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post #1 of 4 Old 07-08-2018, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Labeling conventions

Does anyone have a reference to labeling conventions for low voltage wiring? Many years (and 3 houses ago) I wired an entire house and labeled all the wires according to a convention that identified location for the other end and probably other codes too. Unfortunately I can't find the reference source nor any document with a "map", so I'm guessing about how the cabling for that house was labeled. Much of the initial low voltage wiring for this house was installed by a contractor who used light colors and labeled wires just with the purpose (eg. SAT1), which was a good start. But I've done a lot since then. My labeling has been spotty and it's time to clean it up.

I can come up with some sort of convention, but I suspect I'll think of other things once I get started, so a reference would be helpful. Writing this and reading other threads makes me think that starting with masking tape, then adding Brother P-Touch labels when I figure out the convention would be the best plan.

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post #2 of 4 Old 07-09-2018, 07:22 AM
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I would figure out the convention first, and skip the masking tape.

My codes are super basic, and generally don't need a legend. Most of my cables start somewhere, and land in the mechanical room. Each has a purpose, and the label includes this. So, location, and purpose. If no purpose - then just location, and cable type. If multiple, then add #2 , #3 , etc.

In the FR, if cable starts and ends in the room, it's heading from the rack to the TV. Labels - 'TV LAN', 'TV Cat #1 ', 'TV Cat #2 '. Speaker cables in the FR - 'L', 'C', 'R', etc.

Distributed audio keypad category cables are labelled Audio KP + zone name (abbreviated). I usually ran 2 cat cables for each, so added #1 , #2 .

Zone speakers labelled by zone.

RG6 labelled by room, with/without #1 or #2 .

SW is subwoofer. FR AP is family room access point.

For security, you would get more complicated. Room name, plus wall (north/south/east/west), plus window number if multiple.

I don't know of a standard convention. Long names are expensive (Dymo labels are a ripoff, but they are what I've used (nylon)). I prefer a 'flag' wrap of the label on the cable, since all my cables are hidden, and they are very secure, and relatively easy to read. In a rack, if you care about appearance, go with the heat shrink labels.

Not sure if you found this cocoontech discussion -

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post #3 of 4 Old 07-09-2018, 10:04 AM
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Rule #1 in labeling, pick a scalable plan from the beginning and stick with it. Once you have than plan laid out do not change it at any point.

As a rule of thumbs for all of my projects I use the following generic labels for everything. Both sides of the cable get labeled as well as all the wall jacks. There is than an excel spreadsheet of what cabling lands in what rooms.

- Speakers (SPKR-XXX)
- Input/Source Cablings (AUD-XXX)

- Cat Cable (VID-XXX)

- Cat Cable (D-XXX)
- Phone, dedicated only (PH-XXX), typically this is all just labeled as Data and notes are make for what lines are actual phone lines.

I use a Zebra GT420Z thermal label printer (they can be found on eBay for $100 used) and the labels are purchased around $100 for 3000 labels (around the same price as 5 P-touch label rolls).

These labels offer 2 and 3 lines of data on each label so they get the cable label and often time I will put a friendly label on it as well such as (MBR Video Send, DTV IN FEED, etc).
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-09-2018, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks both @Neurorad and @sbarnesvta .

I think I will still use the masking tape as an interim. That's partly because I'm trying to make some adjustments to the OTA antenna wiring which is getting more confusing because I added an amplifying splitter (replacing Leviton passive splitter) and have to figure out which antenna of the two on the roof to use (temporary and permanent), how to cut some branches, and whether I need attenuation because of the differences I'm seeing. That doesn't itself make the permanent labeling less important, but it's probably going to take more time to settle down. I'm frustrated with trying to write on blue painting masking tape, so this is a good reason to make it easier for freezer labeling too.

I think the key points are the convention for the label on the wire itself and the spreadsheet to add more detail. Yes, labels are expensive, and not all cables are light enough to write on. So using a skinny font and 2 lines (that's what my printer does) will help. I do have some cables with intermediate termination (a mini box behind all the cabinet with the equipment in the living room) where the colors change, so some way to document the path will help - probably in the spreadsheet.

Thanks for the cocoontech link also. I did find a reference to a cocoontech page earlier, but the link was broken. That kind of convention is similar to what I used 20 years ago.

I'm sure it's obvious to everyone, but this is a project that's much easier done when the wiring is installed, and augmented when additions are done.
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