What is a Slave Cable?

TGC2336-1A - Slave Cables

What is a slave cable, and why are they called slave cables? Despite the name, they actually are rather commonly used across the world. Slave cables are used to jump start military vehicles with dead batteries. Outside of military use, they are more commonly referred to as jumper cables, and provide a fast, easy, vehicle-to-vehicle boost of power to get back on the road. A majority of US military vehicles are outfitted with a NATO receptacle, meaning that specialized NATO slave cables are required for this service.

Why are They Called Slave Cables?

So why are they called slave cables exactly? There’s no way to look at it other than to feel a slight bit of awkward when you’re messing around with them especially when you’re trying to explain them to those outside of the military. So let’s get it out of the way about what is a slave cable, and why are they called slave cables. While there is no concrete answer as to where the term came from among NATO and military organizations, it’s most likely due to the term Master/Slave communication and control.

“Master/slave is a model of asymmetric communication or control where one device or process controls one or more other devices or processes and serves as their communication hub.” The vehicle that is supplying the voltage to the dead battery controls that voltage to give it a jump, the name most likely comes from that.

How to Use Military Slave Cables

In order to make jump starting easier, military trucks and vehicles are standardized with 24-volt electrical systems, including slave receptacles for quick and easy connection. After plugging in a slave cable between each vehicle, the dead battery is restarted with the live vehicle’s running engine.

Most M-series vehicles come outfitted with slave cable receptacles, making transferring power very easy. On the off chance that your vehicle did come with this 2-pin style end, it is possible to install one after the fact. This requires more advanced automotive experience.

In many cases, military slave cables are sold in sets with NATO receptacles for ease of use, and can be bought in differing lengths. Due to the specialized nature of these cables, they are not as readily available as standard jumper cables. Military slave cables are custom-built and shipped directly from the manufacturer.

Additional Uses for NATO Slave Cables

In addition to jumps, slave cables can be used to access power directly from a vehicle’s battery. When combined with NATO slave cable plugs and power inverters, users can produce power for a variety of uses safely and easily.

Slave cables can also be used to restart electrically disabled military vehicles, helping to revitalize pieces of history. Although, as is true with any sort of jump start, vehicle batteries that are decayed, frozen, or void of proper electrolyte levels will be impossible to restart.

Buy Slave Cables From Gateway Cable Company

Gateway Cable Company has been building military electrical connectors and cable assemblies in the United States since 1979, and creates built-to-last products that help support the troops. To request a quote for anything from shielded cables to a NATO slave cable, plug, or power inverter, contact us today.