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Brush Away That Cable Mess

Also: Test components in the comfort of your workshop

Fig. 1: Nylon bristles can be pushed aside to permit wires to pass into the rack from the switch.

Fig. 2: The bristles cover the opening, keeping the rack cleaner. Selling IP-based products helps keep my hands on Cat-5/6 cabling techniques. When I hear of something that will neaten your rack, I want you to know about it.

Cumulus Media Tucson Market Engineer Julio Alvarado brought a cool product to my attention recently. Manufactured by Middle Atlantic, the BR1 is a 1RU rack panel with a cable entry slot covered with a row of nylon brush bristles. These bristles can be pushed aside to permit routing of cables, keeping the wiring smart, as seen in Fig. 1. The bristles have the additional advantage of keeping dust out of racks, as seen in Fig. 2.

The panels can also be mounted in the top of racks to cover cable holes.


While we’re talking about cleaning up our equipment rack appearance, consultant Charles “Buc” Fitch, P.E., found something in the latest MCM catalog that might be useful. It’s a cost-effective way to get rid of all that AC cable clutter in your equipment rack.

Search for part number 28-11161 on the website. The part is a Stellar Labs “eight switched AC outlet” panel, mounted in a 1 RU chassis. Eight lighted on-off switches are mounted on the front, with eight AC plugs on the rear.

The original MSRP is nearly $60, but this panel is on sale for $29.99.

Buc adds it may not be a high-end product, but considering that most rack device loads are under an ampere at 120 VAC, the panel should be adequate for the task.

Elsewhere, MCM sells multiple outlet strips for under $10, a lot less than the wire mold units at the big box stores. That part number is 28-21285.


Back in the March 30 edition of this column, we featured a translator rack that iHeartMedia Aurora’s Dave Agnew had put together. By pre-mounting and wiring the transmitter, processor RF switch and controller in the comfort of his office, Dave could test and ensure all of the components were functioning in his workshop, rather than on the top of a mountain.

Dave’s equipment setup included the Broadcast Devices SWP-200 series transmitter controller. Bob Tarsio of BDI introduced an upgrade at this year’s NAB Show, the SWP-300-1 2T. Shown in Fig. 3, this unit provides all the attributes of the SWP-200 series controller but adds 16 control outputs, eight more status inputs and four analog inputs.

Fig. 3: BDI’s new transmitter controller adds remote control capability.

These added features permit the unit to provide transfer switch control as well as the total remote control solution for both low- and high-powered stations in a 1RU package. Dave Kerstin of Broadcasters General Store points out a great feature for customers that have purchased the original SWP-200 — the SWP-300-1 2T wiring pinout is the same, making the addition of the remote control features an easy install.

Something else that may be a Eureka moment: BDI offers pre-made RF switch control cables. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of wiring up control and interlocks for a transfer switch, you realize how important this feature is. Not only does it save time, but you know the switch is wired correctly — and fully interlocked. The cables come pre-assembled in lengths to fit all major RF switch models.

For more information on BDI’s products, go to Reach BGS at (352) 622-7700.

Tips to Workbench help your fellow engineers and qualify for SBE recertification credit. Send your good ideas to [email protected]. Fax to (603) 472-4944.

Author John Bisset has spent 46 years in the broadcasting industry. He handles West Coast sales for the Telos Alliance, is SBE certified and is a past recipient of the SBE’s Educator of the Year Award.