MYTH or not? Testing Lead care and conditioning

Michael Technician Shelton, Washington Posted   Latest  

Asking for advise.

I've heard a few discussions on care for scope leads.

So I'm bringing it to the network for a discussion as to the correct way I should be caring for my test leads. 

Is keeping our testing leads coiled up in storage bad for the life of them?

I've owned my own gear for 8 years now and my leads are still hanging tough.

I've been told by some this is bad care and many cant explain why. 

I've also witnessed many discussions on fb where the results are across the board in discussion.

I have had to replace my solus DLC DA-4 cord, keeping in the case delivered by the SO manufacturer with the scanner. The upgrade replacement is a better design but it did cost just under a $100 to purchase and out of pocket expenses for just a tech I feel is pricey when we look at all the costs for upkeep and updates.

I'm attaching some images of my gear as I keep them and I'm hoping to bring in a discussion from this network of professionals and distributors/suppliers as to the best way I should be taking care if my equipment for the long haul.

I hope to engage you guys in this open discussion so we can all learn from the experiences of others as I'm sure, I'm not the only one curious about this. 

In the images I will also so how the manufacturers have led me to question if this is just a myth or is it for future sales, as the cart organizers are the shops and our other technician who just recently invested into his own gear. 

Im aware things just come to an end of their useful life but why speed up the process.

Thank you for taking the time to read and hopefully reply. 

Dick Diagnostician
Manchester, New Hampshire

I have found that randomly placing them in a not tightly confined area is lest stressful for the leads 

I used to repair cables for a bunch of tool vendors when I was much younger & found that the leads that were tightly wrapped around a unit broke the fastest & usually right near the unit they were attached to 

cleaning chemicals & oils off of them also helps 


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Michael Technician
Shelton, Washington

Thank you. This makes sense.

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Andrew Technician
Commack, New York

A couple things seem to matter to me. I used to hang all of my leads from pegs on a peg board so they were completely slacked. I wouldn't wind any of them tight because it can damage the wire but I mostly avoid coiling them because this creates a shape memory for the lead.

I also hung all amp clamp type tools from the pegs and tossed their wires around loosely.

So besides avoiding damage you have to consider being able to find and able to avoid losing and able to verify inventory of your tools. I kept track of the stuff more closely if it was more costly.

I don't think any prefab solution for organizing electrical tooling is helpful. At least not to me, personally, -- to each his own. I had to buy several sets of all types of leads and probes because I worked on more than one electrical diag at the same time.

Be mindful of using fuses whenever wires are connected to power. I use 10' banana leads with retractable shielded ends (stackable male/female) for jumping power especially.

I sometimes wrap my leads loosely around something strong before they go into a tool like a scope, just in case through accident the lead got caught in the engine or other moving part it will snap off instead of ripping the tool out of my hand.

I zip tie them if needed to ensure safe routing.

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Michael Technician
Shelton, Washington

Nice points in your response, Thank you Andrew.

What is your opinion on hanging banana leads from a hanger like in this image? I haven't used it yet as I'm still in the process of building my diagnostic cart and no where to apply it with my current setup.

It's getting pretty common having multiple diagnostics going at one time and my primary cart is across the shop. So I'm still in the process of getting an additional cart to aid me with this, specifically for diagnostics. 

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Chris Diagnostician
Commack, New York

Man Mike, I thought I was organized. I have the AES Wave front probe kit. All the leads stay in the kit. They are all organized by type, and easily identifiable if one is missing. All my snapon leads are nicely rolled up and separated in plastic totes. My loose back probes and front probes also have their own tote. My last job had no room for a dedicated diagnostic cart, so I had to get a 3 story box to fit everything. My Pico and leads slept in their own drawer where I could check on it frequently to make sure it wasn't upset. When using the Pico I have a carabineer on it to hang from the hood catch to keep it out of the way.

I personally don't see the usefulness of using that hanger. either way you hang it will cause stress on the end. I like nice lazy loops.

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Sean Technician
Cincinnati, Ohio

I literally just did something similar, I built a relay box like the u activate, and a dlc breakout box. and I had bought a bag of banana jacks they are just sitting there and I thought I bet I could build a wire hanger for my test leads

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Ward Technician
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Hello Michael! As I had outgrown my tool boxes and had to buy another I decided to get a roller cabinet and put all the diagnostic equipment (or at least as much as I could) into one unit that could be rolled around as needed. On top of the roller cabinet a small "hutch" was built to hold an inkjet printer, the laptop sits on top. Besides the service information it also is used with my AutoEnginuity scan tool and Pico Scope.

I loathed constantly coiling and uncoiling leads, so I built a side cabinet with one large slide out vertical panel that has 2 other panel hinged to it that open like a flower once it's out. There are holders for amp clamps (4), 2 large half circle loops to hold longer leads (1) each side, and cubby holes for clamps, etc.

All the long scope leads just loop over the semi circular loops, making access quick and easy, the longer BNC cable are folded in half then hung up. The leads do not take on a spiral "set" and lay flat when in use. Putting them away is also a very quick operation. No more BNC ends rolling around on a dirty floor as you coil them up.

The whole unit is built up from 22 Ga. Satin coat sheet metal and was given a coat of Caterpillar yellow.

I've got some more photos some where, when I find them I will add them.


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