Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Old cable

I was given a cable at the weekend. The plug on the end is my favourite type of ancient and chunky connector. Gerrard, who gave it to me, has promised (threatened?) that he has several more to send my way. While I've no immediate need, they are pretty rare now as the world goes subminiature, so I'll snap them up for future projects.

The cable intrigued me though. It's very neatly made and wrapped with neatly tied string. The loops are pretty consistently 2cm apart. 

Modern wiring whizzes would use a spiral plastic wrap, but I guess that the cable pre-dates this. So, my question is, is this a standard technique that I'm not aware of? Did electronics school teach it, or did the person making the lead devise it themselves?


Anonymous said...

Have a look at https://makezine.com/2009/07/28/lost-knowledge-cable-lacing/

You can still buy waxed linen style chord from RS and other suppliers.


Ian Cooper said...

Used to be fairly standard practice when making custom wiring harnesses. I guess the modern equivalent is using cable ties to keep a bundle together.

Matthias Wiesmann said...

The wrapping looks a lot like the way you wrap a sail on the boom of a sailing ship.

Huw Griffiths said...

I'm not sure of the official name, but this cable lacing technique is / was a standard method used for making wiring looms - especially in computers from something like 30 - 50 years ago.

These days, I'd imagine this would probably be replaced by routine use of cable ties - complete with sharp ends where they're cut off. Well, it's either that or short lengths of heatshrink tubing, or even PVC insulation tape.

Some things don't seem to have improved over the years. Others just seem to have fallen by the wayside - I wonder if anyone remembers wire wrapping … .

Bill Newstead said...

Hi Phil,

What you have there is a good example of old-style cable lacing using waxed lacing cord (not string). The cable was probably made up in the factory over a copy of the assembly drawing mounted on a board, rather like building a balsa aircraft, hence the neatness. The soft waxed lacing cord was kinder to conductor insulation than modern replacements such as cable ties. More information here: https://maritime.org/doc/cabling/part5.htm

Best wishes


Michael Adams said...

It's known as cable lacing. Not very common these days, but beautiful to look at! Not especially hard to do either, I did it under my railway and now I get a nice warm fuzzy feeling every time I look underneath lol. Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_lacing

Mike Bellamy said...

One of our old club layouts was wired this way with every cable the same colour (Pink!) with a separate numbered collar on each end of each individual cable so that you knew which cable went where. That was done by an apprentice electrician working on building coaches at the Derby Carriage and Wagon Works in the early 1980s.


David G said...

My dad worked for GPO Telephones from the 1940s and all his layout wiring was tied in this way - it was a technique he was taught to keep everything together neatly. Looks like some of the ex GPO plugs I have!

Andy from Workshopshed said...

When I did my apprenticeship with Dowty back in the 1990s we did cable lacing as part of the training.
We used the technique mentioned in the link from anonymous where it locks the string each time you do a loop