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Equipment & Cable ID Labels

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by jmac, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    I have purchased some used equipment and cables from a local rental company, and would like to replace their labels with new ones, so I can keep track of my stuff whenever I use it on a show with rental equipment also involved.

    Who makes decent, pre-printed labels (for both fixtures and accessories, and cables) for reasonable cost? Thanks.
     
  2. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    What, they didn’t take them off before selling?

    Most heat shrink companies can provide a heat shrink with your logo, name and phone number on it. This in addition to most even the local photo copy or print shop can produce labels for you if not you just sitting down at the computer with label printing stickers in making your own.

    What specific gear are atempting to label? 3:1 heat shrink or 4:1 heat shrink be it clear covering a label or a printed solid color heat shrink, this beyond a sticker label of some sort should be easy enough.
     
  3. jmac

    jmac Active Member

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    No- and I'm not sure I can get them off w/o damaging the cables. I have some DMX and scroller P&D cables with what seems to be a thick and pretty hard clear tubing protecting their label. Is this a heat shrink tube; are they big enough to slip over the end connector, before shrinking? The connectors have different color rubber bands for DMX and P&D, and different color electrical tape for the different lengths, which seem to work well.

    Other items include scrollers, power supplies, I-Cues, and a couple S4's and extra lens tubes, color frames, etc.
     
  4. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Could send back and say "this is to be my gear not your's and you had at best remove your labels from it without damaging the cable or no sale." One would assume the sales person would get the tech staff removing their labels most ricky tic tic without damaging the cable.

    Sorry, but I can't imagine selling gear with one's label still on it. This much less if such lack of care was taken in selling the gear, was it even working condition when sent out? They test it? Ah' standards in the industry very a bit.

    Depending on who you talk to in my department about removing a label from cable for resale - hopefully it's not glued to the cable in being a little more difficult, I and some prefer a Specilized Products offered juce harp like cable jacket slitter knife. Others less experienced prefer the Stanley hook knife utility knife blade for removing an old label without damaging the cable. Concept with both being you cut and roll/ride along along the surface to be protected instead of just slitting along it at questionable depth.

    In general for cable, it's normally heat shrink and if thick it will have been a say 3:1 or 4:1 heat shrink ratio. The larger the starting dia., the larger the shrunk thickness after shrunk - that material has to go somewhere in in some cases getting like 1/16" thick.

    Imagine if you will a say 20mm heat shrink tubing that is large enough with some effort to fit over the plug, but at say expensive 4:1 ratio shrinks down to a 5mm cable size once it clears the plug. Normally it would only be 3:1 shrink ratio or even more normal to the market yet 2:1 shrink ratio which one in shrink ratios and materials making up that heat shrink would be using Polyolefin, one should be aware of other types. Even got some 63mm stuff on the market that will clear a 19-pin Socapex plug and still shrink down to a 1" Soco cable size. Don't quite shrink down to a 12/14 7/8" cable size but with some work, works well for the male end while the 53mm stuff works well for the female end. Granted the larger the shrink ratio and or type of material used in not being PVC that yellows and cracks with age or UV, the more expensive it is up to like $10.00 per foot for the largest sizes. Still constantly impressive that something that's like 4" wide while flat on a spool would shrink down to 1" round. This and proper neopreme adhesive helps lots.

    After the clear heat shrink - I put it over every cable as printed labels allow for the ink to wear off short of protection, all a question of some piece of photo copy paper taped or glued to the cable, sticker on it, bar code on it, or heat shrink color code and perhaps printed label? This in addition to other labels and or color codes. Got P-Touch labels applied to heat shrink labels, got that with electrictical tape stripes along the side of the printed colored heat shrink all with glue and clear heat shrink over. One verses two stripes matters etc. This and above and beyond just a photo copy label under heat shrink.

    On the other hand as with the P-Touch label maker above, it ain't just 9mm labels they can print. A world of bar code and other labels out there in printer machines one can figure out on a PC than print out with extra clear leader for the label protecting the writing that will work adiquadately for marking a cable - barcode or not on that label. Much of our cable these days has the at times as much time spent in labeling the cable color code tape or heat shrink with labels applied to it or not with clear and glued on heat shrink above it as 4" seperated barcode lable with the same info and clear tape leader on it also on the cable - though I fight the barcoding of cable constantly.

    Lots of ways to mark a cable much less a fixture.

     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  5. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    At work we use HellermannTyton 994 series self-laminating labels for cable labeling. They're ink jet printable and very convenient.

    The ones at the bottom of this pdf: http://www.delcowire.com/pdf/partner/ty_ink.pdf
     
  6. techieman33

    techieman33 Well-Known Member

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    we print out our theaters logo on regular paper then cut them out with a paper cutter. Use a glue stick on the back just to give it a little tack so it stays in place, wrap the correct color/colors of electrical tape next to it and the clear heat shrink over the top to protect it. The stuff that we have gotten used we just apply our labels over over the previous companies labels. As for marking fixtures we use a silver sharpie to write the fixture number, and the name of the theater on the yolk.
     
  7. zmb

    zmb Well-Known Member

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    My school is silver sharpie on anything black, black sharpie on anything else and for cable or irregular objects, a piece of gaff tape with silver sharpie.
     
    gmff likes this.
  8. metti

    metti Active Member

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    Those look great for equipment labeling. Do you know where to buy them since a quick Google didn't reveal any immediate suppliers?
     
  9. LavaASU

    LavaASU Active Member

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    Nope in my case too. I have 5 or so different companies labels on my gear-- only 2 of which are still in existence. Doesn't really bother me though, I just put my labels over them.
     
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Difference being what is permanent and lists the phone number of who owns it also or something that if not known and hard to find the owner of - now and winds up in your stock... spray painted plugs etc. don’t or cannot find the owner... a bit of Goof Off.. And Sharpee gone once in your stock and something Sharpee marked rubs off or isn’t good in identifying. After that, a question of once no return ability...

    Used to back in my store front theater days.. Mark all cable in my system of length on one end, and on the other end do a gaff tape ribbon marked with maximum wattage and gauge. This in hoping that the end users would look at what they were plugging in... na.. as with where I work now just simpler going 12ga cable for everything.

    Still amazed in the vendor that sold gear, didn’t take their name off that gear they sold. Are they now liable for you’re your usage of it, or were they hoping to get it back in selling you more? And also given that lack of even broad care, what’s the quality of what you bought in you checking?

    Overall concept, that clear heat shrink helps protect the label. Adhesive lined heat shrink while nice for some stuff has for all intensive purposes hot melt glue inside it. It yellows with melting and doesn’t especially well bond well with rubber cable so it’s not of much use overall for heat shrink. Better if you want to bond heat shrink to the cable is to buy 3M rubber and neoprene adhesive so as to bond while fresh in light coat to the cable and heat shrink. Polyolifin heat shrink over PVC also in it not yellowing with age and flexibility. On flexibility, keep it at or under 4" in length. Say a 3" label to cover in heat shrink or something printed and applied, and a half inch beyond it for the clear over it. If barcode, normally something like 2" so 3" and should be spaced from any other labeling or the plug by a few inches.

    The longer the heat shrink, the more chance it will expand or crack as it’s flexed no matter the gluing or length. Cable flexes thus what covers it either needs to be kept as short as possible, or if not and up to 4" long, as distant from the plug - 18" works, and remote from another label as possible. Dependant upon useage - if used a lot, glue it in helping it stick.

    That’s for cable. If you say have a Soco head, perhaps engraving the body of the plug can work if you don’t tape over it in marking it for application. That and than once noted to be from X-place, it isn’t too remote or foreign to ship back to the owner unless they want to pay customs and shipping. Engraving of a plug is an option but not if covered normally in what goes to where type of place on the plug. Also an option and these days not too much more expensive if you have the lead time... getting your corporate name and phone number printed on the cable spool or lengths you buy.

    Great option in me not getting caught dead in marking some cable we find for ours that has that McCormic Place label on the cable every foot or so of it. This especially since it’s normally like 14/3 SOOW type which I don’t use. Rather than risking some IA guy noting our label on the gear from their location - this in addition to a lesser wire gauge... overall I wouldn’t do it. I don’t currently print our names on our cable but such prices are very reasonable. Name and phone number listed on the cable - every foot of it.... can’t get past that in labeling your gear as a good thing until such is gone from labeling and at that point the cable is normally gone also for in no label of what it is = can no longer use.

    Some Ideas I hope in labeling your gear. Lots of options in how to mark it as long as your clear heat shrink over it. Dependant on the plug type, sources like heatshrink.com can do the say 4:1 type of clear over a label but you do need to glue it. The less thickness of your clear heat shrink over what you are protecting, the more flexible in say 2:1 better than 4:1 in shrink ratio. It will do it, but you are stuck with some clear protection for the label like 1/16" thick which won’t flex and unless glued will expand or crack.

    World of how to mark gear including barcode labeling stuff with clear tape leader printed up with the labels. Can print up what ever you want with such technology.
    Given quality printer stuff for the label, could stick a long time dependant upon heat and humidity. Barcode you can just warp working well or peeling after the first show. Some places that works and cheap for such a labeler no matter if barcode done or not, other places it won’t last long at all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  11. Theatrrap

    Theatrrap Member

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    I am wondering what success people have had labeling cables. I would like to label all of my theatre's cables with their length, but also the company (possibly using the logo if possible) and the type of cable for the more inexperienced technicians. I plan to put the label on the cable under some clear shrink tubing. The problem I have had is that when I print on paper and put that under shrink tubing, as the cable bends the paper crumples and shreds quickly. This is clearly a problem. Any suggestions?
     
  12. techieman33

    techieman33 Well-Known Member

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    I've never seen paper labels do that under heat shrink. I would try to keep them as short as possible, and close to the end of the cable. Gluing the paper to the cable will help keep them in place a little. Also make sure that your heat shrink is fully shrunk and holding the labels tightly. You could try using e-tape and maybe number stickers over the tape to help keep the size of the paper smaller. But I usually find that the shrink wrap makes the cable stiff enough that it doesn't flex to the point of "crumpling."
     
  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    As far as length goes, you are better off using color code:
    0 = Black
    1 = Brown
    2 = Red
    3 = orange
    4 = yellow
    5 = green
    6 = blue
    7 = violet
    8 = gray
    9 = white
    So for example, a 50 foot cable, you might just hit the connectors with green paint, 20 foot red paint, etc.
     
  14. Dionysus

    Dionysus Well-Known Member

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    I've used paper labels under heat-shrink without any real problems. Just taped them on at least on one end, and I use the colour corresponding to the length of the cable as suggested. Two birds with one stone. Make sure the label is well secured, so it doesn't move as you heat-shrink.
    Of course proper sticky labels work far better for a number of reasons, and if water gets in stay in better shape (well water shouldn't get in, but you know stuff happens).

    Most of my personal cables are done this way as I don't have access to a label maker anymore.
     
  15. VCTMike

    VCTMike Active Member

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  16. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

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    Very common around here. The big shops around here (PRG, 4Wall, Christie, etc.) will often sell or auction off their old stuff that they're replacing or no longer need, and it's all sold as-is. ALL of the cable still has length color codes, lots of it has shrink-wrapped PRG labels, 4Wall cables will still have their blue plastic connector covers on the stage pin connectors, and so on. Hell, a few years ago I bought a huge box of Stage Pin connectors (for pennies each) from PRG, and every connector still had the the old Lights Up Cue Sound covers on the connectors - obviously this was shortly after they bought them out. And lest you think they got rid of all of the LUCS gear, I still get lots of those branded connectors in my rental packages. But that's New York I guess.
     
  17. techieman33

    techieman33 Well-Known Member

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    I also have a big box of stage pin connectors that were bought from 4Wall and some soca break ins and break outs that still have 4Wall labels. I wouldn't imagine that it's very cost effective to remove all those labels, especially when your selling stuff at near scrap value.
     
  18. Timothy A. Samuelson

    Timothy A. Samuelson Active Member

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    Low budgets forced me to make my own labels. My school purchased the building and all of the cable/equipment from a church about 7 years ago. After working there for a year, I got tired of all of the "Fellowship Bible Church" labels on my cables, and none of them were color coded by length or consistent between male or female end. I just printed sheets of a custom label, using the table function on Microsoft Word, on different colored paper to take care of my color coding. Then stuck the printed side to the back of some shipping tape, trimmed the edges, and wrapped. The labels I made were only about 3 inches long and I set them back from the connector by about 1/4 inch so it doesn't impede the flexibility at the end of the cable. The next step was putting laminated color guides at all locations necessary. Will post a picture tomorrow.
     
  19. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    My origional labels were just printer paper stuck to packaging tape and that tape wrapped the cable. Over 20 years later, but without hard usage in the last 15 years... still have a really old phone number and my name on the cable - about 6" away from the plug. Also on the other (female) end the gaff tape small ribbon of gauge and type on one side, and Amps/Wattage on the other side. The gaff tape with use has shown a little more wear on the paint marker writing, but given old gaff tape, didn’t become gooey as most gaff would with weather and time.
    Older printers or perhaps better printers will still take adhesive back printer paper. My current printer at work (the despised one) don’t. That would be a way of sticking or fixing paper to the cable before heat shrinking, otherwise there is always say 3M #77 adhesive to the paper under heat shrink. Other concept is to get heat shrink closely matched to the cable, slide the label into it while under the cable and start shrinking the heat shrink from the opposing end of the paper - though tapping is also a good idea. Just fighting the shrinking of the heat shrink verses everything under it moving before it gets to base size, than the rest can be shrunk.
    Polyoefin heat shrink tubing is prefered over especially PVC heat shrink that yellows and cracks with age. Also cracking with age is frequent in longer than 2-3" tubing in general unless glued or adhesive lined and glued. Loosens as the cable flexes, bunches up etc. Keep your labels short and if more than one, spaced apart. Adhesive lined heat shrink basically is hot melt glue inside it. Good stuff especially for sealing a cut in a cable if the final thickness (shrink ratio) is considered in comparison to the original outer jacket thickness of the cable; but it’s just hot glue on the heat shrink and you need neoprene adhesive to bond this hot glue to the rubber or even plastic jacket of the cable fully. (That’s a cable repair) Otherwise for a good and if longer heat shrink label, I normally use neoprene adhesive to bond to normal heat shrink. It will ensure the heat shrink will stick sufficiently to the cable without expanding with flexing etc.
    Back over 16 years ago where I got to where I currently work, they just used colored and printed heat shrink labels to mark their cables. That printing rubbed off over time and use. Was just printed ink on heat shrink. Also used clear PVC heat shrink if they used E-Tape color coding over the label heat shrink. Too much crappy grade E-Tape and layers of it (at most two layers of colored E-tape) and the glue on the tape and tape in general with it just bled out of the markings for a gooey mess.
    E-Tape in general as with gaff tape you have to consider the gooey mess that will be hard to correct later when using. Unless removed after a show, try to limit use or at least thickness - the layers of it are what causes the creep/bleed.
    P-Touch labels changed a lot of things for me. Could just print up what info I wanted to convey, put it on the cable and heat shrink onto it down. Modern electronics printers are computer driven and can print logos etc. even in color I think. Later was the Barcode printers that came with their own clear leader tape. Cut off the extra clear leader tape if putting clear heat shrink over - or later it will help to become foggy and or the above glue creep will cause problems. Otherwise if not getting too hot, a barcode sticker is a good way to go.
    Space the Barcode away from the heat shrink label if using both. Speaking of spacing, My stock standard is a label is 18" away from the plug (unless a 5' or shorter length at like 6" or one label). At 150', 75' or 10' as long as I have an 18" marking from the plug standard I can easily tell how much shorter than it’s design length the cable now is. And how many times in the past it’s been worked on. This also gives adequate room for a Soco cable to be worked on in repair a few times. Sucks when your 100' cable is 96' at times as could otherwise happen unless you know when it’s been cut down. A specific length from the plug, but one that allows flex in the cable is useful.
    As for removing markings... Ibid... If someone didn’t spend the time to take off their markings, they also probably didn’t spend the time to test or inspect the cable. Not in-frequent I have to repair rented cable from other companies so as to get it out the door. Liability for the cable in end user use, something someone else now owns and shouldn’t be sent back to me goes with a in general expectation of safe gear. If you get something marked for someone else, inspect it really well as you will most likely find attention needed before your use - this especially if the cable still has someone’s markings on it. And or if third party... might be stolen. While depends on the department for quality of resale (off the shelf or factory spec.), no gear where I work for sells has it’s brand on it when sold. Takes a lot of effort at times to make it so.
     

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