Raceway, Conduit, Cable Trays, Conduit Fittings and Connectors

Electrical Raceways, Conduit, Cable Trays, and Electrical Fittings

Raceways, conduit, and cable trays are an essential part of any infrastructure that relies on electricity. This article will discuss types of raceways, conduits, and cable trays, as well as the different materials used in them and their fittings and connectors. A raceway, or raceway system, is an enclosed method for protecting electrical wires and cables from corrosion, water, and other physical threats using conduit, tubing, or other confined structures. Conduit includes tubes and connectors that route wires through a space. Cable trays are an open support and organization system used to hold cables. Whether you're searching for electrical raceways, metal conduits, PVC conduits, flexible conduits, liquid tight conduits, cable trays, conduit connectors, or conduit fittings, Elliott Electric Supply has the electrical supplies you need.

Electrical Cable Raceway

What is a Raceway?

Whether a buried/underground raceway used outdoors or a surface raceway used in residential and commercial spaces, electrical raceways completely enclose wires and cables for protection and organization. Raceways keep your cables safe from corrosion, water, and many other physical threats. Common types of raceways include metal (EMT, IMC, RMC, GRC, FMC) conduit, nonmetallic (PVC) conduit, Liquid tight (LFMC) conduit, electrical nonmetallic tubing (ENT), nonmetallic latching raceways, and surface metallic raceways with removable covers.

Metal Conduit

Electrical Metal Tubing (EMT) Conduit

Electrical metal tubing EMT conduit

Electrical metal tubing (EMT) conduit is a more economical and thinner-walled option made from coated steel or aluminum. EMT is flexible enough to be cut and bent into necessary shapes. This conduit type doesn't offer the same protection as rigid metal conduits, but is lighter and can be paired with conduit fittings, eliminating the need for threading. EMT is best used indoors and away from moisture.

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Intermediate Metal Conduit (IMC)

Intermediate metal conduit IMC conduit

Intermediate Metal Conduit (IMC) was specifically designed to protect insulated electrical conductors and cables from outdoor exposure. IMC is less expensive and features an intermediate pipe wall thickness (thicker than EMT and thinner than RMC).

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Rigid Metal Conduit (RMC) or Galvanized Rigid Conduit (GRC)

Rigid metal conduit RMC or galvanized rigid conduit GRC

Rigid Metal Conduit (RMC) is made of aluminum or steel and is often used outdoors to protect from physical damage.

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A galvanized rigid metal conduit uses galvanized steel for its construction and is one of the sturdiest types of electrical conduit.

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An aluminum conduit, like a galvanized steel conduit, come in tubes and are generally used in commercial and industrial applications where corrosion resistance is a minimal factor.

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PVC Coated Rigid Metal Conduit

PVC Coated Rigid Metal Conduit

PVC Coated Rigid Metal Conduit has a red Urethane interior to protect wires from mechanical damage and corrosive attack.

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Flexible Metal Conduit (FMC)

Flexible metal conduit FMC

Flexible metal conduit (FMC) features a spiral construction that enable it to pass through walls and other structures. FMC protects electrical wiring in commercial and industrial buildings.

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Nonmetallic Conduit

Rigid PVC Conduit

Nonmetallic rigid PVC conduit

Rigid PVC Conduit is a nonmetallic conduit that can be installed underground, exposed, or encased. PVC conduit is versatile, easy to install, affordable, and lightweight. Rigid PVC conduit has two common types: Schedule 80 and Schedule 40.

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What's the difference between Schedule 80 and Schedule 40 PVC conduit?

While both a Schedule 80 and a Schedule 40 are made of rigid PVC, Schedule 80 has greater weight, thicker pipe walls, and a smaller inside diameter, compared to Schedule 40 PVC. For harsh environments or environments with a risk of physical damage, Schedule 80 PVC conduit may be required. Schedule 40 PVC is typically less expensive and can be filled with more wires within the conduit due to its larger inside diameter. See the NEC® for conduit requirements.

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PVC Conduit Fittings and Accessories

PVC Fittings and Adapters
PVC conduit fittings and adapters

Conduit fittings secure materials to each other or to an electrical device. These ensure electrical flow remains uninterrupted. Adapters are a type of conduit fitting that connect two conduit thread sizes, male and female conduits, or even conduits made from different materials.

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Condulet Bodies
PVC Conduit Condulet body

Condulet bodies are a specific conduit shape that have a cover opening for ease-of-access to electrical wires. Additionally, with their compact size, condulet bodies boast of simple installation which can save on inventory and labor costs.

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Caps and Plugs
End Cap designed top cap off PVC conduit

Conduit caps and plugs are metal or plastic barriers that protect internal wiring from weather and environmental factors by sealing conduit ends (caps) or holes (plugs).

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PVC Elbows
PVC Elbows for Schedule 40 PVC or Schedule 80 PVC Conduit

Elbows behave similarly to couplings, except they allow conduits to curve as opposed to remaining straight. Schedule 40 elbows have a larger inside diameter and thus are easier to pull wires through at an angle compared to Schedule 80 elbows.

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PVC Clamps and Straps
PVC conduit clamps and straps

Clamps and straps support conduits and secure them to a surface. Depending on what's needed to mount your conduit to a surface, a combination of these supports may be required.

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PVC spacer for conduit

Electrical spacers are thin strips of metal or plastic that can be used to stabilize raceways. Spacers can also provide protection to outlet faceplates, or support loose outlets and plugs.

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Liquidtight Conduit

Liquid Tight Flexible Metal Conduit (LFMC)

Liquid tight flexible metal conduit LFMC

Liquid tight flexible metal conduit (LFMC) is FMC Conduit with an added plastic coating for moisture resistance. LFMC is different from LFNC in that is has a steel metal layer under the plastic coating, making it suitable in locations where protection from physical damage is necessary. Because Liquidtight LFMC is moisture resistant, flexible, and resists kinking, it's often used to protect electrical equipment connections (like air conditioners) in outdoor locations.

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Liquid Tight Flexible Nonmetallic Conduit (LFNC‑A, LFNC‑B, and LFNC‑C)

Liquid tight flexible nonmetallic conduit LFNC-A LFNC-B LFNC-C

Liquid tight flexible nonmetallic conduit (LFNC) has a plastic coating. When LFNC is used with sealed fittings, they become watertight. LFNC is suitable for wet or damp locations and some hazardous locations. LFNC is often used to protect wires for outdoor lighting or pools.

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Electrical Nonmetallic Tubing (ENT)

Electrical nonmetallic tubing ENT

An electrical nonmetallic tubing (ENT) is a light, flexible, corrugated, nonmetal raceway often used to protect wires within walls, floors, and some ceilings types. ENT should not be used outdoors where it would be exposed to the sun's UV light, but it can be encased in concrete with code-compliant PVC fittings.

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Nonmetallic Latching Raceways

Nonmetallic raceway

Nonmetallic Raceways are lightweight and cost effect raceway. Nonmetallic raceways are used for exposed work, where the electrical conduit is subject to corrosive and wet environments.

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Surface Metallic Raceways with Removable Covers

Metallic raceway

Metallic Raceways are a durable raceway that can be bent and curved into a desired shape. These will minimize the risk of electromagnetic interference.

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Cable Tray

Cable tray

A Cable Tray is a support system used to organize electrical wires. While cable trays can be covered to protect wires from dust and falling debris, they do not completely enclose the wire. Cable trays are often made of steel, aluminum, or plastic.

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Electrical Fittings and Connectors

Pipe coupling and PVC connectors are useful when forming the custom shapes required by building specifications. There are many forms of electrical conduit fittings, the most common of which are listed below. Because conduit fittings vary in size depending on the diameter of the raceway, fittings ought to be selected based on the type of thread used in and the diameter of the raceway. All wiring in a building must meet proper safety codes.

Connector Fittings

Conduit connector fitting

Connector fittings join components of an electrical system. You must ensure compatibility between connectors and tread. The most common uses for connector fittings are:

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Conduit elbow fitting

Elbow conduit fittings are bent at 45 and 90 degrees. Elbow fittings connect materials of the same type together.

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Pipe Clamp

Conduit pipe clamp fitting

A pipe clamp is made from metal or plastic. Pipe clamps connect pipe (conduit) to a wall, ceiling, or pipe hangar assembly. Recommended for hanging cold pipe lines, pipe clamps may or may not be insulated and are great for securing conduit, PVC pipes, cables, etc.

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Conduit strap fitting

A conduit strap secures the conduit to a surface. This helps reduce the risk of breakage.

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Pipe Coupling

Pipe coupling fittings join like with like in a straight line of conduit. These look like a small tube open on both ends with the purpose of securing two materials together. Typically they join two tubes with the same thread types, as their sockets are the same size on both ends; however, pipe coupling may connect conduits of differing sizes.

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There are three types of coupling fittings:

Metallic Coupling

Metallic couplngs for metal conduit

Metallic couplings are used only for metallic conduits and are typically secured with screws.

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Threaded Coupling

Threaded coupling fitting for metal pipe

Threaded Couplings are used on couplings that have threaded ends.

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Nonmetallic Coupling

Nonmetallic coupling fittings for nonmetallic conduit

Nonmetallic Couplings are used for a nonmetallic conduit and typically attached with solvent cement.

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Speciality Fittings

There are many specialty conduit fittings. The most common include:


Weather-resistant weatherhead fitting

Weatherheads are a weather-resistant cap installed outside the home to provide access for maintenance and repairs.

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Reducer Couplings

Reducer coupling fitting for conduits

Reducer couplings are used on couplings that have threaded ends.

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Offset Couplings

Offset coupling fitting for pipes

Offset couplings are suited for devices that may be pushed or pulled. These ensure energy flow remains stable.

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Electrical Fitting and Connector Accessories

According to building electrical codes, some conduits require particular accessories to accompany their fittings and connectors.

Conduit Locknuts

Conduit locknut accessory

Conduit locknuts secure threaded connectors to a steel electrical outlet or metal electrical box.

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Rigid Conduit Locknuts

Rigid conduit locknut

Rigid conduit locknuts lock in place more securely than typical locknuts as they have internal threads.

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Snap-in bushing, insulating bushing, and plastic bushing are knockout hollow insulators that allow conductive material to pass through a grounded conducting barrier, often used for safety with 4 AWG wires.

Snap-in bushing accessory

Snap-In Bushing

Snap-in bushings do as their names suggest—they snap into place as insulators to protect wires, cables, and tubing from possible abrasions.

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Insulating bushing accessory

Insulating Bushing

Insulating bushings are used where nonmetallic low voltage cabling is installed to protect from sharp edges.

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Plastic bushing accessory

Plastic Bushing

Plastic bushings can be used with any material, are resistant to corrosion, and do not transfer heat. This means plastic bushings involve less maintenance than metallic counterparts.

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Materials Used for Raceways, Conduits, and Conduit Fittings

Different types of materials are used to make electrical conduit, raceways, and conduit fittings, including:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel material used for conduit raceway and fittings

Judged by thickness and stiffness, a steel conduit is used when mechanical protection, wiring regulations, and environmental factors impact installation.

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Aluminum material used for conduit raceway and fittings

An aluminum conduit, like a galvanized steel conduit, comes in tubes and is generally used in commercial and industrial applications where corrosion resistance is a minimal factor.

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PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride Conduit)

PVC polyvinyl material used for conduit raceway and fittings

PVC conduit is the lightest, cheapest, and most versatile type, typically sealed with metal or plastic fittings and sealed with solvent-welded connections.

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Warning: When using this information to perform electrical work, call a licensed electrician or consult the NEC® for safety. All licensed electricians have passed examinations covering the National Electric Code®, know state and local building codes, and may carry insurance to cover damages.