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I have a Brother P-Touch label maker.  I print up my labels, using extra large margins - so there's a lot of label before and after the wording.  I wrap it around the end of my extension cord/light strand or whatever.  Then I take heavy duty clear packing tape and wrap it around so it kind of laminated the label.  It has been pretty successful for a couple winters - though they haven't been too bad in Jersey.  I have also heard of people wrapping a piece of duct tape then writing on it with a Sharpie.  Not as neat but I would think it would work fairly well.

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I use a silver sharpie, they have lasted for 4 years.

I've also used the silver sharpie and this will be my fourth year and still looks good and here in Ohio they have laid in snow rain and we have accidently stepped on some ends and pushed them into the mud ........Just wipe off the mud and the lettering is still there

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If you don't have too many cords requiring labels you could buy various colours of electrical tape, wrap the ends of the cords with different combinations and set up a key on paper. With 6 colours of electrical tape you could have 27 different combinations of 1 or 2 wraps (eg red/yellow = mini trees, red/green = icicles etc) [i omitted duplicate combinations such as red/green and green/red to avoid confusion). Add another colour of tape to get 35 unique combinations

Edited by LangfordDave
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I love all the ideas. thanks guys. its crunch time now with only 3 weeks to go so I'm hustling with the display and will try those. I have 32 channels so this year won't be too bad but next year I'm adding at least another 64 channels so it will get a little more confusing after that. :)

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Silver Sharpie will write right on the cord.  The plug-ends are usually big enough for a simple designation (alpha-numeric, symbol, whatever)

+1...........I use spt cord with vampire plugs and with 12,000' of cord and 224 channels having the correct markings is critical to my sanity "LOL''  I found that the plug ends have enough room to disiginate where the cord belongs.

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Similar to Langford Dave, I use the colored electrical tape.  All my display items have W/R/G lights, so 3 zip cords get zip tied together with both female and male ends marked with white, red, and green electrical tape wrapped around the wire.  I then use yellow tape around the whole bundle and label with black sharpie what element it goes too.  My channel-count spreadsheet tells me what channels all the labels go to when it comes time to put controllers out.

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