Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Taming the Tangle

One issue that has bugged me for a long while is the tangle of cables and cords, in my computer Common styles of USB connectorsand camera bags. Preparing the photo to illustrate my previous blog post highlighted just how many USB cables I depend on, and that doesn't include power transformers and battery chargers! So here are few interim suggestions.


Reducing the number of cables

This is a lot easier said than done. However there are only limited number of styles of USB cables. Instead of carrying three or four that are identical, you should carry only one (or two). Also carry the shortest version when there are multiple cables. When it comes to battery charger and power packs they are probably all different My three camera battery chargers can share just one short power leadsize and not interchangeable, but the power cords to them may be shareable. They are unlikely to all be needed at the same time. Typically in Australia they are either 2 or 3 pins and one cable might connect to several. Between my wife and I we need to carry three different battery charges when travelling but they fortunately they all share the same two pin power connection so I only need to carry one extra short power cable.

Where a device can be charged via a USB connection, you will save having to carry yet another transformer, and either charge it off your computer of carry a small USB charging adaptor.

Some duplication may be desirable. There is nothing worse than not being able to charge your phone or connect your camera because the cable is playing up. I found a great universal USB cable set, which was inexpensive and has several "heads" that fit an longer USB extension cable. I pack this in my luggage rather than take up space in my camera bag. I also carry a second inexpensive USB charging plug here.


Staying tangle free

Having your cable in a scrunched up mess is courting disaster, not to mention a lot of time spent untangling. Whilst there are a number of clever cable windup gadgets around, I have found, from bitter experience, that the smaller spring loaded ones are more likely to damage the cable or make its performance flaky. My cables are stored in a mesh zip bag and cloth pocketsThis is because most data cables now are complex in their inner design with fine web shielding etc, small or tight kinks will cause stretched connections or broken strands. It is the end connectors that at particularly venerable to coming loose or breaking off when cable is tightly bent at the junction.

I find winding the cables as open loops  that suit their natural flexure, thinner cables can be kept in smaller loops. Then storing these in cloth pockets or mesh zip bags (as in my photo) really helps keep things organized as well as avoiding damage.

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