Instead of two separate tips this week, here’s one that applies to both computers and multimedia.
A Better Way to Coil Cables
We’ve all been frustrated by knots and twists in cables, rope, hoses, or extension cords when trying to undo a wrapped coil. Fortunately there is a way to wrap the cables/rope/hoses so that they don’t get all tangled.
The problem comes from what happens when you coil up a cable in the first place. For each loop in the coil, the cable is twisted one time around (unless it is rolled up on a spool). By the time you get to the end of a long cable, that is a lot of twists, and because the force they create within the cable has to go somewhere it usually ends up in twists and knots.
To prevent this from happening, you can wrap the cable in such a way that every twist that is added is also negated with a twist in the opposite direction. It is a little hard to explain, but I’ll attempt it anyway. Here are the steps:
1. Start with the end of the cable in your hand. To make the following steps easier to describe I’m going to assume the cable is in your right hand, with the end facing away from you.
2. Grab the remaining portion of the cable (let’s call it the “tail”) with your left hand, palm downward. Bring this hand straight over to your right hand, palms facing each other. This creates a loop with the tail on the outside of the bundle.
3. For the next loop, grab the tail with your left hand, this time with your palm facing upward. Give your left hand a clockwise turn so that your palms are both facing the same direction (toward the left), and add the newly created loop to the bundle. The “tail” will be coming from inside the bundle, between the existing portion of the bundle and the new loop you just created. This will undo the twist created in step 2 because it adds a twist in the opposite direction.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have reached the end of the cable.
It is a lot harder to describe than it actually is to do. But what you’ll end up with is a bundle of cable that won’t knot up. And when you need to un-wind it, just grab one end and throw the bundle; it should come undone very neatly.
This technique also drastically reduces the amount of damage that is done to cables and ropes from being wrapped in a twisted fashion. They’ll last a lot longer and look a lot better.
Here are some sample videos I found on the Internet demonstrating this technique:
And some pictures: