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How do you store cables?

I've got dozens of wires & cables - patch cables, USB, serial, phone wire, KVM, etc, etc, etc.

My current method is to roll them, cable tie them, and throw them in a pile on a shelf.

Anyone got any better suggestions? 'cause this method isn't working.

(Next up: Identifying power adapters...)

Philo

Philo
Saturday, July 19, 2003

ziplock bags. One each.

Joel Spolsky
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Socks arranged by type and color?  Just trying to form a mental picture.

...
Saturday, July 19, 2003

The natural state of cables is to be tangled to each other. I have resigned myself to this fact and just throw them all in a box.

Sure it takes longer to untangle a cable, but it takes a second to add a new cable to the box - just throw it in.

Matthew Lock
Saturday, July 19, 2003

If you have a closet, just put up a bunch of hooks there, like $3 a piece at a hardware store, each one can hold 10-20 cables at least.  Throw the cables over the hooks -- they won't be tangled, they'll be out of sight, they won't take up too much space, and will be relatively easy to find and easy to put back.  For the ones you use a lot, just stick a hook on a regular wall.

I do this for audio cables -- if you think you have a lot of computer cables, wait until you have a home studio for audio recording.

Andy
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Andy that's quite a good idea, might give it a go.

Matthew Lock
Saturday, July 19, 2003

Joel is 100% right. Ziploc bags, the kind with the little pull zipper, one cable rolled up in each. They do not tangle, they're easy to dig through in a box and hunt for the one you need That's how I keep my couple hundred miscellaneous cables for computers, power supplies, recording, music equipment, etc.

Troy King
Sunday, July 20, 2003

Can I have a link for the ziplock bags. First I've heard of them.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, July 20, 2003

About the hooks again, make sure to get the "C"-shaped ones, so you have 2 hooks in 1.  Makes cables easier to find.  If you have a whole bunch and enough space, you can get a rack for like $10 with 5 or 6 C-shaped hooks.  That probably won't fit in a closet though, so if you care about looks then you might not want to put it out in the room.

I too am intrigued by these "zip-locks" you speak of.

Andy
Sunday, July 20, 2003

Ahhh perhaps you had to be a wargamer in the UK to know ziploc bags at an early enough age for them to be natural repositories of stuff.

http://www.ziploc.com/ziploc_easyzipperstoragebags.htm

I've only ever found unlabelled ziploc type bags in the UK not branded bags and then from mail order stationery type people.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, July 20, 2003

>Can I have a link for the ziplock bags. First I've
>heard of them.

Stephen, Panada Aziziyah has them as does Farm 5 in Doha.

Matt Foley
Sunday, July 20, 2003

Ziploc bags, not zip lock or ziplock. This is why you're not getting any useful results in Google.

A wooden dowel around 1-2" thick by one to two feet long, mounted on the wall, angled ever so sleightly up. Maybe a few shorter ones around six inches long if you have a lot of cables, or as someone else mentioned, large C hooks. All this depends on the space you have to store them, how frequently you use them, and whether or not you're willin to mutilate your walls.

Get a thin suede string, like a thick shoe string, and tie it to one end... You should be able to get this stuff on a spool in a crafting supply store. Tie the strip to one end of the cable. You now have a permenant way to tie the cable together to prevent it from tangling, and a permenant way to store them. Finding the right cable should be a snap, and so should storing them.

For long term storage, Joel's idea seems like the best. My post assumes something approaching every day use.

www.marktaw.com
Sunday, July 20, 2003

Wow that suede strip thing was full of repeats and such... hopefully you get the idea.. an approx. 6" long piece of suede strip tied to one end of the cable. Then when you wrap the cable (which is an art in-and-of itself, ask any good audio engineer, you don't loop long runs of cable around your hand and elbow) you use the strip to tie up the whole cable run to itself, as if it were the zip tie or twist tie that originally came around the cable when you bought it from the store.

www.marktaw.com
Sunday, July 20, 2003

Mark, I'm still having trouble visualizing this.  You've got a dowel that's one to two FEET long, and you're using it to store a single cable?  Got a digicam?  (=

Sam Livingston-Gray
Sunday, July 20, 2003

No, i have the dowel sticking out of the wall holding a number of cables. Since each cable is a self-contained loop, you just toss it onto the rod.. like playing horseshoes.

www.marktaw.com
Sunday, July 20, 2003

Thanks Matt; I'll have a look when I get back from vacation.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, July 20, 2003

Oh, I see.  I thought the string was at the end of the dowel.

So then the next question is... how do you wrap cables?  I always just did the coil method, then tied it off with the end of the cable.  I take it this is bad?  (=

Sam Livingston-Gray
Monday, July 21, 2003

no no no.

ok each cable has a string tied to the end of it. you wrap the cable into loops so it resembles the way it was when you got it. There's a trick to it. You hold one end in your left hand, and then twist the other end in your right hand until it naturally loops on itself... you really need someone to show you how to do this.

Once you get it to resemble it's original shape.. the shape it came out of the factory in, you use the string that's already attached to one end, to tie it around all the other strands. This is just like a zip tie or twist tie.

Then when you have a few cables like this - all nice and self contained, you toss them over the dowel. Unfortunately, I don't have anything like this in my apt. rightnow or I'd take a picture... but if you really need help e-mail me and I can provide more explicit instructions.

www.marktaw.com
Monday, July 21, 2003

I put them all in a huge box. When I want one, I untangle.

Untangling cables is more fun than writing code.

Joe
Monday, July 21, 2003

> Untangling cables is more fun than writing code.

That's bad for the cable... Introducing new twists and bends, and of course tugging are all bad.

As a musician, on stage, plugged in to a 300 watt amplifier, BZZZZZTTTT POP is the last thing you want your cable to do. I'd imagine some people feel the same way about their data.

www.marktaw.com
Monday, July 21, 2003

I've destroyed plenty of cables with this technique! Another thing that's more fun than writing code is going shopping for more cables.

Fred2000
Monday, July 21, 2003

Toss em.  Trust me, you won't need 90% of em again.  And the money you save by not having to store all the crap, will pay fo ritself, when you do need to buy something. 

Bella
Friday, July 25, 2003

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