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Pedantic question - loop, fold or cut messy cables?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Colgate7110, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. Colgate7110

    Colgate7110
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    Hi folks,

    This is a pretty anal question but I've recently bought an Optimum AV400 rack and loaded it up with all the kit in my signature but it's amazing how you can spend a stack of cash on some great kit for it to look a bit guff with cables oozing out of every corner.

    It's all routed through my 3805 and I've compared the PQ on my PD30 of direct component connection versus amp-switched connections and either my TV's not brilliant enough to highlight a difference (and I'm obsessed with PQ, so believe me, I'm looking for it) or the 3805 switches with near-zero impact.

    I've managed to run the video cables to the consoles at the other side of the rack in a straight line through a conduit so that's fine but I have 7 power cords, running 2 to each shelf and 1 to the TV on top. The cables that run to the PS2, Xbox and Pioneer freeview unit are all fitted with the small 2 pin IEC-320 C7 connectors while the amp and DVD terminate in 3 pin IEC 320 C13 connectors.

    Here's the problem - the power cables are a mess and black cables under or behind a glass rack on a cream carpet doesn't work... How can I sort these out? As far as I can see it, there are 2 options:

    1. Shorten the cables - I had thought about lopping the plug off, shortening the cable length to just what I need with a few inches of slack and then just bundling the cables vertically up to each appliance, or

    2. Leave the cables the length they are but just tidy each one individually by looping them or such like.

    Here's my concern - I remember from my physics lessons of yesteryear that passing a current through a coiled cable generates a magnetic field and heat, the heat aspect also prompting extension reel manufacturers to advise you to fully extend the reel before use.

    As such, if I tie each cable into a smallish loop and place them under the rack in front of the mains block, would the heat or EM field interfere with the performance of the overall system, particularly if the cables run near my amp? Or would the effect be so negligible that I'd never notice?

    Alternatively, I thought of folding the cables, i.e. flattening the loops - does any of it make a difference?

    Same question for optical digital cables - loop, fold, no difference?

    Thanks for any tips guys!

    Colin
     
  2. Peridot

    Peridot
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    Personally I'd cut the plugs off and keep the length to the minimum required.

    However the heating effect of looping the cables is only an issue for multiple loops like, as you say, on an extension lead, and where the current being drawn is close to the design rating of the cable.

    Optical cables should be coiled in as large a loop as practical to avoid damage to the optical fibres.

    _______________________
    Dermot
     
  3. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    Most power cables on AV systems don't carry enough current to create a heat build-up problem. You can cut the power plugs off and shorten for neatness, although this could compromise the sale if you wanted to re-sell.
     
  4. Colgate7110

    Colgate7110
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    Cheers guys,

    It looks like I'll probably shorten the cables this weekend. These are just cheap pack-in power cables so I'm not worried about the resell value - I've got a few of the C13 kettle leads lying around from various PCs over the years and I can probably pick up the smaller C7 leads for a few quid on line if I need to replace them too. With the exception of the TV, none of the leads are hardwired into the device - if only all devices were built this way... I'd be less keen to cut a Russ Andrews PowerKord down but I don't have to worry about that yet :D

    Thanks again - how did I survive before I found AV Forums? ;)

    Colin
     

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