The single greatest, highest, and most honourable use/uses for electrical tape is/are in the World of the Drum.

First use:
On the batter head of the snare drum, apply a few strips on the side. This reduces overtones and pings, which are Bad Things. Putting a wallet on your head doesn't work as they have a tendency to flop around and fall off.

Second use:
Used in marching band and on drumlines, the many colors of electrical tape allow you to make your marching sticks look flashy and cool, instead of boring and white. Many patterns are in use, depending on where you're at. But, for God's sake, anything but the lazy half-assed tape jobs that freshman and rookies pull: Covering your stick in one color and rolling another color over it with half-inch gaps is wack and should be discouraged.

Third, and possibly most important:
Wrap your fingers; blisters suck.

Electrical tape is slightly stretchy, insulating, fire resistant, vinyl adhesive tape used primarily to cover exposed electrical conductors, either to protect them from moisture or protect other equipment or people from coming into contact with them.

Electrical tape is generally applied by spinning the roll around the exposed wire in the direction that the tape comes off the roll. This applies some tension to the application as the adhesive pulls free from the roll, which keeps the tape tight as it is applied. This helps prevent any gaps from forming which moisture could enter or become a starting point for the tape to release over a period of time. Conversely, if too much tension is applied the tape will be stretched too far and the adhesive will loosen as the tape pulls back to a normalized state. The tension caused by the adhesive coming loose from the roll applies just the right amount to ensure a good wrap.

In general, you want to apply enough electrical tape to build up the application to the same thickness as the rest of the insulation on the wire. This helps ensure there is enough tape to insulate the level of voltage that will be on the wire (required insulation thickness increases with wire voltage, required wire diameter increases with the maximum current that can go through it). When taping the middle of a wire, it is a good idea to wrap up and then back again over your wraps. When taping the end of a wire, it becomes important to ensure a good, moisture tight seal. This is accomplished by twisting the tape into a one or two inch tail past the end of the wire, and then taping this tail back over the wire.

Most brands of electrical tape can be broken by hand when enough is applied. A quick jerk on the roll will stretch the end of the tape to its breaking point (slow pulls will just stretch it, loosening the adhesive). Other brands require a dispenser with a built-in cutter or the use of a knife or pair of scissors. There are two basic ways to complete the wrap, one for tape you intend to remove later and one for a more permanent application.

When applying tape you intend to remove later, fold the free end over itself to make a non-sticky "flag" at the end which will hang free off the rest of the tape. This makes it easy to find and grip the end of the tap to unwrap it, and prevents it from splitting down the middle. When applying tape for a more permanent application, give it just a little stretch as you lay it flat over the other wraps of tape (not too much, or it will pull loose).

Most electrical tape is black. This is a good, all-purpose color which doesn't indicate anything special about the wire it is applied to. Black is also the most resistant to ultraviolet radiation damage caused by outdoor applications which are exposed to direct sunlight. Other colors are available, and can be used to color code wires in special circumstances. Neutral wires, for example, must be white or light grey, and white electrical tape can be used to mark the ends of a non-white wire to indicate that it is a neutral (usually in the form of a continuous wrap a few inches long or three white stripes around the end). Likewise ground wires must be green or green with yellow stripes (or bare wire with no insulation at all), and green electrical tape can be used to mark non-green wire used as grounds. Other typical color applications are for labeling the phases on a three-phase system, marking the beginning of a wire in a conduit so the other end can be found at the other end of the conduit, or marking cables that need to be unhooked so they can be put back in the same place later.

Most professional electricians swear by 3M Scotch Super 33+ electrical tape. It's easy to break by hand, has just the right amount of stretch, sticks very well, and doesn't leave a gooey mess behind when it's removed. It's also one of the more expensive brands, but the extra price is often well worth it. Be sure to check the label to see if the electrical tape is appropriate for the conditions of your application. Tape is only guaranteed in a certain temperature range, up to a certain voltage, and for exposure to certain weather conditions.

Electrical tape has a large number of uses that are neither unique to electricians or members of a marching band. Electrical tape has a strangely low profile with regard to popular concepts of what's useful for a household, far outstripped by duct tape, even though I have found the former far more useful to me than the latter.

Duct tape is reasonably effective at sticking things to things and making them stay stuck. However, it is wide, it is not smooth, and it weathers badly: it loses adhesion as it ages, or if water creeps in under the adhesive. It has excellent tensile strength, but either requires scissors to cut or is vulnerable to torsion damage (to be easy to remove from the roll). Duct tape is a reasonable adhesive, but it is poor at tasks not fundamentally related to sticking something to something else.

Electrical tape is much the opposite. It peels up, but it is no more prone to doing so after a year than after a minute; it is highly stretchy; it is easy to snap, but it is not prone to being damaged by a sideways pull or a twist. It is surprisingly poor at sticking things to each other, but it is exemplary at many other tasks.

I've occasionally used electrical tape for variations of its usual purposes. The sound cable I use to connect the audio jack of my laptop to the television has no strain relief, so I've wrapped near each plug with several layers of electrical tape; half a tape-width out, fewer layers; an additional half-width has one layer. The result is a cable that tends to bend smoothly instead of kink, improving its reliabilitly. The other traditional use I've had for it has been to patch over damaged insulation on the cable for my old earphones.

The most important use, however, has been a replacement for the rubber spacer under the bell on my bicycle after the previous one got knocked loose during a crash. A larger amount of tape was used to similarly increase the thickness of the crossbar of my roommate's recumbent bicycle (before it was stolen, anyway), which was otherwise too narrow to mount his headlight on.

We are trogloditic in our video game console system choices, so we only have one platform (a Wii) that uses wireless controllers. All of our GameCube controllers are different colors, and the plug color matches the body of the controller, but our XBOX and Playstation 2 controllers are not so easy to tell apart at the console side. They've all received stripes of varyingly-colored electrical tape, with matching stripes on the plugs, and now we immediately know which port each controller is plugged into.

My toaster oven caught fire earlier this evening as I was preheating it for cheap pizza. I had already been planning on replacing it with a standard toaster as we're using a George Foreman grill for our hot sandwiches now, and this probable damage to the liner is enough to condemn it. It is now sporting a bright red X of vinyl tape, and will soon be exhibiting this decoration in an electronics recycling facility or perhaps a middle school science class.

Electrical tape is catastrophically underrated; the only conclusion I can draw is that duct tape hired a better advertising agency.

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