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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 03-01-2009
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Labeling Cables/Wires

Interested in everyone's thoughts on that age old challenge of labeling cables.

I've been reading about self laminating wire wrap labels which seem to be labels you print and stick on the wire and then the rest of the label (sticky clear plastic) wraps around the wire to keep the label affixed. Obvious question is, how well do they hold up ? Sticky things don't always stay stuck.

The more expensive and professional choice seems to be heat shrink tubing that you print on and then shrink it right on to the wire, but I would think that would only work on cables that didn't already have ends on them, cables you are making yourself. I do make cables, but I don't make all of my cables.

How do you label the wires on your boat ?
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About two years ago, I purchased a Brother p-touch labeling machine. I also picked up some water proof tape for that machine. I am glad I did it. It is easy to use and easy to see once it is placed on a wire or cable. Worked great on the electric panel also.
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I go with slip on numbers and print up and ID sheet as i usually end up with to many things to name
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Cheapo option

The following trick only works if it is convenient disconnect the end of the wire.

I strip the jacket off landlubber Romex wire, and cut it down to one inch bits, which make a perfect surface to write on with a Sharpie. Then, I use that no-shrink tubing to label my wire. It does not look fancy but, being over 45 years old, I really enjoy being able to write in big, legible letters.

I also use a printing machine that produces neatly printed adhesive labels, but my experience has been that these labels fall off over time (I suppose that, like me, my bilge pump is entitled to crunchy snacks from time to time), and that they can become illegible because of heat/light/chemicals.

Most Electricians will be overjoyed to provide you with bits of unwanted Romex for free.

Cheers,

Y.
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On our Beneteau, the wires have little pieces of tape with numbers on them. The tape looks kind of like this:

-----------------------------------
| 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 |
-----------------------------------

Two pieces of tape are used for the 2 digit numbers. (And 3 for 3.) Not sure where you can get this tape. I can ask Beneteau if you want. If so, send me a PM so I definitely see your response it.
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bene you can get a number book at any electric supply, i have even seen them at home depot.

there is a labeling system that uses heat shrink you can right on, once shrunk the ink gets absorbed by some kind of coating on the heat shrink. dont know where to get it but is not cheap and you cant use a lighter it burns the coating
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Great suggestions! Thanks everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freesail99 View Post
About two years ago, I purchased a Brother p-touch labeling machine. I also picked up some water proof tape for that machine. I am glad I did it. It is easy to use and easy to see once it is placed on a wire or cable. Worked great on the electric panel also.
On panels and circuit boards when I want to label things with small labels I use pieces of white mailing label - I just write what I want on the label, cut it out, stick it on the surface, and then I cover it in multiple coats of clear finger nail polish which dries clear and hard. The result is really good, cheap too. I don't think this would work for larger labels because the whole reason it works is that the polish dries hard, but if it were drying across a large area I think it would be more like laminating than applying a coat of hard plastic.
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Old 03-02-2009
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You can also get the self-fusing silicone labels for marking wires. They're tough and the writing ends up under the label, and protected by the label itself. One caveat—to remove these labels, you have to generally cut the wire.

A quick and dirty way to do it is to use white electrical tape and write on it with an ultra fine tip sharpie.
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I use a "P-Touch" labeling machine
BrotherUSA - Your source for home and office product information
Make the label stick onto wire then slip a length of clear heat shrink tubing over it warm with a heat gun or hair drier.

I do that cause I know that I'll loose the note that tells me what all those wire end numbers meant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RanAweigh View Post
I use a "P-Touch" labeling machine
BrotherUSA - Your source for home and office product information
Make the label stick onto wire then slip a length of clear heat shrink tubing over it warm with a heat gun or hair drier.

I do that cause I know that I'll loose the note that tells me what all those wire end numbers meant
Clear heat shrink tubing, now why didn't I think of that.

Now I'll have to find a source for clear heat shrink tubing ...
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