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Re: [TowerTalk] Numbered wires

To: "K8RI on Tower talk" <>,<>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Numbered wires
From: Jim Lux <>
Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2006 08:27:48 -0700
List-post: <>
At 08:07 AM 7/2/2006, K8RI on Tower talk wrote:

>----- Original Message -----
>From: <>
>To: <>
>Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 7:38 AM
>Subject: [TowerTalk] Numbered wires
> > Do you folks know where I can buy wire, with wire numbers printed every
> > few inches on the coating? I would need #16 rolls numbered 1 - 30 so I
> > don't have to waste time putting number stickers on the wires in a control
> > system.
>All I can tell you is that at one time they were available. I don't remember
>where we purchased them. (They are devilishly difficult to read on small
>wire sizes)
>We used to use those at work, but then realized we could purchase the colors
>with traces that did the same thing for a fraction of the cost.  I don't
>know if the numbered wires are available, but the colored ones with traces
>are.  Just follow the color code we used for resistors. Black = 0, Brown =
>1, Red = 2,  White with Brown trace = 11, White with Red trace = 12.  Red
>with Brown = 21.  IF you can find the base colors then you could st art with
>black plus the traces.
>This does have the drawback that some numbers are not available following
>this convention such as 22.  But wires are available with multiple traces as
>well. White with two traces   As I recall the price did go up with multiple
>traces and availability for some combinations was difficult to find.

You can do a wide trace and a narrow trace to get two digits.

>Custom wires are, or were available with numbers up into the hundreds, but
>they required large purchases and they were expensive.

That depends on who you buy it from (and what you consider expensive). I 
was surprised at how inexpensive it was to get a weird custom cable made 
up.  I was looking for something like copper braid over a rope core (coax 
without the inner dielectric and conductor) to replace 4/0 cable.  It was a 
high current, fast rise time application, so the copper in the middle was 
worthless because of skin effect.  It was actually cheaper to get my weird 
thing than it was to buy the 4/0, just because the processing was cheaper 
than the copper.

The process of putting the numbers in is not a whole lot different than 
those machines they wind the wire on at the hardware store that have the 
little roller that measures the length.  A skinny roller about 12-18 inches 
in circumference has little holes to put the type into and they heat it up, 
and run the wire through.  Doing a couple hundred feet takes about 5 
minutes, if you do it by hand, and we're not talking about a $100/hr person 
doing the work.  Most of the time is waiting for the type wheel to get hot.

However, as 'RI points out, little tiny printed numbers are pretty hard to 

I'd go for color stripes.  Cheaper, and readable from any side.


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