The “Home Depot” $8 solution – Jeff Steiner
I wanted my Power Supply sleeved for about a year and a half now. Back before
you could buy neat little kits from the likes of Vantec, I was looking at my local craft
store for loom that I could squeeze over my Molex connectors and lock down with
electrical tape or zip ties.
About a year ago I sleeved an Antec 430 with some such loom that really made me regret
doing so after it was completed. I was so very pleased with myself for completing the
job, as it took nearly 4 hours of tedious work using needle nose pliers and an eyeglass
screwdriver. There was only one problem when I finished; it looked atrocious!
Then came the day that I decided that I would try the mod again with some
“professional” products. I bought one of those sleeving kits from Vantec ($20 + $9
shipping) and even sprung for a Universal Molex Remover tool from
Frozen PC ($10 + $8.50 shipping).
I had a new victim, a new Antec 430 with SATA connectors at the end of 2 of the power
lines. This sleeving project did not fare any better for me. I had trouble getting a decent
size loom over the non-removable SATA connectors and, even when I did, the shrink
wrap would not close down tightly over the cabling and would allow the sleeve to creep
up the cable.
I had sunk nearly $60 into projects that in the end made me want to spend
about $40 + shipping both ways by calling up
If you have had similar results with your sleeving projects then fear no longer. While
wandering aimlessly through my local Home Depot, I stumbled upon flagging tape.
was the messiah that I had been looking for. It is super thin (about paper thickness), is
very pliable, and does not have a sticky side. Flagging tape is very similar to Caution or
Crime Scene tape. They had 2 colors to choose from at the store that I was in; pink and
orange. Feeling secure enough about my masculinity to purchase the pink tape, but also
recognizing that I was just saying that to make myself feel better about my decision, I
picked up the orange spool that contained 200’ for less than $2.
I was wondering how I
would affix this tape when I walked up and down the electrical aisle and noticed an
obscure product called liquid electrical tape. I had just stumbled upon the products that I
would use to sleeve my power supply.
I will tell you that the actual sleeving took about 45 minutes. The process is as simple as
you can probably conceive – wrap the flagging tape around the wires.
When I did this the first time, I used scotch tape to hold the ends of the flagging tape on so
that I could brush on some of the liquid electrical tape. I then changed my process so that
I actually pulled the spool through the last loop and then cut off the end. This will hold
the flagging tape long enough for you to put some electrical tape onto the end when you
are finished wrapping the cables.
The cables stiffen up just a bit and you can get away
with just wrapping in one direction, but I would recommend wrapping up and down the
same set of cables two times, making sure that there is minimal overlap on each revolution
around the cable. This gives the best color coverage with the flagging tape and also will
ensure that you only have to apply the liquid electrical tape to one end of the wrap.
Now comes the kicker; this flagging tape is UV reactive.
Once I completed wrapping the
cables and waited about 30-45 minutes between 2 coats of electrical tape, I put the PSU
back in my machine. By chance I had an UV cold cathode in my case, and when I fired up
my machine, the cables started to glow. I am now looking for replacement SATA cables
that are UV Orange and I will swap out my Aluminum 80mm rear exhaust fan for an
Orange UV reactive one.
This flagging tape is fantastic and the total on the project was less than $8. The end
results look professional and it was a very quick job to complete.