Hi, I’m Aaron Traffas with AuctioneerTech. In this episode of the Auction Video Podcast, we’re going to look at the right way to wrap and store cables.
Now, I’ve seen cables stored a lot of different ways, most of which, quite frankly, make me want to cry. Before we get to the over-under method, let’s take a look at the wrong way to roll cables.
The knot method
I have here an XLR cable, sometimes called a mic cable. Some cheaper microphones may come with a cable that’s already attached or one that has a 1/4″ end on it, but all professional quality microphones use the XLR standard. It has a male and female end, each with three pins on the end of it. Now, because it’s a signal cable, it doesn’t carry a lot of current, and so the conductors inside are smaller and more fragile than other kinds of cables, which is why this first method of cable storage is especially hard on signal cables. I call it the knot. You hold the cables on one end and then you find the middle. You fold it back on itself, then you tie it in a knot. This puts a lot of stress on the conductors inside the cable. I attribute this to the high rate of cable failure for those who use this method.
I remember being shown this method when I was very young. It’s easy to teach, easy to learn – it’s also easy to end up with a knotted mess. This method adds a natural twist to the cable as you go along so that it’s harder for it to lay straight when you use it. This is the around-the-arm method.
We’re now to what I believe to be the only right way to roll your cables. It’s called the over-under, and it’s how professional sound engineers roll and store their cables between concerts. Start with one end of the cable – whichever end has the velcro or wire or string or whatever cable management accessory you prefer. Start with it pointing towards you and grab it like you’re going to stab yourself with it. Take your other hand, and with your thumb down, grab hold of the cable. Then pull it up and in into a small circle. Next, take your hand and with your thumb up, wrap it over. The first one is the under, the second the over.
Now, for most cables, I like a wrap that’s just a little bit less than the size of a coffee can. For larger extension cords, you’re probably going to want a larger loop. For smaller cables like network or USB or some earphone cables, you’re probably going to want a much smaller loop.
Now, remember that if you’ve been wrapping your cables the wrong way for a long time, they’re going to have some natural twists and turns in them. The first time you try this, you might have some knots due to a cable that’s learned the wrong method. If you do it this way enough, your cables are going to be nice and straight and true and you’re going to be able to do some fun things.
Now that second throw was not a knot, it was just a poor job of me throwing it. So, when you throw, make sure that you’re holding on to the end that you started with in the first place that has the cable tie on it. Hold on to it in your hand, grab the cable and give it a nice little under-handed toss and it will fly straight and true every time.
That’s it for this episode of the Auction Video Podcast. If you know of any other bad ways to wrap your cables, or if you think you have a better one, let us know in the comments. Thanks!