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Cable Mangement

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt Stone, May 22, 2002.

  1. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    How do you guys manage your cables. I've just got a big-ass jumble of cables behind my entertainment center...and I have no idea how to make it look better.
     
  2. Michael X

    Michael X Stunt Coordinator

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    Zip ties are a good cheap solution. I've also found these "cable clamp" things that are a ratcheting plastic clamp you put around the cable bundles.

    I actually prefer to keep the cables loose. If you take some time, you can usually find a way to run the cables and wires so they are somewhat neat. I think this is better for access, as it can be a real hassle to undo clamps or ties just to change or adjust one cable or wire. Theres also interference to worry about. I guess super-shielded cables may be less prone to this, but running certain cables all packed together or something of the like might cause noise or interference.

    One final thing is using the shortest cable or wire for the runs. You can save a great deal of space and get a cleaner, more organized look by using 3'-6' cables or wire if that's all you need, instead of using 12'+ lengths.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    It helps to put your receiver on the bottom shelf. This allows your speaker wires to flow out without covering up the back of the rest of the equipment.

    (You want to separate speaker wires, power wires and interconnects into separate bundles).

    Run your power cords to one side of the rack. Mount a power strip on this side and use velcro cable ties to neaten these up.

    Let your interconnects flow down the middle or LOOSLEY bundle them with velcro or split-loom tubing you can buy at radio shack.

    It also helps for low-quality devices like the VCR/CATV box, to buy the bundles of L/R/Video cables from Radio Shack or even Monster. One thick cable is much neater than 3 thinner ones.

    Good Luck.
     
  4. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Yah...I'm doing most of the stuff that you mave. The main problem is the fact that since my componants are so close, every damn cable is way to long. So you end up with then all dangling in a general area and getting all messed up. I'm gonna go buy some zip ties though (someting I've been meaning to do anyway) and try to organize the power cables better...then hopefully everything else will fall into place.
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Dont use zip-ties. Murphys law of cable bundling dictates that as soon as you do, some part will go out and the new unit will force you to un-bundle everything.
    Velcro ties are available at many hardware stores & Radio Shack.
    A good hardware store also has nylon cable ties that are designed to screw into wood or have an adhesive back and are not perminent like the zip ties. Get some 1" diameter (big guys) and make a race-way down the sides of your rack.
    To one side, run the AC power cords. To the other, your interconnects. Let the interconnects loop down then up one time in the raceway.
    Another bit of advice: Radio Shack makes special labels for cables. They have a space to write on, then a long "tail" of scotch tape that wraps around the cable and over the writing to protect it from smearing.
    At both ends of your power cords, make labels A/B/C and attach. (I did not do this, then had problems with my DSS receiver. The tech-support person told me to un-plug the unit... and all power plugs look alike [​IMG] )
    And for your interconnects, also do a A/B/C label and attach at both ends. Dont get fancy with codes to indicate the "Composite Video connection from the CATV box". You will just make yourself nuts.
    HT SPRING CLEANING: I do this once per year. And since you are going to label/route cables, you may as well do it too.
    Disconnect each device, pull it out of the rack and wipe the dust off the device & the shelf. A soft toothbrush can be used to dust-off the un-used connectors.
    Label each interconnect & power cord and re-install, taking care to seat the interconnects firmly.
    Take the speaker wires and trim off the exposed copper and then start trimming the entire wire until you expose bright-colored metal. (You do have several inches of slack in your speaker wires, right?) Then strip the insulation, label and re-attach. DO THIS AT BOTH ENDS.
    Since you have gone to all this trouble...
    Use a laser-pointer to "see" where each of your speakers is pointing with respect to the primary listening position. Adjust your speaker angles/positions as necessary.
    Now pop in a setup disk and calibrate your levels.
    Now your system is clean, tuned and ready to save you from weeks of summer re-runs on TV.
    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Matthew Speed

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    Good advice, but once a year? I guess I'm a little obsessive, I do this type of maintenece every 2-3 months. Especially the dusting, it is the #2 enemy of electronics(heat being #1). And I use case logic velcro cable ties, they work great and they are color coded.
     
  7. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Great suggestions guys! Can I ask one question though...where do you get those velcro ties. I have one laying around that I got with a surge-supressor, but I have no clue where to buy them.
     
  8. David W Collier

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    I buy Velcro straps a Home Depot. The product is "Get A Grip". It includes five 8" X 1/2" different colored straps.
    I also use a 1 1/8" cable tie mounting pad- it has a sticky bottom that you can stick to your shelf than run a short cable tie through the pad and run the Velcro strap through the cable tie. This gives you a secure mount that keeps your cables separated and where you want them. And you can still loosen the strap to change cables, etc.
     
  9. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Okay, thanks.

    I found the "Get a Grip" strips online...but I was wondering what the mounting pad was called. I don't have a Home Depot near me, but I can order the stuff from their web-store.

    Thanks so much guys.
     
  10. David W Collier

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    You should be able to get the mounting pads at a hardware store. Or at Home Depot online- Thomas & Betts 1 1/8" Mounting Pads. UPC # 7 2849410106 4. They are about $1 for a package of 8.
    You can also order from WWW.partsexpress.com.1-800-338-0531
    part #080-515 or 080-512.
    If you still cna't find them, let me know & I will mail you some. I still have a pack of 8 left over.
    Good luck!
     
  11. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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  12. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Those RCA caps - are these the ones that short the inputs? Someone proposed this a few years ago and it does make sense.

    For the group: Your un-used RCA inputs are "floating". They are not tied to anything so they are free to act like small antennas. If you dont have them selected as input, you usually can ignore them. But...they are connected to the internal electronics and can feed this noise inside your equipment.

    (We are talking about very small 0.00x volts here)

    One idea is to simply short the outer/inner part of the RCA plug. This insures no voltage difference and removes the ability of the plugs to act like antennas.

    It sounds like these plugs do the job.
     
  13. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Bob,
    Actually no according to Cardas website, they do not short the inputs as I understand they work by eliminating EMI and RFI. The metal used has some effect but I will leave that to Cardas.
     

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