February 22, 2013

Cable Cable Cable

Most tech geeks have a large collection of cables from hardware that they don't use anymore. How many people still have VCRs and old games systems sitting in their attic or basement? I have a lot of old cables in several bins in my basement. I have Ethernet cables, USB cables, Coaxial and power cables. Just a mix of almost every possible cable type and size.

One of the problem of having so many cables is that its hard to find the right one. When I pull out a cable half the box empties out and I have to spend a few minutes untangling all that mess. Not fun and certainly a reason why I don't want to go through the cable bin.

One solution I came up with is to separate the cables by category, I got four stackable front loading metal bins and sorted out the cables. The top bin holds all the coaxial cables, these are the cables to connect TVs and VCRs. The one below it holds ethernet cables, both regular and crossover cables. The next bin holds USB  and Firewire cables and the last bin holds misc cables.

While this solved part of the problem, the other issue is that the cables are still bunch up. I came up with two solutions. The best way to keep the cables together is to use a cable tie. You can find them on Amazon, Lowes or Walmart. I was able to find a hundred 4 inch cable ties at Walmart for $1.50. They were about $2 at Lowes. For most cables 4 inches is good enough.

For some of the bigger Coaxiel and Ethernet cables I used masking tape. This also comes in handy with labeling some of the cables.

Since I have been using computers for a long time, in my collection are a bunch of USB 1.1 cables. Which aren't very practical now since the most products require at least a USB2 cable. I decided to label the old USB cables so that I wouldn't accidentally use them. The masking tape is a great cheap way to do this. I didn't want to buy a Marker Cable for something that could easily be done with Masking Tape and a sharpie.

When your sorting and going through your cables, you should label your power cables. This will make it easy with your looking for that cable to power up an old fan or Firewire drive. Spending a few minutes now will certainly save you lots of time in the future!

Obviously the best solution is to get rid of cables that I am not going to use anymore. I have started doing that. It's a process but I hope at some point to have a much smaller collection that I have now.

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