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Cable Length Colours


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A simple way of marking the lengths of XLR mic cables is by using a marker pen on the male XLR - black permanent marker on silver XLRs, silver paint pen on black XLRs.


Although it doesn't make for a quick and easy identification when presented with a cable trunk full of cables that has been properly rifled through, and you need a 10m XLR and two 5m's the same way a bit of coloured tape does.


I should actually have said ours are built onto the ends of our branding stickers, which are stuck and heatshrunked onto the cables, so the owner and length can be told in one glance.

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Although it does vary hugely, one rule I have always stuck by, is follow the code of your most used hire company, thus when you hire in extra kit you don't confuse anybody (or yourself!) with two different colour schemes. (Just make sure your kit is obviously marked as your own :P )
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One code that I have seen, and used was based on the resistor colour code, but simplified, useing one colour only.










Leads 10 times the above lengths, used the same colour, but repeated, for example ORANGE=3M and DOUBLE ORANGE=30M.

This code had the advantage of not using black or white, since no leads are 0M long, and 9M or 90M not much used.

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I use the above colour codes - my thoughts as an electronic engineer and everyday use of the well known resistor colour codes were why change a good thing.


Brown = 1M/10M

Red = 2M/20M

Orange 3M/30M

Yellow = 4M

Green = 5M


I have about 4Km of cable in sock so never need to hire.


But as someone said - each company does it differently.

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Then you must owe me £672,178.32 for patent infringement, please send by return, preferably in cash <_<


I have about 4Km of cable in sock so never need to hire.
Why do you keep so much cable in a sock :) , would not storage crates or racking be more suitable?
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Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain, surely?


The History bit -


In 1399 Henry Bolingbroke deposed Richard II and was crowned Henry IV, placing the House of Lancaster on the throne of England.


In 1455 Richard Duke of York challenged the right of Bolingbroke's grandson Henry VI to be king. Henry's queen was Margaret of Anjou with their son Edward of Lancaster lined up to be king but Parliament backed the House of York .


"The Wars of the Roses" between the rival houses lasted until 1485 when Lancastrian Henry VII (Tudor) defeated Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field and started the Tudor dynasty. Richard Duke of York had been killed by Margaret's forces in 1460





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Red < 3m

Yellow = 5m

Blue = 10m

Green = 20m


So blue and yellow means 15m, a 50m cable would be green, green and blue.


The advantage of colour coding over printing the exact length on the cable is that then you have to pick up each cable in a flightcase and read it when looking for a specific length, with colour coding you can easily spot the yellow 5m one you need among the blue 10m cables.

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I have found the following marker to be the best of both worlds in my theatre..


Click HERE and scroll down to 'Cable length tapes'


The standard colours are the same as used by a well known Bristol based hire company, however you can get this stuff printed with any length label on any colour tape I believe.


I find this particularly handy for new new employees as they can read the actual length on the cable marker, as well as looking for a colour, without having to refer to anything else, as the colour and length are the same cable marker.


I bought 2 rolls of 10m, 5m, 20m over 4 years ago, and still have lots left, as it lasts really well and doesn't seem to need replacing, and doesn't get taken off during de-rigs, as it's not PVC tape!

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