What wire/cable label device are you using?
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  1. #1
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    Default What wire/cable label device are you using?

    I want a proper label printer for occasional use. I'm not building harnesses, I just need to label wires in machines during repairs and in breaker boxes, and the occasional vehicle, Brother office label flags sort of work but just are too clumsy for crowded panels. Brady seems to be popular and the smallest hand held one is inexpensive, but I see it's thermal print. Do those thermal print labels lose their legibility over time?

    What are you using, what do you recommend?

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    You can get heat shrink labels for the Brother label maker, and Dymo makes a good one that can use heat shrink too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    I want a proper label printer for occasional use. I'm not building harnesses, I just need to label wires in machines during repairs and in breaker boxes, and the occasional vehicle, Brother office label flags sort of work but just are too clumsy for crowded panels. Brady seems to be popular and the smallest hand held one is inexpensive, but I see it's thermal print. Do those thermal print labels lose their legibility over time?

    What are you using, what do you recommend?

    I use a Brady ID Pro printer. If the labels are going to be in a nasty place then I place a piece of clear dual wall heatshrink tubing over the label. The clear dual wall with its heat melt interior seals out the nasty stuff & also protects the labels text from being smeared. I overlap the clear heatshrink about a 1/4 inch past the labels ends.

    The Brother P-Touch TZ labels with stronger adhesive work well for marking switches, relays & such inside enclosures. I have seen a Boeing aircraft spec that calls out the Brother labels with the TZ industrial adhesive for use inside circuit breaker panels.

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    Not the place to mention masking tape and sharpie then?

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    I have designed systems and labeled tens of thousands of wires and cables. I needed a cost effective but versatile system. In several such installations I used the self laminating, cable labels.

    self laminating wire labels - Bing images

    You can get them in a variety of forms from rolls with a window where you can write on the next label to 8.5" x 11" sheets with multiple rows and columns of labels which could be printed in a computer printer. They also come in a variety of widths and lengths for different numbering systems and wire/cable sizes. I usually used a dot matrix style printer and an Excel spreadsheet to format them. It is very clear, you can print anything you want on them, even images, and it is about the least expensive alternative that you can find.

    If you must have the ultimate in durability you can always use a piece of clear heat shrink tubing over them, but they do not come off easily. I have had to cut them off of existing cables which needed to be relabeled. Bradley is one name to look for. They can be purchased from stationary and electronic supply companies.

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    If you do a lot of work on wiring, you get very opinionated about wire labels. Crack open a 60 year old Devlieg electrical cabinet some time. You'll find about million wires that are all red. All of the wire labels have long since disintegrated. Even with a wiring diagram, it's pretty much a guessing game.

    That said, a real thermal printer that can print heat shrink tube is the only way to go. I bought a Brother and I hate it because it wastes a ton of tape or heat shrink tube because of the retarded way it's designed. I'm going to sell it and buy a K Sun or something else. But, the printed heat shrink itself is awesome. Nothing else compares.

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    A old school step up from the tape and sharpie, are those books of peel off cloth wire markers. Very convenient and fast. One brand is LEM and Mcmaster-Carr sells them under their name.

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    On some italian machines you find numbers pressed in or printed on over the full lenght of the wire
    I like that

    Peter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    Not the place to mention masking tape and sharpie then?
    Honestly nothing sucks worse than opening a panel and seeing a 1/4" of perished markers laying in the bottom. Personally i like the hot stamped plastic sleeves, also try and coordinate them with colored ferrels so i kinda double up and have a far better idea of whats there even with out reading the markers. if i did enough hot stamped heat shrink or the adhesive clear heat shrink over the top is the best, but it does not kinda play nicely on smaller gauge control wires like on PCB headers etc, though it is great for much of 1/4" and larger power or say Cat 5 style wiring. It also makes it easy to be a bit more descriptive in the label and that can really help things down the line.

    I have seen a couple of faults on nearly new equipment that had the details stamped too hard into the actual cable insulation damaged it and caused a short after just a couple of months light use in a pretty indoor nice environment.

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    On anything that is of 1/4 size and up, a regular size Sharpie will work great and will last for years. This is based on my many years cabling experience. Anything smaller diameter, you can make flagtype collars using light color electrical tape with sharpie.
    If you spend some money you can buy these:
    https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

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    We bought a pipe label printer from Duralabel. They sell self laminating wire marking material that is in a continuous roll. Makes labels as narrow as 1/2” and can do a 3” wide label if that is what it takes. Way cheaper than Brady and we do lots of pipe labels too.

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    I use a Rhino label maker with heat shrink tubing as my first choice. Second choice is a flag made from the extra-flexible label tape. Flags made from the normal label tapes eventually come unstuck due to creep.

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    I must say I am with the Rhino camp. They make a descent product; not to mention printing shrink tube. It does all I need but for how long? As far being a piece of gear that is going into the industrial market, on first blush it appears tough. More like engineered to play the part.
    So far I am not displeased but time will tell

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    I have a Brady BMP21 industrial label printer and it has a bunch of nice label material, and it's supposed to do heat shrink as well. I haven't purchased any because it is expensive and I haven't had a need yet, but if the other label stock is any indicator it is probably excellent. It's got a lot of nice options for electrical and automation symbols, and formats for flag type labels, circuit breakers, terminal blocks, etc. Seems well thought out.

    It eats batteries like nobody's business though. I put rechargeable AAs in it because it'd eat alkalines in a single day of shop reorganization.

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    I've used Brady handheld printers for 10 years for this application. The standard in substation control wiring is to use heat shrink tags but we do not shrink them, they are left loose so they can be rotated or slid down the wire if necessary. We use the standard Brady vinyl tape labels all over the place in substations and in oil refinery process units. As you can imagine there are places in process units where these labels won't last that long. Of the several thousand labels I've applied in refinery units in the last ten years, a few have been ruined by chemical exposure. Most still look brand new. The oldest one I am aware of is a junction box label that has a lot of sunlight exposure, it has been in place since 2005 and is faded somewhat.

    We used to have a dozen Brady IDXpert printers - they are now obsolete and have been slowly breaking. I now have a Brady BMP 21 for printing heat shrink wire tags and vinyl labels for relays, fuses, etc. I have a BMP 51 for larger vinyl tags and self-laminating wrap around type labels. The self-laminating labels work well for cables with connectors on the end where heat shrink labels will not fit. I use them for Cat-5 and fiber.

    Larger labels with big text will consume batteries rapidly. If I'm printing a lot of 1-1/2" labels with large, bold text I try to have the printer plugged in the wall. For wire tags the battery life is reasonable. I have rechargeable batteries for both of my printers and I carry alkaline AAs as a backup.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

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    I use a brother label maker and then clear shrink tube over that.
    low temp tubing avoids label damage

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    Quote Originally Posted by wippin' boy View Post
    I use a brother label maker and then clear shrink tube over that.
    low temp tubing avoids label damage
    Good idea, I used my Brother, but they didn’t stay on. Can you read them well under the clear heat shrink?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro


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