Friday, April 1, 2011

Arguably The Simplest Product You'll Ever Need For The T.V. Room: Nail-In Clamps Work!

The Good: They work, Generally durable, Inexpensive, Stylish in white rooms
The Bad: Occasionally irksome to use, Many people will need more than 20.
The Basics: The RCA Nail-In Clamps For Coaxial Cable - VH102BX - works easily and well to hold cables close to the wall!

Sometimes, the hardest products to write about are the smallest and most simple. But then, sometimes, they do not require much to understand and, as importantly, evaluate. In the case of RCA's Nail-In Clamps For Coaxial Cable, simple is what these are and simple is both how they work and my experiences with them. The short of it is, for those looking to tidy up a room with a home entertainment system, the RCA Nail-In Clamps work very well and are bound to be a staple now and for years to come.

First, the RCA Nail-In Clamps For Coaxial Cable are easy to shop for under their proper designation, the VH102BX, which is their RCA catalog number. The VH102BX clamps come in blister packs with twenty individual clamps in each pack. The twenty clamps are free-floating in a clear plastic package that is glued to the display cardboard which has the white and red RCA color scheme with all of the pertinent information on these clamps, including the part number. These are relatively easy to find both in stores (from the standard Lowe's and Radio Shack to home theater speciality stores) and on-line, especially if one knows the part number.

The VH102BX Nail-In Clamp is a very specific piece of support hardware for the home theater. Each clamp has two parts: a plastic part and a metal nail. The metal nail is a 5/8" stainless steel spike with a round head about 1/8" in diameter. This makes a tack hammer the appropriate way to nail the clamp into a wall. The business end of the nail - opposite the flat head - is a sharp spike which makes this inappropriate for keeping out around children. The metal nail comes already inserted in a channel in the plastic half of the clamp.

The plastic half of the RCA Nail-In Clamps For Coaxial Cable is a hard plastic cube (rectilinear, actually) which has two parts itself. One part is a simple small hole which goes through the plastic block to guide the nail. The nail channel is a very small part of the clamp: the entire clamp is 1/2" long by 3/8" wide by 3/8" deep. The nail channel is the extra 1/8" on the 1/2" side. Perpendicular to the nail channel is the actual clamp. This is easiest to consider as a 3/8" long by the same deep plastic "C" That "C" is just the right size to hold a coaxial cable, the standard cable for televisions, cable television cables and many appliances that attach to the television like antennas and gaming systems.

Use of the Nail-In Clamps is simple: find a stud (nailing into studs is the smartest way to be sure the clamps actually anchor properly in the wall) and place the coaxial cable in the open part of the "C" of the clamp. When the nail is properly positioned on the stud and the cable is within the clamp, tap the nail with a tack hammer. This will send the nail into the wall and stud and hold the clamp flush with the wall. The RCA Nail-In Clamps For Coaxial Cable essentially acts as a permanent connection which holds cables to walls.

Why would anyone need these? Simple. The VH102BX is a great way to prevent one's house from looking unsightly from having cables and wires all over. They are ideal for those who have a permanent television room they are unlikely to want to change. When one has a television positioned where they want it, they may guide such things as the incoming cable television cable along the wainscoting on the wall so it is easy to clean around (i.e. one is not vacuuming over the cable or tripping over it). With cable television cables or other coaxial cables which are somewhat slack, the clamps may be used every few feet in order to keep the entire cord tacked against the wall. These clamps just make one's living space a little more manageable and they allow one to hold cables near the wall, where it may be easier to hide them . . .

. . . provided one has a strip of white in whatever room the television is in. The VH102BX is bright white plastic and is not easily painted over. As such, it is easy to use to hide or disguise cables when there is white trim the cable may be run along, but in stylishly colored rooms, it may stand out. As well, the VH102BX is made of plastic and sometimes whacking the clamp into place may lead to breaking the clamp. One slip of the hammer and one is likely to smash the plastic clamp, which is why I recommend using a tack hammer or rubber mallet instead of a heavy hammer. Out of the twenty clamps in a pack, I tend to lose two or three per project just from smacking the plastic clamp as opposed to hitting the nail.

That said, the clamps are durable and they will not rust or wear out. On the unlikely chance that they do, there is a lifetime warranty, but I have never had to execute it, so I am unsure of how well RCA honors the warranty. Those with many electronic devices connected to one another using coaxial cables will likely want more than twenty VH102BX's and as a result, they may wish for a larger pack than the standard pack of twenty. But those who use these will find they work and they are a decent, simple support device that makes heir electronic device hubs more manageable.

For other simple tool reviews, please check out my takes on:
Great Neck Saw 15" Versabar
Magnetic Key Holder
GE Softwhite 60 Compact Fluorescent Bulbs


For other hardware reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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