I need someone to explain this to me.

Glowing patch cables

[Sleepydog] just sent in this cool video of a patch cable he made with a built in EL wire. He’s using a Power over Ethernet router to control which ports have power. He states that this would allow easy identification of specific cables in the mess. While the proof of concept seems completely functional, and the idea is nice, we have to wonder if the cost to put in all the extra hardware would be worth it. Each cable would have to have its own inverter, not only driving up cost, but possibly adding interference. That does not mean we don’t want this desperately, we do. But we want it just because it looks cool. He needs to choreograph this to some music now and make his entire server room into a fancy display.

Comments

  1. Alex says:

    Cool! That does indeed sound like it would be too expensive to be practical, but it sure looks great.

  2. joe57005 says:

    This could be done with LEDs and some fiber optics, though it won’t look as cool, it’d get the job done with [almost] no interference. probably cheaper, too.

  3. emperor says:

    umm, interference? a couple hundred khz of voltage near an el cable?

    cool concept though,

  4. steaky says:

    cool idea in theory, but too much needs changing to implement it…. as in need to change over to a PoE stuff…meaning disconnecting all wires anyway, so why not strip it all back and redo it…. plus not really a solution for cat6A as cant use PoE.

    saying that…. still a cool idea.

    if you could interface that with the drain wire of a shielded cable, then all you’d need to do is use the shield can, meainng cat6a is viable.

  5. twiz says:

    technical practicalities aside, im drooling over the idea of an entire server room wired with cables like this, but have them light up when traffic goes over them. even cooler still if there were a way to make an effect where the light ‘traveled’ across the line…hollywood’s version of what computers look like would come true! (and be badass!)

    then all we would need is a 3d display of our mainframe…and to get rid of those pesky garbage files ;)

  6. Carl says:

    errr patchsee.com?

  7. Carl says:

    Sorry, just to add:

    #1 Great fun hack, I do like it.

    #2 Whoever owns those cabs should be disgusted with themselves.

  8. fatali says:

    That’s awesome. If you got bored you could find a way to sync them to music ;) lol

    Re: twiz

    Hack the Gibson, hack the planet.

  9. Steve Day says:

    This reminds me of one of those craptacular TV ads where they show someone using a competing product and completely screwing everything up on purpose.

    The only difference this would make to that spaghetti mess of wires at the beginning, would be that the whole mess would be glowing. It would still be difficult to pull the correct wire.

    They already have colored patch cables, all that is needed is a good admin to tidy up that mess.

  10. kyle says:

    its a groovy idea but the song didnt quite fit.

  11. Mantech1 says:

    Hmm…colorful. Now I want to see if anyone sales transparent cat6 cable and see how well the plastic covering conducts led light.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Messy rack. Proper wire labeling and cable management would help almost as much, with next to no additional cost.

  13. jproach says:

    @emperor: EL wires can run down to 60Hz. Also the differential signaling theoretically means common mode noise shouldn’t have any effect, but good question..

    If you were really concerned about it I guess you could use shielded cat5, with the EL wrapped around the outside.

  14. mkeyFinn says:

    We used to spaghetti up the cables and mis label everything in the server room on purpose, It was called job security, they had to rehire two of us just to sort the mess out at twice the pay so they didn’t have to rewire and retest every box in the building.

  15. ross says:

    Hmm, this is an interesting idea and would sure be fun at a LAN party but is it really necessary practical to have that much electricity running through it all at once? Sounds like a waste of power and therefore money to me.

  16. labarp43 says:

    lol @ mkeyfinn…. been there, done that.

  17. J H says:

    Actually, it would be nifty if you could make the cable lighting pulse on and off according to the data flow.

  18. Alan says:

    The problem is that only labs have cabling that messy.

  19. arcnemisis says:

    neat in concept… I would like ti see it used elsewhere
    very poor wire management practices
    If you can’t find the cable easy maybe you should rewire the rack.

  20. David says:

    Crash and Burn!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Too bad running any PoE devices off those cables (phones, etc) would eliminate the possibility of a patch cable rave.

  22. jim says:

    just use LEDs to light the jacks

  23. Jason says:

    I usually just put a label on each end of the cable.

    http://www.hometoys.com/ezine/08.06/trainingreels/labeling.htm

  24. oneahmed says:

    WoW. this is a great inventory but it may costs much to buy this type of cable

  25. tusk says:

    These come in a .4mm variety, and 4.5V. It would be a cool hack to make a backlit keyboard with this.

  26. Dan Fruzzetti says:

    @ anonymous:

    A messy rack indeed. Everyone knows the only time to do a rack right is at installation; if you try to ‘right’ a rack at any other time, it is much more an ordeal of removing, tracing, unravelling, and (nine times out of ten this is the long part) shortening all the wires because you were finally able to put them away in the traps leaving surplus wire (to the tune of carefully stripping a jacket, carefully arranging the eight wires contained within, carefully placing them inside a jack head, shoving hard to make sure all eight connectors make it to their crush terminals, and crimping).

    the surplus wire must be removed, and even with the best tools and technique it’s a time consuming process. it’s way more efficient to make a semi-permanent decision and stick to it at the planning phase.

  27. dokieh says:

    Nice invention, though I think it would be much better just without any cables :P

    See ya.
    Campaign 2.2

  28. Decepticon says:

    It may be easier to find cables if they were ORGANIZED! A numbered cable system is much easier to navigate than that pile o’ spaghetti.

  29. califrag says:

    @carl
    thanks for that patchsee link… the cables are surprisingly cheap and the idea is ingenious. using the fiber optics and a flashing light.. man that’s just cake. i even ordered a demonstration kit to see how it works. thanks again!

  30. charlie says:

    neat. i like el wire. interference is a serious issue though. i don’t think the issue would be in the strand of cable as much as at the power source. lots of switching noise. a proper rc circuit should be able to isolate the noise. i’m still trying to wrap my head around the calculations for that. btw, neonstring is a good supplier.

  31. Snark says:

    Nice!

    But the music sounds more like “When you’re falling” from Peter Gabriel than “Psychotic reaction” from Count Five :-) .

  32. chamunks says:

    Video Pulled… Mirror?

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