or how to do, make or repair just about anything!
Strands make a wire. Wires make a cable.
Click on any picture for a bigger version. Use your browser's "back" button to return to this page. Click here to print this page without advertising.
Cabtyre or flex
Tools and things for this job
When joining these cables try to cut the wires in such a way that the joints are offset to each other to prevent the completed joint becoming too thick.
Never twist the two bared wires together into a little tail, unless you are using Scru-its for insulation, as this will make the join unnecessarily thick and strands may stick through the insulation causing a short-circuit, but turn them around each other horizontally and solder the join (See:How to solder).
Slip shrink sleeving of the correct thickness over the wire before joining and heat the sleeving one wire at a time. If you are using insulation tape also insulate each wire as you join it. Do not break off the tape around each wire but wrap it around the wires as you join. Complete the join by wrapping all the wires together. Try to stretch the tape as much as possible to ensure good adhesion of the tape to itself.
Special waterproof joiners are now also available
for cabtyre. Another alternative is to use connecting blocks
but these are difficult to insulate.
Joining different types of cable
Flex or ripcord, telephone extension cables and thin ripcords are fixed most neatly to a wall or along a skirting using a special clear adhesive available from security shops, hardware stores and electrical dealers. Run a thin bead of glue for about one and a half meters and push the flex into the glue with a screwdriver but be sure not to apply too much pressure as this can stretch the wire unnecessarily. Before going round a corner it is a good idea to let the glue set for about 5 minutes or longer to prevent the already stuck cable from pulling away from the wall. Thicker cabtyre and aerial cable can also be secured in this way but only if the cable runs in a corner or next to a wall on a skirting.
Plastic cable clips, both flat and round, fitted with a steel pin suitable for all materials, are available in a multitude of sizes but, unfortunately, only in white. Push the clip over the cable (it should be a tight fit) and hammer the nail into the wall or other surface. Place a clip approximately every 60 cm if the cable runs on a vertical or overhead surface. On horizontal surfaces a clip every 1 to 2,5 metres will suffice.
For cable thicker than 16 mm outside diameter it is better to use saddles. If the cable is to be fixed to masonry work small nail-in anchors are available for this purpose. (See fasteners and glues.)
As the strands of all cables and wires are twisted clockwise in the manufacturing
process they should always be coiled or rolled up left-handedly. This is not
a big problem when using extension reels but when the extension is coiled
in the hand one end should be held in the left hand and loops placed in a
clockwise direction. Should the cable you are coiling make “figure of eight”
loops the coiling direction will be wrong and you should start again. This will
prevent kinks in the inner cable which can, with time, become extremely dangerous
or simply break leaving you with a useless extension cable. Never coil wires
around your hand and elbow! You will not be able to see when you are coiling
the wrong way and you could also get your forearm tied to your upper arm.
A very uncomfortable situation!
Another way of storing shorter extensions is to place large loops in your left hand in a clockwise direction holding both sides of the loop together. Take one of the loops and wrap it twice round the coil about a third from one end. Finally insert the wrapping loop through the small eye of the coil and pull tight. Hang the coil by this loop.
Flat surfix cable
Flex or ripcord
To prevent a sudden disconnection when joining two extensions or plugging into an extension, knot the two cables together with a simple knot before plugging in.
Always buy extension cables, ladders, rope and garden hose longer than you think you will need!