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Cable Safe Cable Manager

Cable Safe Cable Manager

Supplied by Cable-Safe


Look under your computer desk. There lay the spaghetti tangle of cables. It may only be power bar, monitor, modem, mouse and keyboard cables or it may be something more daunting. The clutter of cables under a PC desk has become somewhat of a fixture in our lives and it’s a mess that is usually ignored rather than dealt with.

Cable-Safe says otherwise. The Cable Manager and optional Expansion Kit solve the problem of the tangled weave of computer cables by lifting cables off the floor and organizing them into a tidy wall-mounted or desk-mounted caddy.

cable_manager_box

The starting point is the Cable Manager kit which can organize up to 12-14 cables, secure 3-4 small devices (such as an electrical power pack or router hub) and provide hangers for 1-2 power strips. Cable-Safe promises that a mess under a desk can go from this…

wall_before

…to this .

wall_after

That may be easy for 6 or 7 cables and a power strip but our challenge was a little bit more…overwhelming. One of the Short-Media main labs features 3 PCs with:

  • 2 monitor power cables
  • 2 VGA cables
  • 1 mouse power pack
  • 1 router power pack
  • 1 modem power pack
  • 3 PSU power cables
  • 2 cable vision BnC cables
  • Left and Right speaker wires
  • Stereo patch cable (from sound card to stereo amplifier)
  • 4 VGA-Mouse-Keyboard KVM cables
  • 2 monitor VGA cables
  • 4 Cat5 cables
  • 1 printer USB cable
  • 1 USB mouse cable
  • 1 USB keyboard cable
  • 1 rather large power bar

That’s nearly 30 cables shoved under the desk and, till this moment, shamefully ignored.

before_ws

before_powerbar_pc_case

It’s embarrassing to admit this monstrosity lurks under the desk collecting cobwebs and dustbunnies. Three to four times the usual amount of cables would test the capacity of the Cable-Safe Cable Manager.

What’s in the box

cable_manager_box

The Cable Manager kit is simple to assemble and install. The kit contains:

  • 1 DeskClamp
  • 1 CableTrack
  • 3 CableHooks
  • 18 CableStraps
  • 1 Cable Label Sheet
  • 4 Cable Guides
  • 3 Bungee Straps
  • 1 Alcohol Pad
  • 4 Screws
  • 1 Instruction Sheet

The three cable hooks (left side of the following image and shown in the upside down configuration) clip into the rectangular bracket. The bracket can be screwed to a wall or desk. It can also clip into the stanchion bracket which can clip onto an desk edge, cable grommet hole or also be screwed to the underside of a desk. The rectangular bracket can clip to either side of the stanchion bracket.

cm_bracket_parts

The cable hooks easily clip into one of four four areas on the rectangular bracket. The cable hooks can be positioned anywhere along the one of the four 2 and a quarter inch tracks. Note that the “hooks” of the cable hooks are to be on the lower side of the cable hook post. The flat “upper” surface provides the resting place for any external devices.

cu_clip_in_pos_01

cu_clip_in_pos_02

The stanchion jaws are padded to protect the desk. The orange lever is in the locked position in the following image. The lever, when flipped from open (down) to closed (up), tightens the jaws to secure the stanchion to a desk. (6 following images courtesy of Cable-Safe website)

clamp_on_edge

There are a few configurations depending on the organization task at hand.

CS-Post

cm_unloaded

CS-UniKit

The rectangular bracket can also be screwed directly to a vertical surface such as a wall.

track_screws

The entire process is supposed to progress like the following animation courtesy of the Cable-Safe website.

anim_cable-safe

Cable-Safe also includes basic instructions and color/pattern coded labels.

instructions_labels

There are three self-adhesive sticker that are pattern and color coded to dot stickers (under the port labels column in the following image). The stickers are to wrap around the cables and the dots affix next to where the cable is to be plugged in. Hooking up a PC may be simple to hook up for some but it can be confusing for the inexperienced. Stickers and labels make it that much easier. The label sheet should be kept as it has a label key that should be filled in when labeling all the cables and ports.

label_cu

The kit also comes with accessory parts including 18 x 8-inch Velcro strips on a perforated roll, 4 self-adhesive cable guides, 1 alcohol pad for cleaning mounting surfaces or cables, 4 screws, and 3 bungee cords. The velcro straps have a hole at one end to “tie” around a cable.

cm_ek_accessory_parts

The Expansion Pack adds a second rectangular bracket, 2 more cable hooks and the same accessory pack including a label sheet and instructions.

expansion_kit_box

ek_bracket_parts

cm_ek_accessory_parts

instructions_labels

Did it work?

Nearly 30 cables makes for a large cleanup job and this is far more than the task of cleaning up 6-7 cables of a single PC system. Recapping the job at hand is the task of cleaning up one of the Short-Media main labs features 3 PCs with:

  • 2 monitor power cables
  • 2 VGA cables
  • 1 mouse power pack
  • 1 router power pack
  • 1 modem power pack
  • 3 PSU power cables
  • 2 cable vision BnC cables
  • Left and Right speaker wires
  • Stereo patch cable (from sound card to stereo amplifier)
  • 4 VGA-Mouse-Keyboard KVM cables
  • 2 monitor VGA cables
  • 4 Cat5 cables
  • 1 printer USB cable
  • 1 USB mouse cable
  • 1 USB keyboard cable
  • 1 rather large power bar

before_ws

The entire job of installing the Cable-Safe Cable Manager and organizing the computer cables will only take 15 minutes to an hour depending on the amount of cables. A novice should use the labels and corresponding dots before disconnecting the system. Begin by labeling all the cables (optional) then disconnect everything to unravel the rat’s nest.

before_mcu_powerbar

It may take a bit of crawling around under the desk but it’s worth it.

Finding the optimum position to mount the Cable Manager takes a few tries but the quick disconnect lever makes it easy. A hint for determining how to loop cables properly is to begin by taking a straight line from the either end of a cable to the cable hook. This will determine how you best loop the remaining slack to then wrap with the included velcro ties. Again it’s a matter of a couple of dry run-through’s to get it to what suits a particular setup.

All in all the Cable Manager will vastly improve cable management.

after_ws

after_powerbar_pc_case

A look up and under reveals that even the mess of nearly 30 cables can be organized although achieving what the Cable-Safe website shows may not always be possible. Their images have been painstakingly arranged to best present the product.

after_behind_desk

after_cu_behinddesk

Mounting the power bar is far easier with a power bar that has a end mounted cord rather than a side mounted cord. The Cable Manager is rated for up to 10 pounds which is a fair amount of weight. It’s best to configure it to what suits the environment. If access is needed to the power bar or it’s better suited on the floor…then leave it as is and use the velcro ties to tidy up the bundle of power cables.

ws_room_01

The chore of bringing organization to a vast amount of cables was easily handled with the Cable Manager kit. The Expansion Pack would come in handy if more equipment, such as the modem and router, were to be moved under the desk. The Expansion Pack will not go unused though. It will be attached to the wall behind the stereo unit (on the brown 2 drawer unit at the left of the preceding image) to manage the stereo, printer, light and coffee cup warmer cables.

Cable Safe state that the secret to perfect loop cables is

When we wrap the cables we first drape the cable over a hook. Then
pulling down to straighten the cable, we form equal length loops using
the hook and our hand to set the length. It’s a lot like wrapping an
extension cord over the palm of your hand and around your elbow. These
loops are then tied in two places at both the top and bottom of the
loops.

Someone could run off to a neighborhood hardware store to pick up velcro and materials to construct their own cable manager but it would probably cost about the same (or more), be much larger and less versatile.

two_boxes

The Cable-Safe Cable Manager and Expansion Kit brought order to the chaos under the desk. The Cable Manager is a simple idea done well. For years people have put up with the clutter under a PC desk and the Cable Manager is a great solution.

Our thanks to Cable-Safe for
their support of this and many other sites. The Cable Manager ($34.95 USD) or Expansion Pack ($22.95 USD) can be ordered in the US from the Cable-Safe website or from NCIX in Canada for only $38.83 CAD.

Ratings breakdown

Only the Cable Manager was rated as a base though the Expansion Kit was included in the review.

Highs

  • Organization is good.

Lows

  • You have to do what you’ve been putting off.

Scores Breakdown
Attribute Score Comments
Design & layout 9 A simple goal of organization executed well.
Documentation 9.5 Simple and easy to understand instructions.
Fine-tuning features 9 Highly configurable.
Performance & stability 9 Secure clamping device and weight of cables is held well.
Presentation 9 From a marketer’s point of view…the box does a very good job of selling the product.
Price / value 9.5 I challenge you to find another PC product under $40 that solves a problem, is high configurable, organizes and improves aesthetics.
Total score 55/60 91.7%

Comments

  1. primesuspect
    primesuspect Dude... this looks like a totally sweet product... Great review, mediaman :)
  2. MediaMan
    MediaMan I'm kinda embarrassed at the rat's nest that was under the PC desk. I am going to replace the whole desktop...not the PC desktop but the physical hard wood...with a big sheet of birch I think...

    Anyway...off topic we go.

    For something so simple...it falls under the "why'd I didn't thunk of that" category. The darn thing works...as promised.

    :)
  3. Madball
    Madball
    MediaMan said:
    I'm kinda embarrassed at the rat's nest that was under the PC desk. I am going to replace the whole desktop...not the PC desktop but the physical hard wood...with a big sheet of birch I think...

    Birch? If you want my advise go with maple. You should be able to find a sheet of maple ply at a local hardwoods merchant. Birch isn't quite hard enough for a desktop.

    I've built many custom desks and I personally prefer to use laminate. Its very durable, inexpensive and it comes in every design imaginable. I usually put a solid hardwood edge band on to dress it up.

    If you want more info pm me. I'll be glad to help.
  4. TheSmJ
    TheSmJ I must be slow, because even after seeing the animation I still dont understand how the thing works.
  5. MediaMan
    MediaMan
    TheSmJ said:
    I must be slow, because even after seeing the animation I still dont understand how the thing works.
    It's a coat rack for cables and it's a coat rack that has shelves...and it's a coat rack that mounts to the wall...or clips onto the side of a desk.
  6. Dexter
    Dexter MM, I have a question...

    Does wrapping the cables up that tightly and in that close of proximity introduce more risk of RF interception in the cables? After all, an antenna, for all intents and purposes, is a tightly wrapped wire in a metal sheath. By wrapping the cables up that tightly and in such close proximity, is one increasing the odds of getting some RF hum in their cables, as opposed to keeping cables looser and further apart?

    Maybe a question to ask the manufacturer...?

    Dexter...
  7. bothered
    bothered My boss asked me to do a similar thing to our office PCs. I argued against it. Don't know about the RF question, I'd of thought it was ok but fastening mains cables to com cables is a bad idea, their insulation properties are very differant. I also think it increases the heat in a cable and makes it a pain to change a cable. Let em swing boys, let em swing.
  8. MediaMan
    MediaMan
    Dexter said:
    Maybe a question to ask the manufacturer...?

    Dexter...

    What do you think the corporate answer will be? :)

    I have an observation. It may not be correct but it is an observation. The rat's nest of cables we may all have behind our desk are cables very close together...or heaped in a coiled mess on top of one another. The term "close proximity" would apply....speaker wires next to monitor power cables next to the Cat5 cables and so on.

    I would think that these cables do not carry that much juice to generate a substantial field to interfere with another device..otherwise there would be a mess of comments on the forum asking "why does my speaker buzz when I put the speaker cable next to the monitor cable?"

    Unshielded cables have been known to be prone to funny things over long distances...I've had 100-200ft of unshielded cable with a MIC on one end suck in a radio station.

    25 feet of MiC cable does not. (Unshielded)

    RF interfence generated by an electrical device is a problem. You here of that all the time in circuitry. But realize that the one "wire" is mere nanometers away from the other "wire".

    Not the case with your PC cords.

    Just my humble opinion.
  9. mmonnin
    mmonnin I dont think it could contain the wrath of my mess. Its rediculous.
  10. profdlp
    profdlp Concerning the cables being in close proximity, it's always been my experience that running cables parallel to one another is not a problem. It's when they cross at right angles that you really risk an interference problem.

    I like the concept. But, like mmonnin, I have have a fairly wrathful rat's nest of my own. It'd probably take a half-dozen of these to straighten my computer room out. :rolleyes: :D
  11. MediaMan
    MediaMan Let's see a picture Prof...it can't be that bad.


    /me cringes
  12. Leonardo
    Leonardo I like that organizer. Good review. Something like that really appeals to me. I'm a neatnick.
  13. Jimborae
    Jimborae Shame you can't buy them in the UK, no local reseller.
  14. profdlp
    profdlp
    MediaMan said:
    Let's see a picture Prof...it can't be that bad...
    Oky-Doky :mullet:

    I live in a 2BR apartment. One BR is my office, which includes the two computers I use regularly, two pretty much just Folding, and whatever I have on the workbench at the time. Three monitors, laser and inkjet printer, scanner, Cable modem, router, network switch (I mention these only due to the number of wires they entail), more speakers than I care to count, and a VCR (my current project is to transfer of all my old videotapes before my next move - as long as that doesn't occur before 2037 I might just make it...)

    All of the electrical equipment in this 10'X12' room (did I mention the TV and second VCR?) has created a magnetic field around me which is slowly sucking the fillings out of my teeth.
  15. Leonardo
    Leonardo You don't need a cable guide. You need a city planner with an engineering degree! That's a lot of cables.
  16. Straight_Man
    Straight_Man Prof, your tangle puts MY tangle to shame, but I think I will be getting something more modular, probably something like the item linked to below:

    http://www.cyberguys.com/templates/searchdetail.asp?T1=113+0899&dept=tch2&search=1ha10&child=
  17. MediaMan
    MediaMan Prof...

    I sit corrected. That's frightening.

    What do I see there...300 discs in spindles? That's a lot of blank discs. heheh.
  18. profdlp
    profdlp
    MediaMan said:
    ...What do I see there...300 discs in spindles? That's a lot of blank discs. heheh.
    600, actually. And that's not counting three 216-disc binders.

    And they're not blank. :D
  19. Thrax
  20. bothered
    bothered
    profdlp said:
    and a VCR (my current project is to transfer of all my old videotapes before my next move - as long as that doesn't occur before 2037 I might just make it...)
    How are you setting about it prof? I've been thinking about doing that myself but the only option seems to be a TV card. I tried with a creative one ages ago but had no luck with it.
  21. profdlp
    profdlp
    Thrax said:
    pr0n.
    One of them is a backup of "My Documents". :vimp:

    bothered said:
    How are you setting about it prof? I've been thinking about doing that myself but the only option seems to be a TV card. I tried with a creative one ages ago but had no luck with it.
    I tried two different models of WinTV cards. the biggest problem with them that the only files they would make were in .avi format and were huge (about 14GB per hour...)

    Then I switched to an ATi TV Wonder VE which makes much smaller .mpg files which look just fine. Then it's burn to either VCD or DVD depending on the desired quality of the finished product.

    The process is akin to playing a short piece by Chopin on the piano. It takes you five years to get the method down, then once you do, only minutes to actually perform it. I spent weeks figuring out just what settings to use; now it's about as simple as sticking a tape in the VCR, press play, then click record.
  22. mmonnin
    mmonnin Hehe mine is a bit more spread out and all along the floor but just as messy.
  23. Straight_Man
    Straight_Man
    MediaMan said:
    What do you think the corporate answer will be? :)

    I have an observation. It may not be correct but it is an observation. The rat's nest of cables we may all have behind our desk are cables very close together...or heaped in a coiled mess on top of one another. The term "close proximity" would apply....speaker wires next to monitor power cables next to the Cat5 cables and so on.

    I would think that these cables do not carry that much juice to generate a substantial field to interfere with another device..otherwise there would be a mess of comments on the forum asking "why does my speaker buzz when I put the speaker cable next to the monitor cable?"

    Your 100-200 feet of cable might act as a linear antenna. BUT, where PC cord interference with unshielded cables (and USB 2.0 standard cables are not unshielded, nor are IEEE Belkin silvers or Golds, all those ARE insulated and shielded) comes into play is when the unshielded cables in fact are coiled, then you get an induction effect that does lead to interference entering cable due to RFI\EMI small fields being "attracted into cable" by the coiled cable.

    I've run into that many times, starting with the first computer I owned and field effects from television type monitor and computer being minimally shielded interfering with each other on a video cable that was stretched out. It is not a broadcast effect, it is a "signal attractor effect" by UNSHIELDED AND COILED cables.

    The solution, in tht case, WASa coil in the video cable rolled onto a tolilet tissue empty roller of cardboard, turned 90 degrees from interference. Then the computer and monitor as TV monitor were able to filter what got passed through the cable -- the interference got cancelled by the coil's orientation to the TV and monitor.

    Belkin cables do this a different way, for the IEEE 1284 printer and some other cables they make-- every other strand in cable is GROUNDED for each twisted pair in cable-- I can stretch a Belkin Silver or Gold about 2X standard and not get junk oooutput out of printer. Network cables have twisted pairs for similar resaons, though they do not dedicate one cable conductor to ground for each twisted pair. Instead, some condustors DO ground while most are used for data flow.

    Physical shielding need not be foil, per se-- cable conductive strands themselves can drain noise to ground for the problem to be solved well enough. Cable for real long runs, which would need an RG11 tend to have grounded foil, and\or ungrrounded foil, outer wraps. The wraps are spiralled and thus absorb most of the noise. Actively ground those wraps, and you get a cable that can stretch way beond minimum standards. I've done and seen that done in all these ways. Twisted conductors alone can be enough for a short cable. Long Belkin golds run shiwleded and grounded wrap, and here I am talking about working 50' IEEE 1284 runs with data intact to both ends. Over 50' lengths you get a need commonly for a signal booster inline for IEEE 1284.

    Network cables, which are twisted pair sans foil shielding, can run 250' unshielded.

    To get to meters from feet, try dividing feet by 3.3. Result will be accurate to nearest even meter. Divisor of 3.325 will be better, but for rough work in medium length runs use 3.3.

    Note that all cable standards want about 87% accuracy (standards vary from 80% minimum accuracy to 95% minimum accuracy for some milspec standards for transmission signal suvival percentage) at other end from transmission end at minimum to meet standard. Most devices in most standards can resend to handle remainder of problems, and use checksum or check bits to cross-check validity. BUT, if you coil a cable, you get more propensity for the cable to be an antenna accidentally also. Run parallel, you get less problems as the field effects are contained by twisted pairs in most cases-- even phone cable is twisted pair cable, and older non-fiber telelphone transmissions used 25-50 pairs per big cable, each pair twisted, often with grounds at equipment and not cable, sometimes for dedicated data grade runs GROUNDED spiral foil wrap was required.

    I run cables straight as much as possible, and avboid coiling them near other cables or coiled power cables-- and I like twisted pair and\or grounded foil wrapped cable depending on what lengths are involved. Weak rapid signals take a very small amount of interference to cause resneds and resyncs. One reason phone cables yeild so little throughput of data is that signal degradation is present-- and that causes resends and resyncs due to bad data detects made obvious by the number of data to checksum mismatches.
  24. harvesterofyoursorrow
    harvesterofyoursorrow I will be buying one of these babys.
  25. Kwitko
    Kwitko
    Straight_Man said:
    I run cables straight as much as possible, and avboid coiling them near other cables or coiled power cables
    I also like to run cables as straight as possible, because I find that the 1's sometimes get stuck in coiled cable. The 0's always get through clean, but those sharp edges on the 1's you have to be careful with.

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