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"Quality You Can Pull On...


Technical Bulletins

Technical Bulletin Number 001

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Calculating Cable Length by Measuring Conductor Resistance



Length of new cable installed on the Drum in feet (ft).

Total resistance of center conductor of installed cable in Ohms ()
Temperature of cable when R1 is measured in degrees Fahrenheit (F)
Resistance of this cable per foot at 65F. This factor should be calculated and recorded in the cable log book.

To convert from metres to feet: 1 foot = 0.3048 metres

To convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit: TF = (TC x 1.8) + 32

= (R1 / L1) x [(302.5) / (234.5 + T1)]

L1 = 25,500 Feet
R1 = 265.4
T1 = 75F
r = (R1 / L1) x [(302.5) / (234.5 + T1)]
r = 0.01017 /ft
This value of r, should be recorded in the Cable Log Book.
As sections of cable are cut off, the remaining length, L, of cable on the drum can be calculated using the recorded
value of r, the Resistance R of the centre conductor of the remaining length, and the Temperature, T of the
remaining length of cable.

= (R / r) x [(302.5) / (234.5 + T)]

r = 0.01017245 (/ft)
R = 195.4
T = 92F
L = (R / r) x [(302.5) / (234.5 + T)]
L = 17796.7
The length of the cable is now 17,796 feet.
To obtain the best results, it is recommended to use a Fluke or equal quality 4 or 5 digit 1% type Ohmmeter with good
leads. It is Important to use the same Ohmmeter to establish the value of r and later measurements of R.


Technical Bulletin Number 002

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Locating Electrical Leaks (Part One)

Electrical leaks, or the break down of the insulation of the conductor, are typically caused by one of the following reasons:
Physical Damage: The cable, jumped the sheave wheel, over-run in the hole, drum crush, kick back from a large gun, cut-in
while spooling cable, or other accidental mechanical damage.
Excessive Temperature: Operating the cable at bottom hole temperatures in excess of the maximum temperature rating of
the cable. High tensions at maximum temperature.
Excessive Tension: Repeated tensions over 60% of rated breaking strength or a little as one pull in excess of 75% of rated
strength of the cable.
Manufacturing Defects: Inner armor coverage less than 97%, Non uniform spacing of inner armor wires, eccentricity in
conductor insulation, Crossed inner armor wires, Tape lap joints or string filler knots in multi-conductor cable.
There are basically three different types of electrical leaks:
Dead short: The resistance , or leak, is less than 100 Ohms.
Hi resistance: The leak is as high as 20 Meg-Ohms.
Intermittent leak: This is the worst type as the leak at times disappears.
Wet leak: Any of the above 3 types of leaks can have moisture present which can complicate the location of the leak.
Moisture in the leak can generate a small voltage between the copper conductor and the zinc of the armor wire, which will
give misleading resistance measurements.
The fastest way of locating an electrical leak is to burn it out with a high voltage, high current source* and in doing this
you dry the leak and reduce it to a dead short. There are several methods of easily locating a dead short. When it is
known that the cable has been abused in some way, tension or temperature, then burning out the leak is the best
procedures. If, however you have a fairly new cable and a factory defect is suspected, the burn out method should not be
used as it completely destroys the area around the leak and the exact cause of the leak can not be determined. There are
methods of locating leaks within a few inches without first burning out the leak as will be covered in later technical bulletins.
Part-1, Method for locating a dead short leak. A dead short leak, as described above, is when the copper conductor is in
direct contact with the armor or the resistance between the conductor and armor is less than 100 ohms. The only instrument
required is an accurate digital ohmmeter that reads to at least 0.1 Ohm. Before any leak location process is started be sure
that both ends of the cable conductor are completely disconnected from any tools , collector, etc. and clean!
After both ends of the conductor are cleaned, using the digital Ohmmeter, measure and record, the following resistances.
R: Total conductor resistance, end to end, Ohms.
Rt: Resistance between conductor & armor measured at the Truck end, Ohms.
Rw: Resistance between conductor & armor measured at the whip end, Ohms.
The total length of the cable, feet.
To be sure your problem can be classified as a dead short, make the following calculation:
((Rw + Rt) - R) < 300 Ohms
If the this calculation is greater than 300 Ohms, you do not have a dead short and you should use another method of
locating the leak, (Part 2 & 3), or burn out the leak to obtain a more direct short. If the above calculation results with a
value less than 300 Ohms then the leak location can be calculated as follows:
Lw: Distance of the leak from the whip end of the cable, feet.
Lt: Distance of the leak from the truck end of the cable, feet.
Lw = [ R + Rw Rt ] x [ L / 2R ]
Lt = [ R + Rt Rw ] x [ L / 2R ]
Cable length:


20,500 feet
220.5 Ohms
165.0 Ohms
325.5 Ohms

Leak Location:
Lw = [ 220.5 + 165.0 325.5 ] x [ 20,500 / 2x220.5 ] = 2,789 feet from whip end
Lt = [ 220.5 + 325.5 165.0 ] x [ 20,500 / 2x220.5 ] = 17,711 feet from truck end
Methods for locating high resistance electrical leaks and eliminating the effects of a wet leak will be covered in later Technical Bulletins.


Technical Bulletin Number 003

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Locating Electrical Leaks (Part Two): Leak Locator Bridge

The most common locations of cable electrical leaks are:
1. Within 1000 feet of the whip end due to physical damage.
2. A drum crush, two or three layers down on the drum.
3. Failure at the dog knot where the drum end of cable
passes through the flange.
4. Damage on the bed layer due to installation problems.
The simple leak locator bridge is one of the fastest methods
of locating the approximate location of a leak. This is
important as it will quickly indicate whether the leak can be
cut off the whip end or the cable will need to be strung up
and pulled down to a location on the drum. The simple leak
bridge circuit, shown below, can locate leaks within about +/200 feet if the leak is less than 10,000 Ohms. More
sophisticated leak bridges can locate a leak as high as 1 MegOhm to an accuracy of +/- 50 feet.

Check and adjust the ZERO on the meter with the small
screw on the meter face.
Plug one test lead into the RED WHIP socket and clip this
lead to the WHIP end of the cable.
Plug one test lead into the BLACK TRUCK socket and clip
this lead to the TRUCK end of the cable,
Plug one test lead into the GREEN ARMOR socket and clip
this lead to the cable ARMOR.
Rotate knob A to read 50.
Connect the AC power cord and turn power ON.
With the power on, the meter needle should deflect off
of zero.
If a very small or no deflection occurs, starting with button
1 hold down and observe the deflection of the meter.
If the meter deflects to the left, WHIP, rotate knob A
counter clockwise, until the meter reads zero.
If the meter deflects to the right, TRUCK, rotate knob A
clockwise, until the meter reads zero.
Hold down button 2 until the meter again reads zero.
Repeat this with button 3 held down.
Record the final dial reading, 0.252 in the example
shown below.

Remember before any type of leak location procedure is started

be sure that both ends of the cable are completely free and
clean. When the Micro-ammeter reads zero, the percentage
indicated on the potentiometer will be the same as the
percentage of the cable length to the leak. Just how this works
can be further understood by referring to the set up and
operation of a prototype leak locator instrument.
The leak bridge shown here is available from CSR in Rosenberg,
Texas. Web site: www.csrusa.net
Operating Instructions Leak Locator Bridge

Leak Location
Multiply the dial reading, 0.252 by the length of the cable. For
example with a cable length of 20,000 feet, the leak is located at:
0.252 X 20000 = 5040 feet from WHIP end

Check that both ends of the cable are free, clean and NOT
connected to anything.
Turn power switch OFF.

This type of instrument will only locate a leak to within +/200 feet.
For maximum accuracy:
1. Burn out the leak to the lowest resistance possible
2. Be sure all test leads fit firmly in sockets
3. The lengths of the WHIP & TRUCK test leads must be equal.
4. The test leads should be as short as possible
Check for a wet leak. This is done by measuring the
resistance of the leak with an Ohm meter and then reversing
the leads of the Ohm meter and see if the leak resistance is
the same. If the leak resistance is the same you are ok. If
there is a significant difference between the two readings,
you need to dry out the leak with a burn out box.

Technical Bulletin Number 004

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Precise Method for Locating Electrical Leaks

The most common method of locating electrical leaks in a
wire-line is to burn out the leak until the conductor is
shorted to the armor and then use a digital ohmmeter to
determine an approximate location of the leak. This is a
quick and easy method of finding a leak; but, there is a
disadvantage. When burning out the leak, it can melt the
copper, plastic and sometimes burns the inner armor wires.
If this occurs it can be impossible to determine the cause of
the original leak.
If it is important to determine exactly what caused the leak
or if the high voltage equipment is not available to burn
out the leak, then a alternate leak locating procedure is
required. This procedure will locate leaks that are as high
as 10 Meg-Ohms and locate the leaks within +/-1 inch. To
use this method, the following shop conditions must exist:
The shop is setup to reel the cable from a metal pay off
or truck drum to a metal take up shop drum.
The pay off frame is electrically insulated from the take
up stand.
A POWER SOURCE, such as a 6 or 12 volt car battery or a
battery charger is available, with leads long enough to
connect the power between the pay off and take up stands.
A collector is mounted on the pay off, truck, drum and is
called TRUCK DRUM.
A DC voltmeter that will indicate plus and minus
voltages and has 200mv sensitivity and 10 Meg Ohms
input impedance is required.
A set of well insulated test leads to reach between the
meter, the collector on TRUCK DRUM and one test lead,
fixed with a copper hook, to reach the cable.



1. If the meter indicates a POSITIVE voltage, the leak is

towards the SHOP DRUM.
2. If the meter indicates a NEGATIVE voltage, the leak is
towards the TRUCK DRUM.
Setup Procedure
String the cable between the pay off, truck, and shop
drums. Going around a sheave wheel is ok as long as this
sheave wheel is electrically insulated from both pay off
and take up drums.
Connect the leaking conductor to the collector on

Be sure the insulation on the conductor is clean.

The other end of the leaking conductor, on the SHOP
DRUM, must be free and clean.
Turn the meter on, set it at the lowest dc voltage range,
200 mv.
Connect the Meter NEGATIVE, long test lead to the
collector, mounted on the TRUCK DRUM.
The test lead with the copper hook is connected to the
Meter POSITIVE, and the copper hook is hung on the
cable between the pay off and take up.
Connect the POSITIVE lead of the POWER SOURCE to the
frame of TRUCK DRUM.
Connect the NEGATIVE lead of the POWER SOURCE to
the frame of SHOP DRUM.
source can arc when connected and burn an armor wire.
Leak Location
With all of the connections made in accordance to the
SETUP PROCEDURE listed above, place the copper hook
from the meter positive in contact with the cable armor.
The meter will indicate a positive voltage if the leak is
on the SHOP DRUM
The meter will indicate a negative voltage if the leak is
on the TRUCK DRUM.
The cable is then spooled in a direction to move the leak
off of the drum it is located on.
The copper hook, connected to the meter positive
terminal, is held in contact with the cable armor as it is
being spooled.
When the leak comes off the drum, the meter voltage
reading will start to decrease.
When the meter reads zero, the leak is located directly
under the copper hook location.
If the meter voltage changes polarity, you have passed
the leak.
Connection Summary
TRUCK DRUM has the collector
Connect leaking conductor to the collector
Connect NEGATIVE METER lead to the Collector TRUCK
Connect the test lead with the copper hook to the
Connect POSITIVE power source to frame of
Connect NEGATIVE power source to frame of
Be sure the plastic insulation is CLEAN on both ends.
The pay off and take up stands must not be connected
Do not connect the power source leads directly to the
cable armor. This connection can spark when connected,
burning cable armor.

Technical Bulletin Number 005

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Problems in Locating Electrical Leaks

Bulletins 002, 003, 004 have described three methods of locating electrical leaks in electro- mechanical cable. There are
four problems which when encountered increase the difficulty in locating the leaks.
1. Wet Leaks: An electrical leak occurs when there is a rupture in the plastic insulation surrounding the copper conductor.
Sometimes there is direct contact between the copper and the armor wires, (dead short), other times there is burnt
plastic from the break down process that leaves a carbon trail between the copper and armor, and in other cases there
is moisture in the cable between the copper and armor forming a wet leak.
The armor wires are covered with a Zinc coating. Zinc is above and Copper is below Hydrogen in the electromotive
series of metals, so when they are in a conductive medium, such as salt water, there will be a voltage generated
between them. In the case of Zinc and Copper the voltage is about 0.83 volts. If you would like to run a little physics
experiment, simply clip a short piece of armor wire to the negative lead of a digital voltmeter and the positive lead to a
piece of copper wire and place them in a glass of salt water. The meter will indicate a voltage in the range of 0.83 volts.
This voltage in a leak can significantly distort the location of the leak.
To determine if you have a wet leak, first measure the resistance of the leak and then reverse the leads of the
ohmmeter. If you have a wet leak there will be a significant difference between the 2 resistance measurements. The
wet leak can be dried out by repeated application of voltage from a Hi-pot or a burn out box.
If you are not equipped to burn out the leak, then using the resistance method, (Technical Bulletin 002), calculate the
distance to the leak, Lw, and then reverse the polarity of the Ohmmeter and again calculate the distance to the leak
Lw. Take the average of these two values, (Lw +Lw)/2 and this will be the correct location.
Some leak locator bridges have a polarity switch built in to obtain the values of Lw and Lw. Again the correct location
will be the average of the two readings. If a reversing switch is not included, then swap the TRUCK and WHIP
connections to get the value of Lw. Again the correct location will be the average of the two values.
2. Very High Resistance Leaks: are leaks of greater than 10 Meg Ohms and require the repeated application of Hi-pot
voltages of several thousand volts. Once the leak is less than one Meg Ohm, the burn out box can be used to reduce the
leak to several hundred or less Ohms. As mentioned in previous Bulletins, the burn out box is a DC power supply
with an adjustable output up to 600 or 800 volts with a current capacity of 1 to 3 amps. This type of power supply is
LETHAL, so must be used very cautiously!!!
3. Multiple Leaks: There is no straight forward way of locating multiple leaks. Generally when multiple leaks occur they
are all fairly close together. The best approach is to use any of the described leak locating methods and cut the cable
and check both pieces of cable using the same locating methods and cut again. After all the cutting, be sure to Hi-pot
both lengths of cable, to ensure they are clear of leaks before they are spliced back together.
4. Intermittent Leaks: are leaks that are not always present. These type of leaks typically are noticed during a job, and
later when the cable is brought to the cable shop, the cable tests clear. If the leak does not appear when the cable is
tested at 1,000 VDC, then to get the leak to reappear the cable is spooled back and forth in a number of ways while
watching the ohmmeter to see when the leak occurs. Some shops pass the cable around a capstan, through a post
former or around several sheave wheels. Spooling is done at very low and then at very high tensions. Once the leak
reappears the spooling is stopped and the leak is located using one of the standard methods.


Technical Bulletin Number 006

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Increase in Cable Resistance with Wellbore Depth

The temperature of the earth increases with depth. The rate of temperature increase can vary from 10 to 25 degrees
Fahrenheit for each one thousand feet increase in depth. With the increase in temperature there is an increase in the
resistance of copper conductors. The resistance of copper, in fact, will double at a temperature of 370F. This higher
conductor resistance will directly increase the attenuation of signals and increase the power requirements to operate
down hole tools.
The plot shown below shows the overall increase in conductor resistance as a tool is lowered in the hole. For this
example the total conductor resistance of a 25,000 foot Dakota Cable, type 7K-464-FTD, is shown as the tool is lowered
in a 20,000 foot well with bottom hole temperatures of 500F and 300F.

Conductor Resistance at Depth (Ohms)

Conductor Resistance Versus Depth











Depth 1,000s of Feet

Graph is based on the following formula

Ts +
234.5 +

(L - d)

(234.5 + Ts)

(Tb - Ts)


(234.5 + 68)

(234.5 + 68)

For the above graph the following values were used

R = Total conductor resistance Ohms.
r = Resistance per 1000 feet at 68F, (20C) Ohms/Mft, (9.8Ohms/Mft).
L = Total length of cable Mft., (25Mft).
d = Depth of cable in bore hole Mft.
Hd = Hole depth to bottom Mft., (20Mft).
Ts = Temperature at the surface degrees F, (75F).
Tb = Bottom hole temperature degrees F, (300F & 500F).
To convert from metres to feet: 1 foot = 0.3048 metres
To convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit: TF = ( TC x 1.8 ) + 32


Technical Bulletin Number 007

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Stuck Point Location

When a cable becomes stuck and will not move at the recommended maximum allowable tension, then the first step in
deciding what action to take is to determine where the cable is stuck. In cased hole work it is most commonly, but not
always, the tool that is stuck. In open hole operations, there is always the problem of the cable becoming key-seated in
the bore hole wall. In any situation it is best to make a quick check of the depth to the stuck point before deciding on the
best action to take.
The quick procedure for locating the approximate depth of the stuck point, (Ds) is as follows:

Pull on cable to remove all slack and put the cable under strain.
Note and record the indicated depth from the measuring device, (D1).
Note and record the tension in the cable.
Increase the tension exactly 1000 pounds (4.44 kN) & record the indicated depth, (D2).
Calculate the depth of the stuck point: Ds = (D1 - D2) / K (1000 feet).
K is the stretch coefficient of the cable, which is listed in the Wireline Works Catalogue, ft/Kft/Klbs.
To convert from metres to feet: 1 foot = 0.3048 metres

Nominal Values of Cable Stretch Coefficients:


ft / Kft / Klbs










Cable type-Dakota 1-R-322-FAH, 5/16 Mono-cable ; K = 1.2
Cable becomes stuck at an indicate depth of, D1 = 16500 ft.
With the cable under strain the line tension is = 3,300 lbs.
The tension is then increased to 4,300lbs and the indicated depth is D2= 16480 ft.
Ds = (D1 - D2)/K = (16500-16480) / 1.2 ( 1000 ft) = 16,600 feet
In this example the stuck point depth is close to the indicated tool depth, so it is the tool that has become stuck.

Depth Corrections
If a more accurate stuck point is important, then the following factors can be considered:
The stretch, ( D2-D1) when measured at the truck includes the stretch in the cable from the truck to the well head. A
more accurate method of measuring the stretch is to mark the cable at the well head an then measure the stretch
when the tension is increased.
If the rig-up distance is known, it can be subtracted from the calculated depth based on measurements of stretch at
the truck.
For well seasoned cables the stretch coefficient should be reduced by 5%.
In very deep hot holes the effective value of K can increase by 10%.
If there are reasons not to increase the tension by 1000 lbs, then just increase the tension by 500 pounds and then
take the value of Ds. calculated using the above formula.


Technical Bulletin Number 008

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Cable Breaking Strength

New and properly maintained Dakota cables have been
designed and manufactured to have a breaking strength that
you can depended on. This bulletin will discuss these cables
and how field operating conditions effect breaking strength.
A later bulletin will discuss the mechanical failure or reduced
breaking strength of cable due to effects such as fatigue, acid,
H2S, corrosion and wear.

result from allowing the cable to free fall into the hole and
coming out of the hole at speeds that cause excessive high
tensions; improper sheave grove size or sheave alignment can
also contribute to loosening the outer armor. When the outer
armor has become loose it is important to have a cable shop
normalize and post-form the cable to tighten the outer
armor and restore its normal breaking strength.

The breaking strength of cable, listed in the Wireline Works

catalog, is the guaranteed minimum strength at which the
cable will break when the ends of the cable are prevented
from rotating. When a cable is loaded, with no rotation
allowed, the outer armor wires are stressed slightly more than
the inner armor wires. For this reason when a cable breaks
with ends fixed, the outer armor wires will always break first
and the inner armor wires stretch out before they break.

Dakota cables are designed to exceed the catalog breaking

strength. All incoming armor wire has certified tensile
strength. In addition Wireline Works routinely tests the wire
and finished cables to verify the strength.

Oilfield cables are constructed with two layers of contrahelically applied armor wires. Under load each layer of wires
develop torque. The torque developed by the inner armor is in
opposition to the torque of the outer armor. The torque
developed by each layer of armor wires is determined
primarily by the total area of steel in each layer and the
distance of the wires from the cable center. The outer armor
wires are always further from the cable center than the inner
armor and for practical reasons the outer armor layer has a
greater area of steel. The outer armor layer, therefore,
develops much greater torque than the than the inner armor
layer. This imbalance in torque can be partially but not
completely offset by adjusting the lay angles of the inner and
outer armor wires.
If a cable under load is free to rotate, such as a cable hanging
in a vertical cased hole, the dominant torque of the outer
armor wires will cause the cable to rotate in such a direction
as to unwind the outer armor and reduce its stress. As the
outer armor wires unwind, the inner armor wires are forced to
wind tighter and this increases the stress in the inner armor. If
allowed, this unwinding will continue until the torque
between the layers is equal and when this occurs the stress in
the inner armor is much higher than in the outer armor. When
a cable is free to rotate or is forced to unwind by improper
operating conditions the breaking strength is significantly
reduced and when it does break, the inner armor will break
first. and then the outer armor wires will stretch out before
they break.
In normal operations, with proper tensions going in and out
of the well, the lower portion of the cable, if free to rotate
will unwind in proportion to the tension but due to friction in
the borehole, there is less unwinding near the surface, so the
cable breaking strength at the surface is close to ends fixed
strength. The breaking strength will be reduced further by
field operations that force the cable to unwind. This includes:
trying to control pressure with a tight pack-off instead of
using more flow tubes; wide cable tension variations that


Calculating Cable Breaking Strength

EXAMPLE - Dakota Cable type 1-R-322-PH
( units-- inches, square inches, psi, pounds, degrees)
D = 0.322 - Cable diameter
do=0.0445 - Outer armor wire diameter
Do= D - do = 0.2775 - Pitch diameter outer armor layer
di = 0.0445 - Inner armor wire diameter
Di = Do - do - di = 0.1885 - Pitch diameter inner armor layer
Dc= Di - di = 0.144 - Effective core diameter after compression
Ni = 12 - Number of inner armor wires
No= 18 - Number of outer armor wires
Ai = Ni(/4)di2 = 0.018663 - Total cross sectional area of all inner armor wires
Ao= N0(/4)do2 = 0.027995 - Total cross sectional area of all outer armor wires
Li = 1.50 - Inner armor lay distance
Lo= 2.50 - Outer armor lay distance
sini = Di / [ (Di )2 + ( Li )2 ]1/2 = 0.3672
sino = Do / [ (Do )2 + ( Lo )2 ]1/2 = 0.3293
cosi = Li / [ (Di )2 + ( Li )2 ]1/2 = 0.9301
coso = Lo / [ (Do )2 + ( Lo )2 ]1/2 = 0.9442
i = 21.54 - Inner armor lay angle

o = 19.22 - Outer armor lay angle

P = 0.33 - Poissons ratio for plastic
S = 270,000 - Wire tensile strength

Breaking Strength - Ends Fixed

F = [ cos2 i - P(Dc / Di )sin2 i] / [ cos2o - P(Dc / Do)sin2 o ] =0.9521
- armor stress ratio, ends fixed
BF = S[ F ( Aicos i ) + ( Ao Cos o ) ]
BF = 11,370 - Calculated minimum
BF = 11,200 - Catalog minimum
Breaking Strength - Free Rotation
R = [ AiDisini ] / [ AoDosino] = 0.50496 - armor stress ratio, ends free
BR = S[ ( Aicos i ) + R ( Ao Cos o ) ]
BR = 8,120 - Calculated minimum
BR = 7,900 - Catalog minimum

Technical Bulletin Number 009

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Drum Crush
The term drum crush refers to a cable electrical failures that occur as a result of the cable being crushed, smashed or
distorted to such an extent that the armor wires press and distort the plastic insulation and in some cases cut through the
insulation and contact the conductor. It is possible to have the conductor insulation distorted to such an extent that it
affects the signal transmission characteristics of the cable with out an actual electrical short. These failures are caused by
cables at high tension being spooled over cable spooled at abnormally low tension, cable installed with an incorrect
tension profile or cable that is operated in a manner to cause excessive rotation. For these reasons a more correct term for
this type of failure would be Cable Crush Failure, ( CCF).
CCF, never occurs on the whip end of the cable. Typically the failures are found at a minimum of 4 or 5 layers down and
more commonly deeper than that. Failures can and often do occur in layers of cable that have never or not recently been
off the drum.
An important characteristic of CCF is that the failure frequently does not occur immediately. For a failure to occur the
plastic insulation must cold flow under pressure and this can be a slow process. A CCF condition in some cases may have
been setup several jobs, days or even weeks before the actual failure does occur. It is this time lag that makes it difficult to
always identify the actual cause of the failure.
Factors that can contribute to CCF include:
1. Poor drum cable entry hole.
2. Irregular drum core.
3. Spreading of drum flanges.
4. Incorrect tension profile on initial cable installation.
5. Single break cable installation.
6. Loss of normal cable tension in field operations.
7. Excessive cable rotation.
8. Low or non uniform cable inner armor coverage.
A further explanation of these failures:
1. A rough or bad angle of the cable entry hole in the drum can result in a CCF from the pressure of all the wraps on the
drum. This is a special case and is easily identified.
2. Irregularities in the diameter of the drum core results in irregularities in the spooling pattern which causes pressure
points on the cable and distorts its shape. When the cable shape is distorted, it generates gaps in the inner armor
permitting easier cold flow of the plastic.
3. When the drum flanges spread there is as much as half of the diameter of the cable on each side of the top layer then
there is a situation where the cable can cut in. When this occurs, the cable shape is distorted resulting in easier plastic
cold flow.
4. There is no one size fits all when it comes to installing a cable on the drum. The correct tension profile that should be
used depends on the type of cable, the cable length and expected depth of operations. In general after the bed layer is
established the spooling tension is increased each layer for 3 or 4 more layers up to a tension of about 1/3 of the cable
breaking strength. This tension is maintained for half the cable length after which the tension is reduced each
successive layer. This is just a very general rule and experienced cable service men in each area know how to adjust
these tensions for best spooling. If too much installation tension is used in shallow hole areas, then the cable will not
spool properly at the low tensions in shallow operations. If the installation tension is too low, when installing a cable to
be used in deep hole operations, then the problem is more serious as CCF can result. When the installation tension is
low, and the spooling tension coming out of the hole is high it can result in a CCF. The failure will typically occur several
layers down on the drum and at a cable cross over between wraps or at the flange where the cable moves from one
layer to the next.
5. When a cable is spooled on a drum the cable must move over one diameter distance for each wrap. If this move is
accomplished at one point in the wrap it is called a single break spooling. All qualified cable spoolers now use the
double break spooling method, which moves the cable half a cable diameter midway around each wrap. The single
break results in a more sever distortion of the cable armor making it more susceptible to a CCF by over laying layers.
6. One frequent causes of a CCF resulting from field operations is re-spooling cable back on the drum after loss of normal
cable tension. A common cause of loss of cable tension is over running the hole bottom. When this occurs it results in
several wraps of the cable going back on the drum at low tension, followed by the high tension of cable when pulled
off of TD. This problem has become more frequent because of deviated holes, where it is necessary to approach TD very

Continued on next page

Technical Bulletin Number 009ii

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

slowly to avoid over run. The cable can also loose normal tension when any restriction is encountered going in the hole.
When this over run occurs the cable will start back on the drum at lower tension than the subsequent layers. If this
tension differential is too great, it sets up a condition for a CCF. As explained above this failure is usually not immediate
and therefore if a cable has been over run it might be saved by bringing it to a cable shop and have a normal tension
profile reestablished or by operating the cable in a deeper hole very soon after the previous problem. Any other
situation that causes a loss of normal spooling tension coming out of the hole, such as clamping off the cable to correct
a spooling problem or clamping off at a side entry sub, can also lead to a CCF. There are some radical operating
conditions where the friction in the hole and tool are such that a wide variation of the in and out tension can not be
avoid. In these cases special powered sheave or capstans must be used to reduce the tension differential and to avoid
cable crush.
7. One factor in the ability of a cable to withstand cable crush is the hoop strength of the armor wires. This is greatly
reduced when the outer armor unwinds and becomes loose. If the end of the cable is free to rotate then the outer
armor will try to unwind in proportion to the tension on the cable. This is the most frequent cause of failures in
pressure cable.
a. The cable should never be spooled out of the hole at a speed greater than a speed that results in a tension greater
than 125% of the static tension at that depth. Higher tensions result in excessive unwinding of the outer armor.
Further, going into the hole the speed should never be less than that speed that maintains a tension greater than
75% of static tension. Failure to follow these rules will cause the cable to progressively unwind the outer armor
setting up a condition for CCF. When cables are operated outside these limits, the cable should be brought into a
cable service center for normalizing, (tightening the outer armor), and post forming. when the outer armor becomes
loose. Examining the whip end of the cable, if you can easily move the outer armor with your finger nail or a small
screw driver, then it is time for service.
b. Coming out of the hole the cable unwinds and going back in the hole the cable attempts to tighten back up. If a
spring centralizer is used going into the hole a swivel head must be used to avoid sever unwinding of the outer armor.
c. The amount a cable unwinds under free conditions, depends not only on the tension in the cable but also the
friction between the armor layers. For this reason seasoned cables with mud and corrosion products between the
armor layers will rotate less and are less subject to CCF. New cables, however rotate very easily and new cable used in
high pressure wells, with grease in flow tubes, must be carefully checked for loose outer armor. It would be good
practice to have a new pressure cable brought to a service center to have the armor tighten after the first 20 or 30
operations and thereafter when the outer armor becomes loose.
d. Alloy cables used in sour gas operations, represent a special problem. The alloy armor does not rust or produce
corrosion byproducts and these cables are normally used with high pressure grease in the flow tubes, so these cables
rotate more freely throughout the life of the cables. These cables MUST be brought into the cable shop regularly for
normalizing and post-forming. Good practice for these alloy cables would be to have the armor tightened every 20
operations throughout the life of the cable.
e. Cables can be forced to unwind when pulled through a tight packer, dragging on any fixed object, run over a sheave
wheel that does not have the proper grove or the sheave and truck are not properly aligned. Any forced unwinding
of the cable further reduces its resistance to CCF.
f. Dakota cables are manufactured with a special, patent pending, compound called TCI, (torque, compression
inhibitor), that is placed between the armor layers. The material results in new cables that have sufficient friction
between the armor layers that a new Dakota Cable will closely act like a seasoned cable and will rotate 50% less
than a typical new cable under similar conditions.
8. In the manufacture of Dakota cables careful attention is paid to the inner armor coverage. Coverage is how completely
the surrounding inner armor wires cover the plastic core. This coverage is maintained between 98% and 99%. This
range of coverage provides the maximum protection to the core to withstand CCF and still provides the necessary gaps
to allow the cable to bend. It is also important that the inner armor wires are spaced evenly around the core. At
Wireline Works the inner armor spacing is carefully controlled and inner armor wires are pressed into the core so that
this spacing is maintained through the final armoring operation. When a CCF occurs the inner armor coverage should
be checked to determine if it was a contributing factor. The inner armor coverage should be checked on a new section
of cable as once the cable shape is distorted the coverage can not be judged.
The cost of cable and more importantly the cost of a cable failure on a job are so great, that the cost of bringing a cable
to a service center to have the armor tightened and the proper tension profile reestablished, is minor by comparison.
When ever a cable has encountered any of the conditions described above where a CCF could result, get your truck to a
service center before there is a failure.


Technical Bulletin Number 010

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

New Cable Care & Treatment

To get the maximum trouble free service from a cable, it very important to give special consideration to how a new cable
is treated on its first few runs in the field. During the manufacturing of a cable the tension is only a few hundred pounds,
the cable is passed from one reel to another so no rotation is possible and the temperature is always moderate. In field
operations the cable is under very high tension, is free to rotate, and subjected to very high temperatures.
In field operations the higher tensions and temperature cause several important changes in the cable:
When a new cable is first lowered in a well, the tension on the cable generates a torque and the cable end needs to
rotate to relieve this torque. If the end is carrying a tool that can easily rotate the cable will spin out hundreds of turns
to relieve this initial torque and become normalized. The amount of rotation depends on depth, tension and type
of cable.
During manufacturing, the inner armor wires are partially embedded into the plastic core by means of pinch rollers or
pre-form rollers. With the high tensions in field operations the armor wires exert an increased radial pressure on the
core causing further embedment in the core resulting in a reduction in diameter. Higher down hole temperatures
soften the plastic which will cause this diameter reduction to occur more rapidly. When the inner armor wires are fully
embedded, the diameter of the cable will stabilize, which normally occurs in 20 or 30 operations. In the case of monocables the diameter reduction is only a few thousandths but unless the cable is allowed to rotate it will result in loose
outer armor wires which can accumulate into a bird cage.
When the effective core diameter is reduced due to embedment, the armor wires wrap around this smaller diameter,
resulting in an increase in cable length.
Cable can also be forced to excessively unwind as a result of using a hydraulic pack-off to control pressure, not enough
clearance in flow tubes, poor truck and sheave alignment or an incorrect sheave groove. Cables forced to unwind have
a reduced breaking strength, are more susceptible to drum crush and loose outer armor wires that can be milked into
a bird cage. A typical new cable is more susceptible to all of the problems associated with cable torque and rotation
as there is minimal friction between the inner and outer armor wires. After a number of field operations the spaces
between the armor wires become filled with mud and corrosion byproducts which increases the friction between the
armor layers reducing the problem caused by forced cable rotation.
During the manufacture of DAKOTA cables a special material called TCI is applied on the inner armor layer to fill the
interstitial spaces between the inner and outer armor wires. This compound not only controls the fluid and gas passage
between armor layers but by the inclusion of sharp particles the friction between the armor layers is significantly
increased, reducing cable rotation. A new DAKOTA cable with TCI will act more like a seasoned cable.
Based on the above explanations, here are a few DOs and DONTs that should be observed when breaking in a
NEW cable:
Run in and out of the well at half the normal speed.
Run .004 clearance in flow tubes.
Use sheave wheels with the proper grove size.
Run tools that restrict cable rotation.
Run in deviated holes.
Apply any pressure with a hydraulic packer.


Technical Bulletin Number 011

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Alternate method of leak location

It should be noted that no single method of leak
detection is fool-proof. Therefore it is highly
recommended that more than one technique be
used to provide confidence in the location of
the leak.

Measure the voltage between the armor and the

conductor at the Collector end, Vc.
Measure on cable ground
Whip End
Collector End

The method described below is quick, easy and will

locate a low resistance leak within +/-50 feet. This is
usually close enough for service and repair. To use
this method accurately, you will require a digital
multi-meter (DMM) with a 4+ digit display and an
input impedance of 10 Meg-Ohms or greater. Most
quality DMM's meet these requirements but there
are some lower quality DMM's with only a 3 digit
display and a 1 Meg-Ohm input resistance.

The procedure is as follows:

Disconnect the leaking conductor from the
collector and connect a 6 or 12 volt car battery
between the conductor at the whip end and
collector end.
Measure the battery voltage, at the cable ends,
Vb, not at the battery terminals.
Whip End
Collector End


*Measure at cable ends on the conductor

Measure the voltage between armor and the

conductor at the whip end, Vw.
Whip End

Collector End

To get started the total length of the cable, L, must

be known. (See Tech Bulletin - 001). This method for
locating the leak assumes the entire length of cable
is on the truck drum.



Measure on cable ground

If all measurements have been done carefully, and

the leak is "stable" the following formulae will
validate: Vc + Vw = Vb. If this checks out, or is close,
then you can have confidence in the procedure.
The location of the leak from the whip end, Lw, is:
Lw = L(Vw / Vb)
L = 18,000 feet
Vb = 12.635 volts, measured at the cable ends
Vw = 2.456
Vc = 10.179
CHECK: Vw + Vc = 2.456 + 10.179 = 12.635 = Vb
Lw = L(Vw / Vb) = 18,000( 2.456 / 12.635) = 3,498 Ft.
The leak is located +/- 50 feet from 3,498 feet from
whip end.


Technical Bulletin Number 012

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Breaking Strength
The breaking strength of any Dakota cable can be found on both the Cable Specification Sheet and
in the Catalogue. These can either be found on the website www.wirelineworks.com or call your
Wireline Works Representative to send you physical copies. These values of breaking strength are
theoretical values assuming the cable is in new physical condition, and the cable is pulled straight
without rotating. Dakota cables are regularly tested to verify that the breaking strength exceeds the
catalogue values.
There are many factors which can effect the breaking strength of a cable after it has been in the
field which include:

Physical wear on the cable which reduces the diameter of the outer armor wires; hence,
reducing the breaking strength of the cable
Corrosion of the cable will reduce the effective diameter of both the inner and outer armor
wires and again reduce the breaking strength
H2S exposure can embrittle the steel and drastically reduce its breaking strength, as it bends
over the sheave wheel.
CO2 exposure will also cause accelerated corrosion
Excessive rotation of the cable, caused by improper operating tensions or hydraulic packers
can reduce the breaking strength by as much as 30%
Splices if done properly can withstand loads over 90% of the cables breaking strength.
However they loose much of their strength if put into compression (spudding), and tend to
deteriorate quickly when run over sheaves frequently. Shims used in splicing need to be
inspected regularly for wear.
Fatigue of armor wires occurs when the cable is yo-yoed at high tension. When it is
necessary to yo-yo a cable, then at every 10 or 20 cycles the upper sheave wheel or truck
should be moved so that a fresh section of cable is passing under the measuring head and
over the sheave wheels.
Physical Damage such as kinks, armor scratches, dents, etc. to the cable can result in a much
reduced breaking strength

Operating Strength of a cable is expressed as the percent of ends fixed breaking strength (BS) of the
cable. For GIPS cables Wireline Works recommends an Operating Strength of 60% of the breaking
strength. Sour service cables should not normally be operated over 50% of there breaking strength.
The cable will operate an unlimited number of tension cycles to its Operating Strength without
permanent damage to the cable. When the cable is stressed to above the operating strength, there
may be permanent irreversible damage. Above the recommended operating strength there can be
plastic forced out of the gaps in the inner armor resulting in less electrical insulation between the
conductor and armor. There may also be additional elongation of the cable and when tension is
released Z kinks may begin to form in the copper conductor. If these high tensions are repeated it
will lead to electrical failure.


Technical Bulletin Number 013

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Hydrogen Sulfide Standard Cables

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), is lethal to breath, very corrosive, and it can embrittle the standard GIPS (Galvanized Improved
Plow Steel) armor wire used on oilfield electro-mechanical cables. When water is present and galvanized steel armor
wires come in contact with H2S there is a chemical reaction. The first and fastest reaction is with the Zinc resulting in the
formation of Zinc Sulfide, which is black, in addition to the release of nascent or atomic Hydrogen (H). The second and on
going reaction is with Iron forming Iron Sulfide and again atomic Hydrogen
The more stable state of Hydrogen is H2. However the reaction we are discussing results in a large percentage of atomic
hydrogen which is extremely small. The molecules are so small they can diffuse and accumulate within the crystal
structure of steel. As the accumulation continues the atomic Hydrogen seeks a more stable state and combines with
another H forming H2, which is twice as large as H. In this larger state it does not diffuse back out of the structure as
easily as it went in. This packing of Hydrogen in the steel crystal structure generates an internal stress and in time can
lead to micro stress cracks in the steel. Even before there is advanced stress cracking, the accumulation of Hydrogen in the
steel crystals results in the crystals elements being unable to move internally, causing the steel to become extremely
brittle. A strand of GIPS wire exposed to sufficient Hydrogen Sulfide can result in the steel wire breaking like a glass rod
when bent.
After the Zinc has been used up in the chemical reaction the H2S continues to react with the Iron. This action can takes
place faster in the presence of water. If the well fluid is mostly oil, then the reaction of dissolved H2S on the cable is
slower but there are no safe or unsafe standards.
The presence of CO2 where there is water present results in the formation of Carbonic acid. This acid environment seems
to accelerate the action of H2S on iron, but again the published data is not complete enough for any standard guidelines
to be complete. Another catalyst occurs when the carbonic acid etches the steel surface providing additional surface area
exposed to the effects of H2S. Field experience has shown that when CO2 and H2S are both present in bore hole fluids
that include water, the embrittlement of steel is much faster and more severe. In addition to CO2, the well pressure,
temperature and the total time of exposure, are factors that can radically effect the degree of embrittlement.
The National Association of Corrosion Engineers has published a guide line for the use of GIPS in wells containing H2S:
Maximum H2S in ppm for GIPS = (50.000 / Well pressure, psi)
Example: Well pressure = 1000 psi , GIPS can be used with H2S concentrations up to 50 ppm.
The above guidelines are very general and what is safe depends on a number of other factors. The nature of H2S
embrittlement is that up to a point the embrittlement is reversible without permanent damage to the cable. Over time
the H2 will diffuse out of the wires and the cable will return to normal.
If a standard cable has been exposed to H2S and has successfully come out of the hole, you need to make a quick check of
the armor wire by bending a wire around a rod (2 to 3 times the wire diameter) 5 complete wraps. Unwrap the wire, if it
does not break then it is likely there has been no permanent damage by micro fracture, and the cable can be saved. The
H2 in the cable armor will ultimately diffuse out of the armor. If a wire breaks in this wrap test but there were no outer
armor wires broken coming out of the hole, then it is best to let the cable sit for a few days to allow the H2 to diffuse out
of the wires. Do not use this cable in an H2S well again until it has made several trips in normal wells and the wrap test
has passed.
Although not recommended, if you are considering running a standard, plow steel, cable in a well containing H2S, then
here are several pointers:

Run an older cable, less Zinc.

Use plenty of the pressure control grease, Liquid O Ring 4-I, ( or equal).

Use the National Association of Corrosion Engineers guide lines, for allowable H2S.

Use larger diameter sheave wheels

No hydraulic pack off pressure .

Use more flow tubes with greater clearance, 0.004

Get in and out of the hole as quickly as possible, within correct operating speeds.
If your operating conditions do not fall within these guidelines, then an alloy cable should be used. H2S and alloy
armored, MP35 & stainless steel, cables will be covered in another technical bulletin.

Technical Bulletin Number 014

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Voltage and Current Ratings

Voltage ratings are determined by the thickness of primary
plastic insulation. The published dielectric strength for FEP and
PTFE are as high as 500 & 350 volts/mil under ideal laboratory
conditions. The Voltage Rating used for oil field cables is a
conservative 50 Volts DC /mil of insulation As an example,
Dakota Cable 1-R-224-PH has 24.5 mils of insulation. At 50
Volts / mil this would indicate a rating of 1,250 Volts DC. The
actual catalog rating is rounded off at 1,200VDC.
The sixty cycle AC RMS voltage rating of a cable is less than
the DC rating. The peak voltage of the sine wave AC voltage is
1.4 times the RMS value, so this would make the AC voltage
rating of the Dakota Cable 1-R-224-PH only 700VAC.
With AC voltages there is always the threat of corona
discharge that can deteriorate the plastic insulation. A
complete treatment of corona problems is very complex and
includes effects of temperature, pressure, conductor size,
frequency as well as insulation thickness. A simplified
conservative formula, ( NTIS), for calculating the volts per mil
for the onset of corona for this cable is:
E =0. 868 / d[ log(D / d)]
E Volts / mil for the onset of corona
d diameter of conductor inches
D Diameter over insulation inches
E =0. 868 / 0.059[log(0.108 / 0.059)] = 56 Volts / mil, is where
corona could start to be a problem.
By rating Dakota Cables at 50 Volts / mil, corona should never
be a problem.
The maximum current in a cable is determined by the
allowable voltage drop and the heat generated by the current
in the cable that is on the drum. Unless the maximum current
is on continuously for several hours, the maximum current will
normally be limited by the maximum voltage.
Using a 25,000 ft. 1-R-224-FTH cable as an example, the
maximum allowable current can be calculated using the values
of resistance and voltage rating listed in the catalog.
Ld = cable length on drum (kft);
Lh = cable length in bore hole (kft);
The conductor resistance, of the cable on the drum is:
(4.0 x Ld) Ohms (from Wireline Works Catalogue)
The armor of the cable on the drum has no resistance as it
is all shorted on its self and the drum.
The conductor resistance, of the cable in the hole is
(4.0 x Lh) Ohms .
The armor resistance, Ohms, of cable in the hole is
(4.4 x Lh) Ohms (from Wireline Works Catalogue)


Example #1:
Length of cable in the hole is 20,000 feet; therefore, Lh = 20;
Length of cable on the drum is 5,000 feet; therefore, Ld = 5;
The Voltage required at the tool Vb = 700;
The cable voltage rating Vmax= 1200, (from Wireline Works
Total cable loop resistance, Rc = (4.0 x 5) + (4.0 x 20) +
(4.4 x 20) = 188 Ohms
Total allowable Voltage drop, Vd = Vmax Vb = 1200 700
= 500 Volts
Current = Voltage /Resistance
Maximum current that can be supplied is Imax = Vd / Rc =
500 / 188 = 2.6 amps.
Now consider the heating effect of the cable on the drum.
Power = (Current)2 x Resistance = Current x Current x
Power (watts) dissipated in drum cable, Pd = (Imax x Imax) x
(4.0 x Ld) = (2.6 x 2.6) x (4.0 x 5) = 135 Watts. In this example
the heat from 135 watts, a typical light bulb, dissipated in the
500 pounds of cable on the drum plus the steel drum will have
little effect on the cable temperature.
Example #2:
Lh =5; Ld = 20; Vb = 700; Vmax = 1200; Calculate Imax
Rc = (4.0 x 20) + (4.0 x 5) + (4.4 x 5) = 122 Ohms
Vd = 1200 700 = 500 Volts
Imax = 500 / 122 = 4.1 amps
Now consider the heating effect of the cable on the drum
Pd = (Imax x Imax) x Rd
Rd = 4.0 x Ld
Pd = (4.1 x 4.1) x (4.0 x 20) = (16.8 x 80) = 1,344 watts.
This is nearly 10 times the wattage of the other example but
still not a serious problem for short periods. 1,344 Watts is
about the power of a kitchen hot plate. It would take a very
long time to heat up a 2,000 pound cable on the drum plus a
steel drum with a kitchen hot plate. This example does
however, illustrate that the problem of maximum current
becomes more serious when most of the cable is on the drum.
There are too many variables to calculate the maximum
allowable time limit, including: ambient temperature, layers of
cable on the drum, air circulation, spooling tensions, etc.
Experience has indicated that cable on the drum can tolerate,
without damage, 1/10 watt per foot for periods of 24 hours. In
this example that would be 1,250 watts.

Technical Bulletin Number 015

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

15/15 Versus 12/18 Armor Packages for 7/32 Cables

Choosing between a 15 X 15 and 12 X 18 armor package on
7/32 cables is always a topic of discussion among operators.
The electrical characteristics of both type cables is essentially
the same. The finished diameter, weight and rated breaking
strength of both constructions are the same. There are,
however, several factors that influence the choice for general
operations with cables using standard galvanized steel (GIPS),
armor wires and there are other special factors in the choice
for cables using Alloy armor wires. This technical bulletin
outlines factors affecting which 7/32" cables to choose when
selecting from GIPS or Alloy armor wires with either 12 inner
and 18 outer armor wires or 15 inner and 15 outer armor
wires. These factors have been reported by some wireline
operators and are presented to assist you in your decision
making. Please note that your operational practices and
environment must be considered in making any decision, and
that your own experience may vary from that reported by
these wireline operators.

Armor Specifications

Comparing 7/32 Standard GIPS

Comparing 7/32 Alloy, Stainless & MP35

15 X15 Construction
Larger outer armor wires wear longer.
Larger outer wires are stiffer and therefore easier to
thread through flow tubes.
Larger outer wires do not become crossed over as
easily during re-heading.
Smaller inner wires will corrode to brittleness faster,
reducing cable life.
The larger Torque Factor means this type of cable,
especially when new, will try to unwind more , which
can result in loose outer armor wires.
The outer armor of the 15 X 15 construction will
require more frequent trips to a service center for
normalization and post forming, to tighten the
outer armor.
12 X 18 Construction
Larger inner armor wires will not corrode and become
brittle as fast.
The smaller Torque Factor means the cable will not
unwind as easily, so the outer armor will stay tight
longer, requiring less service.
The outer and inner armor wires are the same
diameter making a better head termination.


Armor Package
Cable Diameter - inches
Diameter Inner Wires inches

12 inner X 18 outer

15 inner X 15 outer

0.224 +.005/-.002

0.224 +.005/-.002



Diameter Outer Wires inches



Steel Area Inner inches square



Steel Area Outer inches square



Total Steel Area inches square







Rated Breaking Strength pounds

Torque Factor**

** Torque Factor = (Area of outer armor)( Pitch diameter of outer

armor) / ( Area of inner armor)( Pitch diameter of inner armor).

The very high costs of alloy cables and their resistance to

corrosion makes the decision on the best armor package
different. The primary consideration is on obtaining maximum
cable life. With these armor materials the cost of the frequent
cable service is small compared to the cost of the cables.
15 X 15 Construction
Larger outer armor wires will wear longer.
Alloy wires do not corrode, so smaller inner armor
wires are not a problem.
With no corrosion of the armor wires, the normal
corrosion products, that inhibit cable rotation, are not
present between the armor wires, so the cable under
load will unwind more, loosening the outer armor.
This cable construction, with a high torque factor and
low rotational resistance, requires frequent trips to the
service center to have the outer armor tightened and
post formed.
12 X 18 Construction
The lower torque factor means this construction will
unwind less than the 15X15 construction and will
require less frequent service.
The same diameter armor wires make a better
head termination.
This construction would be favored for use in
extremely remote locations where cable service is not
readily available.

Technical Bulletin Number 016

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Length Stability: Compound Pre-StressingTM

The cable length is the primary method of determining the depth of
a tool in open hole operations. In using either magnetic marks or
measuring wheels, accurate depth measurements depend on known
stretch characteristics of the cable. There are two types of cable
stretch; elastic and inelastic.
Elastic stretch is an elongation of the cable that is directly
proportional to the tension applied and when tension is removed
the cable returns to its original length. This is a characteristic of a
seasoned cable. Since elastic elongation or stretch is proportional
to tension, the elastic stretch can be calculated from the measured
tension on the cable.
Inelastic stretch is a permanent elongation of a cable that occurs
when sufficient tension is applied to a new cable and the cable
remains elongated after the tension is removed. In the manufacture
of new cables when the inner armor is applied to the core there are
voids between the underside of the inner armor and the core,
figure 1. After adequate tension is applied to the cable the inner
armor will embed into the plastic core material, figure 2. When the
inner armor wires are fully embed, essentially all inelastic stretch
will have occurred and the cable is seasoned. A seasoned cable
will have predictable elastic stretch characteristics as long as it is not
subjected to tensions over 60% of rated breaking strength.
With full embedment there is also a permanent change in the
effective cable core diameter. In manufacturing a cable the amount
of this diameter change is important, so that after full embedment
has occurred, the finished cable, will have the correct outside
diameter. The desired final effective diameter, Dc, of the core is
easily calculated:
Dc = D 2do 2 di
D = required finished cable diameter
do & di = outer and inner armor wire diameters
The initial diameter of the core required for full embedment can be
closely approximated by:
Dc = [ (Dc+di)^2 (N/2Cos Ai )(di)^2]^1/2
N = number of inner armor wires
Ai = lay angle of inner armor wires
Using the Dakota slammer cable type 7-Y-484 as an example, the
required finished effective core diameter is:
Dc = 0.484 2 X 0.0670 2 X 0.0535 = 0.243

(patent pending)

If the original length of the cable, L is 25,000 feet then the increase
of the inner armor length, li is:
li = ( 25,000 )(0.0044) = 110 feet
The outer armor in contact with the inner armor layer experiences
the same reduction in diameter but this is a smaller fraction of its
original diameter, so the elongation, lo, of the outer armor is less
than the inner armor:
lo = L[(Dc-Dc)/( Dc+2di +do)]X[Tan Ao]^2 =
L[(0.008)/(0.243+2*0.0535+0.067)](Tan 19)^2 =L[ 0.0023]
lo = (25,000)(0.0023) = 58 feet.
It is conventional cable manufacturing practice to embed the inner
armor in the core to season it by subjecting the finished cable to
a prestressing operation. This operation typically applies a tension
of about 1/3 of the cable rated breaking strength as it passes
between two capstans. The tension in the cable is lost as it leaves
the final capstan and goes on the shipping reel.
If the tension in this standard prestressing operation has embedded
the inner armor in the core, then when the tension is removed, the
inner armor, now wound around a smaller core, would like to be
longer than the outer armor as the above calculations demonstrate.
Because of the friction between the inner and outer layers the
outer armor can not shrink back over the inner armor . Since the
shorter outer armor has much greater strength, it will push back on
the inner armor, which will reduce the pressure on the core.
The nature of plastics is that they have a memory and though the
prestressing operation may have initially fully embedded the inner
armor into the plastic core, when the inner armor pressure is
reduced the core will start to recover its original shape. When this
occurs, the cable is not fully seasoned and will have excessive
inelastic stretch.
Wireline Works Inc. has a proprietary cable seasoning process
known as Compound Pre-StressingTM (patent pending). With this
procedure the inner armor, core assembly is first pre-stressed with
sufficient tension to fully embed the inner armor wires into the
core. After pre-stressing the inner armor, the outer armor is then
applied to the already embedded and elongated inner armor. This
permits the outer armor to add rather than reduce the pressure on
the core ensuring a fully seasoned cable.

To allow for full embedment the initial core diameter required is:
Dc = [ (0.243 + 0.0535)^2 (16 / 2Cos22 )( 0.0535)^2]^1/2
= 0.251
Dc- Dc = 0.251 - 0.008 is the core compression.
This shows that the diameter of a newly assembled cable of this
type will decrease 8 thousandths of a inch when the inner armor is
fully embedded in the core. Since the inner armor wires are
helically wrapped around this smaller effective core diameter the
length of the embedded inner armor layer will be longer. This
increase in length, li, can be calculated :
li = L[ (Dc- Dc ) /( Dc + di)] X [ Tan Ai]^2 = L[ 0.008 /
(0.243 + 0.0535)] X [Tan22]^2 = L[0.0044]


Figure 1

Figure 2



Technical Bulletin Number 017

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Armor Coverage
Armor coverage is a very important property of
electromechanical wireline cables. Proper design and armor
coverage permits cables to operate under tough operating
conditions of high temperatures and high tensile loads. The
term armor coverage refers to how close the armor wires
are together. If a layer of armor wires were to have 100%
coverage, it would mean that all of the armor wires in that
layer were touching their adjacent wires.
There are a number of very important reasons why the armor
coverage of both the inner and outer armor layers must be
carefully controlled. If the coverage on either layer were
100%, the cable would be so stiff it would not be able to
bend around a sheave wheel without forcing one of the wires
out of the layer, creating a high wire. If the armor coverage is
too low a premature electrical short could result under high
temperature and high load conditions.
The range and requirements for the coverage of the inner and
outer armor layers is quite different. To calculate coverage
there are at least 4 good formulas. In the case of oil field
electro mechanical cables (wirelines), there is little difference
in the calculated coverage values using any of these formulas.
The formula that has been accepted by the major oil field
service companies and Wireline Works is:

% Ci =

(Dc - 2 do - di) Sin[ Ni ] Cos [i]

% Co =




(Dc - do) Sin[ Ni ] Cos [o]



Percent coverage of the inner armor layers

Percent coverage of the outer armor layers
Diameter of the individual inner armor wires
Diameter of the individual outer armor wires
The number of wires in the inner armor layers
The number of wires in the outer armor layers
the lay angle of the inner armor wires
the lay angle of the outer armor wires
Finished cable outside diameter

Inner Armor Coverage acceptable range: 97.5% to 99.5%,

ideal is 98.5%.
The importance of keeping the inner armor coverage as high
as possible is to contain the plastic insulation covering the
conductor. During cable manufacturing the equal spacing
between the inner armor wires is carefully controlled and the
inner armor wires are partially embedded in the plastic
insulation to preserve this equal spacing. This equal spacing is
important to spread the coverage equally between each wire
thus minimizing the gap at any one location.


A cable under load generates a pressure on the core and if the

inner armor wires are not close enough (low coverage %), the
plastic insulation can be squeezed out between the armor
wires. With an inner armor coverage over 98% cables can
operate under rated operating conditions of temperature and
tension without the plastic insulation being squeezed out in
the gap between the inner armor wires. When a cable is
subjected to high downhole temperatures and excessive
tension some plastic insulation may be forced out between
the inner armor wires, even when the armor coverage is in an
acceptable range. Excessive operating conditions, stuck tools,
and pulling out of the weak point can often create this
phenomena. In these cases it is good operational practice
to cut back on the cable end to be assured of full
electrical insulation.
Outer Armor Coverage acceptable range: 96.5% to 98.5%,
ideal is 97.5%.
The importance of allowing a lower coverage on the outer
armor is to give the cable sufficient flexibility to wrap around
standard sheave wheels. On cables used in high pressure
operations it is important to keep the outer armor coverage
on the high side to better control pressure in the flow tubes.
The outer armor being applied over the inner armor can not
be embedded to control spacing. For this reason, new cables
when they are first spooled may cause the outer armor wires
to shift around resulting in what appears to be an excessively
wide gap. This is perfectly normal. When a new cable has a
dark protective grease applied, this grease will collect in this
wider gap giving an appearance that the cable is gappy.
After a few runs in the hole the outer armor will equalize the
gap between the adjacent armor wires and the appearance of
a gappy cable will disappear.
Sample inner armor coverage calculation:
Wireline Works 1-R-288-TH
Ci =


(Dc - 2 do - di) Sin[ Ni ] Cos [i]

di = 0.0405;
do = 0.040;
Dc = 0.288;
Ni = 12;
i =



Ci = 99.1%


Technical Bulletin Number 018

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Minimizing Cable Torque During Cable Design

The torque in the cable is the

difference between the torque in the
outer armor, Qo, and the inner
armor, Qi, The factors that
determine the torque in each
layer are:

No do2 to Sin [o]



To off set the dominant outer armor torque, the lay angle of
the inner armor is increased. From cable design we know
there is an angle of maximum torque for the inner armor. This
is because the portion of cable tension carried by the inner
armor decreases as the inner armor lay angle is increased.
Therefore; even though the larger lay angle will result in
increasing the component of tension that generates torque, if
the tension is decreased excessively, the torque will also
decrease. The result is an angle of maximum torque for the
inner armor, which in turn is the angle that results in the
minimum cable torque. ( Q =Qo-Qi ).
The minimum torque angle for a cable with a 12/18 armor
package is about 25 to 26 degrees. Again in cable design there
are compromises to be made. As the lay angle of the inner
armor is increased to reduce cable net torque, it also reduces
the breaking strength. The best compromise between
breaking strength and cable torque is an inner armor lay
angle of 23 degrees.
Cable Torque, inch-pounds/pound

All electromechanical Wireline cables that are used in oil well

service operations are designed with two layers of armor wires
around a core of insulated conductors. By design, wireline
cables develop torque when subjected to load. The inner layer
of armor wires is normally wrapped around the core in a right
hand direction while the outer layer of armor wires are
wrapped over the inner armor wires in a left hand direction. By
wrapping the layers in opposite directions the torque from the
inner armor opposes the torque from the outer armor. The
result is that the net torque in the cable is the difference
between the torque generated by each armor layer. In theory it
is possible to design a cable in which the torque generated by
each layer is exactly equal, resulting in a cable that has no
torque under load and therefore would not rotate under load
but there are a number of reasons that this is not a practical
design for oilfield service operations. To better understand the
impact of cable torque see Technical Bulletin Wireline Torque.

Ni di2 ti Sin [i]

Di = the pitch diameter of each inner layer

Do = Is the pitch diameter of each outer layer
Ni = Is the number of wires in each inner layer
No = Is the number of wires in each outer layer
di = Is the diameter of the wires in each inner layer
do = Is the diameter of the wires in each outer layer
i = Is the lay angle of each inner layer
o = Is the lay angle of each outer layer
ti = Is the wire tension in each inner layer
to = Is the wire tension in each outer layer







Inner Armor Lay Angle ia

The full calculation of cable torque, qcc, for the Wireline

Works cable 1-R-322 looks like this:
qcc =
(cd 2 dia 2 doa) pr sin2 ( oa)

(cd doa) doa2 noa sin ( oa)

Looking at the picture of a standard cable type with 12 inner

and 18 outer armor wires and the factors that determine the
torque in each layer , the outer armor torque will be greater
than the inner armor torque because:

dia2 (cd dia 2 doa) nia sin ( ia) cos2 ( ia)

2 nia cos ( ia) cos2 ( ia)

cos2 ( oa)


cd = 0.322
noa = 18

(cd 2 dia 2 doa) pr sin2 ( ia)

cd dia 2 doa

cd dia 2 doa

dia2 +

(cd 2 dia 2 doa) pr sin2 ( oa)

dia = 0.0445
aia = 23

qcc = 0.0151162

cd doa

(cd 2 dia 2 doa) pr sin2 ( ia)

doa2 noa cos ( oa) cos2 ( oa)

These 3 factors give the dominate torque to the outer armor

layer. When designing a cable the torque can be minimized by
adjusting the lay angles of each layer. To decrease the torque
generated by the outer armor wires the lay angle of the outer
armor is reduced to as small of an angle that does not
compromise the spooling characteristics of the cable . This angle
in most cases is 19 degrees. Experience has shown that when
the lay angle is less than 19 degrees the outer armor wires are
easily crossed if the cable gets slack during operations.


The actual computation of cable torque under load is a

complicated problem as when the angles of inner and outer
armor are changed, the tension carried by each layer and the
torque are changing.

The net torque in the cable, Qc= Qo Qi

Do > Di the outer armor is always over the inner armor

No > Ni in any cable with equal diameter armor wires
do = di With the standard 12 / 18 armor package


cd doa

doa = 0.0445
aoa = 19

nia = 12
pr = 0.47

inch-pounds of torque / pound of tension

At a working tension of 5000 pounds, the cable torque,

Qc would be:
Qc = 75.6 inch pounds of torque

Technical Bulletin Number 019

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Wireline Torque
Electromechanical Wireline Cables are designed and
manufactured to minimize the inherent torque in the cable,
see Technical Bulletin Minimizing Cable Torque during
Design". However, all cables inherently have some torque
and will develop a need to rotate relative to the tension
applied during operations. This is generally not a problem
as long as the cable is allowed to rotate freely. In todays
complex oilfield there are a lot of variables that affect and
restrict cable rotation. If the cable is not allowed to rotate
in proportion to tension, torque build up will begin to occur
in certain areas of the cable depending on what is
restricting it from rotating properly. For example, the packoff will restrict the cable from rotating and the cable will
accumulate torque as the cable passes through pack-off.
This results in torque build up and loose outer armor.
Cable rotation can be restricted and torque imbalance may
occur from the following operations:
Deviated or crooked well bores.
Going in and out too fast and not observing the 80/120
tension rule, (see Technical Bulletin #9).
Pulling out of a well at high speeds that result in
excessive tension.
Centralized and decentralizing tools.
Heavy and viscous drilling mud and completion fluids
affect the tension of the cable.
Grease heads or pack-offs used to wipe or
control pressure.
Pulling out of a rope socket under high load conditions.
Low fluid bypass conditions.
Field experience has shown that almost always loose outer
armor is caused from the torque imbalance resulting from
improper running conditions. During the seasoning or
breaking in period for new cables there will generally be
some areas in the cable that become loose. These areas do
not cause problems under everyday use; however, it would
be good insurance to normalize (tighten loose areas) a
standard GIPS cable after 20 to 30 runs. This would tighten
any loose outer armor that may have occurred due to the
core embedment of a new cable.


If a cable has been run into a well bore with any condition
that may prevent free rotation or cause torque imbalance,
the cable will need attention to keep it from failing. The
standard approach is to normalize the cable to be sure the
outer armor is tight. If you feel or see your cable trying to
curl up while laying on the ground during rig ups it has
excessive torque. Running the cable in this condition will
risk breaking, or getting a strand cross-over which can cause
the cable to strand at deeper depths. Remember every bird
cage you see is caused by getting too much slack in one
location of the cable. It is a good idea to rehead, when
possible, with inner armor strands on the cables that are
using grease heads because they are lubricated and can
torque up relatively easily.
Lack of tension means low rotation is required, and high
tensions means a lot of rotations required to prevent torque
build up. If you come out of a well with very high tension
and torque in the cable, the next time you go into a well
with very little tension, there will be a lot of torque in the
cable wanting to be released. Armor separation, high
strands, or bird caging are not the only issues to worry
about with torque build up, you may also experience early
pullouts, cable breaks, and excessive compression on the
conductor which can short out the cable. The more you
understand the affects of torque the better off you are in
preventing cable failures and/or well site disasters.
The torque generated at maximum working load for
standard cables has been calculated as follows:





R-380 R-425






8600 11700








Technical Bulletin Number 020

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Cable Rotation
By design, wireline cables develop torque when subjected to
load, see Technical Bulletin Minimizing Cable Torque During
Cable design. The load on the wireline cable is a result of the
weight of the tool, the weight of the cable and any dynamic
friction due to running conditions. If the tool end of the cable is
free to rotate, the cable will try to rotate to reduce this torque.
All cables used in oil field service operations are built with the
torque of the outer armor dominant over the opposing torque
of the inner armor. To balance the torque the cable will unwind
in a direction to loosen the outer armor, which will tighten the
inner armor. If the cable is free to rotate, this unwinding or
rotation will continue until the torque in the inner armor equals
the torque of the outer armor. The number of revolutions, Nf
(per 1000 ft per 1000 lb), that the end of the cable will make to
equalize the torque can be calculated as follows:
Nf = 48 x 106 (cd doa) ( cd + dia + 2 doa)
dia2 (cd 2 (dia + doa)) nia pr sin3 ( ia) + dia2 ( cd + dia + 2 doa) nia cos2 ( ia) sin ( ia) +
doa2 noa sin ( oa) (cd doa) cos2 ( oa) + (2 (dia + doa) cd) pr sin2 ( oa)
dia2 doa2) nia noa 2 ym ((doa cd) cos ( ia) sin ( oa) (cd dia 2 doa) cos ( oa) sin ( ia))
(cd dia 2 doa) (cd doa)2 sin(2 oa) cos2 ( ia) +
sin( ia) ((cd doa) ( cd + dia + 2 doa)2 cos2 ( oa) +
cd3 + (4 dia + 6 doa) cd2 5 dia2 cd + 8 doa3) pr sin2 ( oa) cos ( ia) +
pr cd (cd2 4 doa cd + doa (4 dia + 5 doa) cos ( oa) sin ( oa) sin2 ( ia) +
dia cd2 + doa2 (dia + doa) sin (2 oa) sin2 ( ia) +
dia3 + 5 doa dia2 + 8 doa (doa cd) dia 6 cd doa2 sin (2 ia) sin2 ( oa)

Example of Cable Rotation with Tool End Free to Rotate

Using Wireline Works Cable # 1-R-322 as an example:
doa=0.0445, dia=0.0445,
oa =19.22,
*pr = Poisson Ratio
**Testing has shown that 0.47 is the best value for EM cables

Nf = 17.2 revolutions / 1000 ft / 1000 pounds tension.

With 10,000 feet of new 1-R-322-PH cable lowered into a
straight dry hole, with a 500 lb tool, the total revolutions,
N, the cable would make to equalize torque would be:
Cable weight lb / kft = 188 ;
Average tension due to cable = 188 X 10 / 2 = 940 lb
Effective tension is 940 + 500=1440=1.44 klb;
Nf x 1.44 x 10 = 17.2 x 1.44 x 10 = 247 revolutions
There are very few straight, dry holes but this calculation
indicates the amount of rotation a new cable will try to make
to equalize the torque. With fluid in the hole the tension would


increase with cable speed coming out of the hole resulting in

additional unwinding revolutions.

Standard Wireline Works Cable Rotation

Nf Number of Revolutions per 1000 feet per 1000 pound
tension cable end free to rotate
TYPE Z-224






The above calculations represent the possible rotation of a

typical new cable. As a cable becomes seasoned it will rotate
less with tension changes. A seasoned cable is one in which
the outer armor wires have dug into the Zinc of the inner
armor wires and mud plus corrosion by products have collected
between the armor layers add to the friction between layers
reducing the amount of cable rotation. The amount of this
initial new cable rotation has been reduced in Wireline Works
cables by including a material called TCI (Torque Compression
Inhibitor) Technical Bulletin #10, between the armor layers. TCI
contains materials that increase the friction between the armor
layers, reducing the rotation of new cables, so new cables will
perform more like seasoned cables.
Cables armored with alloy wires like MP-35 or 31MO are an
extreme case in cable rotation. The reason is that the alloy
armor does not have a soft Zinc coating and it does not corrode
creating friction between armor layers that reduces the rotation
in cables armored with galvanized wire. For these reasons alloy
cables will continue to rotate in use and must be given extra
care in field operations and periodically the outer armor needs
to be tightened.
In operations, keep in mind that when ever the tension on the
cable changes it will try to rotate. When cable tension is
increased above the static tension by frictional drag on the cable,
the increase in cable torque will try to unwind the outer armor
wires. Frictional drag comes from bore hole friction and tight
pressure control equipment. This frictional drag increases with
the speed of the cable spooling. Coming out of the hole too fast
can result in excessive frictional tension on the cable forcing the
cable to rotate excessively , further loosening the outer armor.
Going into the hole the tension in the cable is reduced by the
frictional drag and the cable will try to rotate to tighten the
outer armor. Going into the hole too fast will not give the cable
time to rotate to tighten the armor. Experience has shown that
for standard GIPS armored cables if the tension going into the
hole is not less than 80% of static tension at that depth and the
tension coming out of the hole is never more than 120% of
static tension, the cable armor will remain tight. This rule does
not apply to alloy cables, which require special care.
Cable rotation can cause the stress in the outer armor wires to
be reduced, which not only leads to loose outer armor wires but
also significantly reduces the cable breaking strength. The
reduction in cable breaking strength with the cable free to
rotate will be covered in a later Technical Bulletin. For
additional effects of cable rotation and cable torque see
Technical Bulletin Wireline Torque.

Technical Bulletin Number 021

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Temperature Rating of Cables

The maximum temperature rating
The maximum temperature rating of Wireline Works cables,
as listed in the catalog, is based on the following
operating conditions:
The maximum bore hole temperature is not greater than
the cable rated temperature.
The cable is operated under a normal tension profile.
There are no unusual hole conditions or restrictions causing
excessive tension.
There are three factors that will influence the temperature
rating of a cable.
The nominal melting point of the plastic used for
insulating the conductor.
The pressure exerted by armor wires on the core by normal
The inner armor coverage

example DuPont Teflon- FEP-100 has a nominal melting point

of 510 F . This plastic is, however, so soft, it would not be
suitable as total insulation on an EM cable rated at 300 F.
There are no published specifications by plastic manufactures
that clearly identify their plastics as being suitable for use in
oil field cables. Special engineering testing and controlled
field testing are required to qualify a plastic for these cables.
Core pressure
When there is tension on the cable the helical shape of the
armor wires results in a significant pressure or squeezing of
the cable core. This pressure on the core, if high enough, will
result in the plastic being squeezed out between the gap
in the adjacent inner armor wires (as shown in the picture
below). This loss of plastic insulation will ultimately lead to an
electrical failure.

The nominal melting point

Plastics are called amorphous materials and as such do not
have a specific melting point. Crystalline materials, such as
metals and water, are characterized by the fact that they do
have a very specific temperature at which they change from a
solid state to a liquid state. Amorphous materials, like plastics,
do not have a specific temperature at which they change
from a solid material to a liquid state but just gradually
become softer.
At their melting point temperature crystalline materials
continue to absorbed heat, called heat of fusion, with out
changing temperature until all the material has completely
changed state. The temperature will then again rise as heat
is added.
Amorphous materials under go different molecular bonding
changes as they are heated and become softer. When these
changes occur a certain amount of heat is absorbed with out
a change of temperature , indicating the change in molecular
structure. Arbitrary standards have been set on this heat
absorption that is used to classify the nominal melting
point of plastic materials.
The arbitrary melting point ratings of plastics is no more than
a guide as to whether a plastic is qualified to be used in an
electro-mechanical cable at its rated melting point. For


The pressure on the core , as a function of cable tension, can

be calculated. The equation is rather complicated but
evaluating it for different cables and tension will illustrate
the importance of special testing to qualify the temperature
rating of a plastic.

Technical Bulletin Number 021ii

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Core pressure is most important on the tool end of the cable

where the temperature is the highest. The maximum tension
in the cable at the tool end is the weak point pull out
tension. The calculated core pressure, cp, at typical weak

point pull out tensions (POT), that would be used with

standard cables operating at a depth of 20,000 feet and a
tool weight of 300 pounds are as follows:

























cp Tool-psi








cp-at POT-psi








These calculations show that under normal operating

conditions the pressure on the core from the tool weight is
1200 psi or less. When a cable is manufactured with the
correct inner armor coverage, the core plastic will not be
squeezed out at these core pressures at the maximum rated
temperature of the cable. If on the other hand the tool
becomes stuck and it becomes necessary to pull out of the
rope socket, then the resulting 5,000 psi core pressure is likely
to squeeze the core plastic out between the inner armor
wires if the temperature is high enough. When a tool
becomes stuck in a hole at or near maximum rated cable
temperature, then after pulling out of the tool ,it can be
expected that there will be some plastic squeezed out and it
will be necessary to cut back the cable.
The inner armor coverage
The term armor coverage refers basically to how close the
armor wires are together . If a layer of armor wires were to
have 100% coverage, it would mean that all of the armor
wires in that layer were touching their adjacent wires. If the
coverage on either layer were 100%, the cable would be so
stiff it could not be bent around a sheave wheel without
forcing one of the wires out of the layer.
(See Technical Bulletin 17, Armor Coverage).
The inner armor coverage is the most important factor in
determining the temperature rating of a cable. When there
are large gaps between the armor wires the plastic is more
easily squeezed out under cable tension. Two factors are
carefully monitored during the manufacture of Wireline
Works cables . The first is the inner armor coverage which is
maintained between 98.0% to 99 % . On high temperature
cables the coverage is kept above 98.5%. The other factor
monitored in manufacturing is the uniformity of the spacing
of the inner armor wires around the core. At Wireline Works
spider wire spacers are use to properly space the armor


wires as they are wrapped around the plastic core before the
assembly enters the closing dye. The closing dye and
following pinch rollers press the evenly spaced armor wires
into the plastic core to insure they will stay evenly spaced
during subsequent manufacturing operations (as shown in
the picture below).

As new plastics become available, Wireline Works evaluates
them by testing them under simulated tension and
temperature conditions. If these new materials perform well
in these simulated tests, then a limited number of cables are
manufactured using the new material and their performance
closely monitored. If there are no problems with the new
materials in the initial field trials, then additional cables will
be put into field service for continued evaluation.
By carefully choosing and testing all core plastic materials and
precisely controlling the inner armor coverage and spacing,
Wireline Works cables will operate at or above the maximum
temperature rating for all routine operations.

Technical Bulletin Number 022

"Quality You Can Pull On..."

Sheave Selection
There is probably more material available on sheave selection
than any other piece of cable equipment. By summarizing and
analyzing all this data it will give the operator greater choice in
judging the proper size sheave for an operation.
There are two important characteristics of sheaves that must be
considered. These are the sheave groove and sheave diameter.
Of these two, running a cable with an improper groove shape
can do more damage to a cable faster than running with the
wrong diameter. Correct sheave groove shape and size is more
important when running multi-conductor cable, as the core is
easily deformed and the thin conductor insulation can be
damaged more easily.

Sheave Groove
The groove of a new sheave should
have a diameter 5% greater than the
cable diameter.
Cables should not be run over sheaves if
the sheave groove diameter is 10%
greater than the cable diameter.
The sheave groove should be machined
to support from 135 to 150 degrees of
the cable diameter.
Sheaves should NEVER be used on 2
different diameter cables


135 to 150

Sheave Diameter
There are two rules of thumb that are published in cable
literature that indicate the minimum sheave diameter that
should be used for operating a cable up to its rated Maximum
Working Load. The first rule states that the minimum sheave
diameter, SD, should be 60 times the cable diameter, D, and the
second rule states that the minimum sheave diameter should be
400 times the outer armor wire diameter, d.
Works Cable



D - inches

D - inches

Outer Wire
d - inches




60 x D - inc. 400 x d - in



In addition to the two rules listed above there is a formula

commonly used to determine the safe minimum sheave
diameter for different working loads. This can be useful in
shallow operations where the maximum tensions, Tmax, are low
and therefore the cable can be operated on smaller diameter
sheaves without damage to the cable or reduction of cable life.
This formula for minimum Sheave Diameter, SD, is:
N= Number of outer armor wires, d = diameter of outer armor wires - inches.
BS = Cable breaking strength - Klbs, Tmax = Maximum operating tension Klbs
SD = [ 80(Tmax / BS) + 20 ][ d(N/2.8 + 1)]; - in ( Sheave Diameter )
For example: Wireline Works Cable type: 1-R-322 operating with the maximum
tension, never over 3.0 Klb
BS = 11.2 Klb ; Tmax = 3.0 Klbs ; d = 0.0445; N = 18
SD = [ 80(3.0 / 11.2) + 20 ][ 0.0445(18 / 2.8 + 1) ] = [ 41.6 ][ 0.0445(7.43) ] = 13.75 in

Operating under low tensions conditions, the minimum

recommended sheave diameter, using this formula, for a 1-R-322
cable would be 14 compared to an 18 sheave diameter for
operating at maximum rated loads.
When a cable, under load, is bent around a sheave the armor
wires experience a bending stress in addition to the stress from
the load. The smaller the sheave diameter, the higher the
bending stress. It is this combined stress that is the main factor in
establishing the minimum sheave diameter. When this combined
stress exceeds the yield strength of the wire it will result in
loose outer armor wires. When this combined stress exceeds the
tensile strength of the wire, the wire and possibly the cable will
break. Using the above recommended or larger sheave sizes will
avoid such failures.

Sheave Alignment
It is important that proper sheave alignment is attained during
well site set up. When the sheaves are not properly aligned, the
cable will attempt to crawl up the sides of the sheave wheel
grooves. This action can result not only in distorting the sheave
grooves but can also introduce additional torque in the cable.
The materials used in the construction of sheaves has changed
over the years. The most popular sheaves are now the
Composite Sheaves. These composite sheaves have become
standard with most major service companies. These sheaves have
the wheels and guards manufactured from synthetic materials,
which has resulted in a 40% reduction in the weight. When
manufactured, these sheaves have the correct groove size and
shape to properly support the cable. In use however the
composite sheave groove can be quickly damaged from poor
sheave alignment.

Cable with Splices

In running cables with complete splices it is extremely important
that the sheaves have the proper groove shape to support the
cable. Spliced cables should always be run using the largest
sheave size available with the proper groove shape.