Magic Cable Box Debunked

Author: John Grocke, Published on Aug 23, 2013

In a recent security magazine 'article', ICE claims a superior cable box that will "save integrators time and money". Is this marketing hype or is there something to this claim? In this note, we examine the key features of boxed cabling vs spools, providing recommendations on the best options and tradeoffs for cable dispensing.

Box Cabling Overview

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Comments (4)

Great article. In my experience, installers usually favored many smaller spools/boxes over a single larger spool.

For example, If a job calls for 1000' of cable, it may be cheaper to buy a single spool material wise, but unless all that cable is paid out in a single long run, the installers benefit from having multiple smaller boxes. They can efficiently plan work based on individual cable runs rather than constraining themselves from a single source.

Especially if a job calls for multiple teams pulling wire, they each need their own supply. This is where boxes have an advantage. All it takes is a guy with a ladder and a cable box, and he can tackle entire portions of a network himself. With spool racks, there is setup and repositioning required.

I can agree with Brian, I've generally prefered boxes, as have most of my co-workers. While the spools may not kink or knot, I've had many roll back if you know what I mean. You pull a little hard and the spool keeps spinning, it can (and has for me) caused some kinking/extra time to roll the spool back.

We tried the Windy City Wire solution years ago. It was nightmareish. The idea is solid, but the wire they supplied had more twist-memory than any I have seen.

I have since seen CSC's comprabable offer Reel Simple, but have been gun shy after my experience with Windy City Wire.

As for the "many smaller boxes" vs "single larger spool", that has largely to do with job scale. Once you are to the point of dealing with tens of thousands of feet of wire fewer larger boxes start to have great advantages. You just need enough boxes to facilitate pulling multiple wires that are headed to the same area in one pull. On small jobs, that may mean smaller boxes are what you want. But larger boxes can help you cut down on waste. If you've got two 75 foot scraps from your two 500' spools that are useless to you. Well maybe if it were a single 150 scrap from a single 1000' footer it would be usefull.

Thanks for the feedback. Here's a marketing video of the ReelSimple offering:

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