5 Ways Purchasing Managers Navigate Technical Jargon


Don’t let jargon get in the way.

Jargon is the enemy of communication. We all know this. We’ve all had that experience where the guy on the other end of the line uses a twenty dollar word for a twenty-cent concept, or when you receive a sales email from a prospective vendor with five acronyms in every sentence. It becomes a problem when you need to get components on the shelf — you need straight answers, not convoluted terms. Here are five ways to cut through the word thicket and know exactly what the jargon means.

Practice What You Preach

First off, admit it; you’ve used jargon. It’s okay, we all have. You spend enough time in an industry, and you tend to communicate with others as if they’ve got the same amount of experience and use the same terms. But solving the problem starts at home. For instance, if you’re talking to a fellow employee and you get a blank look, take a moment and think about how to convey your point in plain language. It’ll not only make you more popular in the break room, it’ll help you decode jargon yourself.

How Does It Work?

Here’s a fun bit of jargon: If you visit a full-service gas station, you’re going to interact with a petroleum distribution engineer. Sure, he probably doesn’t call himself that, but that’s technically what he is.

When confronted with a new term or idea, it’s often more important to understand what it does instead of what it’s being called. So ask about functions and definitions; often if you have a handle on those, you have a handle on the jargon in short order.

With Electrical Supplies, Keep Technical References Handy

It’s not the most thrilling reading you can have on your shelf, but a good, sturdy technical dictionary or encyclopedia is often handy for looking up common jargon. You likely already have one in the building. Engineers will rarely admit it, but they look things up all the time themselves. Find a good technical manual and keep it on the shelf. It’s surprising how often a reference manual comes in handy when decrypting what’s being said to you.


Don’t let jargon stress you out.

Request Corporate Brochures

When you work with multiple suppliers, you quickly learn that while the products themselves are largely the same, their marketing departments tend to earn their salaries by making it sound like you’re not only buying a factory lot of ignition switches, you’re buying the Holy Grail of ignition switches. As a result, there’s not only industry jargon, there’s company jargon. One company’s IgnitoMax Ignition Initiation Switch is another company’s “Uh, it’s an ignition switch.”

Although you may think you don’t have room for it on your desk, ask for some company materials, or hit their website and look at their definitions of various products. Again, once you know what it’s supposed to be, the rest clicks into place.

When All Else Fails, Google It

A wise man once said that the problem with the Internet is that everybody can pretend they know what they’re talking about, and far be it from us not to recommend you keep a salt shaker next to your computer. But if you’re stumped, Google can be a good place to start, especially when looking up specific products or company jargon.

Jargon won’t ever be eliminated completely, but we can all do our part to keep it limited. And when we can’t, we can at least understand what the other guy is actually saying.

Ready for some straight talk? View all our terminals and connectors to get the real information on the components you’re ordering.

How To Get Your Electrical Components Faster: Building Relationships with Distributors

Electrical components

Build a relationship for better components and faster delivery.

A good relationship with your distributor can often make the difference between having the electrical components you need and your warehouse struggling to keep the shelves filled. But you might find yourself wondering what to do to develop better rapport with your distributors. Fortunately, it’s easier than it might seem, and largely a matter of following the golden rule of treating others the way you’d like to be treated.

Know Your Goals

Before you place an order, it helps to have a clear plan in front of you. Think of grocery shopping when you have a list; you tend to get in, get what you need, and get out. True, electrical components are more involved than food, unless you wind up in the organics aisle, but have a plan in place — whether it’s to reduce overhead, grow sales, or cater to a specific clientele. If you know what you want, you’re already in the running for their favorite customer.

Take The Calls

If a distributor needs to call you repeatedly, or sends emails without ever getting a response, it’s natural to wonder if you want to be engaged. So make a point of staying on top of calls and emails. It’s a lot easier to work with somebody you know you can reach, after all.

Get To Know Your Electrical Supplier

While you don’t have to be your electrical supplier’s best friend, the truth is that we like to talk to people who want to talk to us. Building a relationship with your main contact at a company means they’re more likely to go to bat for you when you really need something.

Electrical components

Be at your best with your distributors.


Sometimes the key to getting the best price or getting components on the shelves faster is a matter of asking what your salesperson can do for you. There’s an art to negotiation that involves knowing both the company and the person you’re negotiating with well, but you can often get a sense of where you can get a better price and where not to ask quickly by getting on the phone or meeting with your contact.

That said, always negotiate fairly and in good faith. Low-balling somebody is rarely a good way to build a relationship, and it might come back to haunt you later on.

Remember It’s A Two Way Street

Always keep in mind that distributors need to be just as active in maintaining your relationship as you are. If you can never get them on the phone, if your attempts to return components seem to always get lost, if they don’t listen to what you’re saying, that’s something to recall as you look for components.

Building a relationship with any distributor is work. But if you keep on top of it, you’ll find the rewards are substantial.

Need the best electrical components at the right price? View all wire and cable products.

How to Select Circuit Protection for Your Application

Mobile equipment like construction equipment, agricultural equipment, emergency vehicles, boats, and trucks must be designed with safety as a top priority. Not only do these vehicles represent a major capital investment, they’re used by humans whose lives could be at stake if safety standards are not met. Any electronic component within a vehicle must be designed for both performance and safety. Many are susceptible to electrical hazards like electrostatic discharge and switching loads in circuits, so protective devices are necessary.

Circuit protection is necessary to protect equipment and its users.

In today’s vehicles, onboard electronics connect to the battery and the alternator. The alternator is often the culprit for transient phenomena like “load dump.” This happens when a discharged battery is disconnected while the alternator is generating current and the alternator current continues to service other loads. Electrical spikes can lead to malfunctions and permanent damage to electronic components and could ultimately threaten vehicle reliability and safety.


Circuit protection devices protect wires and circuits from problems like load dump, and choosing circuit protection is essential for safe and reliable design. The most basic circuit protection device is the fuse, which is a low-resistance resistor that provides over-current protection. Once a fuse is used, it must be replaced, because it has done its one-time job of protecting a wire or circuit.

There are literally thousands of fuses to choose from for vehicles, because mobile electrical system designs are constantly changing. Battery and alternator cables that require ultra-high current protection typically use high amp AMG, ANN, and ANL fuses, which are mounted in fuse holders designed to stand up to high-vibration environments. Blade fuses, which have a plastic body and prongs that fit into sockets, are also commonly used in low voltage applications. You can choose blade fuses with indicator lights that glow when the fuse has blown, making it far easier to locate and replace blown fuses.

You may need expert advice when choosing the right fuse for your application.


Circuit breakers are resettable circuit protection devices that stop the flow of current in a circuit when there’s an overload. A circuit or wire protection device is necessary at the origin of each wiring system whenever the current carrying capacity of the wiring system is lower than the current upstream. If the interrupting capacity of a circuit breaker is not adequate, a wired device can literally explode. Wire protection is critical, and in many cases circuit breakers have to carry current for a considerable time without tripping. Choosing the correct wire protection is an essential performance and safety measure.

Just as there are innumerable types of fuses, there are several types of circuit breakers. These are typically used for auxiliary circuits on vehicles. Determining which circuit breaker is best for your application depends on where the circuit breaker will be mounted, the type of reset method the circuit breaker has, and the current rating you need the circuit breaker to carry. Circuit breakers may reset automatically, or they may require manual reset. Some circuit breakers have a manual trip button that is used for resetting.

Thermal, Magnetic, and High-Performance Circuit Breakers

With thermal circuit breakers, the circuit tripping mechanism is made up of a thermal actuator and mechanical latch that can discriminate between temporary current surges and prolonged overloads. They’re great for motor and transformer windings as well as low-voltage power distribution circuits of mobile equipment. Magnetic circuit breakers work extremely fast when specified overcurrent levels are exceeded, but “switch-on surges” must be controlled to avoid repeated nuisance tripping of these. High-performance circuit breakers are designed to work under adverse conditions and are available in thermal and thermal-magnetic versions. Marine vehicles sometimes use high-performance circuit breakers.

Wire and Circuit Protection Summary

The choice of fuse or circuit breaker requires several steps. Engineers may make a preliminary breaker selection early in the equipment design process and then flesh out the detailed breaker specifications as the design proceeds. The right breaker or fuse at the correct point in the design leads to better design and better product value. Circuit and wire protection represent critical choices in design and building of mechanical equipment, and it can be easy to be overwhelmed by choices. Waytek has supplied high-quality electrical parts for wire harnesses and moving equipment since 1970. If you have questions about circuit protection or wire protection, we invite you to contact us. We would be more than happy to discuss your needs with you.

We’re not perfect…small catalog error found.

The Blue Sea CLB Circuit Breaker Block found on page 136 currently states that it works with the Low Profile 57 Series found on the same page – this is not correct. We apologize for the catalog error. Please note the Blue Sea CLB Circuit Breaker Block does work with the Mechanical Product Series 16 Part#’s 46895,46896,46897,46898,46899,46900 found on page 137.

Please contact us today at 1.800.328.2724 or email us at sales@watekwire.com with any questions you may have.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

-Your Waytek Team

Blue Sea 5050 Circuit Breaker Block

Blue Sea Circuit Breaker Block



Here, There and in Between

You learn things when you build a car, and if it takes you long enough, you’ll learn enough to improve on your orginal plan by the time you get to the later stages. This is part, but not all, of what accounts for having to do everything three times. In our case, that is nowhere truer than in wiring up Scarlett’s LS3 416 to the FAST XFI computer and ignition box…Read More.



Read more

SHIFTING PREFERENCES: Why the use of Electronic Controls is growing

The benefits of electronic controls align closely with the preferences of operators and fleet managers, as well as the OEMs and system integrators who design and build small and large vehicles. Consequently, electronic controls are increasingly used across a range of on- and off-highway vehicle applications, especially where uptime is key.

Today, there is a shift from traditional electromechanical devices to electronic Controller Area Network (CAN) technology, the most common of which is the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J1939 CAN 2.0B standard for communications and diagnostics. The electronic CAN technology helps OEMs and system integrators reduce manufacturing and troubleshooting time, because of the simplification of the harness assembly, increased flexibility, and improved diagnostics capabilities. In addition, CAN technology can also improve operator feedback and overall equipment reliability, offering late-point definition capabilities, increased illumination options, and dramatic reductions in harness complexity.

Before: Total of 84 wires to controller

 vehicle body control switches


After: Total of 4 wires to controller

vehicle body control switches

Electronic switch modules are engineered as an alternative to traditional electromechanical switches for use with a vehicle control network. Typically, the technology is used to accomplish one or more of the following:

  • Simplify system control architecture, reducing assembly time
  • Reduce weight and potential warranty issues
  • Simplify the wire harnesses
  • Improve operator feedback
  • Increase switch life-cycle performance

Shifting preferences

Electronic vehicle network technology has been around for more than a decade. So why are preferences changing now? In large part, it is because wiring (and wiring harnesses) are becoming more and more complex as control requirements continue to increase.

Yet there are space constraints behind the dash— there are only so many switches and wires that will fit. Wire harness troubleshooting is difficult at best, and accommodating proprietary messaging structures is time-intensive and costly, compared to using the J1939 standard. Further, there are only so many points of I/O on existing controllers, and all of those points can be exhausted. Adding more points of connection is costly in terms of increasing controller size.

However, there are times when the traditional technology makes more sense. Vehicles that have relatively simple control architecture, a low volume of interface products, or those that have no intention of multiplexing their platforms, may be better served using traditional electromechanical devices. Even customers who have adopted CAN technology may still employ electromechanical solutions for specific applications, such as for a “park brake,” where direct control is preferred, or for accessories that get added after shipment.

By Robert Kitten

Program Sales Manager, Eaton

Ensuring On-going Compliance with the RoHS Directive

Fundamentally, RoHS restricts six substances: 4 heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium) and two flame-retardants (PBBs and PBDEs). The concentration limits for all these substances is .1% of any homogenous material – except for cadmium (.01%). Despite the fact that RoHS only applies to electrical and electronic equipment (EEE ) placed on the EU market, it has been highly influential in pushing similar (but NOT identical) requirements in many other geographies.

RoHS has also instigated a global change in the design and composition of off-the-shelf components that affects many industries, including the equipment industry. As a result, changes in RoHS are noteworthy even for manufacturers whose products are out of scope or are sold outside the EU. In that regard, all equipment manufacturers should be aware that the key business risks to be mitigated are enforced obsolescence and design changes, as well as the loss of market access due to non-compliance.

Like most legislation, RoHS is not a static animal. It was “recast” at the beginning of 2013 and is now commonly known as RoHS2 (directive 2011/65/EU). Below are key changes between RoHS1 and RoHS2.

Substance Scope

Although the substances and their allowable concentration limits did not change between RoHS1 and RoHS2, the addition of further substances is imminent. The EU Commission is proposing to restrict four plasticizers (DEHP, BBP, DBP, DiBP) and one flame retardant (HBCDD), which has been identified as a Persistent Organic Pollutant and will be banned globally, irrespective of RoHS. All of these proposed substances are already REACH SVHCs. No timetable has been published, but the earliest any ban could take effect is probably between mid-2017 and 2019.

Furthermore, RoHS’ expansion of substance scope does not end there. An additional round of restrictions is envisioned. The most likely candidates are TBBPA (another flame retardant), MCCP (a flame retardant and plasticizer) and even PVC. Several other substances are also possibilities.

In regard to future substances, ERA Technology is currently an invited member of a working group of representatives from industry, EU Member States and NGOs. The group was formed by the European Commission to consider improvements in the methodology for identifying future substance restrictions. ERA’s main focus is establishing an approach that considers potential alternatives to substances that are proposed for restriction. This approach is meant to be even-handed and evidence-based, while taking into account the entire product life cycle.

Product Scope

The original RoHS directive focused mainly on consumer and other high volume products in 8 categories. The recast brings several other categories within scope at different times:

  • July 22, 2014 – Medical devices, Monitoring and control instruments
  • July 22, 2016 – In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD)
  • July 22, 2017 – Industrial monitoring and control instruments
  • July 22, 2019 – Other equipment (subject to review)

The first of these dates has already passed. Changing product designs and processes to meet this deadline, as well as future ones, has been the focus of intense activity.

‘Like most legislation, RoHS2 is not a static animal’

In addition, the recast has brought in a broader understanding of what constitutes EEE. Previously, many (but not all) EU Member States considered EEE to be in scope only if the product’s main function depended on electricity (Under this definition, for example, a petrol lawn mower was out of scope, even though it has a spark plug.) But now, under RoHS2, EEE includes products with any electrical function. Any product within this broadened interpretation must comply by July 22, 2019.

Note that there are other important issues regarding the impact of the above deadlines and recast product categorizations (e.g. what is “industrial”), but they are beyond the scope of this summary article.

Please review the Table

Key EU RoHS2 Compliance Dates

12/31/2014 Last date for EU Member States to implement changes to RoHS’ Exemptions List (Directives 2014/69/EU – 2014/76/EU )
4/13/2015 Exemption 4d for mercury in high pressure mercury (vapour) lamps expires
4/13/2016 Exemption 2 (b) 2 for mercury in non-linear halophosphate lamps expires
6/30/2016 Exemption 33 (Annex IV) for lead in solder on populated printed circuit boards for class Iia mobile medical devices expires
7/21/2016 Default expiration date for exemptions in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (except RoHS Categories 8 and 9), where not otherwise specified Substance restrictions extended to in vitro medical devices
7/22/2017 Substance restrictions extended to industrial monitoring and control instruments
12/31/2017 Expiration of exemption 1g for mercury in single capped CFLs <30W: 3.5 mg and exemption 28 (Annex IV) for lead in solders for mounting cadmium telluride and cadmium zinc telluride digital array detectors to printed circuit boards
12/31/2018 Expiration of exemption 4g for mercury in hand-crafted luminous discharge tubes used in certain signs and lighting; exemption 41 for lead in solders and termination finishes of components and circuit boards in ignition modules and other engine control systems; and exemption 37 (Annex IV) for Category 8 and 9 exemptions for lead in platinized platinum electrodes for conductivity measurements
7/22/2019 Substance restrictions expanded to category 11 (other EEE not otherwise exempt) – open scope
12/31/2019 Certain exemptions (24, 30, 32 and 38) for Categories 8 and 9 will expire
6/30/2020 Exemption 27 (Annex IV) for lead in solders, coating and connections in certain medical devices expires
12/31/2020 Expiration of exemptions 33 (Annex IV) for lead in solder on populated printed circuit boards for class IIb mobile medical devices; for lead in other than C-press compliant pin connector systems for industrial monitoring and control instruments; and for lead in dielectric ceramic in capacitors for industrial monitoring and control instruments.
6/30/2021 Certain exemptions (12, 22, 23, 25, 26 and 29) for Categories 8 and 9 will expire
7/21/2021 Expiration of exemption 31 for lead, cadmium and hexavalent chromium in reused spare parts recovered from medical devices in closed loop lead in micro-channel plates in medical devices and monitoring and control instruments; systems; exemption 39 (Annex IV) for and exemption 34 (Annex IV) lead as an activator in fluorescent powder of some discharge lamps
7/21/2023 Exemption 39 (Annex IV) for lead in micro-channel plates in in-vitro medical devices expires
7/21/2024 Expiration of exemption 39 (Annex IV) for lead in micro-channel plates in industrial monitoring and control instruments, as well as exemption 35 (Annex IV) for mercury in cold cathode fluorescent lamps in certain liquid crystal displays in industrial monitoring and control instruments


Robertson, Chris. “Ensuring On-going Compliance with the RoHs Directive.” ERA Technology.


IP Code

The IP Code, International Protection Marking, IEC standard 60529, sometimes interpreted as Ingress Protection Marking, classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against intrusion, dust, accidental contact, and water by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures.

The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof. Two numbers indicate protection against solid bodies, first digit, and against liquids, second digit, in accordance with the charts below.

Ingress Protection Rating Guide

First Number | Effective Against

  • No protection (Sometimes X)
  • Protected against solid objects up to 50mm3
  • Protected against solid objects up to 12mm3
  • Protected against solid objects up to 2.5mm3
  • Protected against solid objects up to 1mm3
  • Protected against dust, limited ingress (no harmful deposit)
  • Totally protected against dust

Second Number | Effective Against

  • No protection (Sometimes X)
  • Protection against vertically falling drops of water (e.g. condensation)
  • Protection against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from vertical
  • Protection against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from vertical
  • Protection against water sprayed from all directions – limited ingress permitted
  • Protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions – limited ingress permitted
  • Protected against low pressure jets of water, limited ingress permitted (e.g. ship deck)
  • Protected against the effect of immersion between 15cm and 1m
  • Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure

Ingress Protection Rating Guide

Waytek Adds High-Demand GIGAVAC Rugged Environment Products to Its In-Stock Selection of OEM Electrical Components

Waytek, Inc., a leading distributor of electrical wiring supplies, connectors, and relays for electrical systems in the mobile equipment markets, is pleased to announce the addition of GIGAVAC rugged environment products to its broad, in-stock, offering of OEM electrical components.

GIGAVAC manufactures advanced switching solutions including high voltage relays, Waytek GIGAVAC press release imagecontactors, manual disconnect switches and other power products. Waytek customers can now order GIGAVAC’s most popular parts directly through Waytek.

GIGAVAC products are hermetically sealed—airtight and waterproof—so there is no corrosion. Parts are designed and manufactured for extreme environments (humidity, submersion, dust, high temperature, heavy shock and vibration). GIGAVAC construction allows for very long life cycles, and low warranty and service costs.

Waytek carries GIGAVAC’s most popular parts including a series of chassis mount contactors up to 600A, and 300A and 500A Battery Disconnects. Each heavy-duty contactor is ceramic to metal brazed, gas filled hermetically in a sealed chamber to protect key components, exceeds IP69K standards, and is temperature tested to 200 degrees Celsius.

“We have many customers that specialize in heavy-duty commercial, military, mining, agricultural and construction equipment. Being able to provide them with airtight and waterproof equipment allows Waytek customers to source from fewer suppliers,” said Jim Keister, marketing manager at Waytek, Inc.

About Waytek: Since 1970, Waytek has been providing electrical wiring supplies to OEMs in the truck body and trailer, construction machinery and equipment, mining, agricultural equipment, and emergency vehicle markets. Waytek maintains a large inventory of more than 10,000 different electrical supplies. Waytek prides itself on having the “Right Parts, In Stock, to be delivered On Time.” To view GIGAVAC products, visit the Waytek website at www.waytekwire.com

About GIGAVAC: Based in Santa Barbara, California, GIGAVAC manufactures and distributes Advanced Switching Solutions. GIGAVAC’s sealed switching devices include high voltage relays, contactors, manual disconnect switches and other Power Products. Used in a wide variety of applications, typical customers are manufacturers of commercial and military vehicles, as well as boats, light rail, mining, factory automation power systems, battery charging and management systems, fuel cells, solar and wind power systems, test equipment, HV power supplies, wafer fabrication, RF communications equipment, MRI/medical equipment and others in need of Advanced Switching Solutions. www.GIGAVAC.com.


Overcurrent: Eliminate the Hazards

When considering the generic application for circuit protection within the confines of appliance or equipment design, there are three significant categories of consideration.

They are:

1) Avoidance of hazardous conditions for operating personnel and others indirectly involved.

2) Any reduction in size of current-carrying conductors.

3) Isolating a faulted function—leaving the normally operating functions able to continue.

The safety issue is undoubtedly the most important of these three. The primary safety focus is to eliminate two types of hazards:

1) Electrical shock

2) Smoke and fire

The safety consideration manifests itself most often in the primary-input circuit protector. In this application, power enters the appliance and is immediately met by a protector that is ready to take the system off-line when required.

The matter of current reduction is really a traditional definition for circuit protection application. Anywhere there is a reduction in the size of a current-carrying medium; the potential exists for a fault to exceed the limits of that medium. For example, wire is designed to carry 20 amps, and is protected accordingly. If a branch circuit is taken from this 20-amp circuit utilizing wire (which, depending upon insulation, is rated to carry 3 amps), then a dangerous overload in the 3-amp circuit (say, 15 amps or a 500% overload) would not be noticed by the 20-amp circuit. (Figure 1)

Figure 1

Figure 1

The third issue involves the design of fault-tolerant equipment and relates to the case illustrated above involving distributed power through branch circuits (Figure 1). If the low-amp branch circuits are independent functions, a fault in one circuit should not take the whole system down. By inserting a circuit breaker in each of the branches, the fault is isolated to the least-affected circuit, leaving the others to function normally.

Types of Abnormal Conditions

In the discussion of circuit protection, it is convenient to separate fault conditions into two types. They are distinguished by virtue of their magnitude, but also by their cause-and effect relationship. The two are overload and short circuit. MP_Circuit Breaker Group

An overload is a condition where, for various reasons, the current level within an electric circuit exceeds its specified limits but continues along its designed path. An excellent example is a stalled motor. This situation, at least initially, exceeds the normally specified steady-state condition. Overload will occur at start-up, or if the rotation of the motor is impeded in some way.

This overload will generally be in the area of 300–700% of the rated current level of the device. Start-up conditions are allowed for within most circuit designs. Other extended overload conditions must be protected.

Short circuits, on the other hand, are conditions that occur when the current path to the load is bypassed with a very low or negligible resistance path. Under this condition, excessively high current flows, which represent a significant hazard both to the appliance and attendant personnel.

In general, an overload is defined by a magnitude of 200–800% of normal rating, and a short circuit is anything greater than this. Because of its limited impedance/resistance path, however, a short circuit is usually considerably higher than 1000% of normal rating. A short circuit involves circuit damage. An overload may or may not involve circuit damage and many times is easily eliminated without repair, even though sustained overloads result in short circuits over time if not protected.

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