I was trying to crimp some cat5 ethernet cable last night. I stripped
the wires and used a punch down tool to press the wires into the
connectors, but the wires would come loose before I could get all of
them crimped. The cat5 cable uses stranded wire, and I'm wondering if
this is what is causing my problems. I had already crimped a phone
line without problems.
Assuming that the stranded wire is the problem, is there some kind of
marette that can be used for slicing solid wire to the stranded wire?
I could then crimp the solid wire to my connector and tuck everything
into the wall behind the connector faceplate.
Are you connecting the CAT5 to one of the "quickport" type of RJ-45 jacks or
are you "crimping" an RJ45 "plug" to the end of a patch cable? Since you
mentioned a wall-mounted connector faceplate, I'm assuming your connecting
CAT5 inside your wall to a quickport style connector jack that mounts in the
In that case, you usually don't need to strip the wires. You cut back the
outside insulation of the CAT5 to show the individual wires (maybe 1/2" or
so?), then you place each of the eight individual wires into their
respective slots on the jack, usually denoted by a color guide on each side
of the jack. Then use your punchdown tool to push the wire (insulation and
all) in to its slot. The slot has a blade of sorts that slices into the
insulation and makes contact with the actual wire inside.
It may be that because you were stripping the wire to start, it was not
"thick" enough to stay in the slots.
Once the wires are in the slots and punched down, trim the ends back to be
flush with the outside edges of the jack (I think some punchdown tools do
this automatically, but not the little plastic ones that come with many of
these jacks). Then place the little black cap over the connection area on
the jack (covering your intividual wires) and press it down so it stays put.
Then snap the whole enchilada into the faceplate.
Hope this helps...
When I make up Cat5 cables (stranded), I carefully cut the outer jacket off,
squarely cut off the ends of the conductors at the right length,
put them in the right order, carefully and forcefully slide them into the
connector making sure each wire slides into the correct
position all the way. You don't individually strip each conductor wire. When
you use the crimping tool, the insulation will be pierced
and contact made automatically.
Cat 6 is state of the art cable, especially if you are stringing the cable
over 25 feet. I have network connections in 4 bedrooms and my home office
that are connected to a Linksys router. There is less loss possible with
cat 6, and the cost isn't that much greater than 5 is. To prove my point
check with a network consultant.
Don't strip the wires, only strip off the main outer jacket - carefully, so
as not to cut into the insulation around the wires. The blades in the
connector will cut through the insulation on the individual wires and make
contact with the core. The insulation provides protection to the wires and
helps hold the wire in place.
If you are using a spring-loaded punch-down tool, try it on the higher
setting. If you are using a manual one, like the cheapos that come with
some parts from Home Depot, make sure you are seating each wire fully, and
only use the tool for one or two jacks - they're not much good after that.
Sometimes you have to use your fingers to fully seat the wires 'cause these
cheapo tools are so bad. If you've got a lot of these to do, buy yourself a
spring-loaded, metal-tipped tool.
To do something like this would require you to crimp an RJ45 to one wire and
a jack to the other wire to make the splice. Whatever you do, always
remember that "Category 5" is a rating that must be adhered to throughout
the cable run for it to mean anything - including not only the jacks, plugs
and cables, but also the techniques used to connect everything and even how
and where to pull the wire. As soon as you do anything out of spec, the
whole run is out of spec (it may still work, however).
Cat5 cable can use either solid or stranded wire - it matters not. When
purchased unterminated, in my experience, solid is much more popular, and
typically a bit cheaper. However, pre-made patch cables and such often use
stranded wire to add flexibility. But, as far as the spec is concerned,
they are interchangeable. However, the connectors you are trying to crimp
into, plugs in particular, are made to be used with either stranded _or_
solid, and they usually do not work well with the wrong type.
Jacks are more forgiving, and can be used with any type, so this is unlikely
to be the OP's problem (assuming he's talking about jacks when he says
The CAT5 should be solid. Stranded CAT5 is usually used in factory made
patch cables and I don't believe it is stocked where normal consumers would
shop. Did you cut up a factory cable?
Crimping usually refers to attaching an RJ45 male onto a cable and using a
crimp tool. If this is what you are doing then you have to buy the correct
RJ45 plugs for stranded or solid. They look almost identical.
If you are referring to the S110 type punch down blocks then you also have
to verify that they were made for solid or stranded or both.
In no case do you strip the individual wires!
At one job the tech cut up patch cables and tried to punch them down. They
worked for awhile but we had nothing but trouble with the connections.
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