The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Wrapping vs. tying cable

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by kiilljoy, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. kiilljoy

    kiilljoy Member

    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    When running cable across a grid or down a batten, is it better to tie the cable up with tie line or wrap the cable around the pipe? I think we wrapped it in college, and I have seen it done both ways recently. Partly past experience and seeming ease of labor makes me favor the wrapping method.

    I've never been told if there is a reason for doing this one way over another. I am aware that wrapping the cable probably creates something of an inductor, but is it enough to hinder the operation of the dimmer/lights? Wouldn't coiling the cable at one end produce something of the same effect? As much as there are such things in this business, is there a standard way to do this? Number of ties or number or turns per foot or something like that?
     
  2. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    415
    Location:
    Vegas
    I tend to tie cable up, it makes it easy to manage large amounts of cable and it's what I'm used to so I can find a single cable to remove it easier. I also feel it's easier to add on cable to the mess that way, but that's probably more a personal preference thing.

    AS far as how many ties or the distance I have no rule of thumb what ever it takes to have focus slack at the fixtures and have the cable be reasonably close to the pipe.
     
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,467
    Likes Received:
    2,456
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Both Wrapping and tying is ok... depends on what you are doing... as long as you don't wrap too tight... remember cable doesn't like to make 90 degree turns.

    The negative to wrapping is that it may get in the way of something you want to add later and be a pain in the butt to remove where tieline can be released and retied quickly.
     
  4. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    3,006
    Likes Received:
    951
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    The only acceptable way to do it where I work is tieing it up. Wrapping cables around a pipe doesn't necessarily create an inductor (correct me if I'm wrong) because it's not as if you're leaving it in coil. Our reason is ease of accessibility. If you have a bunch of cables wrapped around the batten then if something doesn't work or has to be replugged for some reason it's a pain to track cables down. If a cord is plugged wrong accidently it just became a huge project to figure out which cable is going to right place and which isn't.

    Another issue is neatness. If there a bunch of cables twisted around it's a mess, especially if you're still hanging lights. Even worse though, when it comes to strike if you have them just tied on, you can untie the lines and drop them all to the ground and they'll remain relatively untangled, but if you twist them around it takes more time to strike them, especially if you have a lot of them, and then when they're all struck it's more likely they're tangled.
     
  5. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,752
    Likes Received:
    415
    Location:
    Vegas
    I got to agree with you for the most part, if you wanted to do something really odd and make the wraps really close together (like touching concentric rings) you would create an inductor, it'd be a really big version of what happens every time you start you car. But like I said that'd only happen if you got way too creative with your wraps, for the most part I have to say ties over wraps for neatness and the fact that you don't always get it right the first time.
     
  6. Marius

    Marius Active Member

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Somewhere in the deep, dark, forgotten past I was told in no uncertain terms that wrapping was wrong. I have no idea who or when, but since it made sense to me I stuck with it. Aside from all the very good reasons to tie rather than wrap that have heretofore been mentioned, one other is that should you need to add an instrument at the last minute it is easy to undo a couple of the ties, hang the instrument, then retie. If you have totally mummified the pipe that would be much more difficult. And never gaff a cable to a horizontal piple.

    Rick T.
     
  7. Jezza

    Jezza Active Member

    Messages:
    287
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Wrapping is unacceptable -- destroys the internal "right hand" spin of the conductors underneath the insulation thus rendering it forever "kinky" -- IMO unusable. Wrapping renders the batten inoperable as faults can never be found and adding additional fixtures is a nightmare. Wrapping is ugly and is the lazy solution for the electrician who doesn't want to look on the ground for the piece of tie line that is undoubtedly there.

    Tieing up nice 1' loops of excess cable with a clove hitch to the batten is generally the acceptable approach. I'm a big proponent of the double stacked batten system -- one for cable and one for instruments. Its a dream to work on.
     
  8. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    3,006
    Likes Received:
    951
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    Is that the truth. If you tape cables to horizontal pipes it's unacceptable. The most you can even do on vertical booms is spike tape that is to make the booms visible in the wings. Affixing cables with gaff tape is a waste of tape, time, and a pain in the butt to strike. I think the absolute worst thing you could do is tape a cable to a pipe using something aside from gaffer's tape...

    We actually have electrics with two upper battens and about 16" or so of space between them; the downstage batten is used for the circuit raceways with 18" leads for each circuit, then the upstage pipe can be used for for cabling or for really complex lighthangs, and then the lower pipe is used only for hanging lights. If you took an isosceles triangle and made the base parallel to the ceiling, that's how all of our on-stage electrics are configured.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2008
  9. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,615
    Likes Received:
    172
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Not to mention you run the risk of creating one of these

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnet

    Short answer don't be lazy and tie up your cable.
     
  10. kiilljoy

    kiilljoy Member

    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I can see how wrapping can create problems in adding fixtures, and tracing problems. In the particular grid I'm using, I haven't experienced that yet. Anytime I've had to add a light or move a light, I've been able to work around my cabling. Probably helps that I'm the only one dealing with it and that it's only about 8' from the floor. Now, the point about kinking the cable is something I had not thought of. Anyway, all good information to know.
     
  11. Marius

    Marius Active Member

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    I agree, but I have seen some dance companies that will use gaff on the booms, but they always leave a courtesy tab.
     
  12. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Bethesda MD
    If it's really high visibility, I could see gaff, I guess...though cable ties usually work great for super-neat cabling. Just end up super sharp...(ugh)
     
  13. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,061
    Likes Received:
    655
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    Actually, you won't create an electromagnet or an inductor because your cable has both a hot and neutral leg. This is the same reason why you can't take an ampere reading with a clamp on meter around an entire cable.

    As for the tying vs. wrapping, you should NEVER wrap cable around a pipe. As has been said, you make it extremely difficult to track down any issues or add fixtures to a pipe. Also you can ruin the cable. Aside from that, it takes significantly more time to wrap cable up and to unwrap it than to tie and untie, and as time is money, well you know how that goes.

    Even for schools or theatres with zero budget, a $99 roll of black tieline will last a very long time. Black tieline is reusable for many many times provided that you cut it to two cubit lengths and you collect it at strike. I have not had to cut a new piece of tieline all season, that is seven shows!
     
  14. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,348
    Likes Received:
    486
    Occupation:
    Prop-tart
    Location:
    Chicago
    Wrapping is the lazy mans method....that's not to say that I haven't ever done it :shifty:

    Tie line is the best way to go. Both horizontal and vertical. Gaff is occasional acceptable, but be nice and leave a courtesy tab. I know in high school we were cheap and used gaff, but now I'm 95% tie line.

    Zip ties are great for long term, more "permanent" type installations.

    Another note. When you gaff tape stage pin connectors, put a strip of tape on one side. DO NOT WRAP the connection. Also, leave a courtesy tab; someone will thank you later anonymously.
     
  15. midgetgreen11

    midgetgreen11 Active Member

    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    i did a show where we tied the cable, and i would say i much favor tying, because during strike it was certainly a lot easier to pull on a tie and catch the cable than have to keep looping it around the pipe, its especially easier and more efficient if you're working in a genie.
     
  16. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,615
    Likes Received:
    172
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    You're assuming the cable was created correctly which is a lot more credit than I give A)students, B)Even my graduate students some days C)Lazy rental house shop workers D) Any other minumim wage stage hand paid to make cables.


    Bottom line
    DON'T DATE ROBOTS...erhm WRAP CABLE!!!
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,467
    Likes Received:
    2,456
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Another option is using Electrical tape to secure the cable. I'm not a fan of this method as it's money wasted. As has been said, tie line lasts a LONG time. But decent quality E-tape is popular in some places.
     
  18. Sean

    Sean Active Member

    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA

    If I catch someone on one of my crews wrapping cable they'll get a warning.

    If it continues, they won't be working for me.

    Tieline.....CLOVE HITCHED to the pipe (we've had other threads about this).

    We go through about 3-4 spools of tieline a year. There was that one day that I needed a piece and all I found in the tieline box were ~18" long chunks. That was the day the "tieline cutting jig" was born. The approved length here is 36".

    *sigh*

    --Sean
     
  19. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,085
    Likes Received:
    115
    Location:
    Nashville TN
    Hmm I might make a jig just to speed up the process, a board 2 pegs and a grove to cut like at the fabric store.

    Nth ing never wrap tieline only for theatre. E tape for any looms or things that will go on tour.
     
  20. Marius

    Marius Active Member

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    I worked with an LD who insisted on clove hitches for cable. Strike took 3 times as long. Regular shoelace knots hold fine and come off with a good tug. IMO, as always.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice