Why You Should be Excited About Flat Cables

February 28, 2014 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Cable Management, Cables and Wires, Uncategorized 

If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered why we pack our electrical material in these tube-shaped conduits we refer to as “cables”. You’re probably not like me though, because that’s kind of a weird thing to wonder. But seriously, when you think about it, why a tube? It’s actually pretty cumbersome, and it doesn’t look all that great either. It’s not particularly easy to hide, and takes up a fair bit of physical space. But what if…there was another way?

ENTER FLAT WIRE AND TAPERWIRE

Taperwire Cat 5 cable

It really FLATTENS the competition…GET IT?!

Flat cables are totally a thing you can buy right now! Instead of bundling the copper wire into a braid and running it through a tube, flat cables runs foil thin copper wire that’s essentially, well, flat. Think of them as that unpopular, socially awkward kid at the school dance who just blends into the wall (or as I like to call him, “me”). They can conform to just about any level surface, and can be bent to wrap around corners without damaging them or affecting performance at all. Right now, two different companies market flat cables: Taperwire and Flatwire. CableOrganizer currently offers both brands.

VERSATILITY

Flatwire Home Theater set-up

Watch as I make these cables…disappear!

So, what can these flat cables be used for? Glad you asked. Well, I’m assuming you asked, and it makes me glad to think you did. There are currently a ton of different flat cables available for your wiring needs, including audio, video, HDMI, data, and low-voltage lighting. It’s great for home or office, and can really streamline a home theater system that’s overgrown with a bunch of cable vines. That thing looks like the ruins of an ancient castle. Bring it into the 21st century with some flat cables and impress all your friends. It’s also compatible with existing round wire, if you absolutely have to involve some of those wormy things in your set up.

NINJA VANISH!

Flat cables are not only pretty much flush with any level surface, but they’re also adhesive, which means they can easily be installed on whatever flat surface you like by just peeling and pressing. As I said before, it can be bent to suit your needs; no corner is too corner-y. Once it’s set in place, all you need to do is paint over it, and the cable becomes virtually indistinguishable from the surface itself! Far less noticeable than that bug that you accidentally painted over the last time you gave your wall a fresh coat. I can still see him there, like a little six-legged Han Solo frozen in Sherwin Williams Carbonite.

insect in carbonite

Kill…meeee…

ELIMINATES TRIP HAZARDS

Beyond looking totally ugly on your wall, standard cables are also super annoying when they have to travel across the ground, because inevitably someone’s gonna come walking by, texting on their smartphone or whatever, and stumble right over your painfully three-dimensional cable. Then woops: broken phone, broken nose, and lawsuits a-plenty.

jennifer lawrence falling down

Oh J-Law…is there anything you CAN’T make adorable?

In this day and age you really can’t assume anyone is looking where they’re going, and don’t think signs are going to help; nobody reads those. Why, I myself just recently walked into one of those big metal cables they use to brace telephone poles…you know, the ones with the…well look, it’s not really important. And it wasn’t me, it was some other, less cool guy. Anyway, the whole trip hazard debacle is easily eliminated by installing some awesome flat cables on your floors, which are nigh untrippable thanks to their ultra-thin nature and adhesive backing. They can even be run under carpeting, if you’re one of those cutting edge folks who still has a bunch of carpeting everywhere. How are those stains working out for you?

TRIED AND TRUE

I’ve only recently discovered the existence of flat cables, but it turns out things can exist without me knowing about them. In fact, flat cables have been around for a good long while. Taperwire was developed in 1987 by Ron Fuller, and has been available in one form or another since 1991. Flatwire, meanwhile, was conceived by Robb Sexton in 1986, patented in 1995, and has been on the market since 2004. What I’m saying is, it’s not some fly-by-night fad, it’s the real deal. Seriously, I’m sitting here scratching my head wondering why we even have round cables anymore. I mean I suppose that was fine for Cavemen to power their stone television sets or woolly mammoth vacuum cleaners (The Flintstones is historically accurate, right?), but here and now we should really be past such prehistoric limitations, don’t you think?

mammoth vacuum cleaner

It’s a living.

DRAWBACKS

Well…perhaps we still have a ways to go. Do you remember when I mentioned “low voltage” lighting up there? Go check if you don’t, or just take my word for it. That qualifier is important, as high voltage flat cables aren’t in existence just yet. HDMI flat cables are also pretty new, with Taperwire’s being a fairly recent release, and Flatwire’s version not being available at this time. Also, the highest CAT cable available is Taperwire’s Cat5e, with Flatwire’s Cat6 currently just as imaginary as their HDMI. (For more info on CAT cables, check out this article).

They’re also not cheap. Though they’re quite convenient, it comes at a price, literally. On the other hand, think how much you’ll save on all the additional items you’d have to buy to hide and trip-proof all your unsightly round cables? With that in mind, the price becomes a bit easier to stomach. It’s certainly cheaper than a lawsuit should anyone in your office trip over a wayward wire bundle, and the aesthetic benefit to your home entertainment set-up is hard to ignore. Plus, it’s not like you can just make your own…

steamroller clip art

…or can you?

No. No you can’t.
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Cable Management Options For Your Cables

Cable management is important when it comes to large installations of cabling and wires. If not properly installed or if placed without care wiring and cables can easily become damaged, broken, or kinked causing complications with interruptions in the lines. There are many ways to manage your cabling installations to help create a neat and tidy area and depending on the location of the cables will depend on the type of cable management device will be needed. Here is a helpful guide of the different cable management options you can choose to help manage and tidy your cabling installations.

Options For Cable Management

cable managementCable Ties: Cable Ties are one of the best ways of keeping your cables and wires tidy. Cable ties are specially designed ties which are made to wrap around your cable bundles securing them in place in a neat and tidy way. These ties are best suited for small to medium sized cable bundles and are available in a number of different sizes and makes of materials which can withstand long term use in demanding locations. For industrial cable management, stainless steel cable ties may be used. For smaller or less bulky setups a nylon cable tie is the right choice. Other options include reusable and permanent cable tie options. Reusable cable ties are great for temporary cable setups while permanent should be used when the cable bundle will be in place for years to come.

Sleeving Cover: Braided sleeving along with wire loom and heat shrink tubing are great options to help not only protect cable managementyour cables but manage them in a neat way. These types of sleeving options are similar to that of a hose and generally cover smaller amounts of wires and cables to create a neater and tidier method of cable management. These are beneficial for home and office use and come available in different types of materials which can handle different applications with ease. For temporary cover of your cables braided sleeving and wire loom are the best options. For a more permanent solution heat shrink tubing can be beneficial.

cable management 3Patch Panels: Patch Panels are designed for commercial based cable applications where networking cables are used. These patch panel systems are designed from high strength materials and are made to hold excess patch cable lengths in a tidy and neat compartment area. These work by coiling the excess cabling and simply sliding them into place. They are designed to support a great bend radius without damaging cables or causing problems with your applications.

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Tips To Purchasing Cable Protection Covers

cable protectionCables are used in many applications right around the world so it is important to protect them to ensure that they don’t become damaged when in use. Cable protection products come in a variety of different sizes, types, and designs to choose from, and here are some simple tips to help purchase the right cable protection for your applications.

Tips When Choosing The Right Cable Protection

Type: One of the first things to consider when it comes to cable protection is the type needed to suit your application. There are different types of cable protection products that can be purchased and these are cord covers, cable sleeving, wire loom and heat shrink tubing.

  • Cord Covers: Cord covers come in a variety of types including ramps, floor covers, and lightweight or heavy duty cord covers for industrial and business use. These covers are designed to be placed over the cabling that is on the ground which is great for applications where cords are run from one end of the building to the other or where constant traffic may be walking or driving over the cables.
  • Cable Sleeving: Cable sleeving is designed to be threaded over the top of the cable like a hose to help protect the cable from damage. This form of cable protection comes in many different types to provide resistance against abrasions and heat. They help to reduce cuts or breakages in the cords if an accident in the work area occurs.
  • Wire Loom: Wire loom cable protection options allow for cables to bend evenly promoting additional support without over-bending. Wire loom features a spiral design and is able to help protect against chewing pets, cuts, abrasions, and kinks. They are ideal for areas where cables may require additional bending around certain objects.
  • Heat Shrink Tubing: Heat Shrink Tubing is designed to provide a sealable protection which can help to seal off wiring ends and breakages in the cables or wires. This form of cable protection is designed to shrink around the cables when heated creating the perfect protection barrier around the wires with ease.

Size: Another thing to consider is the size needed. Measuring your cable length is important. When buying the right length cable protection 2it is beneficial to purchase one a little longer than the cable area to ensure that the whole length or area will be fully covered at all times.

Application: Another important aspect to consider is purchasing the right cable protection product for your application. High traffic areas require heavy duty cable covers, while smaller applications may only require lightweight and versatile covers that can be removed if needed.

So when purchasing your cable cover for protecting your cables why not take these simple tips into consideration to ensure that you purchase the right one for your applications.

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Staple Gun Benefits For Industrial Use

staple gunIn Industrial areas the installation of cables can play a large part when making sure your business is running at full capacity. When installing cabling in industrial or commercial areas it is important that they are secured firmly in place, especially when they are used for long term installations. With the use of a staple gun it can provide a range of benefits when installing your cables within commercial and industrial areas.

The Advantages Of A Staple Gun

Permanent Solution: Unlike cable clips, a staple gun provides a more permanent solution when it comes to installing and holding cables. A staple gun is designed to use a large staple which is shot into wood or other hard material over the top of cable to secure it in place. Staple guns are great for industrial uses and where cabling will be positioned for a very long time and provides a permanent fixture.

Ease of Use: Another benefit of using a staple gun is that it can provide an easy to use design that is great for fast installation of cables. These staple guns are hand-held and provide a lightweight design which allows for repeated use for a large variety of cabling setups.

Grooved Guide: One more advantage of using a staple gun is that most of the time they feature a grooved guide where the staples come out which helps to prevent accidental damage to your cabling. This grooved guide helps to position the gun over the top of the cable perfectly, ready for stapling.

Durable Design: Most staple guns such as the Acme 25A and 25AC Broadband Cable and Wire Staple Gun generally delivers a much more durable design and construction which is great for heavy duty and industrial use. This is great for demanding cable installations which may require plenty of repetition over the entire section or building.

So when it comes to staple guns here are just some of the benefits you can expect. Whether you are upgrading or a beginner in the cabling field, you can’t go wrong with a staple gun for your cable applications.

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HDMI Cable Buyers Guide

November 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Cables and Wires, Desks and Workstations 

HDMI CableHDMI cables come in a range of different forms but how do you know which one is best suited to your application? Here are some helpful tips when looking to buy HDMI cables for your application.

Tips When Buying A HDMI Cable

When choosing your HDMI cable it is best to measure the length needed so you can accommodate for the gap between your devices. HDMI cables come in a variety of different lengths to choose from and these can be anywhere from 1 to 12ft or more. Purchasing one a size up from your gap size allows for room to move or improve your connection at a later date.

The next best thing to consider when choosing a HDMI cable is to check which type of cable will be needed or best suited to your application. This can be done by checking the manual of your HDTV and the devices that you will be connecting it to. Check the supported HDMI rating and if they differ, for example your HDTV supports HDMI 1.1 while your game console supports HDMI 1.2 then choose the earliest type which in this case would be HDMI 1.1. In some cases it is said that choosing a HDMI cable rated 1.3 is also a good choice as this HDMI cable is designed to support backward compatibility which means it should support HDMI 1.3, 1.2, 1.1, and 1.0.

If you are purchasing multiple HDMI cables but don’t have enough ports on your connected devices then you may need to look into a HDMI switcher. HDMI switchers allow you to easily connect multiple HDMI supported devices to the switcher which is then easily connected to your TV or the compatible devices.

Choosing a HDMI cable doesn’t have to be hard. With the advancements in technology, you can easily purchase one at an affordable price that will work with your devices delivering clear video and audio each and every time.

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Types of Audio and Video Cables and Their Uses

November 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Cables and Wires 

Video and audio cables are used in everyday multimedia applications and setups. Although how much do you really know about the cables you are installing into your home. Here is some information on the different types of video and audio cables that are used and what they are designed to do.

Types OF Audio and Video Cables

video cablesHDMI cables: HDMI cables are made to provide support of HDMI connections between 2 devices. HDMI or High Definition Multimedia Interface refers to the first and only uncompressed, industry supported all video and audio interface which is capable of supporting a connection between an audio and video source. These cables are able to support high definition and standard video along with multiple channels of digital and audio over a single HDMI cable. They are ideal for connecting computer and hardware connections and are commonly used for high definition DVR connection to televisions.

DVI Cables: DVI cables are cables which are designed to support a connection between a videovideo cables source and a display device which may include a computer monitor. DVI or digital visual interface is designed to provide transmission of uncompressed digital video and is configurable with supporting DVI-I (digital and analog), DVI-A (analog only), and DVI-D (digital only). With support for analog connections the specifications of DVI allows for compatibility with the VGA interface. DVI cables are generally used by computers although they are also sometimes used with video game consoles, DVD players, television sets and more.

video cablesVGA Cables: VGA cables are designed to support high definition video of 1080p or higher. VGA or Video Graphics Array interface is designed to provide a method of transferring a basic clear image to the viewing display such as a computer. VGA cables are made to use analog signals for easy transmission and are generally connected to computer systems.

 

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HDMI Cables Information For Beginners

November 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Cables and Wires, Desks and Workstations 

HDMI cablesHDMI cables are used right across the world in home and business applications to create the perfect connection between two multimedia devices. But what exactly is HDMI? Here is some information about HDMI and what HDMI cables are used for that may help you to understand these cables better.

What is HDMI?

HDMI or as known High Definition Multimedia Interface is the only and first uncompressed, industry supported, all digital video and audio interface. HDMI delivers an interface between a video and audio source which can support standard, high definition or enhanced video along with multi-channel digital audio over a single cable. It can easily provide transmission of ATSC HDTV standards and is capable of supporting up to 8 channel digital audio while offering additional bandwidth which can accommodate for any future requirements of enhancements.

What Are HDMI Cables Used for?

A HDMI cable is a special cable which is designed to specially support HDMI connection from one device to another. This cable is generally for hardware and computer connections and is commonly used for connecting high definition DVRs to televisions. This cable is supported by most leading manufacturers of consumer electronics including, but not limited to, Toshiba, Sony, Philips, Panasonic, and Hitachi.

What Are The Benefits Of HDMI Cables

HDMI cables come with many benefits:

  • One of the most common benefits of a HDMI cable is that it can easily provide uncompressed and superior quality of digital video and audio.
  • Another benefit that a HDMI cable can deliver is that it provides a simple and single method of connecting two devices together without a large array of wiring and cables behind your devices.
  • One more advantage of HDMI cables is that they provide a long life span as they don’t use up their full capacity when connected with devices, allowing for adjustments in the future.
  • Lastly it provides a convenient and popular method of transmitting high definition content which is supported by many people allowing for easy sharing of audio and video.
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How To Use Heat Shrink Tubing

heat shrink tubingWhen it comes to using heat shrink tubing, it is important to correctly use it to ensure that your application will properly be installed according to your needs. Here are some simple tips when using heat shrink tubing.

How To Use Heat Shrink Tubing Properly.

  1. One of the first things that you need to do is measure the exposed joint length which needs to be covered by the tubing. When you have properly measured your exposed joint it is wise to add another 1 inch to either side of it to get a proper fit and an overall length. For example: if your joint is roughly 1″ in length then you will have a total of 3″.
  2. Take some sharp scissors and cut the tubing needed to the length required. When you have cut it simply slide the piece of tubing over the wiring that need to be joined together by either soldering or twisting the wiring together. Please note: do not have your shrink tubing near any heat source, especially when soldering as this may cause your tube to shrink prematurely.
  3. Once you have connected the wiring, simply slide the tubing over the finished joint once it is cooled (if soldered). Then centre it over the electrical connection and wiring so it is even on both sides.
  4. Next take your heat gun and plug it in allowing it to warm up. Once it is ready carefully place it near the tubing running it back and forth until the tubing has shrunk around the wiring. Please note: If smoke arises when heating the shrink tubing pull the heat gun back slightly to reduce burning of the tube.
  5. Lastly you will need to let the heat shrink tubing cool before wrapping a continuous round of electrical tape around the tube covering one end to the other. When wrapping it around simply start about ½ an inch from the shrink tubing on the wire so it can create a water right application with a good mechanical sealing solution.

So if you are looking to use heat shrink tubing with your application, why not follow these simple tips to create the perfect tight seal and cover for your wires each and every time.

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The Don’ts Of Power Strip and Extension Cord Use

November 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Cable Management, Cables and Wires, Electrical 

extension cordWhen it comes to installing power strips and extension cords it is important to install them correctly to ensure that they not only function accordingly but also provide a safe means of power for any application. Here are some of the don’ts of power strip and extension cord usage you may need to consider when installing them.

Don’ts Of Power Strip and Extension Cord Use

1)      Extension cords are designed for temporary use only and should only be used for short periods of time. Never use an extension cord for weeks or even months at a time as this may cause harm to your devices and may result in overheating or overuse of the cord.

2)      Power strips and other uninterruptible power supplies should never be used if they don’t have a resettable circuit breaker integrated into the design. Circuit breakers are designed to cut power instantly to the compatible devices causing them to avoid the risk of overloads. If your power strip doesn’t feature a resettable circuit breaker then it is best to replace it with a newer version for added safety.

3)      Another no, no of power strip use is daisy chaining your power cords. Daisy chain is the method of plugging one device into another and then into another off the same power supply outlet. This form of installation can cause lowered power functions throughout the installation and can cause your devices to overheat.

4)      Another thing that should not be done when installing a power strip is to overload it. Overloading your power strip with multiple devices running at once can cause the circuit breaker to trip. If this happens do not force the installation to function as it may cause it to overload and overheat resulting in a fire. You should also not cover any electrical boxes or strips as this may also cause the device to overheat resulting in a fire.

5)      Lastly this may be common sense, although you should never use any sort of electrical device near moisture or wet areas. The risk of electrocution is extremely high when used in combination with water and may result in a fatality. Always use your power strips, extension cords and other electronics in dry areas.

Tips When Choosing Cable Sleeving.

cable sleeving When it comes to protecting your everyday electronic cables it may seem a little daunting to say the least. Although it doesn’t have to be with cable sleeving. Cable sleeves are a specially design cover which is designed to be threaded over the cabling to create a protective barrier between your cable and the damaging object. Installing a cable sleeve is easy. Here are some tips when looking to purchase cable sleeving for your electronic cables.

Tips When Choosing Cable Sleeving

Tip #1 – Choose the Proper Sleeve: It may sound like common sense although choose the proper sleeve will go a long way to completing the application in a fast and easy manner. When choosing, work out whether you will be threading it over the cable or wires or whether you have to wrap it around your wires.

  • Wrap Around: You can purchase cable sleeving which features a slit down one side which is able to easily be wrapped around the cable effortlessly. This type is perfect for larger cable applications which can’t be undone at both ends.
  • Threaded: Threaded sleeving is ideal for the loose cables where both or one end is exposed. You can easily slip the cables through the sleeving providing a fast installation.

Tip #2 – Size: Size is also an important factor when choosing your cable sleeving. You don’t want to buy sleeving that is too small or too large to fit on your application. When choosing the size you will need to measure around your cable with a measuring tape and choose one that is slightly a little bigger than the measurement to be able to slip it over the cable with ease.

Tip #3 – Colour: Although it may not seem obvious but choosing the right colour can also go a long way when choosing the right cable sleeving for your application. The colour can provide a cleaner and more professional look to your application when matched correctly. It can also blend into the background depending on your application.

So if you are looking to purchase cable sleeving for your wiring applications, why not take some of these tips into consideration to ensure you purchase the right one for your cable setup.

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