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Proper cable technique


Lance Soltys
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A while back, there was a discussion about how to coil cable. Mr. Hartman pointed out that the over-under technique was for coaxial cable but not the proper way for power cables. So now I've been thinking I've been doing power cables all wrong. (Really, do I just wrap it around my arm?) Would anyone like to chime in on the "proper" way to work with the different types of cable? XLR cable (over-under in my experience), power cables, etc.

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Definitely not around your arm unless it's an orange (or green, yellow, etc.) extension cord. To the best of my recollection, the technique is called over-over? The theory is to coil the power cord so you aren't fighting the natural layup of conductors and filler strands under the outer jacket. As constructed, multi-conductor power cable has an internal twist to it, don't recall if it's left hand or right hand. A sure sign that you doing it wrong or that the stinger has been coiled incorrectly many times is that it will resist being neatly coiled and one or more loops will twist back on themselves.

 

For what it's worth, here some views from the theater and touring show world: http://www.controlbooth.com/threads/alternative-methods-of-cable-coiling.23319/

 

Figure 8 if you want to have a stinger energized and ready to be payed-out and lay flat without any twist to it.

 

...and Lance, just JD works fine for me.

Edited by JD Hartman
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All power is always over-over, clockwise. Usually for consistency I hold the female end in my left hand, with the hubble pointing backward. On each coil, you should be putting a very slight roll in the cable so it lays flat. When you get good, you should be able to tie the wraps, then connect the hubbles without on loop being any bigger or smaller than the others. The coil size should fit into a milk crate perfectly. I've never figure-8 a stinger, although I suppose you could. Its mandatory for 220 bates or 110 bates under load, as well as head feeders for big lights.

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Yaack, never, ever over your arm, for anything - it'll never coil easily nor lay flat ever again.

 

There's essentially two ways of doing it. Various people will tell you that either approach is the One True Way. The difference fundamentally is whether you want to be able to lay the coil on the floor and pull on the free end, or whether you want to carry the coil along, paying out cable as you go. Since the difference is often very situationally-specific, I've always been cautious about accepting either approach as the One True.

 

P

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