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Cable ties are usually small plastic strips used to secure a bundle of separate wires or cables. A ratcheting system allows the ties to be tightened without causing damage to the individual wires. Cable ties are generally inexpensive, and can be ordered in various colors and sizes. Standard lengths range from 4 inches (10.16 cm) for home use to 48 inches (121.92 cm) for industrial needs. For temporary use, standard garbage bag ties with ratchet designs can often be used in their place.
Many projects involving wired components, such as stereo systems or computer installations, can quickly become unwieldy without the aid of cable ties. Wire bundles often need to be threaded through small openings — a task that becomes much easier with the wires all held together. Projects involving cables and wires can also present a tripping hazard, which could lead in turn to vital connections being pulled out of their sockets. Ties placed at regular intervals can keep stray wires out of high traffic areas.
Another popular use for cable ties is identification of individual systems. An elaborate home theater system often contains wires leading to and from video, audio, and auxiliary sources. By using color-coded ties, users can easily identify which bundled wires lead to which components. Red ties could represent video while green ties indicate audio, for example.
Standard cable ties do an excellent job of keeping wires bundled together, but they may not offer protection from the elements or other stresses. Instead, some technicians use a cable wrap that covers the entire bundle. This cable protection system may use Velcro™ technology for security or several judiciously placed ties. Individual wires are protected from excessive bending and friction, which naturally leads to a longer life and fewer repairs. Cable ties are an inexpensive solution to what can often become a very complicated problem involving tangled wiring and frayed nerves.
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