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Cable Coloring?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Joren_Wendschuh, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. Joren_Wendschuh

    Joren_Wendschuh Member

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    Hrmmm, I dont know where to put this specificialy, but um... yeah...
    I've got some happy SJ cable, which I want to use for a semi stationary lighting setup in my garage, for testing, etc lighting instruments without having to try to prop them up on tables and the like.
    The only thing, is the SJ cable is a black *AND* yellow colored cable. It really stands out, and is starting to piss me off.
    Does anyone know of a way to either, dye the cable, or use some kind of a paint, or something to get the whole jacket black on the outside, without having something that will flake off or just, um, not be black?
     
  2. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Other than the thin flexible black plastic conduit which has a split running vertically along its length I cannot think of an easy (or cheap) solution to your problem.

    One question - given the application:

    Does it really matter what colour the cable is, given that it works? I keep all the odd and brightly coloured cables for my tech bench where they will not be seen on a show, or I use them to make up short (200mm / 8") special purpose leads so they can be easily identified on a gig. eg, yellow for 3pin XLR phase reverse, red for 5pin XLR phase reverse, blue for 3pin to 5pin XLR conversion cables etc.

    Probably have not helped but perhaps food for thought. Cheers,
     
  3. Joren_Wendschuh

    Joren_Wendschuh Member

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    Heh yeah, I guess it could just stay with what I've got, but eh, I'm a Techie, lol, Everything's gotta be black :p
    Seriously, yeah, I could stay with the way it is now, but I was just wondering if anyone knew a way to change its color... could come in handy sometime when I need to color something else possibly also...
    Just trying to expand my mind :D

    Thanks!
     
  4. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    If it's more or less perminantly installed, spray paint in general works adiquately. If you are moving the stuff about than it will of course wrinkle and flake off to some extent but not so bad as you would expect unless you drag it on the floor and around corners on a daily basis. Kraylon now makes a plastic paint that would show promiss in your wire for staying on better also. I expect you can get it from about any theatrical supply store by now. Keep the coating light and even, than if necessary apply a second or third coating. But since it's not show usage, more of light a toning down tint might be enough.

    Otherwise if you call your local cable supplier such as Coast Wire and Cable on the East Coast or Cole Wire and Cable on the Central Coast, they might either have info on cable die or be able to sell it to you. There is such a thing, I get my heat wire died green all the time as is the same with making white heat wire black. I'm sure it would work or they would know what to use otherwise.

    A further option since sharpee sticks to wire is to dip the cable body into some gereral pupose die, let it sit a few hours and see what you have. Perhaps even some die used for blackening shoes might be of a lot of use. Same basic texture to adhere to. Don't let it sit too long in the die or it could soak thru and coat the conductors. Do a test sample than strip the wires to see if your soaking duration has a effect on the conductors.

    One note is that it would be good if your SJ wire was SJO or SJOO type because the oil resistance might be good in keeping the wire from breaking down espeially from the paint. Than again if it does not have the oil resistance, perhaps might make it stick better.

    Finally a nice dark woodworking stain such as jacobian might be of use or experiment in something that's going to sink in an not go away.

    Let us know how it works out.
     
  5. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Some interesting ideas there Ship. I have only ever used spray paint on an install once and completely forgot about it until you mentioned it. From memory it hasn't come off either! So I can vouch for that method.

    I have never heard of cable die, so that is something I will look into (just for curiosities sake). I would never have thought about using timber stain either as I would have assumed it would have damaged the cable due to it being solvent based. Whilst I use isopropyl alcohol to clean my cables, this is different to soaking them in the stuff. Obviously you have done this with no problems? I will have to try it with some off cuts

    Would this have any health and safety implications for flammability? Perhaps I will have to light up / expose to heat a treated off cut and a non-treated off cut for comparison!

    Cheers,
     
  6. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Me intentially stain a cable? Nope it's just an observation from memory on what sticks to the shop cables. Paint, stain everything. Health and safety? In your garage even I would open the door at least if not wear gloves and a mask with the stain. Solvent based, so what as long as you are not soaking it in the stain what you are able to apply will only sink in so far. Again, it's only what I have observed. Do a test sample than flex it and see if it in bulk does damage the cable, plus cut it open and see if it soaked thru. I used to on rare occasion turn a orange extension cord black. Spray paint did the job to some extent, the rest was theory to play test and tell us. Ball is in your court. Otherwise if local, I have stacks of 14/3 SJOOW black in 20' and less lenghts you can have as long as I don't have to ship it. Not worth my effort to put a plug on it.

    Wait a minute, forget it, you are not local. I'm having enough problems in getting 120v lamps to a certain tour currently in London which is headed your way, much less the loops I will have to go thru to get crap cable sent out to you down under. Every once in a while I will fill up a box full of rubbish and give it to the shipping person saying it needs to be in X location overnight. She about gets done writing up the shipping tag and it weighed when she does the decoration of what's in it and discovers it's trash. he he he. Her chirpie phone is on vibrate also and in a hip pocket. Ah, it's the little fun things we do in life.
     
  7. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Don't ship crap my direction! Although, Joren might be up for some black cable.

    My question regarding the increased flammability wasn't in relation to the process of application, it was to the end product. I was wondering if the cable would be prone to bursting into flames if exposed to heat. As most of you will know, it is the vapors produced by heating something that causes it to catch on fire, not the actual material itself. I guess I will have to do some R&D work on this. Just need to find my asbestos suit and welders helmet!! :twisted:
     
  8. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Make sure you post a picture of it also. As for vapors, once it's dry... R&D is the key I guess.

    Also, it's only shipped trash if the shipping girl does not look into the box - she always does for my boxes. Though you should have seen how much filler trash I packed in the winner of the soft flat box. Never heard back from him, but there was some premium swag/trash in there.

    Than there was the time a crew chief pissed me off with as usual wanting something overnight without notice, but at least this time calling a few minutes before UPS picked up. At one point tabout 10 to 15 years ago here was a thing about using natural shipping packing materials - popcorn. I decided to send the gear encased in a box full of burnt popcorn... It was a slow day and the candy machine was stocking pop corn at the time. Does not anymore, hmm. Anyway all was good he got the box but had the unfortunate luck of opening it in front of the tour manager. Did not get the joke, in fact he did not like the joke at all. Sometimes luck is with you, and sometimes it's against you but you still have to roll the dice or you won't have any fun. As long as you normally have head down concentration on your job and do good work, you get to play at times. If you don't yet, you get what you pay for.

    Anyway, I was not considering stain as flammable once dry. I don't consider it as that at least, it's just pigment once the vehicle evaporates, but this would be a good thing to experiment with given it sticks to the cable.
     
  9. Mayhem

    Mayhem Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    If I ever make it to Chicago or you ever find yourself in Perth, we have to have a couple of drinks!

    You have a good point about the solvent evaporating and leaving the pigment behind but I am curious as to the absorption into the jacket or inner cores. Especially on some of the older cable that has cloth braid in it. Whilst direct permeation through the jacket may not occur, the cut ends of the cable would probably absorb some solvent via capillary action. Probably wise to keep the ends out of the solution and trim a few inches off. A nice little project for this weekend.

    Cheers,
     

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