• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Wire Labelling

Status
Not open for further replies.
Jan 4, 2006
2,654
Hunter 310 Island Hunter West Vancouver, B.C.
Has anyone come up with a good product for labelling electrical wiring which lasts ?

I am ready to give up and just photograph each and every wire on the boat and then write the description on the prints.

I have gone cheap with various types of adhesive tape to expensive with adhesive printed wrap around labels. They all wind up gummy and laying under the wire after about 2-3 years. I did see a Dymo tape writer today for $106.00 and the tape was $45.00 which included clear heat shrink to go around it. It might work but a bit pricey for the non-professional.

Pre-printed numbered and lettered labels may be high-tech but their adhesives are definitely no-tech :eek:.

Thanks for your help as always.
 
Mar 6, 2008
486
Catalina 1999 C36 MKII #1787 Coyote Point Marina, CA.
I use a piece of plastic - similar to the plastic that -FOR SALE signs are made out of - and I cut pieces of about 1"X2" and use permanent marker to label them then punch a hole using a paper punch then use small tie-wraps and connect them to the cables.
 
Jan 22, 2008
7,269
Beneteau 323 Annapolis MD
Office supply places have round tags meant for keys, I believe. They are a fiber of some sort with a hole that a wire goes through. There are the plain fiber, then there are the tougher ones with a metal edging.
 
Feb 6, 1998
11,112
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
Has anyone come up with a good product for labelling electrical wiring which lasts ?

I am ready to give up and just photograph each and every wire on the boat and then write the description on the prints.

I have gone cheap with various types of adhesive tape to expensive with adhesive printed wrap around labels. They all wind up gummy and laying under the wire after about 2-3 years. I did see a Dymo tape writer today for $106.00 and the tape was $45.00 which included clear heat shrink to go around it. It might work but a bit pricey for the non-professional.

Pre-printed numbered and lettered labels may be high-tech but their adhesives are definitely no-tech :eek:.

Thanks for your help as always.
Ralph,

This is easy. for Duplex wire or battery cable size individual wires I use a Brother P-Touch machine with the TZ labels. The TZ labels do not turn black with a heat gun like the basic labels do.

I then go over the label with clear heat shrink. I have yet to have a single label fail.

For duplex and larger wire I also write under the label in sharpie marker:


Label applied:


Slide on the clear heat shrink:


Shrink with a heat gun:



For individual single strands in the 14 - 12GA size, like on a breaker or behind a panel, I use Ideal Wire Marker Booklet #44-103 numbers. You can then go over the number with a 1/2" length of clear heat shrink....

Even on small wires you can still use the P-Touch and TZ labels as I have done with this battery switch.



Labeling things is key...
 
Sep 25, 2008
1,052
CS 30 Toronto
Wire labeling

I use the telecom technician's method. Yes I worked for a phone company before.

The wire are labeled with a number (both ends) with wire beads. You can get them from electrical supply house. Just a digit printed on a tube of varying sizes. You combine a few to form a number.

The master circuit diagram shows the number on the wire. Pretty simple. You don't need to relabel if you move the wire to a different terminal.

I did the same to the house and label all the switches and sockets like that too. Much easier to identify which circuit breaker to flip. Just go to any commercial building you'll see some numbers printed or mounted on switches and sockets.
 

Attachments

Tim R.

.
May 27, 2004
3,626
Caliber 40 Long Range Cruiser Portland, Maine
I like the Brady labeling system. The labels are double size and have a clear section that wraps over top of the printed section. They are nearly impossible to remove without a sharp knife. Very expensive though. Luckily I have one at work. Very common in the telecom industry.

 

MSter

.
Apr 12, 2010
131
Sabre 38' MK II Oriental, NC
I can't see any way to use this for wires that have their terminal connections already in place. Certainly looks like the way to go for new wires though.
Mster
 
Dec 28, 2009
397
Macgregor M25 trailer
Digikey, FP-301, or Kynar Q-150K.

I prefer the FP-301 a bit les expensive and more sizes.

Fred Villiard
 
Jun 6, 2006
6,982
Hunter 40.5 Harrington Harbor North, MD
MS showing off again!!!!
Always the tour-de-force with MS. "To......", "From...."
I just numbered the wires then had a list of what the numbers meant. Had to rely on common sense to determine which end of the wire I was dealing with. ie the wire supplying power to the pressure water pump would be labeled..... hey I did not label it as it was screwed to the pressure water pump circuit breaker.
I guess my observation is if you are looking at some wire running through the engine spaces coming from somewhere forward and headed to somewhere aft do i really care which wire it is???? I'm certainly not going to cut it or do maintenance on it at that location AND if you can't figure out what that big wire attached to the "B" terminal of the battery selector switch is you probably don't have any business messing with the wiring.
Come on guys, is this really important enough to devote this kind of time and effort to??? I'd rather be sailing
 
Jun 6, 2006
6,982
Hunter 40.5 Harrington Harbor North, MD
Lest you think I'm harsh
MS provides a service to folks that do not necessarily know (or care) where the wires go so that makes him a professional for realizing that when the stuff hits the fan while out on the wide blue sea they will have some hope of figuring things out.
 

Tim R.

.
May 27, 2004
3,626
Caliber 40 Long Range Cruiser Portland, Maine
I like using actual device names in place of numbered wires. No diagram to decipher when you need to trace something quick. Although I do have a diagram to understand interconnectivity.
 

Attachments

Feb 6, 1998
11,112
Canadian Sailcraft 36T Casco Bay, ME
Lest you think I'm harsh
MS provides a service to folks that do not necessarily know (or care) where the wires go so that makes him a professional for realizing that when the stuff hits the fan while out on the wide blue sea they will have some hope of figuring things out.
Some things you really have to number because the wires are just too small. this however does not mean the customer will retain the schematic thus making the numbers somewhat useless.....:doh:

I did learn long ago however that people like it when the wires are identified as to where they go to, or come from. It does also makes things easier when the $hit hits the fan for not just my customers but also the over the phone trouble shooting when necessary.

This summer I had a customer who had his starter button stick on and leave the starter engaged. Not a good situation! The first thing he did was kill the motor and shut down the battery switch, as I had taught him to in the event of an electrical issue..

He then called me and described from the cove they were in to describe the symptoms. Because the wires were clearly labeled and properly fused I was able to walk him through it easily and over the phone. He was able to fix the issue in a far away place and continue sailing. A little squirt of Boeshield, in the right places, and the starter button got him through the rest of the trip until I could replace it...
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,886
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
I like using actual device names in place of numbered wires. No diagram to decipher when you need to trace something quick. Although I do have a diagram to understand interconnectivity.
Numbers? Hard to deal with without a wiring diagram.

Each end? Sure, why not?

I find it hard to conceive that anyone with a boat with an electrical system WOULDN'T, COULDN'T, DIDN'T simply find the time to either have or make a wiring diagram and KEEP A COPY ON THE %&%#@ boat. Really, what's so hard about that? Maybe all of three to four pages, one if you're good at diagrams. :D The diagram will NOT do you ANY good if it's home and you're on the boat.

Then labeling each wire at each end (where necessary - Bill's idea about the C post of the switch is a good one).

I am far far far from doing the kind of great detailing that Maine Sail does (professionally) but I have drawn almost all the wiring on my boat and labeled most of it (with sharpies on masking tape! :doh:- crude, but it works). I label the purpose and where necessary where the wire goes.

In almost all electrical questions, one of the first things we do is ask for a wiring diagram. If you don't have one, make one --- it's like eating an elephant: do a little at a time. Why? 'Cuz it's like a maintenance LOG or any other LOG book you have (sailing or business or the rest of your life) - you simply can't remember everything, it's good for reference, and doing one will make/help you understand your system, whatever it is, a LOT better.

Maine Sail's example is a good one. And if someone ever borrowed my boat and had an issue, I could walk them right through it, too.
 

kenn

.
Apr 18, 2009
1,271
CL Sandpiper 565 Toronto
Clear heat-shrink over a P-Touch label is the gold-standard, for sure. It's absolutely worth it for wires that are important or will be accessed frequently, like battery connections, mast interconnects, or where there's the possibility of confusing which wire is which.

I have a roll of the Brady markers. I like them and they do tend to last, but it seems that the last 1/4" always unsticks and gathers dirt.
 
Mar 20, 2012
3,983
Cal 34-III, MacGregor 25 Salem, Oregon
these are quick, easy and fairly permanent. they are available in different sizes.... from 4'' to 10".
link here cable ties with built in tag
just use a fine line permanent marker to write whatever you want on the tag...
I use these and "the wrap around and over itself" tape, and the clear heat shrink tube all in different applications and they are all excellent methods depending on the environment where the wiring is located...
 

Attachments

Sep 25, 2008
1,052
CS 30 Toronto
The wiring diagram is stuck to the wall near the breaker panel.

There is a binder for all the documents and manuals on board near the nav station. If the next owner can't find it, too bad isn't it.
 
Jan 4, 2006
2,654
Hunter 310 Island Hunter West Vancouver, B.C.
Thanks to All .................................

..................... for your many suggestions. I see solutions for both heavier cables running from batteries to ? ? ? ? as well as other solutions for the myriad of lighter wires wandering around in the breaker panel.

Hate to disagree Bill, but I feel it mandatory to have either a number or descriptive name for each and every wire as it leaves batteries or other power sources at the terminals. I've had far too many adventures where just identifying the wire represents 90% of the effort when trying to decide if you can tie into it. Wires without ID are a headache. And yes, I'd rather be sailing as well but it's winter here in Canada :evil: :cry: :cussing: :ass: :bang:

So it's off to the suppliers and B.O.A.T.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.