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Title: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Brian O'Shaughnessy on July 13, 2015, 01:14:36 pm
Hello, I have a question. I do lighting and sound, but often do it with other companies. I was curious if anyone had a technique to marking your cables in a way to quickly identify which are yours. I have thought about using tape, but I feel like taping up each cable ends up looking tacky. Does anyone have a professional technique to "marking" your companies cables that looks professional? Thanks for any input!
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Stephen Kirby on July 13, 2015, 01:24:23 pm
I printed up a bunch of sticker/labels with my company logo on them.  I have them on the cable ends, and all my mics.  Avery even makes metallic labels that look slick although with an inkjet, the marking doesn't tolerate much abrasion.  I put those on my rack lids and so forth.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Josh Millward on July 13, 2015, 01:25:33 pm
Narrow pinstripe tape from the auto parts store.

Unscrew the back shell off the Neutrik XLR connector, clean the gak out from the step where the shell necks down to the threaded part. (Clean it well! This is what the tape sticks to!) Then apply a round of the pinstripe tape to this recessed point and screw the back on. Unless you are using really small cable or are getting super aggressive with cranking it down, you will be able to see the pinstripe tape through the crack.

I use the royal blue color, so please use something different for your cables. ;-)

I have also seen folks put pieces of colored heat shrink on one end of the cable (always the same end), and some people even print the name and contact number of their company on the heat shrink.

Just using tape will get ugly quickly. Heat shrink on the cable or pinstripe tape on the recessed parts of the connectors is easy and it usually looks good.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Peter Kowalczyk on July 13, 2015, 01:27:58 pm
I started labeling all my cables with yellow electrical tape.  Then I went to a gig with some cross-rented equip from another local company; all theirs were ALSO taped in yellow.  Grr.  If tape is the approach, two or more colors might make yours more unique, or check around locally to find a unique color.  A friend and associate started labeling his mic stands with three colors of neon (cloth) spike tape; which is hard to miss.  Electrical tape will get gummy and come off over time, so it will require a re-up every season or so; not sure if the spike tape would be more durable.

The pros will recommend clear heatshrink over a printed label, but that's much easier done before the ends are terminated...
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: David Sturzenbecher on July 13, 2015, 01:31:15 pm
Hello, I have a question. I do lighting and sound, but often do it with other companies. I was curious if anyone had a technique to marking your cables in a way to quickly identify which are yours. I have thought about using tape, but I feel like taping up each cable ends up looking tacky. Does anyone have a professional technique to "marking" your companies cables that looks professional? Thanks for any input!

Custom heat shrink with your companies name and number.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Jerome Casinger on July 13, 2015, 01:39:19 pm
Strip of colored tape and a different color Velcro tie
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Cailen Waddell on July 13, 2015, 01:43:31 pm
Clear hear shrink over a table with name/logo.   On lighting cables it is on both ends.  On xlr it is only on male end. 


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Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Mark Cadwallader on July 13, 2015, 02:02:09 pm
Green is my color. I have Neutrik colored rings on the silver XLR shells on my audio cables. Data cables have the white/ivory rings (and black shells) for easy i.d. 
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Rob Spence on July 13, 2015, 03:16:03 pm
I use nail polish on the connectors. I have some that work well on black and some that works on silver. I also mark the underside of my tripod stands where the legs attach.

I use 2 colors, red & purple.

I used tape a long time ago and it gets all sticky.

On my big power cables I put a company name label and the length with clear heat shrink over it.


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Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Brian O'Shaughnessy on July 13, 2015, 05:38:32 pm
Wow, a lot of great suggestions here. I do really like the idea of shrink wrap with company info printed on it. That seems like the most legit and clean looking, but is there a way to put shrink wrap on a cable without having the remove the ends on it?

Also nail polish on the connectors sounds like a excellent subtle way to label the cables. How long does this last, do you have to constantly re-apply to keep them from scratching off?
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Ray Aberle on July 13, 2015, 06:08:12 pm
...but is there a way to put shrink wrap on a cable without having the remove the ends on it?

Nope. (Although you only need to remove one end, not both.) That's why it is easiest to do this when your cables are being assembled- whether you do it yourself, or you buy cables from a supplier that can include these pieces of heatshrink on the cable for you.

-Ray
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Mac Kerr on July 13, 2015, 06:58:02 pm
Nope. (Although you only need to remove one end, not both.) That's why it is easiest to do this when your cables are being assembled- whether you do it yourself, or you buy cables from a supplier that can include these pieces of heatshrink on the cable for you.

-Ray

And only put the label on the male end so you don't have the ugly label at the mic.

Mac
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Bob Leonard on July 13, 2015, 07:24:13 pm
I use reflective tape, the type that shines brightly when hit with a light. One small strip is all you need, and at the end of the night hit the cables with a flashlight, which works even better if someone has put your cables into their case.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Jon Ross on July 13, 2015, 07:39:28 pm
I have colored heat shrink on all of my cables. Each color is designated to a certain length cable. Helps me reduce stage clutter and keep track of what each cable run is. No one else seems to have the same blank heat shrink scheme so it's easy to tell them apart from others.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Steve Loewenthal on July 13, 2015, 08:54:41 pm
there are companies that print your name (or whatever) onthe velcro ties that are attached to the cables.

I have asked a friend to create some sand blast stencils for me. havent tried it yet so I may need to post back some time in the future if I ever get them.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Kevin Bayersdorfer on July 13, 2015, 09:35:21 pm
My initials with white paint marker
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Rob Spence on July 13, 2015, 10:23:24 pm
Wow, a lot of great suggestions here. I do really like the idea of shrink wrap with company info printed on it. That seems like the most legit and clean looking, but is there a way to put shrink wrap on a cable without having the remove the ends on it?

Also nail polish on the connectors sounds like a excellent subtle way to label the cables. How long does this last, do you have to constantly re-apply to keep them from scratching off?

Neutrik connectors last longest because the color gets in the grooves of the strain relief. Switchcraft and smooth metal adapters need touching up once in a while.


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Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: David Sturzenbecher on July 13, 2015, 10:25:43 pm
there are companies that print your name (or whatever) onthe velcro ties that are attached to the cables.

I have asked a friend to create some sand blast stencils for me. havent tried it yet so I may need to post back some time in the future if I ever get them.

I am told that if you have a business account with monoprice they will do this for velco ties.  I haven't actually seen it though.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Rob Gow on July 14, 2015, 11:15:58 am
Heat shrink. I use blue for my XLR & Red for DMX, male end.

(http://i1187.photobucket.com/albums/z398/robare99/band/11837A3E-32C7-49D2-875D-049D062635F4.jpg)

Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Brian Jojade on July 14, 2015, 12:00:30 pm
I use heat shrink over a colored weatherproof avery label underneath. Each cable is serialized with my company name and manufacture date. The color of the label underneath indicates the length of the cable.

Having the cables serialized makes it extremely convenient when you need to trace down a cable in a bunch.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Steve Oldridge on July 14, 2015, 12:41:10 pm
Hello, I have a question. I do lighting and sound, but often do it with other companies. I was curious if anyone had a technique to marking your cables in a way to quickly identify which are yours. I have thought about using tape, but I feel like taping up each cable ends up looking tacky. Does anyone have a professional technique to "marking" your companies cables that looks professional? Thanks for any input!
I used to cut lengths of 1/2-inch wide duct tape (the real silver stuff, not the fabric "duck" stuff available most places) and wrap it around all metal pieces such as stands, mics, and female end of XLR cables.  Easily identifiable, and it sticks well.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Roland Clarke 1964 on July 14, 2015, 03:15:35 pm
Mine are the good ones! ;)

Seriously speaking, labelling is the only way to go.  Striking mic's and cables really quickly after a gig also reduces the chances for taking "loses". :)
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Stephen Kirby on July 14, 2015, 05:59:23 pm
  Striking mic's and cables really quickly after a gig also reduces the chances for taking "loses". :)

Big time, put on some music and clear the stage as quickly as possible.  Mics first, then mic cables.  Then work my way back through the monitor and the cables associated with them.  By the time I finish that and have been on stage watching things, the band has usually cleared out.  If anything got messed with in the mains, the walk out music would have stopped.  After they're gone, turn everything off and go through the mains cables.  Just have to watch out for any "help" you don't know.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Roland Clarke 1964 on July 15, 2015, 07:40:12 am
Big time, put on some music and clear the stage as quickly as possible.  Mics first, then mic cables.  Then work my way back through the monitor and the cables associated with them.  By the time I finish that and have been on stage watching things, the band has usually cleared out.  If anything got messed with in the mains, the walk out music would have stopped.  After they're gone, turn everything off and go through the mains cables.  Just have to watch out for any "help" you don't know.

I do exactly the same thing.  A little bit of low playback music stops anyone messing with mains, Main speakers or leads.  Also if we "lend" anything, such as lead or mains plug, I have someone up on stage to reclaim things quickly before they get walked off with.  In the last ten years I haven't lost anything that I am aware of, "won" a few mic stands, guitar stands, music stands and odd leads that have been left by bands.  Usually I have been able to track the owners down and get them to collect from me, or someone local to the show, but I still have a round cast base, mic stand that for the life of me I don't know where it came from! :)
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Dave Garoutte on July 15, 2015, 01:02:34 pm
We bought a roll of blue quad core cable and made our own.
Also, we made lots of custom lengths, so I labeled them all with the length.
That speeds up setup too.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Al Keltz on July 15, 2015, 01:28:11 pm

Brady (and probably others) make self laminating white + clear tail labels. The clear tail wraps around the printed label to protect the text. Here's an example.


http://www.bradyid.com/bradyid/pdpv/B33-272-427.html (http://www.bradyid.com/bradyid/pdpv/B33-272-427.html)


- Al
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Kevin McDonough on July 16, 2015, 05:07:45 am
Wow, a lot of great suggestions here. I do really like the idea of shrink wrap with company info printed on it. That seems like the most legit and clean looking, but is there a way to put shrink wrap on a cable without having the remove the ends on it?


3:1 heatshrink is your friend here!  :)

We use simple computer inkjet labels printed with a black background and our logo, same as you would print addresses onto for envelopes, wrap them around the cable and and then cover them with clear heatshrink. Works really well and lasts forever. However custom printed heatshrink would work the same way, in either case you need 18mm shrink that shrinks with a 3:1 ratio. 

At it's 18mm size, with a little persuasion (a touch of stretching if needed by putting it over the end of pliers or scissors and opening them a few times)  it'll go over a male XLR barrel while it's still on the cable so you dont have to take the ends off or resolder things.

You'll still need to strip ends of for speakon cables or power, but not having to do XLR, jack etc takes a huge amount of the work away.

And because its 3:1 it still shrinks down enough to grab onto usual 6ish-mm xlr/signal cable. The 3:1 also makes the side walls much thicker once it's shrunk, much more hard wearing.

In addition to the logo, we also put a colour code on ours for length that we carry through all our cables, power, signal, speaker etc. Makes it much easier to find what you're looking for when you're digging through a trunk. And we can cut the heatshrink a little longer if extra info has to be added, add strips printed from a label printer for pin swaps, bridging adaptors, etc etc. 

green = "short"
yellow = 3m
blue - 5m
purple = 10m
red = 15m
brown = 20m

only had a blue cable handy here at the house, cant see a black one to show you a more common example of what it looks like.
(http://www.kevinmcdonough.co.uk/CableLabelsExamplePSW.jpg)


Just remember though, if you're not doing it with stickers and you're getting custom heatshrink printed you need to stretch your logo/text vertically by the ratio of the heatshrink, either 2 or 3 times, so that when you shrink it onto your cables it's brought back to the normal dimensions  ;D

Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Gordon Brinton on July 16, 2015, 07:58:23 am
I place brightly colored nylon cable/zip ties at the business end of all cables. It generally lasts for years and is more difficult for scoundrels to tamper with it.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Rob Spence on July 16, 2015, 11:05:35 am
I place brightly colored nylon cable/zip ties at the business end of all cables. It generally lasts for years and is more difficult for scoundrels to tamper with it.

Yikes, shredded hands I see.


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Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Stephen Kirby on July 16, 2015, 12:38:36 pm
Was making up some cables with right angled XLRs for clip on drum mics the other day and remembered something with heat shrink that I'd forgotten.  After you shrink it down, let the cable hand straight until it cools.  I laid a cable on the workbench as I went to another and the heat shrink took a set with a curve in it.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Cosmo on July 16, 2015, 05:10:41 pm
If you must use colored electrical tape, use 3M brand (the good stuff!).  At the other end of the spectrum, Markertek offers custom engraving on the connectors.

http://www.markertek.com/Custom.asp



edit: spellin'
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Gordon Brinton on July 16, 2015, 08:11:53 pm
Yikes, shredded hands I see.

Oh, please. We're not THAT careless.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Rob Spence on July 17, 2015, 12:13:29 pm
Oh, please. We're not THAT careless.

Sorry, but I cringe at tie wrap cut ends on cables.


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Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Daniel Levi on July 17, 2015, 03:36:31 pm
Sommer cable can do custom writing on the cable jacket if required (although at an extra fees and probably only for larger orders)
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Steve Loewenthal on July 17, 2015, 07:57:33 pm
I place brightly colored nylon cable/zip ties at the business end of all cables.
That might make it easier to identify suspects. Just look for bloody hands :)
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Stephen Kirby on July 17, 2015, 08:07:50 pm
Sorry, but I cringe at tie wrap cut ends on cables.


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If you use the Panduit tie wrap gun, it leaves a flush edge.  I use one all on the tie wraps I do inside of racks for that very reason.  I have to turn it to the lowest setting to avoid pinching the cables.  But they are worth their weight in gold, or cut hands as the case may be.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Lee Douglas on July 17, 2015, 09:54:13 pm
When I was first getting into sound around high school, I started "branding" my cables (or more specifically the ends) with hot leather lettering stamps.  It was unique and impossible to remove without messing up the cable in the process.  It didn't stop them from going missing completely, but reduced the amount that it happened.  What's funny is I ran into one of my cables from almost thirty years ago when I was helping out a friends kid with his band a couple of months ago! 

I'm a pretty anal cable counter these days and rarely if ever have a cable go missing.  If I were to start a new cable pack for a project today, I would have the cable printed with my logo and contact info on it.  I've also thought of getting a glow in the dark shrink wrap (with logo) made the would light up brightly when hit by a UV laser or light, making it easy to find in a pile of cables in the dark.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Brian O'Shaughnessy on July 20, 2015, 10:42:45 am
So much good information!

Gordon, I have thought about the idea of unique zip ties to help identify, I think they would be durable and easy to spot, but my only pause is wanting something a bit more intentional looking. Zip ties on a cable could seem almost like it was just never removed from the packaging..? Stephen mentioned zip ties that don't have an edge to them which sounds really interesting!

Stephen Kirby, I like the idea of having zip ties with a flush edge. So the tool your mentioning allows you to do that?

Lee Douglas, I like the idea of having cables "burned" with a brand, it seems as though it would be discrete as well as clean looking. But the glow in the dark tape seem brilliant, just use a UV light to scan around the stage to see if anything pops up. Often we will sometimes have to load out and the house lighting will be really dim, so anything to help with spotting forgotten cables could be an excellent option.

Right now if I could find UV sensitive zip ties that are flush and don't have an edge that sounds like it could be a perfect solution for me!
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Gordon Brinton on July 20, 2015, 11:44:54 am
...Stephen mentioned zip ties that don't have an edge to them which sounds really interesting!...

Yeah, I don't know why these guys are crying about cut hands. My cutters are sharp. I trim the zip ties while on a work bench, straight and clean, with no pointy edges sticking up. In fact, I kind of recall feeling many of them immediately after cutting just to see if they'd felt burred. It's nothing that a quickie swipe with a fine metal file couldn't smooth over anyway.

I usually fasten them right up against the back side of the fittings where they tend to stay out of the way of sliding hands.  When wrapping up cables, I rarely slide my hands all the way to the ends. I don't think I've even gotten a cut or scratch from one.

Oh well. It works for me. I'm happy.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Stephen Kirby on July 20, 2015, 07:20:36 pm
I have a real Panduit gun, which isn't cheap.  But this looks like it has the same cutter thing on the end.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006ISG5M0/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687662&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B001EU2558&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=02ZE6SYHGE1DSQFDBG99 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006ISG5M0/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687662&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B001EU2558&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=02ZE6SYHGE1DSQFDBG99)
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: James A. Griffin on July 23, 2015, 09:42:55 pm
Oh, please. We're not THAT careless.

Careless or not, trying to avoid scraping your hands on the tie will slow down coiling cables at the end of the night.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Jay Barracato on July 23, 2015, 10:09:31 pm
Careless or not, trying to avoid scraping your hands on the tie will slow down coiling cables at the end of the night.

I don't want to have to say " oh yours are the ones with the blood on them".

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Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Rich Grisier on July 24, 2015, 03:09:13 pm
I've been using these silicon hair ties for a couple years now with good results.  They retain their color and stay in place really well.  I just keep looping/twisting them over the ends until they aren't loose any more.  I usually loop them over about 5 times, I think.  They're stretchy enough to loop over big Switchcraft XLR ends.   I color code and group items.

(http://i5.walmartimages.com/dfw/dce07b8c-2756/k2-_4e6f6425-667e-4ca7-ad04-d7a29f94a6c6.v1.jpg)
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Rich Grisier on July 24, 2015, 04:25:24 pm
Heat shrink. I use blue for my XLR & Red for DMX, male end.

(http://i1187.photobucket.com/albums/z398/robare99/band/11837A3E-32C7-49D2-875D-049D062635F4.jpg)

Rob- Where'd you get those little bungee ties for the cables?  I've not seen those before.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Stephen Kirby on July 24, 2015, 05:19:20 pm
I've seen those bungee ties on Planet Waves guitar cables but didn't know you could get them on their own.  I've love to get some too.  They don't stick to carpet or each other like Velcro ties do.  I do have trick line on my larger speaker and power cables but these, or Velcro, are quicker for the tons of XLR cables you have to put away at the end of a gig.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Rob Gow on July 25, 2015, 12:04:16 pm
Rob- Where'd you get those little bungee ties for the cables?  I've not seen those before.

Planet Waves cable ties from Amazon. $8.95 for a pack of 10. Handy as heck.
(http://i1187.photobucket.com/albums/z398/robare99/BF8DFACA-921C-4BCF-9A0A-12D138FC9127.png.jpeg)

http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Waves-Elastic-Cable-10-pack/dp/B001PGXKCS

I've seen those bungee ties on Planet Waves guitar cables but didn't know you could get them on their own.  I've love to get some too.  They don't stick to carpet or each other like Velcro ties do.  I do have trick line on my larger speaker and power cables but these, or Velcro, are quicker for the tons of XLR cables you have to put away at the end of a gig.

I hate those Velcro strips. I have a few here & there but I generally avoid them.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Scott Wagner on July 25, 2015, 02:03:27 pm
Planet Waves cable ties from Amazon. $8.95 for a pack of 10. Handy as heck.
(http://i1187.photobucket.com/albums/z398/robare99/BF8DFACA-921C-4BCF-9A0A-12D138FC9127.png.jpeg)

http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Waves-Elastic-Cable-10-pack/dp/B001PGXKCS.
How do they fair securing a cable (or three) to 2" truss?
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: dave briar on July 25, 2015, 03:04:18 pm
How do they fair securing a cable (or three) to 2" truss?
It would be a "stretch" -- double entendre intended. Seriously they come in at least two different sizes but I think mine would wrap around a 2" truss just barely.

  ...dave
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Dave Dermont on July 25, 2015, 03:17:32 pm
A pack of 50 small bungee balls is about $12.00 - $15.00. Just like what the tent guys use, only smaller.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Rob Gow on July 25, 2015, 09:45:52 pm
How do they fair securing a cable (or three) to 2" truss?

Hmmm I've used them on the handle of an LS800P but a 2" truss might be a bit big. I have a gig tonight and I'm using my 2" truss. When I drop the truss at the end of the night I'll give it a go and let you know how it works out tomorrow.
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: John Schalk on July 27, 2015, 04:39:18 pm
My mic cables came from the local music shop with colored heat shrink labels with the music store's contact information.  I went with just two lengths; 15' & 30' which covers 90% of the needs on a lounge level stage.  To identify them as mine, I wrote my initials on the colored heat shrink using a silver Sharpie.  Since I'm always out with my gear, that works for positive identification, but may not be the best solution for a busy audio shop.  The silver Sharpie is holding up okay on the cables, but really stands out on mic clips and stands. 
Title: Re: Identifying your own cables
Post by: Scott Slater on July 28, 2015, 06:39:17 am
I use the really small thin zip ties and put one around the cable at the male end of XLR cables.  That way at the snake head I can quickly identify my cables.  The general rule with me is that I supply all cables to the snake and any pass-thru cables used on DIs.  I do have a couple of instrument cables that I use as loaners from time to time.