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How to Keep Your PLC Programming Cables Organized

Article ID: 56
Last updated: 13 Jun, 2004

This might be hard to believe, but I've been around automation for 10 years. In that 10 year period I have learned that organization is a must for everything, even your programming cables. There is nothing more frustrating than being in a hurry to catch a last minute flight and trying to find a programming cable for the PLC you need to program onsite somewhere. Working for a machine integrator a lot of times we don't have the luxury of dealing with one PLC type. Integrators often find themselves meeting the PLC specifications of many different companies. With the need of meeting those different specifications generally comes along the need to stock and have every single PLC programming cable for every different make and model of PLC we might need to program.

When I first started programming a long time ago, I use to throw all of our cables into a cabinet drawer and what a mess that was trying to untangle all the programming cables, let alone trying to find the correct one that you need for the PLC I was trying to program that day. Luckily I found an easy way to help me organize. I turned to the good old filing cabinet and found some OXFORD folders. Part number #12200. Here was a quick Google search I did: 

After purchasing some file folders that sort of have a pocket design, I began sorting PLC cables into each folder. Then I stuck them into a filing cabinet.





One thing that I'll admit, I am always in a hurry so I never really took time to make up really nice computer generated labels for each folder, hand written headers was always good enough for me. But the cable folders ARE in alphabetical order. Anyway, I think from the pictures you can see how this is a pretty good time saver for sure if you are hunting down programming cables. Just remember to put them back where you got them when you are finished.

Article ID: 56
Last updated: 13 Jun, 2004
Revision: 1
Views: 25861
Comments: 6
This article was:   Helpful | Not helpful
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Michael Cyboran | 12 Aug, 2004 12:00 AM
I would go one step further. When you are going on a trip or even just out to a machine on the floor, chances are you will need more than one cable. One for a camera, display, PLC, servo, etc. You may be able to get them out of the drawer easily but keeping them untangled is another issue. Put each cable in a labeled ziplock bag with a hole punched in it. This keeps them organized and easy to carry. The hole in the bag keeps them from taking to much space from air in the bag.
Posted: 13 years 9 months ago   | Permalink
Jesus Guillen | 08 Sep, 2004 12:00 AM
Another way to keep your cables is keeping them with color-coded velcro tapes for each one it was useful for me.
Posted: 13 years 8 months ago   | Permalink
James Horejs | 26 Aug, 2005 12:00 AM
After doing system integration for 25 years, my method of organization is to put all of my cables, neatly coiled with twist-ties, in a small camera "gadget bag". I also lable them for the application. Prior to my trip, I put the ones I know I will need in one pocket, yet still bring all of the rest (I probably don't have as many as some of you.) One other bit of advice for all: Protect those cable ends! I've gotten burned by having a cable in a case with something heavy that deforms the sub-D shell or bends / breaks the pins. A small hard plastic case for the more fragile cables works. Another method is a small snap-cover case that you can notch out for the cable, but still protects the connector.
Posted: 12 years 8 months ago   | Permalink
Noe Ascencio | 16 Oct, 2006 12:00 AM
I'd been not as long as you have, but I always thinked the same about organization. More when you are 3 co-workers that use the same equipment as you and doesn't have any memory if they used it lastly. I ended up markinn and organizing as you are, but I use a set of cards, each one says our name, so we can put that card instead of the cable and know how took the cable.

Just wanted to share this, that solved the old question: Who took it?...
Posted: 11 years 7 months ago   | Permalink
Brian Toro | 25 Feb, 2007 12:00 AM
I keep a 12 ft straight cable and then have short 1 ft crossover patches based on what kind of pinout or shell style I need. This drastically reduces the space you need to keep and its nice having a 13 ft programming cable.
Posted: 11 years 2 months ago   | Permalink
Bryan Moody | 12 Aug, 2007 12:00 AM
Use quart zip lock bags to keep all your cables separated. They pack well, prevent tangling, and you can write on them as to the contents. Use the freezer bags as they are thicker than the storage bags.
Posted: 10 years 9 months ago   | Permalink

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