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Over Under vs Regular twist Modular Synthesizers
Old 9th January 2017
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 View Post
It's not "stretching" one side that causes problems. The issue is twists.
+1
Old 10th January 2017
  #62
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Dutchy15's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
This is the most efficient way of managing a lot of cables...especially long and heavy cables cables. Hand rolling a 250' multi-core snake or more that 100 length of mic cables for example is inefficient and a total waste of time.


When a production house need to buy loudspeakers and amplifiers they don't go to Best Buy and pick up the cheapest pieces they can, they go to a professional specialist and get the the right gear for their situation. If you're a pro who spent tens of thousands to buy good cables and connectors why would you put them on $5 reels from Home Depot that were designed for the few occasions you need the long extension cord? Why not buy purpose built pro reels and utility cases to properly store and transport your cables?
I've tried pretty much every method out there and I must say I'm really not a fan of reels for most applications. They're awesome for relatively thin cables (mic, power, a single CAT5) that are longer than 100ft or so. Anything shorter I'd rather roll (either over/over or over/under depending on who's paying). I completely hate the system where you hook a load of cables together and roll them onto a single reel together, I find it a real pita to get them on and off quick and the connectors always bulge out so you can never get the cable on the reel nicely.

For 150ft + cables (looms, multicores, 3-phase power) I prefer to roll them straight into their cases in a figure-of-8 (if the system is designed as such, of course). Another option for those would be to roll them over/under on the floor so you don't have to carry all that cable all the time.

My favorite option? Drop snakes. Tons of them. I regularly work for a company that specializes in amplifying large orchestra's, they deal with 100+ inputs on a daily basis. Their system consists of digital I/O racks for their mixers which are all equipped with a 48ch LK150 break-out of some 4m long. The 48 XLR males always stay connected to the rack's inputs and you simply take out the LK150 and put it where you want your drop snakes to plug in. This LK150 can of course easily be extended if necessary. The LK end hooks up to a box with 6 LK25 chassis connectors to each of which you can connect an 8ch drop snake. This means that you have to construct your input list carefully and create groups of 8 channels as much as possible, but since digital mixers are used the input side can be matched to the stage situation whereas the engineers can design their sessions just the way they like it by means of softpatching. I've spent a lot of time with this system and it has proven time after time that a 48ch infrastructure can be set up in less than five minutes by means of connecting a grand total of seven LK connectors to a single box on stage. After that it's a matter of a single cable for every input from the mic to the drop snake.
In practice, cables that are 3, 6, 12 and 20ft (1, 2, 4, 6m) prove to be plenty long enough when combined with the aforementioned infrastructure. If not, the input list wasn't done well enough. Those lengths are used so much and in such quantities that coiling them would take way too much time and space, we simply tie a knot in them. This doesn't make for a perfect looking cable when in use but this has never been a problem (yes, we facilitate TV quite regularly).
All in all, this particular company can do the load-in for an 80 input orchestra show with a separate monitor desk where we carry everything except PA in less than three hours with only two or three people. In fact, I recently did a set of shows with them where we'd load in a 48ch rig for a jazz orchestra in 1.5 hour with only two people, one of which would already do system tuning and virtual soundcheck during this time.

My point is; it's not about how you coil the cable, it's about using as little cable as possible. If everything in the signal chain that comes after the mic cable is incredibly well thought of, you only need so much mic cable.


Dutchy

P.s.; If anyone is interested in the smart stuff, I'll see if I can find some pics.
Old 10th January 2017
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchy15 View Post
I've tried pretty much every method out there and I must say I'm really not a fan of reels for most applications. They're awesome for relatively thin cables (mic, power, a single CAT5) that are longer than 100ft or so. Anything shorter I'd rather roll (either over/over or over/under depending on who's paying). I completely hate the system where you hook a load of cables together and roll them onto a single reel together, I find it a real pita to get them on and off quick and the connectors always bulge out so you can never get the cable on the reel nicely.
I never said they were good for all or most applications...please read my post carefully, you may then try to figure out why companies like whirlwind and Hannay are making and selling reels.

You never hook a "load" of cables together and then roll them unto a reel, you roll the cables onto the RIGHT type of reel one at a time. Drums are designed and built for cables with a certain diameters and lengths and when used properly you shouldn't have the problems you described. Using a reel is also the one sure way that I know of to never have kinks in your cables.

Nobody will argue the efficiency of using sub snakes, they are (and have been) used for every situation from small bar stages to massive festival stages around the world...the "smart stuff" has been around for ages. A sub snake on rolling risers on a festival stage which allows the crew to pre mic and wire drum kits, keyboard rigs, percussion kits etc in the backstage has been the norm for a LONG time now....
Old 10th January 2017
  #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchy15 View Post
Those lengths are used so much and in such quantities that coiling them would take way too much time and space, we simply tie a knot in them.
And you were doing so well, up to that point...
Old 10th January 2017
  #65
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Dutchy15's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlecSp View Post
And you were doing so well, up to that point...
So I thought as well when I first started working for them. It makes complete sense to me now, it's the fastest method around and if you use the cables daily they don't kink nearly as badly as when you leave them knotted for weeks on end. It's not ideal for every situation, but it's mighty fast and very compact. We pack a full production as described above into a single Sprinter van (not even a box body!).


Dutchy
Old 11th January 2017
  #66
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Knotting itself isn't a problem for standard width mic cables. Knotting improperly is a big problem. They don't have to be tight at all. The cable will get a curl to it, but if you knot at the male end the curl is always by the snake where it doesn't matter. If a cable can't handle that it doesn't belong on stage.
Old 12th January 2017
  #67
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I just got back from messing around with an install. A number of times it was necessary to temporarily coil a bunch of cables that were still plugged in at one end. These were sometimes uncoiled, and then coiled another time, all while still plugged in at one end.

I'm sure glad I know how to over/under......worked flawlessly every time. Quick, simple, efficient, and clean.

d.
Old 12th January 2017
  #68
S21
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=M6CUf6XTEFs

This video is the closest I can find to the way I coil long cables without a drum. In the video the guy coils the rope doubled, but I coil cables as a single strand. I don't tie them off like a backpack either.

I timed myself today, 150 seconds to coil a 200m XLR cable.

The technique is really good when you need to relocate a long cable. Gather the cable up over your neck and then pay it back out to the new location.
Old 12th January 2017
  #69
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I see I caused some confusion here; I mean tying a big "butterfly knot" in the cable, not coiling it and using a knot to keep it together. (I actually really hate that!)


Dutchy
Old 12th January 2017
  #70
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JayTee4303's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 View Post
It's not "stretching" one side that causes problems. The issue is twists.
How a cable behaves over its lifetime depends on 3 things.

1. The inner conductor's twists during manufacture.

2. Interaction between inner conductors and the outer sheath.

3. The way a factory new cable is first unrolled.

The cable will be happy to explain all this to you, if you just pay attention to it.
Old 12th January 2017
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayTee4303 View Post
How a cable behaves over its lifetime depends on 3 things.

1. The inner conductor's twists during manufacture.

2. Interaction between inner conductors and the outer sheath.

3. The way a factory new cable is first unrolled.

The cable will be happy to explain all this to you, if you just pay attention to it.
Don't know about points two and three, but the construction of the inner shield and outer sheath are usually the two most important factors and have the most effect on how the cable behaves.

Braided wire inner-shields offer better mechanical and electrical performance than tissue wraps, but the type of braid, how tightly it was done and the type of wire used will have an effect on cable performance and longevity.

A hard, plastic exterior sheath will be tough and will generally offer the best cut and crush protection, but will have high memory retention, while a rubbery outer sheath will have less memory retention and will handle a tighter roll.

Last edited by Samc; 12th January 2017 at 05:58 PM..
Old 12th January 2017
  #72
S21
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Point 3 is back to twists. Grab a roll of toilet paper and pull the paper off the side (rather than letting it unroll.) see what happens?

In the factory they roll the cable up onto spinning spools. The cables wraps around these spools hundreds of times. When you bring the spool back from the shop, if you support it on a broomhandle and pull the cable off the way it went on (letting the spool spin) the cable comes off straight and untwisted. If you are unwise enough to lay the spool on its side and pull the cable off the side, each wrap around the spool becomes a twist in the cable.
Old 12th January 2017
  #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 View Post
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=M6CUf6XTEFs

This video is the closest I can find to the way I coil long cables without a drum. In the video the guy coils the rope doubled, but I coil cables as a single strand. I don't tie them off like a backpack either.

I timed myself today, 150 seconds to coil a 200m XLR cable.

The technique is really good when you need to relocate a long cable. Gather the cable up over your neck and then pay it back out to the new location.
It's interesting that you post this, in terms of the application.

I come from a background of experience in both mountaineering and working at sea. In both of these disciplines, proper rope management can be a matter of life and death. Sloppy work can have some very high costs....much more than shortened life of audio cables, longer load-ins and load-outs, etc. It's not just a matter of efficiency and good business practice out there.

Now of course, ropes and audio cables ARE different things, and proper techniques are sometimes quite different, but the principles are at least very similar, if not exactly the same in some cases. I do apply some of my experience "out there" to my stage work. And yes, I'm pretty touchy and particular about how my cables are handled/stored/managed.....which usually means over/under for me when it comes to coiling.

d.
Old 12th January 2017
  #74
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Semi thread derail:

Let's talk about power cords. I'm specifically thinking about regular store-bought ones. In my experience it's next to impossible to buy one that has not been horribly packed for retail sale. Invariably they have been bent and "coiled" in such a way that the whole length ends up with nasty bends and twists set into it. Add to this the fact that many of them are very stiff, and you get a cord that is pretty much impossible to coil correctly until you uncoil it and use it many many times. I've either spent a lot of time trying to "unset" those bends and twists in a number of ways...none of which are very efficient, easy, or even effective.

Anyone have their own ways of dealing with this, so that you end up with a nice straight cord (that you can coil however you wish), that you like to share?
Or maybe some good sources to buy power cords that ARE coiled properly in the first place?

d.
Old 13th January 2017
  #75
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Those tight figure 8 folded IECs are a PITA. Manually unkink them using using thumbs, then hang em for a few days somewhere warm with a decent weight on the end. Old power trafos, vise, anything heavy thats handy
Old 13th January 2017
  #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcxv View Post
Anyone have their own ways of dealing with this, so that you end up with a nice straight cord (that you can coil however you wish), that you like to share?
Or maybe some good sources to buy power cords that ARE coiled properly in the first place?
Not all power cords are created equal for good reasons, and in a perfect world regular store bought power cables should not be used on a concert stage. The makeup of individual cables varies according to application...environmental conditions such as exposure to extreme temperature, water, sunlight exposure, and mechanical impact, determine the form and composition of the outer jacket and the construction and material for the cables in general.

The outer jacket of industrial grade power cables is usually made with Ethylene propylene rubber which is tough but flexible unlike the cheap plastic used to make the outer jacket of garden variety power cables.
Old 13th January 2017
  #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcxv View Post
Semi thread derail:

Let's talk about power cords.
1.Wait until the weather warms up (unless you're already in the southern hemisphere).

2. Lay the cable out on a hot asphalt parking lot for an hour or two.

3. Gently stretch it straight.

4. Coil it up the way you like.

For the record, I prefer over/under for anything 50 ft. or longer. For 25 ft. mic cables, I did them over/over for years. It's just important to put a twist in the cable each time you do another loop, and you have to be aware of that when you uncoil it. It's typically only 10 or 11 turns, so not that hard to deal with. I've now converted to over/under for everything, just to stay in practice, but I'm not really religious about the shorter ones.

I generally don't care for cable reels, although I've worked with people who swear by them. They make sense for hundreds of feet of tactical fibre, and we have a very slick power reeler for the feeder cable on the truck I look after, but mostly I find they're hard to store and a PITA to deal with.

Geoff
Old 13th January 2017
  #78
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcxv View Post
It's interesting that you post this, in terms of the application.

I come from a background of experience in both mountaineering and working at sea. In both of these disciplines, proper rope management can be a matter of life and death. Sloppy work can have some very high costs....much more than shortened life of audio cables, longer load-ins and load-outs, etc. It's not just a matter of efficiency and good business practice out there.

Now of course, ropes and audio cables ARE different things, and proper techniques are sometimes quite different, but the principles are at least very similar, if not exactly the same in some cases. I do apply some of my experience "out there" to my stage work. And yes, I'm pretty touchy and particular about how my cables are handled/stored/managed.....which usually means over/under for me when it comes to coiling.

d.
Former coast guard here. Exactly what you said.
Old 13th January 2017
  #79
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JayTee4303's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 View Post
Point 3 is back to twists. Grab a roll of toilet paper and pull the paper off the side (rather than letting it unroll.) see what happens?

In the factory they roll the cable up onto spinning spools. The cables wraps around these spools hundreds of times. When you bring the spool back from the shop, if you support it on a broomhandle and pull the cable off the way it went on (letting the spool spin) the cable comes off straight and untwisted. If you are unwise enough to lay the spool on its side and pull the cable off the side, each wrap around the spool becomes a twist in the cable.
Pretty much forever.

Reaching here but it passes the gut test.

All conductors start out the same length. They end up the same length too, but wrapped on a factory drum, sonething has to give.

My belief is the "play" comes from how the twists behave inside the outer sheath.

Then later, behavability deoends on how the altered twists, interact w each other and the sheath. Some cables behave better than others.

NEVER found one that behaved well if it was flaked, rather than unwound, when new.

MMV.
Old 13th January 2017
  #80
S21
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Sorry, the internal twisting of the pairs isn't the dominant factor. The pair twists are stabilised by the jacket and only come into play under significant tension.

The same issues occur with fishing line, fire hoses, braided rope, kernmantle rope, garden hoses - none of which have a significant native twist bias.
Old 13th January 2017
  #81
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How the cable is made and the materials that are used are absolutely important to its mechanical performance, and modern power cables are constructed according to application. Not all cables were constructed to be coiled...especially on a regular basis.

The info about cables is easy to find on the internet...no need to 'guess'.

Quote:
Flexible cables, or 'continuous-flex' cables, are cables specially designed to cope with the tight bending radii and physical stress associated with moving applications, such as inside cable carriers.

Due to increasing demands within the field of automation technology in the 1980s, such as increasing loads, moving cables guided inside cable carriers often failed, although the cable carriers themselves did not. In extreme cases, failures caused by "corkscrews" and core ruptures brought entire production lines to a standstill, at high cost. As a result, specialized, highly flexible cables were developed with unique characteristics to differentiate them from standard designs. These are sometimes called “chain-suitable,” “high-flex,” or “continuous flex” cables.

A higher level of flexibility means the service life of a cable inside a cable carrier can be greatly extended. A normal cable typically manages 50,000 cycles, but a dynamic cable can complete between one and three million cycles.
Quote:
Flexible cables can be divided into two types: those with conductors stranded in layers inside the cable, and those that have bundled or braided conductors.

Stranding in layers[edit]
Stranding in layers is easier to produce, and therefore usually less expensive. The cable cores are stranded firmly and left relatively long in several layers around the center and are then enclosed in an extruded tube shaped jacket. In the case of shielded cables, the cores are wrapped up with fleece or foils.

However, this type of construction means that, during the bending process, the inner radius compresses and the outer radius stretches as the cable core moves. Initially, this works quite well, because the elasticity of the material is still sufficient, but material fatigue can set in and cause permanent deformations. The cores move and begin to make their own compressing and stretching zones, which can lead to a “corkscrew” shape, and ultimately, core rupture.

Stranding in bundles[edit]
The unique cable construction technique of braiding conductors around a tension-proof centre instead of layering them is the second type of construction.

Eliminating multi-layers guarantees a uniform bend radius across each conductor. At any point where the cable flexes, the path of any core moves quickly from the inside to the outside of the cable. The result is that no single core compresses near the inside of the bend or stretches near the outside of the bend—which reduces overall stresses. An outer jacket is still required to prevent the cores untwisting. A pressure filled jacket, rather than a simple extruded jacket, is preferable here. This fills all the gussets around the cores and ensures that the cores cannot untwist. The resulting dynamic cable is often stiffer than a standard cable, but lasts longer in applications where it must constantly flex.
Old 17th January 2017
  #82
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There's a technician installing fiber optic and coaxial cable here at the studio, hundreds of meters of the stuff which is coming off the original, cardboard factory reels. He puts the reels on one end and pulls the cable off the end of the reel (not rolling it off) while laying it in cable runs or stapling it to walls etc. He's gone through four reels already without a kink or any other problems with the cables...says he's been doing it like this for more than ten years after deciding that this was the most efficient, trouble free method.
Old 17th January 2017
  #83
nowadays all my bulk cable comes in pull boxes - there's no reel involved, and you just pull the cable out of the spool that's in the box. Still get the occasional jam but it's a rare thing.
Old 18th January 2017
  #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
nowadays all my bulk cable comes in pull boxes - there's no reel involved, and you just pull the cable out of the spool that's in the box. Still get the occasional jam but it's a rare thing.
These pull-boxes use the "Reelex" winding technique:

About REELEX Technology

Although the geometry of the coil in the box is a little different, it's the same basic principle as over/under, where "the winding process imparts a half-twist in one direction, and then back in the other direction", yielding no net twist.
Old 18th January 2017
  #85
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkus View Post
These pull-boxes use the "Reelex" winding technique:

About REELEX Technology

Although the geometry of the coil in the box is a little different, it's the same basic principle as over/under, where "the winding process imparts a half-twist in one direction, and then back in the other direction", yielding no net twist.
Yes. I know. I'm just trying to picture what SAMC was describing. I've never seen cable come off an actual reel the way he described it, even if you pull off the end cap.
Old 18th January 2017
  #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMetzinger View Post
Yes. I know. I'm just trying to picture what SAMC was describing. I've never seen cable come off an actual reel the way he described it, even if you pull off the end cap.
There are only two ways to take cable off a reel...you either roll it off or you pull it of the end. The technician puts the reel on end on the ground and under the point where he starts threading the cable...really simple and easy to setup.

The reel is always underneath the point where the cable is threaded so it's always being pulled up off the end of the reel.
Old 18th January 2017
  #87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
There are only two ways to take cable off a reel...you either roll it off or you pull it of the end. The technician puts the reel on end on the ground and under the point where he starts threading the cable...really simple and easy to setup.

The reel is always underneath the point where the cable is threaded so it's always being pulled up off the end of the reel.
I've seen that tried, just never seen it work without the cable twisting/kinking and getting stuck on the end-cap without having a person standing right there guiding the cable as it comes off the reel. But hey, if it works for him, great.
Old 18th January 2017
  #88
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Six reels of coax and fiber optic cables all by himself without a problem...
Old 20th January 2017
  #89
S21
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The only way I can see pulling off the side vaguely working with a conventionally spooled drum is if the drum is frequently turned over. Pulling cable off opposite sides of a drum yields twists in opposite directions (which can cancel.)

6 reels is about 1/10,000th of our cable plant in my day job. We wouldn't let a contractor pull off the side of a drum.
Old 20th January 2017
  #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S21 View Post
The only way I can see pulling off the side vaguely working with a conventionally spooled drum is if the drum is frequently turned over. Pulling cable off opposite sides of a drum yields twists in opposite directions (which can cancel.)

6 reels is about 1/10,000th of our cable plant in my day job. We wouldn't let a contractor pull off the side of a drum.
And just like the time I saw one guy put away almost twice the amount of cables as two seasoned pros, I saw this happen in my building a few days ago..go figure.

Seeing it done with one reel would have been enough for me to know that it's possible, I don't need to see it done 10,000 times.
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