Where can I buy colored power cables?
February 5, 2008 6:15 AM   Subscribe

I want to use color-coded cables for critical servers. Is it possible to purchase PC power cables in colors other than black and grey?

I've inherited a spaghetti-like mess of cabling in the server racks at my new company. There are dozens of servers each with dual power supplies, and there are two UPSs in each rack. Naturally each power supply is meant to be connected to a separate UPS. But since every power cable is black, and they're all routed together (and since they're all three times too long!) it's impossible to figure out which cable goes where, and I strongly suspect that some servers have both PSUs connected to the same UPS...

Ideally I'd like to buy a big box of blue power cables of various lengths, and another of yellow. Then I'd re-cable every last server, and it would be easy to visually confirm that they had redundant power.

(I'd also like to use red for critical devices without redundant power, and there are a few other special cases.)

I know I could color-code the ends of black cables with tape or something, and that's the fallback position, but really it'd be much nicer to have colored cables.

But I can't find a supplier anywhere! Power cables are the Model T of computing. You can have any shade you like provided it's black or gray.

Any suggestions?
posted by thparkth to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
What I've done in similar situations is to get colored cable ties, the little ones about 4 inches long, and tie them around each end of the cable. If I run out of colors I'll double or triple them.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:44 AM on February 5, 2008

Another option, although it would take a lot more time, is to buy the black cables and then paint them with something. There was a question a few days ago about that, and I would think there has to be a way to do such a thing.
posted by DMan at 6:55 AM on February 5, 2008


also look up sleeving.
posted by Izzmeister at 6:57 AM on February 5, 2008

Get a few rolls of different colored electrical tape. Better yet, a label maker.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:04 AM on February 5, 2008

Colored electrical tape is a lot cheaper and more available.
posted by unixrat at 7:07 AM on February 5, 2008

Colored heat shrink tubing (3:1 or 4:1) from most any electronics store and a heat gun.
posted by whoda at 7:19 AM on February 5, 2008

posted by Izzmeister at 7:49 AM on February 5, 2008

Hmm. Really surprised there isn't someone out there who does this.

Anyway, once you actually get around to buying the cables and/or sleeving, you may want to check out MonoPrice. They have some pretty sick pricing on bulk cables and whatnot.
posted by joshrholloway at 8:13 AM on February 5, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers so far; yes I'm aware of the colored tape/sleeving/ties option, and that's probably what I'll have to do.

@joshrholloway: it is suprising, isn't it? Especially since I distinctly remember having different colored power cables in a past job (10 years ago, in the UK.)
posted by thparkth at 8:47 AM on February 5, 2008

Besides gray and black, I've seen beige and white ones, I'm pretty sure. And old iMacs had translucent ones for a while, though I'm not sure if that's a standard PC power cable.
posted by box at 9:24 AM on February 5, 2008

Well you can definitely get extension power cords in all kinds of colors. Maybe find an adapter or really short PC power cord to go with them? Or if you really need an enormous quantity of them, it might be affordable to have someone splice the correct ends on for you.
posted by XMLicious at 9:47 AM on February 5, 2008

Oops, sorry, left out the example link to go with that.
posted by XMLicious at 9:48 AM on February 5, 2008

The MonoPrice place joshrholloway mentions has 1ft PC power cables.
posted by XMLicious at 9:54 AM on February 5, 2008

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