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AHHH Cable Wrapping!

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by CURLS, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. CURLS

    CURLS Member

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    Ok! So here's a discussion that I ran across today that I hope hasn't already been discussed, and if it has well then buy me a high dollar hooker to aid in my sta bil lity.
    Anyhow, while at work today I am checking in a snake(thank god it was only a W4, and not a full loomed one) when I decide to open the box to insure that all the connections were'nt well effed up. (i.e. little elves putting glue in the xlr's on the head and using skissors to cut xlrs off of little piggy tails... ok end retartedness) OK, so the point is I open up the snake and I stand there in disgust to see this poor little guy wrapped 7 different ways to sunday. Gosh it started out being just wadded at the top, then half ass over over, then to figure eight, oh and then at the bottom small xlr coils. That was some fun redoing that, but good thing there wasn't too much else to do today.

    Ok, so on to the real point at hand! I find a snake that was poorly wrapped and I happen to know that it was wrapped by high schoolers. Now I know what some of you are saying, "Wait a minute I'm a high schooler!" So, here's the deal nothing (thinking for seconds throughout the day) nothing I repeat makes me more mad then going to a cable kit and pulling out spagetti. With that said I know more than a few times I have seen professional stagehands that can't coil a cable correctly to save there life, and I'm ok with that there's other things that they can do far better than me. I will also admit that when I was in high school NO, I could't wrap a cable to save me from milkin a gaot. So when I helped with loadins for our city's local shed and it came time for a a road guy to hand me a coil to wrap. I told him "My cable wrapping was'nt very good at all." He gave me the same happy face that I would give anyone today that says "Thank you for telling me that!!!"
    With all that said I must say that if you want to work in this industry coil wrapping is properly in the top 5 of the most fundamental things that you need to learn how to do in this industry. There's two basic wraps that yield different results. Over over is twisting the cable the same way in a loop, so that no matter which way you undo it it should'nt get too tangled. Over under which is pretty much industry standard is somewhat hard for me to explain. It would be even better for someone to show and correct you on how to do. You can keep cables together in a loop by using tie line or even looping it through its inside loop and then through itself once again hard to explain in words.

    OHHH, and by the way I have neglected trying to explain how to properly wrap a cable for a couple of reasons.
    1. Being the before mentioned it's hard to explain in word's and you'll get einstein struck when you see it in person.
    2. If you practice it a dozen times the wrong way from a source that you read that does you no good. 3 wrong turns dont make a right but if you have someone navigate you the right way one right does!
    3. As I previously started another thread that says "SEEK OTHER SOURCES" that is what I am challenging go about finding other ways to achieve knowledge!

    Better yet the point to some of this venting is:
    IF you can't coil a cable correctly learn.
    IF you wrap any cable around your elbow a billion times it hurts it, and you would get yelled at by and professional person by doing so.



    The leaves go falling one by one, hoorah hoorah. The leaves go falling two by two hoorah hoorah. Curly goes down to the farm shells corn and finds hot chics this weekend hoorah hoorah!! AHHHHHH SNAP ALL OF THAT MEANS COLD WEATHER
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2008
  2. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    One will note a little less descriptive explitives used below as something to work on as not necessary and often more fun to write around what's the easy to find words for but not really saying much.

    More important than wrapping the cable properly after the first initial times is listening to how the cable wants to be wrapped.

    After a cable has been mis-coiled a few times, over/under top/under or what ever is forced upon the cable will also do just as much damage as doing it "properly" after it's no longer wanting to coil up "properly."

    Than in looms there is the curious and the more curious...
    Had a recent tour come back that had a 8/5 type SO, 16 pair digital grade XLR, and 20 pair also digital grade XLR in one front of house snake. This was 400' long. Fairly small by this year's standards world tour having only 26 universes of DMX but six months into the tour it was very curious that the 20 pair cable even when coiled correctly had as opposed to the other two cables loomed into it developed a very drastic pigtail to it. We are talking about a curl to it of about 3" dia towards it's ends. Just a spring really in look to this one of three cables within the loom. The other two were just fine.

    Theory was that both the SO and 16 pair cable normally used had it's jacket and twist to it in the same way and applied as a coating or with core wires pulled thru. The other cable had it's jacket as per something molded around the conductors and possibly with a different twisting ratio to it. As said at the time, that's why sound companies don't loom their snakes. Two different types cables in a properly loomed snake, both wishing for a different way of coiling them up in listening to the cable as to how it wants to be coiled up.

    Luckily the bad cable was under warranty and has gone back to the factory so as to be both replaced and study what happened to it as opposed to the other two in the loom that are just fine. This happens by way of cable construction that not all cables wish to follow a set pattern for coiling them up. Some will develop a certain memory as to how to coil them up and a dogmatic means of coiling them up will be as bad as under arming them in the same direction no matter the well meaning intention.

    Listen to the cable and how it wants to be wrapped. Even a cable that when taken off the spool from above the top of the spool as opposed to the under side of it will in un-coiling it develop a memory and twist it in a bad way that will perminantly form a memory on that cable in correcting for how it wants to coil up. This detail of how innitially a cable was taken off a spool of wire will in fact form a very big impression on the cable that doing it properly wont' fix and even will hurt.

    Best to have the goal of over under, but while doing so listening to how the cable wants to coil and if it wants three over and one under per segment, than lots of correcting inverse wrapps towards the end, that's how it should be coiled no matter what type of cable it is. Beyond the curious one cable that did not want to coil as with the other two, as with all cable that eventually will fail by way of coiling badly, there is more to it than just doing every cable the same. Goal yes, reality never.
     
  3. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I have seen 100' remote extensions where the last 6 or 8' of the male end look like a curly Q telphone cord. After doing some overhire work for the company I found out why, when a show comes back the put the female end on a wheel and a crank with one hand while the other hand has a rag full of simple green to clean and guide the cable. After a few years of this all the twists inside of the jacket are forced to the male end causeing it to curl.

    Would it be better to alternate on a weekly bases to start with the male or female end to solve this problem? It might help but then you burry the male end in the center when you would prefer it to be on the outside.
     
  4. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    Cable is one of my biggest pet peves, I did a show recently where i requested 100 x 20' -20amp twist
    50 x 20' - 15amp twist
    50 x 8' - DMX 5 pin

    I was sent

    100 x 100' -20amp twist
    50 x 100' - 15amp twist
    50 x 100' - DMX 5 pin

    Do some quick math and you can see how much extra cable that accounted for. Needless to say the load out was not fun.

    But yes over undering the cables helped to coil faster and neater.

    As well when wraping large cables such as Soca, Joy, Cams or longer twist. It can speed it up if you wrap it on the floor or on a road case. It keeps it neater but just because your wraping on the floor or a case does not mean you should not over under. You still must Over under no matter how you wrap your cable.
     
  5. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    Not just the extra time to coil cable but also the extra weight by having and 400' of cable sitting up on the truss that might not have been accounted for.
     
  6. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    well i did think about that so most of the excess went by my distro that was a pile of spegetti.

    JH
     
  7. fosstech

    fosstech Active Member

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    I always counter coil. It's easy enough so when you get the hang of it it's just as fast as the wrong way.

    I had to counter coil a 150-foot 24x4 snake on our clean up day/BBQ on Labor Day. That was fun, as it had been sitting all piled up on the floor all summer.
     
  8. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    Um counter coiling? Same as over undering? If not please explain.

    There is realy only one way to coil cable properly, and that is over undering. weither or not you have another name for it.

    JH
     
  9. fosstech

    fosstech Active Member

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    Yeah I believe so...that's just what we all call it here ;)

    Instead of just going around and around and around with the cable putting twists into it, you do one normal coil and then twist it the other way so that the wire comes out behind the coil instead of in front of it. It's really hard to describe without a visual. Anyway, the backwards coil "counters" the twist made in the first normal coil. Just keep alternating and it will all unravel without one twist.
     
    avelect likes this.
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    I would consult the "Wire Rope User's Manual" to see what it recommends for doing so on wire rope. Same thing different wire. Other books also on wire rope might have good advice on spooling cable.

    Beyond this, my initial thought would be to go ahead and use the same male or femal end, just spool it up from opposing directions. Again not sure on this but seemingly logical.
     
  11. audioslavematt

    audioslavematt Active Member

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  12. Jimbo

    Jimbo Member

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  13. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    I find that when ive colied cables right, it doesnt really matter which end you throw first, either way it still uncoils the same. Just if you throw the outside connection, throw it like a bowling ball, and if its the inside, throw like a horseshoe.

    p.s...
    the other pre quoted one didnt show up...said something about the way its coiled making a difference in throwing to. But as the the only one above, i like to do different size coils every time to, just slight differences, but enough so that its never exactally the same places for bends or amount degrees in the curves. (try to sound smart here on a simple matter)
     
  14. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Not sure that there is a right or wrong way to coil cables when comparing the counter-coiling and coiling methods. Wrong ways to coil cable include tight coils around your hand and elbow, or coils that are too tight for the cable. Anyone remember how to figure out the minimum radius?

    One reason for this is that a long run of heavy cable is not fun on your back. Thus, it is easy to lay the cable on the ground and coil it, rather than hold it out at arms length and coil it that way. You may laugh at this but just wait to OSH start putting restriction into place for such things!

    Take home message – there is more than one way to skin a cat.
     
  15. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

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    Cables being coiled incorrectly is one of my biggest pet peeves, and we have extremely poor technical equipment... meaning we don't have a sound board, we have to hire out a sound technician, so most of our tech crews DON'T know how to, and claim they do, so all our cables are f***ed up and bent and completely damaged.
     
  16. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I even properly coil orange extension cords and other crude like that. And guess what, it makes them better to use. Cable coils itself, I'll say it till I die.
     
  17. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, I coil everything, correctly. Well correctly I hope. My technique is probably a little sloppy, but I let the cable tell me what to do, and it ends up in a coil, so yea. :lol:
     
  18. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    You'll say that until you ever have to deal with Morpheus multi. It's the only cable I've ever gotten mad at. I think it had some personal issues, but the Morpheus person told me "Oh, it's always like that, just get it in the box as best you can." Easier to coil a python!
     
  19. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Figures. They would do that to prove me wrong. This is theatre after all.
     
  20. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    OK... I'll claim ignorance here, can someone direct me towards more information on this "Morpheus Multi"? Or don't I want to know:twisted:
     

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