How do you label small cables?

Red Squirrel

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Not exactly networking but figured this might be the best forum to ask since there's lot of labeling that goes on in networking.

For cables that are small, like USB cables, or even smaller, like telecom wire (Ex: for a home automation system, going to DIN rails etc) what is the best way to label them?

I use these: http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=105&cp_id=10520&cs_id=1052001&p_id=5791&seq=1&format=2

57911.jpg


But I find for small cables they really don't work very well, often they break if I try to pull them tight as the radius the zip tie is turning is too small.

Short of just sticking the label right on the cable and hoping it does not fall off, which it probably will, is there a better system for labeling cables? These ties work fine for ethernet but anything thinner, not so much.
 

Red Squirrel

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Masking tape just falls off, so does rolling a label around.

How does that Brother one work? Does it crimp it on the cable or something? I do have a regular brother label printer.
 

cyclone3d

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I use one of the Brother labelers. You just print what you want, and then feed it some more. Then you put it on the cable and have the blank part of the label stuck to the back part of the label that has printing on it.

I have never had one come off this way and it is super easy to read.
 

heatlesssun

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I use one of the Brother labelers. You just print what you want, and then feed it some more. Then you put it on the cable and have the blank part of the label stuck to the back part of the label that has printing on it.

I have never had one come off this way and it is super easy to read.

I do exactly this as well and agree that it works well and I've never had one come off. Indeed it's a bit of a pain to remove them when in place.
 

nry

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I have started using clear heat shrink and a printed bit of paper, slightly less convenient than a fancy label printer but costs me a few quid for 5m of heat shrink! :)
 

Red Squirrel

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Wow did not know they made clear heat shrink, that might be the easiest bet without investing in a new expensive toy. I'll have to try to source some out.
 

Red Squirrel

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I have a label printer already, but still need a way to fascen them to small cables where the ties I posted don't work. The transparant heat shrink wrap sounds like a neat idea though. Think I'll go with that, but open to other ideas too.
 

heatlesssun

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You can fasten label printer labels to any kind of cable or wire, been doing it for years. I'm just not seeing how shrink wrap is better or easier.
 

Red Squirrel

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You can fasten label printer labels to any kind of cable or wire, been doing it for years. I'm just not seeing how shrink wrap is better or easier.

On their own, they just fall off over time. On big cables like main electrical feeds or conduits or even plumbing it's fine, it's on the smaller ones that force the label to bend so much that the label just unfolds and unsticks over time. Or is there special label tapes that are extra sticky? I have a Brother Ptouch.
 

heatlesssun

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On their own, they just fall off over time. On big cables like main electrical feeds or conduits or even plumbing it's fine, it's on the smaller ones that force the label to bend so much that the label just unfolds and unsticks over time. Or is there special label tapes that are extra sticky? I have a Brother Ptouch.

I have the same label printer. If you wrap the length of the label around the circumference of the cable so that the label is sticking to itself, it's never going to come off in this lifetime. Or at least a decade, which is the oldest label in the house right now that's still fine. As I said earlier the biggest issue I've had with them is taking them off.

If you already have the labeler then why not try both methods to see which you prefer?
 
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QwertyJuan

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I have the same label printer. If you wrap the length of the label around the circumference of the cable so that the label is sticking to itself, tit's never going to come of in this lifetime. Or at least a decade, which is the oldest label in the house right now that still fine. As I said earlier the biggest issue I've had with them is taking them off.

If you already have the labeler then why not try both methods to see which you prefer?

Agreed... when they are stuck in this manner they are NOT coming off.
 

djflow195

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They also make heat shrink labels. I have a DYMO with 1" diameter white heat shrink label. Print, slide over cable, shrink to fit. I also have .5" labels for network cables.

They make various sizes. Check their website to see the various options.
 

seanmnaes

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+1 for label under heat shrink. That's my prefered method. I've also got one of the labelers at work that prints directly onto heatshrink, although I don't really use it that much. I usually just label patch panels and wall jacks without worrying about the actual cable. Sometimes I'll just write on the cable with a sharpie. Depends on what I'm doing.

-Sean
 

gimp

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You can fasten label printer labels to any kind of cable or wire, been doing it for years. I'm just not seeing how shrink wrap is better or easier.

because it doesn't matter if the label loses it's stickiness. It ain't going anywhere unless the shrink film is cut. Of course it can make it harder to remove.

I have the same label printer. If you wrap the length of the label around the circumference of the cable so that the label is sticking to itself, it's never going to come off in this lifetime.

The issue with this is that it may not work depending on the character length of whatever you're using to identify it. You'll just cover half your text. For simple few-character marks or larger diameter cables, yeah that could work.

Panduit makes all kinds of labels, both write-on and sheets you can put in the printer.

ohhhhh neat.
that looks like a good option too.
 

Red Squirrel

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I found that Digikey sells transparent heat shrink wrap. Next time I make an order there I'll order some. This sounds like the cheapest method given I already have a label maker.

For now I just wrapped the label around the cables and just was careful not to get oil from my fingers on the sticky part and I made sure to make it tight and neat. They're starting to unwrap a bit already but staying good enough that they wont completely fall off. Interestingly it's only the transparent part of the label that's coming off. I may actually relabel everything this way, since it's tidier than having all those zip tie labels. I kind of want to redo my whole rack too, the cable management has improved since I did redo it a while back, but it's still not as nice as I want it to be.
 

gimp

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I found that Digikey sells transparent heat shrink wrap. Next time I make an order there I'll order some. This sounds like the cheapest method given I already have a label maker.

Will it be big enough to fit over the RJ45 yet small enough to shrink enough to fit tightly on the cable?
That's one issue I see with using heatshrink on existing cabling; it has to be big enough to fit over the RJ45 or other cable end, yet have a high enough shrink ratio or still small enough to fit tightly on the cable when shrank.
 

NotSoSimple

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I couldnt justify the Brady/Panduit price so I went with a Dymo Rhino w/ the self-laminating labels. Sure it has its shortcomings however I have gone through 20+ cartridges without issue. I use to mainly for ethernet cables in our data center, server rooms, and branch offices.

Edit: I made a post about a similar thing on reddit once. here are the pics:

https://ergl.s3.amazonaws.com/IMG_20150123_090502965.jpg
https://ergl.s3.amazonaws.com/IMG_20150123_090543999_HDR.jpg

The red line on the second pic is where the self-laminating 'flag' has wrapped around.
 

Red Squirrel

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Will it be big enough to fit over the RJ45 yet small enough to shrink enough to fit tightly on the cable?
That's one issue I see with using heatshrink on existing cabling; it has to be big enough to fit over the RJ45 or other cable end, yet have a high enough shrink ratio or still small enough to fit tightly on the cable when shrank.

Yeah I was actually thinking that. Not sure if they make high enough ratio shrink wrap.

Wonder if I can paint on some kind of lacker on the label and seal it in. Now it's REALLY not coming off though. :D I'll have to experiment.
 

Zolishoru

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I found that Digikey sells transparent heat shrink wrap. Next time I make an order there I'll order some. This sounds like the cheapest method given I already have a label maker.

For now I just wrapped the label around the cables and just was careful not to get oil from my fingers on the sticky part and I made sure to make it tight and neat. They're starting to unwrap a bit already but staying good enough that they wont completely fall off. Interestingly it's only the transparent part of the label that's coming off. I may actually relabel everything this way, since it's tidier than having all those zip tie labels. I kind of want to redo my whole rack too, the cable management has improved since I did redo it a while back, but it's still not as nice as I want it to be.

Alternatively, you can try http://www.buyheatshrink.com/; it has a "little" bit more variety ;)
 

LordAthens

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http://www.amazon.com/DYMO-Rhino-5200-Hard-case/dp/B002M1HKLC

I love it. Has a few quirks and some formatting issues (why for the love of god can you not expand the font to the entire height of the label!?!?) But otherwise it is awesome. I initially bought it for doing side work, but I find I use it around the house a lot. Every little walwart that you get with everything? They all get labels to what they go to. 900 cables behind the entertainment center? Same deal.
 

Red Squirrel

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Ok so that failed horribly. EVERY SINGLE one that I did is starting to unwrap. The transparent part separates first then the label eventually falls off.

The heat shrink wrap idea sounded the best but for stuff like DVI cables there is no way of actually getting it on the cable. What other options do I have?

Is there some kind of crimp system that crimps a plastic cover over a label so it does not fall off or something? Or some kind of glue I can use?

Everybody keeps suggesting label printers, I have one already, or is there something special that the ones suggested do?
 

Raekwon

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Forgot the model, but Panduit labeler with cable labels. Works as good as it sounds.
 

mi7chy

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Having had experience in the data center with a ton of cabling and seeing numerous methods, what works best should be simple, quick and stays in place over time.

You want a labeler that:

- takes at least 1" width labels so you can affix along length of cable for longer names, anything shorter like 3/4" will come undone

- use flexible cloth nylon label

- can interface to PC and import from standard document/database if you do mass printing otherwise it's tedious inputting directly on the device by hand

What brand you decide on depends on your budget but even the inexpensive Dymo Rhino is fine for small jobs.
 
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Zolishoru

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What about the "extra strength" TZ tapes, would those labels stay on better? Found these on Amazon, did not check locally yet.

http://www.amazon.ca/Strenth-Adhesi...&qid=1433906062&sr=8-5&keywords=tz+tape+extra

I want to avoid having to buy a whole new labeller if I can.

Go [H]:
http://www.te.com/usa-en/products/identification-labeling.html
Clear protective labels; tomorrow I will come back with a part#.
Edit:
Linky: http://www.te.com/usa-en/product-1878658-5.html
 
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Red Squirrel

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Go [H]:
http://www.te.com/usa-en/products/identification-labeling.html
Clear protective labels; tomorrow I will come back with a part#.
Edit:
Linky: http://www.te.com/usa-en/product-1878658-5.html

Found it at Newark Canada but, what is it exactly? Like a tape that goes over the label? How much in a roll? $60 better buy me a lot lol.

http://canada.newark.com/te-connect...ive-label-covers-vinyl/dp/29X4516?ost=QC210AC

What about that TZ tape I linked to should that work? I can just pop it in my labler and do the same way I was attempting but if those stick better they might stay.
 

Dawizman

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We use k-sun label printers, and the self laminating overwrap tape for small cables, or printable heat shrink tube for individual wires.
 

Zolishoru

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Found it at Newark Canada but, what is it exactly? Like a tape that goes over the label? How much in a roll? $60 better buy me a lot lol.

http://canada.newark.com/te-connect...ive-label-covers-vinyl/dp/29X4516?ost=QC210AC
It's a transparent protective label; I've used to cover some sh1tty printed labels. As performance: it is recommended for harsh environmental conditions(think mines, or oil sands), and it survives, sticking; I've seen some after a few(~5) years in the field, and they done a wonderful job protecting and keeping the the protected label readable.
Coverage: it sticks for years over a 1/8" diameter cable, without peeling.
Quantity: one reel has 200 labels.
Availability: Mouser has it for ~$45.
What about that TZ tape I linked to should that work? I can just pop it in my labler and do the same way I was attempting but if those stick better they might stay.
Sorry, but I have no experience with those labels.
 

PointandClick

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I've used clear nail polish on the ends of electrical tape on a wiring harness. Not sure I'd want to do very many cables that way though.
 

jpochedl

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I've had good luck with Panduit self laminating labels. I print up enough sheets for whatever project I'm working on, and a couple extras. I also keep some blanks in my bag for random cables, and just write on the white part with a good ol' Sharpie.

http://www.panduit.com/wcs/Satellit...tion_id=2400&locale=en_us&pagename=PG_Wrapper

I can't recall having any fall off in the 8+ years I've been using them.

I don't do enough random cabling carry a label maker as part of my daily kit.
 
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