Cover that wire label

January 1, 2010

Tech Tips, Jan 2010

Labeling wires is a common task, and you have likely tried many methods. I have seen sticky labels covered with clear heat shrink. I have seen clear tape-like tabs as well. (We have covered these in an earlier edition of Tech Tips.) There are plenty of variations available.

Scotch clear

Everyone knows about the Brother P-touch for labeling. Dymo, while better known for its 1970s hard labels, has also joined the label tape ranks. I have seen some people try to wrap a P-touch label around a wire only to have it curl off within days. Dymo offers heat shrink tapes for its Rhino labelers, which can be very convenient, but buying and carrying yet another piece of equipment and keeping stocks of the labels on hand is not always the simplest answer.

Robin Cross, chief engineer of KCUR Kansas City, was looking for a low-tech approach. He has tried the label tape approach, but did not like how the labels do not stay in place. He tried covering the labels with clear desk tape, but that doesn't work well, either. The desk tape is stiff, and it can wrinkle, which obscures the label.

Cross searched and found 3M Scotch 190CL tape. The 190 series of tape is a stretchy plastic tape. The CL suffix specifies the clear version.

Cross notes that the tape is not widely available, but it is worth finding. 3M lists the tape under marine products.

As a bonus, the tape is also water resistant.

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