All my mains cabling has been done with white sheathed cable. At B&Q
today to restock & found only grey sheathing in stock. Enquiring why,
the electrician said 'electricians think it [ie grey] looks more
Is this just a local fad? Or is there something deeper afoot? eg,
that by using white I'm unwittingly giving future house/bldg soc
surveyors etc something to object to (thus making it more difficult to
sell the house etc)?
Also noticed that it is all dated - 2003: is this a new standard?
Is it the electricians that think this or Joe public.
My mate keeps saying that he wished they made it in a brown sheath, that way
running cable on an outside brick wall wouldn't stand out like a sore thumb.
Errr, having broached this idea before here (and got duly pilloried for it!
:-) I think it would
be useful to have cables with all sorts of outer sheath colours.
So when you put that new spur from the fusebox for that new electric fire in
living room you can easily identify which cable it is amongst the plethora
under the floor heading for the fusebox.
Okay, someone's going to mention "pastel colours" - if it works then I'm all
I guess it is likely that the only people who would see the utility of
cable sheaths are those that have had to struggle with "rats nests" of
wiring which is
tangled in some godforsaken ceiling/floor void.
Nowadays I try to write on any new cables (near where they join up with
other cables) using
one of those permanent markers. I put the date when the cable was installed
and other details
on the cable so that the next bod has a better chance of knowing what the
I also ran off an A4 sheet of 30-point bold typeface words and then got said
sheet laminated, all
to do with the water plumbing in the house.
Anyone else keep those "iron wire" tie-wraps off purchases - I sliced up my
A4 sheet into strips
and used the tie-wraps to secure each label to the correct pipes.
Though any professional may dismiss my actions as "excess", I'm thinking of
the other householders
who don't seem to give a damn about the house services because I do it for
them... until the day that
I ain't home and a pipe bursts or worse...
All to identify the purpose of each cable/pipe.
My conclusion is that this is yet another example in life that "visibility"
of action/purpose is a good thing.
In the middle of a complete rewire at the moment, and I have found that
marker pen on white FTE is good, but coloured insulation tape tags is
even better - thumb off 3 or 4 inches, fold around cable and stick the
ends together, write on the flappy bit. With this rewire I'm laying all
the cables first and going to spend a solid few days a the end
connecting it all up - first fix, second fix as it were - and with my
memory I'll have forgotten what everything is.
For the bits where I need to identify cables, but don't want to do the
writing I've just used different colours of tape - I know that the
upstairs ring is red tape, the downstairs ring (run alongside it to a
large extent) is white... and so on.
I got into this excessive labelling habit when I worked for a radio
station in Cardiff. The original installation was 15-odd years old, and
had been chopped and changed so many times by people who didn't bother
labelling anything that a simple job such as finding a spare pair in a
multicore took hours.
BT used to cut off our analogue lines to sports grounds when they were
looking for spare pairs in their telephone cables - instead of listening
for audio they'd check for POTS or ISDN line voltages (50V or 70V) and
then nick the wires for a temporary telephone line or something...
...it may not be me who has to go back to an installation in n-years
time, but if it is I want to be sure I can see exactly what is what, and
if it isn't, it may be someone not quite sure of what he is doing who
avoids connecting a storage heater into the lighting circuit[*] because
I've labelled it :-)
[*]One of the reasons behind the current rewire is the office in the
attic. The house owner has done a neat job of making a useable office up
there, but needed power. He'd already spurred from the back of a socket
in a bedroom to add a socket nearer the bed (the original socket was
itself a spur mind you) so he just took another spur from the same place
and put three doubles and a single socket up in the attic... all neatly
wired in 1mmsq cable... and regularly running a 1kW oil heater and a 2kW
fan heater to keep the attic warm enough in the evenings, quite apart
from the laptop, desklamp, CD player, desk fan, television etc. etc.
Hmmm. At least he didn't *actually* spur it from the lighting circuit.
Martin Angove: http://www.tridwr.demon.co.uk /
Don't fight technology, live with it: http://www.livtech.co.uk /
I'm used to labelling mic cables too. One easy spotted way is to do rings
of of tape - and if you have several different colours you'll need less.
And for writing on them, white gaffer takes a ball point rather better
than PVC tape.
*It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats.
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW 12
Or in the case of later rewires at the radio station
Also I've found that chinagraph works really well on shiny surfaces such
Martin Angove: http://www.tridwr.demon.co.uk /
Two free issues: http://www.livtech.co.uk/ Living With Technology
For smaller wiring projects I'm keen on the idea of using different
coloured cable. My network here uses CAT5 which has a variety of
colours, makes it a cinch to trace a cable......
When I wired a burglar alarm a few years back I used some of those
little coloured and numbered rings which slip over the cable. These
take up very little room, are easy to apply, and also work for those
who are colour challenged.
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