Best ways to label wires

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Dawud Beale, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Dawud Beale

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 10, 2012
    Hi Everyone.

    Just wondered what different methods people use to label their cables/wires so you know what which wire does what. Sometimes I find colour coding isn't sufficient and it's good to have some labels indicating the purpose of a wire. I was thinking about just using white sticky labels but wasn't sure if there were any better methods being used by anyone else.
  2. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
    go to an electrical supply house, they have numbers and letters in little rolls, adhiesive backed that are used for marking wires and cables. there are also tyewraps available with "flags" that can be written on to mark cables.
    I use color coded wire, orange for +5, red for +12, and such for wireing inside projects, takes up less space.
  3. kubeek


    Sep 20, 2005
    Depends on the size of the project, there are standard industrial labels available that you clip on wires, there is the DYMO label printer which is quite useful but not a very cheap investment, or as you noted you can use your own stickers but those might not stand very well to old age, dust, weather etc.
    cmartinez likes this.
  4. MaxHeadRoom


    Jul 18, 2013
    There is a multitude of methods, depends if this is a one-off or a couple of projects or for fairly continous use.
    If you google wire markers you will see a raft of methods, T&B are in to it fairly good,
    The methods the a Railways use is quite a permanent method which involves separate indented character sleeves the slide over the wire, but it very laborious.
    cmartinez likes this.
  5. Lestraveled

    Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2014
    +1 on T+B markers. My two favorites are the rolls/sheets of preprinted number/letters and the laser printable labels. Good stuff.
  6. Roderick Young


    Feb 22, 2015
    I would caution against use of a normal tape label printer, such as those made by Casio, Brother, etc., if the wires must be in a hot environment. We used this type of labeler for test configurations in the computer room, and it worked well in the controlled environment. When I tried to use the same in our attic, the labels peeled off in the summer heat.
  7. jpanhalt


    Jan 18, 2008
    I have used a few methods. The pre-printed numbers and letters are nice, but then you have to keep an index or log for them. Masking tape gets either dry or gooey. Last year I tried ZipTape Rite&Wrap:

    Each marker label has a white area you can write on -- ball point, marker, soft pencil. For the 3/4" x 1-1/4" label, the writing area is 3/4" x 5/16" . The tail is clear. You then wrap it around the wire. with the tail going around last. That gives protection to the writing. The back of the white area also has adhesive, so you can put them on as flags. They have been on wiring for my furnace for about a year, have not gotten gooey or hard, and are readable. They do stick tightly, so getting them off without a #11 blade can be hard, unless you have good fingernails.

    Here's a link to one of several American vendors. I believe Amazon and regular electronic parts houses sell them too.|pdv|c|&gclid=CIfhwL3Q2coCFYVAaQodJ1IAxQ

  8. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    Brady label systems can print on shrink tube label material.
    shortbus likes this.
  9. ian field

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
    Another alternative is little PVC numbered "cuffs". They are extruded and wound on a reel like wire, but sliced part way through so you can just twist one off the end when you need it. There are various types, some are stretchy enough to suit a range of diameters while others have gussets and can accommodate more diameters.

    Some are colour coded as well as numbered.
  10. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
    I do something similar. I bought a couple lengths of white shrink tubing. Cut a short piece of it and shrink it to the wire insulation. Then using a Pigma Micron 005 pen write the number or name on it.
  11. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    The wire cutter/stripper we use also has a laser writer that literally writes any text you desire at any increment along the wire.

    That's what we use at work, can you tell we do a lot of hand wiring jobs?
  12. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
    When still working, at Delphi/Packard, they used engraved wheels with a concave edge to print on the wires. This was spark plug wire though.