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Friday, September 19, 2014

How to Wrap Cable without Damaging it

 There is an important trick that nobody is explaining but is paramount if you are hand winding cables on the elbow.

People do the elbow wind for speed.

With a rope, it doesn't matter, or at least it isn't likely to damage the rope for a long time,
and you can untangle it.

With a cable, you need to

Pro Method: (fast)

(1) automatically "roll" the cable in your fingers with your winding hand,

(2) do it by feel, in such a way that you can have zero 'twist' tension
in the direction of the roll of wire on your arm.

(3) keep shaking out the unwound end, so that the curl,
which usually BUILDS, as you ROLL the wire during the wind,
gets relieved by the unwound portion spinning to undo the twist you're adding.

This technique is critically important,
so practice it until you are sure you really know what you're doing.
And practice on one shitty cable of no value,
before you wind up your whole set of cables after a gig.

Here is my assistant demonstrating the method:

B. SAFE Method: (slower)

If you don't have a really strong mechanical sense of
what is going on with the cable, and you can't feel the
twist of the cable in your fingers,
DON'T use the elbow-winding technique.

Instead do it the slow way,
(1) Holding the loops at the top,

(2) pulling up a loop, and twisting the whole roll of loops
from above, in the direction that relieves the tension,

(3) seating the new loop on top of the others, always same side up.

Here is my assistant demonstrating the method:


 Fixing Cables:

You can also restore a cable sometimes, depending upon how the cable has been twisted.

What appears in the OP photo is that the outer protective rubber has been pulled away from the inner wires and fiber,
and also that the inner wire package has been twisted in relation to the outer housing.

In this case, sometimes the cable can be easily fixed (if not too severe),
by a combination of stretching lengths of the cable by hand,
and shaking down the section to cause the inner cluster of wires
to return to their natural positioning (twist-wise).

Also, pulling on the outer housing can also relieve the built-up stress
in any cable housing, and stroking the cable through the hands
in the appropriate direction.
You pull on the outer housing, with a heavy slow friction,
and this will relieve the tension, twist, or bunching that
has built up inside the cable between the outer rubber cover,
and the inner wire cluster and reinforcement rope/housing.

With MICROPHONE cables you have to try these techniques very gently,
since you can "unwind" the shielding, and cause the cable to lose its
electromagnetic field and RF protection, becoming a 'noisey' cable.

Good cables use a braided shield, which can't be damaged by unwinding.

CHEAP mic cables use a simpler wound "wrap" which is easily mucked up.

You can check the type of cable by pulling back an end and looking at the shielding
to see if its braided. If it isn't, sell the cable and by a better one.

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