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Monday, January 17, 2011

Cable Ties

Velcro Cable Tie
I've been fussing with my computers lately. The other day I reached down to plug a serial cable into the back of my old Linux box and when I came up I had a dust bunny on my head. I can put up with a certain amount of dust in the corners, and even accumulations on stuff that I am not using, but a dust bunny on my head was the last straw! I stripped the room, vacuumed and mopped and now I should be good for another five or ten years.

When I was done I found I had a dozen computer cables left over so I wound them up and secured them with some little Velcro strips left over from my son's foray into the fuzz box jungle.

Cables are a pain. Whenever I hook up some electronic device I am missing at least one cable, and the only place where you can get it at 8 PM on Saturday night wants $50 for a cable that should cost no more than five. So I have taken to winding up all my extra cables and storing them away on the off chance I may need one, and occasionally it pays off.

Throwing loose cables in a box is an almost sure method of insuring they will never be used again. Somebody decides to look for a cable, they pull on one and find the whole box has become one tangled mess and they say "screw it" and go buy a new one. So when I store cables I like to coil them up and secure the coiled cable so it doesn't come undone. You can throw a bunch of secured cables in a box and have no trouble digging out the one you need when the time comes.

So the question is, what do you use to secure the coils? Duck tape works but it leaves a sticky residue. You can use heavy duty rubber bands, but they eventually rot, break, and the pieces that don't dry up kind of melt and stick to the cable. Eww, gross. Twist ties work, the only trick is finding a supply. I found a roll of like a hundred feet at a gardening center one time. That will last you forever. Some people like to use nylon cable ties. You know, the nylon strips with the hole at one end. You feed the tip of one end through the loop and pull: zip and it's snug and won't come undone. Problem is they are good for one use only, and you need a cutters to get them off. And now there's Velcro. I think it's the best material yet. It does have one problem though: you put a bunch of them in a box and they all stick together and you can have very devil getting them separated, especially if you have a handful of coiled cable in one hand.

Update February 2017 replaced missing picture.


Unknown said...

Hi,great blog post that provides nice and very useful information about cable ties.It will help for enhance our knowledge Thanks.

David Thomas said...

Thanks for sharing such a nice piece of information with us. 8 inch zip ties