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Old 05-11-2011, 14:33   #1
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Cables Running Along Rails - Advice Needed

Howdy,

OK, so I'm almost done.. just installed a cell/3G antenna, AIS GPS, AIS VHF and a satphone antenna on the way.

All of these are mounted on the stern rails and the cables from all of these lead along the rails to the base of the rails into the deck.

At the moment - I have covered all of the cables individually with black, very small diameter split loom/cable conduit and have used cable ties to secure these to the rails.

This seemed like a great idea before I started, but there's really no "grip" on the shiny rails for the cable ties.. so despite how tight I make the cable ties, they still turn on the rails if one bumps into them and takes the cables out of alignment and disturbs my aesthetic sense of peace... ahem.

On another note - the cable ties have been cut off flush and despite this are quite spiky... so I can see them cutting hands/legs in the future.

Are there any elegant and aesthetically pleasing solutions to this? I've googled pushpit/solar/antenna mountings for the past 2 hours and can't find many examples... and the ones I did find are just cable ties.

Surely there must be a better way!

The best thing I can think of is self amalgamating tape perhaps? But wouldn't this stick to the cables and become unremovable in case the cable needs to be relocated etc?

What is everybody else doing?

Thanks muchly!

AK
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Old 05-11-2011, 14:59   #2
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Re: Cables running along rails - advice needed

The best solution is to drill a hole in the rail and run the cables inside Maybe not what you were thinking, but it's the best and most pleasing to look at.
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Old 05-11-2011, 15:20   #3
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Re: Cables running along rails - advice needed

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
The best solution is to drill a hole in the rail and run the cables inside Maybe not what you were thinking, but it's the best and most pleasing to look at.
Thanks for that - I should have said "without drilling the rails". I've just spent 6 years making the boat leak-free and don't want to introduce any holes anywhere unless I am faced with death threats..
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Old 05-11-2011, 15:49   #4
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Re: Cables running along rails - advice needed

Something along this idea? You could make them as an open U instead of a tube, then a small stainless hose clamp to hold the cable in place. There are end caps for the hose clamps to prevent cuts.
http://www.mytenspeeds.com/My_TenSpe...r_Comment1.jpg

Or run the cables inside the railing until you get to the area of the through hull gland or what ever you are using.
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Old 05-11-2011, 16:58   #5
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Re: Cables running along rails - advice needed

I had to install all new nav and comm gear on the tuna tower of a sport fisherman.
I found that the neatest and most acceptable way was to attach anodized alum. tubing on the main runs as conduits, with small screws attaching to the main structure. You could use StSteel. Very little cable exposed.
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Old 05-11-2011, 18:39   #6
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Re: Cables running along rails - advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by akio.kanemoto View Post
......
This seemed like a great idea before I started, but there's really no "grip" on the shiny rails for the cable ties.. so despite how tight I make the cable ties, they still turn on the rails if one bumps into them and takes the cables out of alignment and disturbs my aesthetic sense of peace... ahem.
Not elegant but you can wrap one or two turns of self amalgamating tape around the SS tube ONLY and then place the cable tie over the tape.
Quote:
Originally Posted by akio.kanemoto View Post
On another note - the cable ties have been cut off flush and despite this are quite spiky... so I can see them cutting hands/legs in the future.
We use hundreds of cable ties a week and I NEVER let any of our staff use anything else but FLUSH side cutters for cutting the tails.
Most side cutters are bevelled or at the best "semi flush" but if you use quality small sharp flush side cutters, they can be cut without any sharp bits sticking out. You should be able to get them from electronic suppliers.
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Old 05-11-2011, 19:38   #7
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Re: Cables running along rails - advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by akio.kanemoto View Post
Thanks for that - I should have said "without drilling the rails". I've just spent 6 years making the boat leak-free and don't want to introduce any holes anywhere unless I am faced with death threats..
Unless you have a very strange s/s rail design I don't see how drilling them will cause leaks Apart from that I don't think there is a "neat" alternative - could maybe try a cable tidy, but IMO would still look cr#p.......
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Old 06-11-2011, 05:53   #8
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Re: Cables running along rails - advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
... Most side cutters are bevelled or at the best "semi flush" but if you use quality small sharp flush side cutters, they can be cut without any sharp bits sticking out. You should be able to get them from electronic suppliers.
See the "Ultra Full Flush Diagonal" cutters
http://media.digikey.com/pdf/Data%20...%20Cutters.pdf
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Old 06-11-2011, 13:28   #9
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Re: Cables Running Along Rails - Advice Needed

Thank you for the replies. It's not the "tails" sticking out that I'm worried about - I have flush cutting pliers so the cut off part is not sticking out. The issue is the "box" part of the cable tie (I'm sure it has a name!).

As for the question about drilling rails - the bases of the rails have a hole in the middle for some bizarre reason - presumably to aid drainage (but the rails are totally sealed)... and by unsealing the rails, the water will make its way to the bases.. and while there's a mountain of sealant underneath now, I don't want to tempt fate.

Btw, does anybody know whether self-amalgamating tape leaves a sticky residue on surfaces after removal?
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Old 06-11-2011, 13:32   #10
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Re: Cables Running Along Rails - Advice Needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by akio.kanemoto View Post
Btw, does anybody know whether self-amalgamating tape leaves a sticky residue on surfaces after removal?
AK, it does not do so. It's never very sticky and only sticks to itself.

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Old 06-11-2011, 14:35   #11
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Re: Cables Running Along Rails - Advice Needed

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AK, it does not do so. It's never very sticky and only sticks to itself.

Jim
Hmm.. I might buy some, as well as look at the local hardware store and see if I can make a couple of attempts with some of the ideas above.
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