What type of wiring solutions do you all use? We have a ton of loose wiring laying around that is beginning to become a mess. What solutions have you all found work best for you? What about for wire on rolls? Thanks
Get yoself something like this:
Easy to pop out a spool if you need to, or just pull off the amount you need and snip.
We built a rack on top of our electrical cart for wire roles. Tough to find a picture of it, but you can see it in the background below. Essentially, we created an A frame with 1x1 tubing and sheet metal gussets. Bolt on of those to each side of the cart, with another “floating” in the middle (due to the width - we thought the round tubing would end up bending). line up holes in them - one near the top, another ~3/4 of the way down the front leg, and run through 1/2" steel tubing, secured with shaft collars on either end. It’s spaced out so our larger rolls (10 and 14 gauge) fit on the top bar, while smaller roles (signal wire) fit on the bottom. And since the cart itself is portable and designed to go to competition, we always bring our full supply of wire with us!
For stuff like PWM cables, or power cables for the radio, etc… we try to keep them organized in a tupperware box that comes to competition with us as well (it fits inside the door on the electrical cart). But that can get a little messy!
One key is to avoid being a packrat. You don’t need to keep every scrap of used or trimmed wire - it’s ok to toss it when you’re only talking a buck per foot!
To add on to this, get Red/Black Bonded Zip Cord Easy ID Low Voltage Cable | Powerwerx, it’s great but weight can be an issue. While not necessarily what you were asking for, zip cord just makes life easier when wiring. In terms of actual storage, we have a large bin where we keep all electronics related materials that comes out when we need to wire up the robot and used to organize it with a rack like Troy posted.
WCP also has bonded silicone wire now (the real flexy stuff that comes wired into speed controllers). It’s near impossible to find normally, but fantastic to have around for tight spots: WCP - Wire
Nice, that is quite the premium though. Is it worth the extra cost?
Something like this. Build one to suit your needs.
Is wire not on a spool even a thing?
A million years ago I used leftover stock to build the “Handy Manny” for the electrical team to store their wire, hardware, and tools. Here’s a CAD screenshot.
Here’s the only photo I could easily find of what stuff goes where. Most of our usual electronics tools fit in the side pockets, crimps and components went in our standard boxes in the middle, and wire spools lived on the hex shaft all the way across.
This took me about an afternoon to make and has proven super valuable to keep everything in order. Standardize your electrical setup and throw out the junk you’ll never use.
The yellow tote (remember that?) is filled with various lengths of wire and cable, coiled and placed in no particular order. The few of us who need wire, know where it is.
Of course that was before our stuff got moved, I have no idea if we still have a yellow tote or not, or where it might be.
Another method that I haven’t seen described here is pegs, much like ones used by seamstresses to store bobbins:
The pegs will have to be much bigger, of course, but this solution allows one to move spools around without having to move/unload other wires (in the event that storage is not portable or near the work surface).
It is definitely worth the cost to use the silicone wire for wire snakes on elevators or turrets. I would use standard wire everywhere that flexibility is not a premium.
As far as the bonded wire, that is really a personal preference. We buy individual spools of the silicone wire on Amazon and it is more reasonably priced, but not as neat as the bonded wire.
If i thought we would end up with a cleaner wiring job, I would buy it. But I don’t think this is our issue.
My favorite tip for organizing wires is to get rid of wire you don’t need and limit the types of wire you use on the robot.
The vast majority of wire on a Spectrum robot is one of 4 types.
- 4 AWG
- 12 AWG silicone
- 18 AWG 2 conductor monoprice cooper speaker wire
- 22 AWG 4 conductor security system wire
It’s very easy to keep these either in plastic bags or in a few spools in a bin with our other wiring/electrical items.
Given the low number of types of wire you should be dealing with. This guy is great.
Working in electrical for 8 years, I’ve used a variaty of racks and rolling carts and this guy wins for me.
Never tips over like rolling carts have on me.
Heavy when fully loaded, but you never move that far with it.
Rolling carts are nice for moving long distances until you hit stairs and other obstacles, then it’s a lot of dead weight.
Don’t get me wrong, rollers are nice and have their place, but this guy is very versatile and cheap.
(I’m replying to @AllenGregoryIV post because of the amazing response of “get rid of the wire you don’t need”. You’re life will be so much easier when you do!)
I like the simplicity of this, and the fact that it can hold the tools as well.
This is the wire (brand) we use:
Decent price. Silicon wire shouldn’t be used everywhere though. It’s easy to cut the sleeve off. Don’t put it in pinch areas. Most other places should be fine though
These ideas are all great - any suggestions to pneumatic tubing as well?
Most of the time pneumatic tubing can be combined with the wiring in these storage solutions, just curious if the extra bend radius changes things.
We use a dolly type of thing that has bars going accost it that we put our spools of wire on so they are all there and we can get to them easy and take what we need. It is a really beefy dolly so moving it isn’t terribly hard. the bars just have cotter pins on the ends to keep them on so we pop off one of the pins and swap a spool really easily when we need to
A year or two ago we build a rolling wiring center to house spools of wire, electrical tools, heat gun and heat shrink, plastic trays of ferrules and Anderson PowerPoles, etc. We can just roll it around to wherever it is needed. It’s large enough to be stable and not tippy but small enough to fit through a regular 36" door way and roll up and down hallways, etc. if needed. Wire spools are organized on the sides. Built in work surface with all manner of wire strippers, crimpers, cutters, etc. racked and easily accessible. Solder station can be brought out and used on the top work surface as needed. The only issue is we haven’t found a nifty way to organize and store various sizes and colors of heat shrink neatly. It just kinda unspools into a birds nest pile usually in the cabinet underneath. We would welcome suggestions on wrangling heat shrink tubing into a manageable and well organized system.