For reasons that are both functional and aesthetic wire management is a very important aspect to consider when working on and designing your robot. It is in fact so essential that Digi-Key has over fifty thousand parts listed under the Cables, Wire Management Section of our website.
While we have many ready to use options on our site, I recently saw another option while Judging at a local event that I thought was very simple and yet very effective for keeping the team’s wiring neat and easily traceable for trouble shooting and repairs. They accomplished this using some Cable-Ties and Holders. Here I have created a couple examples.
For the first example I am using 4 wires and I wrap a zip tie around them all. I then take 3 smaller cable ties and in-between the wires I wrap around the larger cable tie. You can then tighten the larger tie and then the smaller ties. Once the excess tie is cut away you have effectively created your own ribbon cable. This can be made wider or narrower at anypoint depending on how many cables you have running through any portion of your robot.
Mounting is the other aspect. The team in question had at some points just used cable ties and at other used cable tie holders. Here I have done the same style, however I have incorporated a cable tie holder. This holder part 3240707 has an adhesive back for mounting or can be mounted with a screw as well. Once in place I run a cable through the holder and around my cables. Since I am only using two cables in this example I run my second cable tie also through the holder and around the other cable tie. If I was using more wires I could add additional cable ties, however they would not run through the mount simply between the wires as in my first example. Once tightened and trimmed here are the wires attached to the mount.
While simple it is just one of many ways you can manage your wires and cables during the build and operation of your robot.
What kind of wire management do you use? Reply to this post with Pictures or stories of what your team uses for wire management or tell about issues you have had when trying to properly route wires and cables.