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  • Cable Management

    I have a shameful confession to make. Even though I spent years in Professional AV, have designed dozens of crossovers, and am a Cisco certified engineer, I'm horrible at cable management. The photos of my crossovers on my site are as good as I can do. I wouldn't even dare show you a photo of some of the datacenters I've worked in... or what lies behind the family TV.

    I've seen some amazing cable management over the years--usually in datacenters where wiring is all done during construction. The problem is that changes are always happening, so a few new wires get strung across here and there, repeat that numerous times over years and years, and you get a spaghetti mess. I don't like looking at it, it doesn't make me feel proud, but I figure, "eh, it's working," and go do something else.

    But like I said, some people are great at it--and I imagine their home setups are equally beautiful--and I'm jealous. Likewise, some people do absolutely spectacular work laying out crossover boards. HOW ON EARTH DO YOU DO IT!?! WHAT IS YOUR SECRET!?!
    Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

    Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
    Twitter: @undefinition1

  • #2
    My SECRET is Obsessive –Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), be thankful you don't have it.
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    • #3
      You could try using these ...

      Click image for larger version

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      • #4
        First of all, "welcome fellow Cisco jock".

        I think you are asking about 2 different situations or aspects.
        The best I've been able to do with crossovers is to drill holes in the (1/8 inch hardboard) board and route all the "ugliness" underneath.
        And when it's done (right), I apologize to the Universe for my crappy work, and move on.

        For wires in a living room or wiring closet - yikes - more of a "in progress" work.
        Believe me, it drives me crazy when peers route wires across cabinets in front of or behind other servers.
        For some reason, I don't mind working for a few hours pulling out dead patches and such.

        Best wiring closets were in small shop, and the network manager had a bunch of cables made in in common sizes
        for our patches - 3,4,5,6 feet for instance. We could usually run a very clean patch with that.
        The other instance was an optical fiber patch room in a major tv channel in Atlanta - it was absolute nightmare of yellow optical spaghetti.
        Thankfully, management realized the crisis, and hired some good folks to clean it up - took 'em about 6 months.
        Best practice (but you know this already) is to label each wire with the location of the other end.


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        • #5
          Here is what I've used - you can loom and unloom at any time and also breakout individual cables where ever you want. btw - inexpensive around $12 for a 16ft kit ;)

          I probably wouldn't think of using it in a large IT server setup but for home AV works great.

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          • #6
            The biggest problem with cable management for AV interconnects is the excess cable length. In a datacenter you would individually measure and crimp each cable exactly to length, leaving exactly the correct left over service loop so that all the cables bundle together neat and tidy. In a home environment you have to deal with a 6ft cable that travels 3.6ft of distance and what to do with the excess. Myself I just loop it and wrap with zip tie or velcro cable tie. I use a few zip tie anchors that are screwed to the back of my AV cabinet to tie everything down to. It's not super pretty but it is manageable. Another note is that I seperate the analog audio from the digital signals, for example analog routed up the left side, digital routed up the right side. The next step it to add wire labels to identify each easily, and make sure that when you route your cabling that they are laid flat over each other and don't twist around 10 different cables to get from A to B. I don't recommend what some installers do which is to fold it flat against the rack railing and zip tie the heck out of it. This is really bad for the cable and signal integrity to fold it, essentially kinking the cable at each end.
            "I just use off the shelf textbook filters designed for a resistor of 8 ohms with
            exactly a Fc 3K for both drivers, anybody can do it." -Xmax

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kevin K. View Post
              My SECRET is Obsessive –Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), be thankful you don't have it.
              This ;)
              Electronics engineer, woofer enthusiast, and musician.
              Wogg Music
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              • #8
                Originally posted by dcibel View Post
                The biggest problem with cable management for AV interconnects is the excess cable length. In a datacenter you would individually measure and crimp each cable exactly to length, leaving exactly the correct left over service loop so that all the cables bundle together neat and tidy. In a home environment you have to deal with a 6ft cable that travels 3.6ft of distance and what to do with the excess. Myself I just loop it and wrap with zip tie or velcro cable tie.
                +1 Coming from big telecom-data, cable management interconnect excellence was required. In the old days, punch down and electrical connections allowed cut to fit wiring. With the proliferation of optic interconnect cables of specific lengths, the "roll the excess" is the solution.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kevin K. View Post
                  My SECRET is Obsessive –Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD), be thankful you don't have it.
                  CDOP

                  There...fixed it.
                  "A dirty shop is an unsafe shop, if you injure yourself in a clean shop you are just stupid" - Coach Kupchinsky

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gordy View Post

                    cdop

                    there...fixed it.
                    lmao ...

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                    • #11
                      I spend about half of my time at work behind a commercial AV rack. Neat, organized cable dressing is a priority of mine, and luckily it is so for my employer, as well. It takes time and patience, no way around it and experience helps, of course.

                      The current project I'm working on is an auditorium with 3 7' tall racks bolted together. Between pulling out the old gear, old wiring and then pulling new wire and loading new gear in the racks, that took 2 full days for a crew of 5. Most of my day today was spent on dressing all of the power cables for the gear in the rack, and I got the 126 new wires we pulled from various parts of the room into the racks. Tomorrow I start dressing those and terminating. With the field wires and all of the interconnects within the racks, I anticipate being done sometime next Tuesday and there will be somewhere around 380 terminations including speakers, xlr's, shielded cat6, bnc's...

                      There was a time when I would look at a system schematic and want to cry from being overwhelmed. Now a days, large systems don't phase me and I love the inevitable challenges each one brings.

                      My home systems...uhmmm, yeah, not nearly as neat as my day job work :/

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by emilime75 View Post
                        My home systems...uhmmm, yeah, not nearly as neat as my day job work :/
                        That's akin to something like mechanics having the beater cars, electricians having tripped breakers, plumbers having leaky pipes, and landscapers having overgrown lawns; you want a break from your day job when you're at home. I know it's not always the case, but I see this as a possible example as well.

                        As to xover layout, I really like doing it! I like the point-to-point circuit style, and it's how I approach most electrical hobby projects. For the complex xovers like the Attitudes' cap-test and the Cecropia coil-test, they take a LONG time to complete. It was likely 2 months for the Attitudes' xovers, and the Coil-rig was close to 6 months. I tend to wire above board, as this keeps everything on one side, and I rarely have to resort to jumper wires. In the cap-rig, I had to resort to jumper alligators in a few places to work as I wanted, and some are still wired this way. In the Coil-rig, all are mechanically toggle switched.

                        Cap:


                        Coil:




                        So.... Time, yep- time, and that CDO thing that Kevin is conflicted with, and what my family calls the 'packing gene'. I can shoehorn a lot of stuff into a small place in multiple applications.

                        Later,
                        Wolf

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dcibel View Post
                          The biggest problem with cable management for AV interconnects is the excess cable length. In a datacenter you would individually measure and crimp each cable exactly to length, leaving exactly the correct left over service loop so that all the cables bundle together neat and tidy. In a home environment you have to deal with a 6ft cable that travels 3.6ft of distance and what to do with the excess.
                          That's really the crux of the issue, isn't it? And I honestly hadn't realized it until you just said it. Home AV is all made up of cables that are longer than they need to be. And when I used to do pro AV, it was always, "Do I need a 25, 50, or 100-footer?" so again lots of excess. And now when I work in datacenters, it's often, "This needs to be up and working NOW, and I have either a 7 ft or 15 ft patch cable" Then there's power cords. Oh god the power cords.

                          So yeah, I guess often the best one can do is coil up the excess and velcro tie it off. Doesn't look great, but it's better than pure spaghetti.
                          Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

                          Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
                          Twitter: @undefinition1

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                          • #14
                            I never had to deal with it much but be thankful you're not using 10base5 cable (aka frozen yellow garden hose) in a wiring closet. It was a RG-8/U type coax with a 10g? center conductor, a 90%? braided shield, and had a bending radius of about a ft.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mike s View Post
                              I never had to deal with it much but be thankful you're not using 10base5 cable (aka frozen yellow garden hose) in a wiring closet. It was a RG-8/U type coax with a 10g? center conductor, a 90%? braided shield, and had a bending radius of about a ft.
                              I used to work in RF electronics, and dealt with plenty of "rigid" cables that you bent once and then never touched them. Dealing with frequencies in the GHz, any change in a cable bend will affect the impedance, so you do it once, calibrate the system, and then don't touch.
                              "I just use off the shelf textbook filters designed for a resistor of 8 ohms with
                              exactly a Fc 3K for both drivers, anybody can do it." -Xmax

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