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Author Topic: Cable Management  (Read 2029 times)

Lyle Williams

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Re: Cable Management
« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2019, 01:21:41 pm »

if you are dropping 40 lights on a stage, the power and DMX cables better be about the right length.  Using 20' when you need 2' gets out of hand quickly.  Hiding an extra 1000' of cable in a truss is hard.  :-)

Buf for a few mics?  I have a habit of just grabbing a bag of the same length cables too.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 01:25:32 pm by Lyle Williams »

Craig Leerman

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Re: Cable Management
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2019, 07:46:14 pm »

When I relocated to Reno a few years ago I decided to clean up my years of cable mess and standardize everything as much as possible. Since I build all my own cables it was fairly easy. Here is what I did.

Looking at my mess I realized that I used 3 pin XLR audio cables, 3 pin XLR AES and DMX cables and 5 pin XLR DMX cables.

I standardized all my cables to 3 pin XLR 110 ohm cables so they work with audio, AES and DMX. Now the only difference between all my signal cables are the length. For lighting fixtures, consoles and dimmers that have 5 pin connections I keep short 5 pin to 3 pin jumpers with them and I also have a bunch of jumpers and adapters in my work box.

I also standardized my lengths to 5', 15', 30', 50' and 100'. The 5 footers work great for hooking up stuff at FOH and for jumping fixtures along a truss. The 15' and 30' are my standard stage cables. I also use a lot of stage snakes if I can. The 50' come in handy hooking up powered speakers and sending feeds and the 100 footers are mainly used to send feeds to video folks at gigs.

To tell the difference between lengths I color code my signal cables and put the actual length in numbers on SpeakOn and power cables.

When building the cables I put a 6" length of colored shrink tubing  around the soldered connections and the shrink sticks out of the connector boot and helps with strain relief as well as providing length ID. I only color shrink the male ends now as I found the colors to be distracting at the mic end. At the female "mic" end I just use clear shrink for strain relief.

Around the color shrink I place a piece of green electrical tape and I use clear shrink to keep the electrical tape in place. This is my company color and all of my cables get a piece of green tape.

A few inched past the shrink on the male end I secure a piece of "Trick" aka "Tie" Line with a knot covered by silicone tape. The silicone tape sticks to itself and keeps the Trick Line secure to the cable.

Recently I have begun dipping the ends of the Trick Line in a liquid rubber coating called PLASTI DIP that keeps the ends of the trick line from fraying.

While the above may seem like overkill, cables are the lifelines on a system and one bad cable can screw up a show.

For IEC, Powercon and Edison AC cords I label the cable with the actual length next to my green tape and cover the numbers and tape with clear heat shrink. I build my own longer IEC and PowerCon cables so I can reach an outlet with a single cable. My longer ones are in 10' and 25' lengths. I buy import IEC female connectors on eBay. I wish Hubbell or Leviton would make them.

For AC cables I use white Hubbell ends on SJO cables and Black Hubbell ends on my SO power cables (that are required by the NEC for hard use areas). That way freelancers  and house techs can easily identify the AC cords.

I also made up some DUEL cables for systems that use a loudspeaker atop a sub. I got tired of plugging in two separate cables and having to find a quad or cube tap plus extension cord to get a loudspeaker and subwoofer plugged in so I invented a dual cable. It consists of two PowerCon or IEC cables that terminate in an outdoor metal box and a 25' 12/3 SJO power cord with Hubbell 5266 male end. Some of the dual cables also feature a pigtail with outlet for plugging in an additional powered speaker, 2nd subwoofer or even some LED fixtures.

For storage, on large gigs I have big wooden road trunk for cables but on smaller gig I use the MO24 trunks from Audiopile.

I like the fact that I can stack 3 or 4 of the MO24 trunks on a hand truck and roll them through any doorway.

I'm so old, when I was doing FOH for Tommy Dorsey, to balance out the horn section I would slide their chairs downstage and upstage to mix!
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