Documentation and labeling wire and cable

There are a myriad of details involved in building a studio, not to mention an entire facility.  Getting everything down on paper before a single wire is pulled is one way to ensure that a neat, logical, and orderly product ensues.  For wire run documentation, I like to use Excel spreadsheet templates that I came up with.

There are several different types of cable, from 25-pair ATT style to 16 or 24-pair shielded audio cable, to miscellaneous control cable, all of it has different color codes.  I found the Belden Technical info website to be an excellent source for various color codes.

Doing neat work is the best way to keep things in order.  Notice all the wires are labeled.  All the ground conductors have heat shrink, which is required on insulation displacement terminations like 66 blocks, 110 blocks, and ICON terminations.

ADC ICON termination block
ADC ICON termination block

Once all the work is done, the wire run sheets are updated with changes and additions (there are always changes and additions) which will keep the documentation accurate.

I made up several templates with the wire color code, pair number, and cable information on each wire.  This allows the wire man to quickly enter changes to the wire information on the sheet.  At the end of the wiring project, these forms can be saved in several places, printed out, and placed in a book or however, the engineering manager wants to keep the information.

ATT 25 pair wire sheet
ATT 25 pair wire sheet .pdf

The excel spread sheet for this is here.

For 16 pair Gepco cable on 66 blocks, click here.

For 16/24 pair Gepco cable on ADC ICON Termination blocks, click here.

I say Gepco cable, any audio cable that is color coded with standard resistor color codes will work with these sheets, or the sheets can be adapted for use with other cables.

66 blocks audio and control for nextgen installation
66 blocks audio and control for nextgen installation

This is a good installation. The company I work for has several wiremen that are artists and do excellent work. Notice there is adequate room and light to work on the wall.  A dark, cramped area will lead to hurried work, poor workmanship, and mistakes in wiring.

Automation computer on slide out rack with cable management system
Automation computer on slide-out rack with cable management system

All the cables to the rack mount computers are neatly dressed, which allows easier service.

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8 thoughts on “Documentation and labeling wire and cable”

  1. Beautiful work man, just beautiful. Many appreciate it, but few seem to be willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen. My own work pales in comparison, though I think it generally comes out well. My work in IT is a bit different, of course, but I find a lot of alignment in thought with the engineering focus you display.

  2. Impressive installation. Sadly, some of us had worked in facilities where those paying the bills are more concerned about outgoing money instead of long-term serviceability of the facilities – translation, don’t spend a lot of time and just fix the immediate problem … period! I’ve seen my share of makeshift wiring and poorly dressed cables but have enjoyed working at a few facilities where not only were the installations neat and well done, but were documented in detail.

  3. Hagan, thanks. The guys who do this work are wiring artists.
    Bill, unfortunately many radio owners and managers are their own worst enemies. With our company they either see the light or find another firm. Most choose to see the light as we don’t often loose a client.

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