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Determine length of wire on spool/box

31,633 4,063 May 20, 2020 at 11:24 AM
Going through our mountain of shit I realized I have several partial spools/boxes of cabling (RG6, CAT5E and speaker cable). Some have footage markers, others do not.

Let's take RG6 for example, I have a spool of Belden RG6 that has NO marking whatsoever, not even a spec. Anyway, using the spool/cable dimensions and some online calculators, they put the footage between 430 and 535 ft. If I measure resistance on the main conductor, I get 14.7 ohms which is very high - too high for the amount of cable on the reel.

Any other methods for determining length, especially for boxes where the "coil" has no defined dimensions?

[I'm looking to sell/get rid of this that's why I need a good idea of the footage]

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#2
One of the places I worked for had a fancy cable tester that would give footage... Maybe you know someone that might have one?

Ours didn't have coax, but there are some that do.
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#3
check the weight
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#4
Quote from komondor
:
check the weight
Problem is the ones in question are spools - I would need to know the spool tare weight. Also while I could make assumptions about the jacket, shielding, etc that would make the result pretty subjective.
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#5
Quote from Dr. J
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Problem is the ones in question are spools - I would need to know the spool tare weight. Also while I could make assumptions about the jacket, shielding, etc that would make the result pretty subjective.

You might be able to use the shipping weight of the product if available. Then measure a few feet of wire and weigh that. The current weight of the spool subtracted from the shipping weight would give you the wire weight and you can divide that appropriately by the weight of a length you measured to get your length or wire.
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#6
This lists impedance for RG 6 but there are different types

http://www.dbsinstall.com/DIY/CoaxCableTypes.asp

you can't measure one coil as it is a spiral I am sure there is some fancy math you can do with the wire diameter the height of the spool and the size of the spool center vs overall size with the wire on it.

weight would still be pretty accurate if you can find the weight of an empty spool. maybe you local hardware store might have some empty spools?
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#7
Quote from komondor
:
This lists impedance for RG 6 but there are different types

http://www.dbsinstall.com/DIY/CoaxCableTypes.asp

you can't measure one coil as it is a spiral I am sure there is some fancy math you can do with the wire diameter the height of the spool and the size of the spool center vs overall size with the wire on it.

weight would still be pretty accurate if you can find the weight of an empty spool. maybe you local hardware store might have some empty spools?

You do not need the weight of an empty spool if you can get the shipping\net weight of the item. All you would need to do is weigh out a length of wire and the weight of the spool and do the math. Basically shipping\net weight - weight of spool currently = weight of used wire. Use the weight per whatever length you measure and divide accordingly.
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#8
A very rudimentary way if you have a yard is to unspool it in your yard. If you have 50 feet of grass you can just go out and back ten times to see 500 feet. I don't think it would really take very long. If the stuff is spooled in a box then that's another story.
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#9
Quote from Dr. J
:
Going through our mountain of shit I realized I have several partial spools/boxes of cabling (RG6, CAT5E and speaker cable). Some have footage markers, others do not.

Let's take RG6 for example, I have a spool of Belden RG6 that has NO marking whatsoever, not even a spec. Anyway, using the spool/cable dimensions and some online calculators, they put the footage between 430 and 535 ft. If I measure resistance on the main conductor, I get 14.7 ohms which is very high - too high for the amount of cable on the reel.

Any other methods for determining length, especially for boxes where the "coil" has no defined dimensions?

[I'm looking to sell/get rid of this that's why I need a good idea of the footage]
You either need to have some fancy electronics to measure the cable or do it the old fashioned way and un-spool it and measure it.

Back in the day I could tell you how much Cat 5/5e or Fiber was on the spool...never had to worry about coax as we only installed that once in a while.
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#10
You can get an estimate that's within 10 feet or so using the utilities for your NIC typically in the cable test section for the Ethernet cable.
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