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Thread: Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

  1. #1
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    Question Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

    I have a megatree with somewhat complex and numerous connections to be made (98 of them). I'd like to label the conductors (with alphanumeric text) to reduce the chance of error and make things easier during setup. Last year (first time with this new build) I tried using standard homemade labels (using the typical "Brother" brand label maker). What I found out is that the label wants to return to its flat shape, and unwinds from the conductor. Then they fall off and are lost. I realize that if I had it to do again. I could use the homemade labels, and then cover with clear heat shrink tubing to keep it on. Problem is that at this point I have connectors attached and cannot fit heat shrink tubing over them (either end of the cable).

    I was wondering if anyone has come up with a neat approach to this. Color-coding isn't an option since I have more connectors than colors I can distinguish between.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

    That is a lot of connections. Mine has 8 (Data) that are position sensitive and 8x4(Power) that are pretty much insensitive to how I connect them (Other than proper V+/V-)


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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

    Use a paint pen or electric label sheets from Home Depot.

    I use a black paint pen for the white connectors and a white paint pen for the black connectors. They are cheap from Walmart.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

    I'm assuming you don't want to drop the money on a dedicated wire labeler. That's really the best way to do it. But it's certainly expensive. The brady wire label machines are the gold standard for this. Anyone in the telecom/low-voltage business should have one. Perhaps you can borrow one?

    The Dymo wire labelers are ok. Better than the P-Touch, but not as good as the brady.

    If you want to do it with a P-Touch, they make special wire labeling tape for it with extra strong adhesive. Though I've found that even that has the same problem with the uncurling. it just takes longer to happen. The other way to use the P-Touch is to make flag labels instead of wrapping around the wire. instead of coiling around the wire, put the center of the label on the wire and bring both sides together on the other side forming a flag. This puts the adhesive sides of both ends together and ends up holding rather well. The only down side is that the flags aren't the neatest thing when managing the wires. But it does allow you to use a bigger font so they're easier to read.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

    I use these. Can be printed on a laser printer or use a sharpie.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

    Quote Originally Posted by oldandslow View Post
    Use a paint pen or electric label sheets from Home Depot.

    I use a black paint pen for the white connectors and a white paint pen for the black connectors. They are cheap from Walmart.
    Good idea (I have paint pens in my toolbox) - but I don't think I have a place to write on where it would be legible.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

    Quote Originally Posted by jchuchla View Post
    I'm assuming you don't want to drop the money on a dedicated wire labeler. That's really the best way to do it. But it's certainly expensive. The brady wire label machines are the gold standard for this. Anyone in the telecom/low-voltage business should have one. Perhaps you can borrow one?

    The Dymo wire labelers are ok. Better than the P-Touch, but not as good as the brady.

    If you want to do it with a P-Touch, they make special wire labeling tape for it with extra strong adhesive. Though I've found that even that has the same problem with the uncurling. it just takes longer to happen. The other way to use the P-Touch is to make flag labels instead of wrapping around the wire. instead of coiling around the wire, put the center of the label on the wire and bring both sides together on the other side forming a flag. This puts the adhesive sides of both ends together and ends up holding rather well. The only down side is that the flags aren't the neatest thing when managing the wires. But it does allow you to use a bigger font so they're easier to read.
    I've never heard of the Brady line before now. I did a quick search and see that they are definitely specializing in wire labeling. It seems they do lots of the calculations for the user related to wire size (diameter) - something valuable to a tradesperson doing it all day. While that would be nice to have, my main concern is keeping the labels on the wire. Other than using something like this I suppose the big issue is the label and adhesive. Using a Brady labeler with the wrong label material may not work well - but I'm wondering if I could use my cheap P-touch labeler with good labels and get the desired result. I found these as recommended by Tasdad below. I wonder how well they will stay on (or how long, as you pointed out with even the better type of label material).

    Thanks for the reply.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

    Quote Originally Posted by jchuchla View Post
    I'm assuming you don't want to drop the money on a dedicated wire labeler. That's really the best way to do it. But it's certainly expensive. The brady wire label machines are the gold standard for this. Anyone in the telecom/low-voltage business should have one. Perhaps you can borrow one?

    The Dymo wire labelers are ok. Better than the P-Touch, but not as good as the brady.

    If you want to do it with a P-Touch, they make special wire labeling tape for it with extra strong adhesive. Though I've found that even that has the same problem with the uncurling. it just takes longer to happen. The other way to use the P-Touch is to make flag labels instead of wrapping around the wire. instead of coiling around the wire, put the center of the label on the wire and bring both sides together on the other side forming a flag. This puts the adhesive sides of both ends together and ends up holding rather well. The only down side is that the flags aren't the neatest thing when managing the wires. But it does allow you to use a bigger font so they're easier to read.
    I am actually looking at one of these to label my Network wiring,Christmas wires,etc. Any suggestions on which model? I'm sure it going to get used a lot.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

    Quote Originally Posted by Tasdad View Post
    I use these. Can be printed on a laser printer or use a sharpie.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Do you do anything to keep them attached? (e.g. in harsh outdoor environment, indoor storage heat, over multiple seasons of use?) Looks promising.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Suggestions for method/materials for labeling conductors

    I use Brady wire numbers and use clear heat shrink to protect them.

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