Mark It Red

Steve StoneBlog, ThoughtsLeave a Comment

We have a tape system at church. No, not this kind of tape system.


We have an electrical tape system that helps us to identify cables, the attributes of the cables, and the state in which they are in. The benefit is that from a distance you can tell if a cable is good or bad, and close up you can see if it is the right cable for the job. Let me tell you a bit more of what I mean.

Red electrical tape anywhere on the cable (or device) means something is bad. If you have been able to identify the defective area then it’s a good idea to place the strip of tape or a second strip on that area. For example, if a connector on a cable is bad, then covering the connector with red tape prevents the next person from using the cable since they won’t be able to plug it in, also letting you know what to fix, or at least where to start. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to fix things the day they break, but I may know what is wrong at that moment. And, when I do get to fixing the item I will have forgotten what was broken.
Also, it’s important to note that things with red tape don’t get put back where they came from. They go to a special “red tape” bucket in our closet. That item will not accidentally get used somewhere. And when we have down time to fix equipment, we have a tub of fun ready and waiting.

Green electrical tape mean something is been confirmed good. This is only really used for cables and mostly only for rarely used cables. When looking in a box we can see clearly that a specialty cable wrapped up in green tape is good and ready to use.

White electrical tape or white label tape is used for labeling. For our XLR cables, a piece or white tape is at both ends with a footage count (10’, 25’ 50’, etc). For permanently installed cables there is a unique cable number on both ends that is documented in building plans. For these kinds of things it is best to label both ends so you can quickly find where something ends and don’t have to trace it the entire way to find the information you need.

Black electrical tape is what we use for repairs. If you need to fix a cable or separate electrical components, black is the way to go.

Pink tape means the equipment hasn’t been used for a long time and can be gotten rid of whenever. If a pink tape device does get used, the tape comes off because we may need it again and we shouldn’t get rid of it.

Our system isn’t perfect, but I think it works for us. We landed on this based on our specific needs. I’ve seen companies use a specific colors to identify ownership (Company A uses all yellow cables and Company B uses all purple ones) to help with collaborative projects and teardonws. I’ve seen colors or stripes of colors identify footage. I’ve seen colors identify areas of cables (video, audio, lighting, power). Whatever system you choose, clearly communicate it with your teams so they can benefit from the information and follow it to save future headaches. But whatever you do, don’t go all willy-nilly and use any color for anything!

Steve StoneMark It Red

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