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Labelling cables has never been so much fun…

June 16, 2012

Yes I really said that.

In my last post I mentioned a mad French consultant who introduced me to APC server racks.  He also introduced me to the Brady IDEXPERT label making machine.

Now I know what you are thinking, how good can a label making machine really be? Well, check out this bad boy!

This first thing to note is it’s pretty big, it isn’t something you can use with one hand. The second thing to note is IT IS YELLOW!  This isn’t a piece if kit you are going to misplace in your comms room!  In fact, the colour is so bright I highly recommend wearing a pair of shades any time you are within 20 metres of it.

Oh and did I mention it costs £400?  And the printer rolls cost £80 each!

If label makers were cars then a Dymo would be a Ford Ka and this bad boy would be a Lamborghini Gallardo (which incidentally is available in exactly the same colour).

So what’s so great about it?

Put your thumb in front of your face and look at it.  Now imagine a label for a CAT6 cable that is the size of the upper portion of your thumb from your knuckle to your finger tip.  The label is clear except for the  5mm or so at the very tip of your thumb (enough for two lines of text) which is white, the print is black.

Now you take the end of the label with the text and stick it onto the cable.  You wrap the rest of the label all the way around the cable so it wraps all the way around and some more.  As most of the label is clear when this wraps over the printed part of the label you can still read the label.  The wrapping over part securely fastens the label to the cable and also protects the written part of the label.

If your a bit hazy on this here is a picture…

Seriously folks once attached these labels are great.  They don’t snag and there is no chance they will fall off over time.  If you need to remove a label you can but be warned over time they do set like stone so can be a little bit tricky to remove (you certainly won’t be finding them stuck to your shoe as you walk out of the data centre).

The mad French consultant told me if they get really stuck you can always remove them with a hair dryer.  You might get a few funny looks from your colleagues pulling one out of your desk drawer though!

The labels come in a range of sizes and colours and they sell some which are outdoor rated.  We used them for labelling cables, servers and racks so ended up with quite a few different cartridges.  Oh and the cartridges contain both the labels and the ink.

Although a bit fiddly to remove the labels from CAT6 cables I highly recommend these label printers.  There is a bit of a knack to attaching them to CAT6 cables (a bit like rolling your own cigarette if you ever tried that) but for me that is the enjoyable bit.

Finally, if you have a big labelling job to do you can plug them into your PC and print a heap of labels from Excel.  I didn’t try this but it is nice to know the feature is there.

Would you spend several hundred pounds on a labelling solution?  Let me know!

C

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From → Data Centre

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