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The Prevalence of Zip Ties in Audiovisual Installations is Getting Out of Hand!

Why are zip ties used so often for things they are not meant for in audiovisual installations? We’ve rounded up some of the worst examples.

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The Prevalence of Zip Ties in Audiovisual Installations is Getting Out of Hand!

When we think about audiovisual failures — and, in case you haven’t noticed, we think about them a lot — we picture crooked projectors, speakers hung precariously over populated spaces, the all-too-common “error” screens… but there are so, so many more ways for audiovisual installations to be done haphazardly. One of the most prevalent examples: the use of zip ties for things they have no business being used for.

We could understand if it was exclusively used for cabling (another word for ‘zip ties’ is ‘cable ties’, after all!). But no. They have gone far, far beyond their intended use case in audiovisual installations.

Cable ties as they were INTENDED to be used!

Using zip ties for anything else is dangerous

The most common thing we see integrators lamenting on pages like the AV Install Nightmares Facebook group and at in-person events (remember those?) is the prevalent use of zip ties to “secure” things like speakers and projectors.

This is, of course, very dangerous and should be shunned if caught. Sure, a business owner might think it’s a way to save money, but what will it cost them if the technology falls on a customer’s head?

Just take this tweet from Joe Way, Director of USC’s Learning Environments, as an example of what we mean:

Related: Migraine-Worthy Digital Signage Installation Fails (And What They SHOULD Have Done)

“It’s just for testing,” huh?

How about this:

Photo courtesy of the AV Install Nightmares Facebook group.

The user who submitted this photo to the above group said it was mounted to a sprinkler line and held up with zip ties — and the ties weren’t even trimmed! The humanity!

Should we just caption this one, ‘clamps rust; zip ties don’t’??

Photo courtesy of the AV Install Nightmares Facebook group.


It can get pretty extreme…

Some “installations” use zip ties in a way which defies logic. Just look at this…monstrosity.  Cable ties everywhere, and what’s that? A strap just for good measure?!

Photo courtesy of the AV Install Nightmares Facebook group.


What about this lighting bar clamped down by a C-clamp… bolted to fluro beam, not load rated. AND it’s not actually botled!

Have you seen anything like this in the field? Send us your pictures to:

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  • Mark Smith says:

    As a longtime telecom and datacom tech who entered the AV world through the back door of networking, I have to say that the AV world has it’s own unhealthy obsession with tie-wraps (Isn’t ZipTie was trademarked?).

    I’m going to use the picture of the so-called “intended use” as a partial example: The lacing bar has a tie every, what 3″? In most cases I’ve seen they’re pulled tight very nearly to the tensile-strength breaking point of the plastic. That compresses cables and in many cases damages them; and if not outright damaging, the compression of data-carrying cables means that the interior conductors are brought into over-close proximity to one-another promoting cross-talk. Not to mention that the addition, removal, or re-routing of a single cable will now involve clipping a dozen or so ties.

    No matter how careful an installer is, there are going to be some locations, particularly in tight corners, where the trimming of the tail will leave a sharp edge of plastic upon which the next hand or arm will be sliced open…the tree of AV liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of technicians & operators?

    My suggestion: hook and loop tape (aka: Velcro). With H&L you can do so many wonderful things…like open and close them! Cut it long enough and you can add cables…loosen or tighten in an almost infinite level of control…and it comes in colors and varying widths! Best of all, I have yet to slash my fingers, hand or arm on a piece of Velcro ™ when reaching into the dark recesses of an enclosure 🙂

    My $.02

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