How to Keep Track of Your AC Adapters


Spaghetti is a tasty and cost-effective meal; however, if you're not careful, your wires and cables have the potential to turn into it. When you acquire multiple pieces of equipment, you can end up with a messy tangle of AC adapters before you notice. It's always a good idea to keep them organized with Rip-Ties, but I've found it can be even more helpful to label them with tape and magic markers. Here's how I do it...

AC adapters and power supplies are very rarely labeled by the manufacturer. If you take a few minutes to label them yourself, there will be no mystery as to which power supply belongs to which piece of equipment in your arsenal. This will make it easy to locate the proper power supply when several are in storage, and it will also make it clear as to which piece of equipment is plugged into which outlet when you're using your equipment. 

This is a painfully simple practice. The most difficult part is motivating yourself to do it. I make a point of labeling my AC adapters in the very beginning, right after I open a brand new piece of gear.

Step 1: Find an open surface on the AC plug. I find that the wide, flat side of the plug is a good choice because it doesn't get handled as often. Tear off a little piece of tape and affix it to this surface. I use white paper Permacel Shurtape. It sticks pretty well and it's easy to write on, but it also can be pulled off without leaving adhesive residue behind.

Step 2: Carefully cut the tape so it's flush with the edges. This will keep it from getting pulled off accidentally. I find that the little scissors on my Leatherman Wave are a good size for this task.

Step 3: With a permanent marker, write something on the tape that identifies which piece of gear the power supply is supposed to be used with. In this example, the power supply is for my RME Fireface UC, so I wrote "UC" on the tape. This particular power supply has two parts, a power brick and a removable AC plug. Note that I also used tape and marker to identify the power brick. This is essential for proper organization.

It's a really nice feeling to have all of your AC adapters clearly labeled. Do you have a different method for labeling your AC adapters? If so, we'd love to hear about it in the comments section.

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Panduit makes a line of labeling products designed to aid in the identification of electronic devices and cables. They can be found at electronic stores such as Fry's. I use a peel and stick label that has a writable area that gets covered with the transparent tape area when the label is installed to prevent smudging the ink. 

I use a product called 'kableflags". They stay on better than tape or any other method I've tried, can be marked with a permanent marker and, while not as much fun as a do-it-yourself ID, they really work. You can do an internet search for them.  

I'm learning from my own post. It's not hard to imagine my tape getting messed up, especially if I get the blessed opportunity to actually use my equipment more than I currently do.

I'm taking notes. Keep 'em coming!

I write with a sharpie right on the wall warts, no tape to leave a mess or fall off.  Some cords I use little paper & string hang tags (like you might find as price tags on clothes).

I like to use electrical tape and will use different color for different things, Still label with a sharpie. It helps alot!

 I use zip lock ties in different colors with the little metal rings that have paper centers - write on the centers.   This way when things are plugged in I can see which is which from the tags.   I label any cord as soon as it is opened with a new product.   On some cords I tag them at each end so I can follow where they are going.   It has saved me hours of time and this is a cheap solution - everything available at office supply store.

I bought a P-Touch a number of years ago as well, that's why the label on "Sam's Pen 2" looks so nice. But, when it ran out of tape, I never bought a replacement. When I would see the replacement tapes in stores, I could never for the life of me recall what model P-Touch I owned, and which tape size my model required. I was also surprised how expensive the replacement tape was. I think that's why I evolved to my current system of tape and marker. It's somewhat of a tradition among salty old audio dog types, and now I know why.

AVERY label is fail.  Do not use it.   Why?  Because I know.   6 network cables with Avery labels that came off are proof enough.   The sticky back wasn't meant to stick to all surfaces.

You could also use an AVERY type address label with the type of device typed on it, wrap around the wire, etc and stick it to itself...........

Further, slice a piece of tubing, place it around the wire and THEN stick the label around IT sticking the label to itself

Are you serious?