Mass wire storage solutions

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SETEC_Astronomy
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Mass wire storage solutions

Post by SETEC_Astronomy » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:40 am

I have a big problem I never seem to solve, wire storage. I have hundreds of different cables I can't seem to find an efficient way to store and still keep accessible. I can't condense the collection as each cable is different and serves its own purpose. Just a small sampling of the cables in my collection:
  • USB-A to USB-A
    USB-A to USB-B
    USB-A to USB Mini-B
    USB-A to USB Micro-B
    USB Extension cable
    Serial DB-9 to DB-9 patch cable
    Serial DB-9 to DB-25 patch cable
    Serial DB-9 to DB-9 null modem cable
    Serial DB-9 to DB-25 null modem cable
    RCA Audio patch cable
    RCA A/V patch cable
    Stereo A/V "Y" cable
    iPod TV cable
    S/PDIF Digital cable
    ToSlink cable
    Firewire cable
    Generic Fiber optic cable
    Parallel port printer cable
    Parallel port patch cable
    Speaker Wire
    Coax TV cable
    Coax satellite cable
And the list goes on and on.................

Tape is not a good solution, it leaves residue but is a cheap alternative. Velcro works but then you still have bundles of wire piled somewhere, not easy to dig through. I need some ideas please, thanks.

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jwax
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by jwax » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:29 am

Having a big wall of pegboard so you could see them all would be great, but not having room for that, I group mine in boxes- one for audio, one for USB, RF, telephone, printer, etc.
Not the best solution, but speeds up the search a bit! :grin:

Robert Reed
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by Robert Reed » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:45 am

If you have the room, just organize them like your clothes closet. One rod (possibly under a shelf) with a "clothes hanger" for each cable (that is spooled into a 1 ft. diam.).
The "clothes Hangers" in this case are simply 4" pieces of stiff wire formed into a Cee shape. Years ago, when I ran a service business, I used the comb type holder as I had dozens of test cables and probes that were used. These hung on the wall about 5' from the floor and it's notches were spaced about one inch apart. Downside is it took up a lot of wall space (about12 sq. ft.). Upside is the cables were always nice and straight not having any annoying kinks or coils in them. Also they were instantly identifiable.

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Externet
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by Externet » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:47 am

The best way I know of and use:
http://www.zzounds.com/item--MIDCLAW
Can make it yourself with wood, plastic channel, or other materials.
Miguel
- Abolish the deciBel ! -

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haklesup
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by haklesup » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:30 am

I had a similar problem and add to it lots of plain wire of different gauge etc. What I did was go to Target and buy about a dozen of those plastic storage totes with lids (there are many sizes to choose from). I spread them out on the floor and sorted my cables into them. The divisions depended as much on what quantity and length I had to store as well as function. For example I have boxes for Low speed serial/parallel, high speed serial and network, Anything USB, anything RCA, anything 1/8" plug, small gauge wire not cable, larger wire, extension cords, Romex and on and on. The boxes are clear also I can stack them and see what's inside without moving everything. Most importantly I have one more supposed to be empty box for me to throw unsorted wires and cables until I feel like sorting again. I have it stacked 4 high 3 wide so that takes (a bit less than) appx. 5'x5'x2' in my garage. I have a separate smaller case for a cable adapters and Y cables of all kinds but mostly audio.

THere are other storage containers that would work well too. I'm thinking of a cardboard chest of drawers or bankers boxes.

Dean Huster
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by Dean Huster » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:23 pm

Pomona makes three sizes (for different diameters) of cable racks for your patch cords/premade cables. You can easily make a wooden replica of these using a bit of scrap 1x1 and some 1/4" Masonite.

Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

desy2820
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by desy2820 » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:25 pm

It's not pretty or elegant, but I've found that a combination of plastic storage bags and the plastic totes described above work well for me. Gallon and quart size bags are the most useful. I use one bag per cable, then sort them into the totes. I use one tote for: computer stuff, telephone stuff, power supplies/remote controls and cable TV stuff.

I tried just placing them in the totes, but the cables still got tangled with each other, making a mess. The bags worked better, because it kept the cables seperated. I could also easily identify each cable. For RG-6, ethernet and phone cables, I've found it helpful to write the length of the cable on the bag w/ a sharpie.

Hope this helped!

SETEC_Astronomy
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by SETEC_Astronomy » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:41 pm

Thanks for all the great suggestions and ideas. I think I'll go for some combination of the storage schemes. I think totes, ziplock bags and a piece of pegboard could do nicely. Pegboard would be the for the cables I use over and over and would therefore be very accessible, totes and bags for infrequently used cables should suffice. I like the bags over Velcro since the cords couldn't get all tangled in any way. I think writing info like cable length is great, I can't remember the number of times I've dug through a pile, found a cable, untangled it from the massive heap it was part of only to later find it's length to be insufficient. Thanks again.

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haklesup
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by haklesup » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:21 pm

Yeah, I forgot about the bags but they work great for the reasons described. I use a bunch of stiffer ESD bags with ziploc closures at work to keep all the scope probes and BNC accessories straight. Sad to say, our banana cable collection is in poor shape but I usually have enough.

Jim Barrett
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by Jim Barrett » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:45 am

I use binder clips,available in many sizes at any office supply store. The clips slip over the cable, the connector end won't slide through and, hung on the above mentioned pegboard keeps everything in view and available. :idea:
http://www.officemax.com/omax/catalog/d ... jsp?id=585

EPA III
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by EPA III » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:16 pm

I have a similar problem at work. I use cardboard bins and inexpensive (not cheap) metal shelves. The bins are available in a variety of widths and are relatively inexpensive. I have some cardboard bins that are over 25 years old do they do last. They have nice white areas on the front for labels and the contents are easily visible even without removing them from the shelf. For really small cables and adapters (that I have a lot of) I use the mini bins that are also available from most of the same sources that sell the larger bins. They can be used to subdivide a bin into a number of compartments. I have stuffed over 15 RCA Y type adapter cables in one mini bin.
Paul A.

Marcaroni
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Re: Mass wire storage solutions

Post by Marcaroni » Thu Mar 26, 2009 10:57 am

At work we use a 2 drawer filing cabinet that sits under the bench. each cable has its own file. definitely not the cheapest solution but it works out really well. we also have a pomona rack for more frequently used, smaller cables.

-Marcaroni

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