Make and Repair Your Own Cat5 Cables

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
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A long time ago I decided that I would build and repair my own Ethernet cables around the house and in the server rooms before the days of virtual servers came about. If you find yourself needing to repair or build your own cables, I just came across this thread in the HardForum that is short and to the point. As long as you can see fairly well, and have a strong grip, which I am sure most of you do, you can quickly be on your way to making your own and fixing those that you need to. Get you a crimper, some bulk cable, some RJ45 ends, your way Or just buy a kit. Certainly the tools have gotten a lot cheaper. I think I paid around $75 for mine 10 years ago. If you are going to be making a lot of cables, it is worth your while to grab a tester kit for Cat5 and 6. It can certainly save you time and keep you from running cable twice.

Check out the Video.
 

Betaboy1983

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Right on!

Not that I have a lot of cables to fix/make and I couldn't justify a crimper. I would scrounge up some really short patch cables, cut them in half and solder/splice them onto whatever length I needed from my spool. Not very good to pull through tight areas, but it works!
 

Betaboy1983

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Maybe 10 minutes. Cheaper than a crimp tool though, it all depends on your situation/dire need.
 

Parja

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Right on!

Not that I have a lot of cables to fix/make and I couldn't justify a crimper. I would scrounge up some really short patch cables, cut them in half and solder/splice them onto whatever length I needed from my spool. Not very good to pull through tight areas, but it works!

You would have to be damn good at that for it to work for gigabit.
 

Bearsahrk

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This is by far a more superior RJ45 tool (or 11 because you can buy different inserts). Gives positive crimp feedback with a nice "Click". Front loading makes more sense than a side loading tool for cabling. Although expensive, it will eventually become one of those "Old Tools" that lives in your toolbox.

PA1307_zoom.jpg
 

mullet

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This is the tool and connectors I used to wire my whole house. Super fast and gets the twist in the cable right up to the connector.

 

Burticus

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I have a crappy criming tool I bought at a computer store about 20 years ago. It sucked then, it sucks now. But it works. However I have brought home so many boxes of "trash" ethernet cables that I don't think I have crimped one in many years.

At work, crimps are forbidden. Cables must be bought intact and tested, and if there is the slightest problem they go in the "trash". Cat6 is fairly cheap nowadays compared to 20 years ago... ethernet TP used to be wicked expensive.

Nowadays I deal with (and hate) more OM3 fiber than anything else.
 

Tormond

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Right on!

Not that I have a lot of cables to fix/make and I couldn't justify a crimper. I would scrounge up some really short patch cables, cut them in half and solder/splice them onto whatever length I needed from my spool. Not very good to pull through tight areas, but it works!

$17 on Amazon for a tool, ends, AND a tester. vs/ soldering that would be sketchy at best for data reliability
 

Betaboy1983

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$17 on Amazon for a tool, ends, AND a tester. vs/ soldering that would be sketchy at best for data reliability

Works great for me, but I've been soldering wires (and copper water pipes) for years. Like I said, I don't fix/make Cat5 everyday so I don't feel the need for a crimp tool. Just throwing another option out there for the fine folks of [H] if you're in a pinch! :muted:
 

Poseur

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Structured wiring is done with a punchdown tool, not a crimper. Buy patch cables unless you're super anal about the length being perfect.
 

Sparky

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Still have my crimp tool from years ago. I must have made 10k patch cords since 2001.
 
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Deleted member 88301

Guest
OK, very much off topic, sorry. Here's the problem: my 77 year old mom pays Mediacom for 60Mbps, yet is lucky to get 20Mbps at her computer that is 25 feet away from the Modem/router. It dips every few seconds. Mediacom says that everything is just great, as the speed is fine. I don't mind getting a kit to make some cables. But my Mom is old and to run wired would entail running wires from the router, across the living room, to her computer. I'm not willing to provide a trip hazard, and her apartment manager won't let me route it around the ceiling.

Ideas?
 

Spaceninja

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Most of the cabling jobs we do at work are punch down terminations on both ends. I do occasionally have to make a random cable but it is about once a month at best. At home my cabling is a disaster. Not worried about it as I am moving soon and I'll get a proper rack for it all.
 
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OK, very much off topic, sorry. Here's the problem: my 77 year old mom pays Mediacom for 60Mbps, yet is lucky to get 20Mbps at her computer that is 25 feet away from the Modem/router. It dips every few seconds. Mediacom says that everything is just great, as the speed is fine. I don't mind getting a kit to make some cables. But my Mom is old and to run wired would entail running wires from the router, across the living room, to her computer. I'm not willing to provide a trip hazard, and her apartment manager won't let me route it around the ceiling.

Ideas?
Buy a short patch cord and try that first. Move the computer close to the router and use the short patch cord. That'll be a cheap, efficient test. If that resolves the problems, perhaps post a pic of the room so we get some idea. If I were you i'd probably affix a long CAT5 cable along the baseboard to the PC, it won't be a tripping hazard. You can buy white CAT5 with plugs on it, and you can buy staples and a staple gun that can affix CAT5, for about $20 max. It would look OK and not be a hazard. But before you do that, try a short wire to make sure that's the problem.
 
D

Deleted member 88301

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Oy, thanks. I'v run a 40 foot cable, and it works great. But from the router to the computer has a left gap and a right gap, for rooms. There is no obvious solution, to me.
 

EODetroit

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Been doing this for over 25 years. I originally made my own 10Base2 networks out of thinnet. Then bought some Cat5 and that spool has been with me ever since. I haven't wired my house with it, but my patch cable need has been fulfilled by that one spool ever since. Gigabit speeds are not a problem, even if it isn't Cat5e. Just don't try to make 100 meter cables, it works fine. If I ever get 10 Gig with copper (if that's even a thing), I bet it would work with short cables too.
 
D

Deleted member 88301

Guest
Thanks. I just can't hang cables, due to apartment rules. And I can't run cables on the floor, due to trip hazards.
 

leezard

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This is the tool and connectors I used to wire my whole house. Super fast and gets the twist in the cable right up to the connector.


This is what I use at the data center. My eyes are to bad to use a "traditional" crimper. I've made 1000s of cables with the EZ RJ45 and have never had a bad cable.
 

Burticus

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Thanks. I just can't hang cables, due to apartment rules. And I can't run cables on the floor, due to trip hazards.

Run along the baseboard with white duct tape pieces or cable tacks. If you have to go under carpet, do it at doorways.

I've moved a million times and got really good at hiding ethernet / TV coax / and speaker wires along baseboards.

That being said, wireless is pretty good now. A $50 wifi router will probably serve just as well... put it behind the cable modem. The cable modem's wifi usually suck nuts.

This is what I use at the data center. My eyes are to bad to use a "traditional" crimper. I've made 1000s of cables with the EZ RJ45 and have never had a bad cable.

Interesting. I've never use a "cheater" plug like that, where the wire goes through. But it seems awesome, I'm buying some of those. Cutting everything to the same-ish length, and keeping the pairs straight, and crimping properly through a normal plug end is pretty much a PITA.
 
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leezard

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Interesting. I've never use a "cheater" plug like that, where the wire goes through. But it seems awesome, I'm buying some of those. Cutting everything to the same-ish length, and keeping the pairs straight, and crimping properly through a normal plug end is pretty much a PITA.

You need the crimper also, it cuts the wire ends that stick thru the plug off flush.
 

pclov3r

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To be honest there is very little reason to make your own cables unless you need a weird custom length.

It's too easy to screw up and make a non complaint cable. You need to spend several thousand on a fluke tester to certify that the cable you made meets the specs. Doing it without that will work but you have no idea if it's compliant.

It's even far more difficult to do it for cat6 and cat6a.
 

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
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To be honest there is very little reason to make your own cables unless you need a weird custom length.

It's too easy to screw up and make a non complaint cable. You need to spend several thousand on a fluke tester to certify that the cable you made meets the specs. Doing it without that will work but you have no idea if it's compliant.

It's even far more difficult to do it for cat6 and cat6a.
Talk like that will get you banned around here, your Softness.
 

Tweak42

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OK, very much off topic, sorry. Here's the problem: my 77 year old mom pays Mediacom for 60Mbps, yet is lucky to get 20Mbps at her computer that is 25 feet away from the Modem/router. It dips every few seconds. Mediacom says that everything is just great, as the speed is fine. I don't mind getting a kit to make some cables. But my Mom is old and to run wired would entail running wires from the router, across the living room, to her computer. I'm not willing to provide a trip hazard, and her apartment manager won't let me route it around the ceiling.

Ideas?

If the cable modem and computer are in the same room, why not 5ghz wifi? (2.4ghz is typically way oversaturated in dense apartments)
 

Dan_D

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To be honest there is very little reason to make your own cables unless you need a weird custom length.

It's too easy to screw up and make a non complaint cable. You need to spend several thousand on a fluke tester to certify that the cable you made meets the specs. Doing it without that will work but you have no idea if it's compliant.

It's even far more difficult to do it for cat6 and cat6a.

Wut? I've made hundreds of cables that all worked properly. Your average AT&T U-Verse installer can make them pretty quickly and easily. It isn't that difficult. Compliant? You don't even have to wire it to the A or B color code standards. It just has to be the same on both sides of the cable to work.
 

nutzo

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Right on!

Not that I have a lot of cables to fix/make and I couldn't justify a crimper. I would scrounge up some really short patch cables, cut them in half and solder/splice them onto whatever length I needed from my spool. Not very good to pull through tight areas, but it works!

Might be ok for 100mb or short lengths, but if you are running GB at 300 feet, I wouldn't trust the cables, especially if you have patch panels in between.

As for building cables, I occasionally do this at home since the cables are usually short.

However, at work, it's just not worth my time.
It's cheaper for the company for me to buy pre-made cables and throw away any bad ones, rather than pay me to make new cables.
I still have the tools, just in case of an emergency, but I can't remember the last time I built a cable at the office.

Also, if you are running GB Ethernet close to the max length, and through a couple patch panels, you not only need cat 6 cabling, but proper cat 6 connectors that need a better crimping tool.
10GB Ethernet is even worse when it comes to proper cabling and connectors.
 

nutzo

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Wut? I've made hundreds of cables that all worked properly. Your average AT&T U-Verse installer can make them pretty quickly and easily. It isn't that difficult. Compliant? You don't even have to wire it to the A or B color code standards. It just has to be the same on both sides of the cable to work.

Actually you need to line up the pairs correctly. Each signal needs to be across a pair of wires.
Which colored pair goes to which connections does mater as long as you match the pairs to the other side.

Not correctly pairing the correct pins will lead to a cable that is flaky. Might work if it's short, but will have more problems the longer the cable gets.
 
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pclov3r

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Wut? I've made hundreds of cables that all worked properly. Your average AT&T U-Verse installer can make them pretty quickly and easily. It isn't that difficult. Compliant? You don't even have to wire it to the A or B color code standards. It just has to be the same on both sides of the cable to work.

Yes, It will work often even if it's wrong. The reason I say "Complaint" is if your cable isn't you can start dropping frames due to corruption which will lead to packet loss. There is a lot of pre-made cables that even fail this badly.

They have set standards for a reason.

Things like crosstalk and EMI become an issue for example if you do something like untwist too much of the pairs. This is were you need the expensive fluke tester to certify the cable. Those cheap testers on eBay don't say much other than you wired the cable correctly.

There is also a time factor. In a professional setting for common lengths nobody is going to crimp their own cables. They'll buy them in bulk form a place like Monoprice. Also it's much cheaper to toss a cable than to attempt to repair it.

Perhaps I am looking at this too deeply or care too much about trying to do things correctly :)
 
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krotch

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Yes, It will work often even if it's wrong. The reason I say "Complaint" is if your cable isn't you can start dropping frames due to corruption which will lead to packet loss. There is a lot of pre-made cables that even fail this badly.

They have set standards for a reason.

Things like crosstalk and EMI become an issue for example if you do something like untwist too much of the pairs. This is were you need the expensive fluke tester to certify the cable. Those cheap testers on eBay don't say much other than you wired the cable correctly.

There is also a time factor. In a professional setting for common lengths nobody is going to crimp their own cables. They'll buy them in bulk form a place like Monoprice. Also it's much cheaper to toss a cable than to attempt to repair it.

Perhaps I am looking at this too deeply or care too much about trying to do things correctly :)

Sounds like my work. Everything is just pre-made cables. It's annoying cause the cables are too long or too short. Usually way too long to be used at the patch panel. 1 1/2'-2' length needed, no cables under 5' length.

Luckily, our network shop has spools of cable. Just no connectors or crimpers. I have my own though.
 

T_A

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I wouldn't use this cable in my house , i run cables in the walls (concrete and blocks) and EMI can be an issue without shielding.
 

kju1

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To be honest there is very little reason to make your own cables unless you need a weird custom length.

It's too easy to screw up and make a non complaint cable. You need to spend several thousand on a fluke tester to certify that the cable you made meets the specs. Doing it without that will work but you have no idea if it's compliant.

It's even far more difficult to do it for cat6 and cat6a.

Heresy...
 

lilbabycat

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But my Mom is old and to run wired would entail running wires from the router, across the living room, to her computer. I'm not willing to provide a trip hazard, and her apartment manager won't let me route it around the ceiling.
Ideas?
Route it around the ceiling anyways using those non-damaging sticky hooks/loops. Easier to ask forgiveness than permission.
 

KarsusTG

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I have done this for as long as I can remember. The Cisco standard 1236 config (orange white, orange, green white, blue, blue white, green, brown white, brown) has been stuck in my head since I was a teen.
 

zkostik

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To be honest there is very little reason to make your own cables unless you need a weird custom length.

It's too easy to screw up and make a non complaint cable. You need to spend several thousand on a fluke tester to certify that the cable you made meets the specs. Doing it without that will work but you have no idea if it's compliant.

It's even far more difficult to do it for cat6 and cat6a.

You would have to be damn good at that for it to work for gigabit.

I'm good at soldering and I fix about any damn thing I possibly can but even then, I highly doubt I'd do something like splicing two ethernet cables together unless it's in the wall or something and gets damamged so you have to fix or pull new one.

Either way, I'm really glad to see this post and that folks do this to reuse their cables. It helps save money (if you get components to crimping in bulk) and above everything keeps them out of a landfill! I wired pretty much most of my house and will likely end up making short cables of exact needed length for my server rack with left over supplies.
 

Dead Parrot

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Usually cheaper and easier to buy premade. But there are times when you want/need a cable NOW and it sure is nice to be able to make just what you need. Especially when it is some odd length or the hole for the cable needs to be as small as possible. I do need to pickup a tester as using the active connection light on a switch is a bit primitive.
 

krotch

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I'm good at soldering and I fix about any damn thing I possibly can but even then, I highly doubt I'd do something like splicing two ethernet cables together unless it's in the wall or something and gets damamged so you have to fix or pull new one.

Either way, I'm really glad to see this post and that folks do this to reuse their cables. It helps save money (if you get components to crimping in bulk) and above everything keeps them out of a landfill! I wired pretty much most of my house and will likely end up making short cables of exact needed length for my server rack with left over supplies.

I spliced together plenty of ethernet cables when deployed. We had cable, but no connectors for 2 months. We literally had only like 9 connectors and they were reserved for anything important. Anything else consisted of us cutting cables, twisting the wires together, and using duct tape. We eventually got more connectors.

Aside from lack of connectors, some of the runs were simply junk. Instead of digging a small trench for the wires, they simply laid it on top of the rocks. Doesn't take long for MRAPs to screw your cable up. I ended up digging a trench by hand, laying sand bags down, laying cable, then laying sand bags on top. A few other times made a conduit using old mortar ammo cans. Shoot guns at one end to make holes large enough to run multiple cables. Had no drill bits.

Working with the Army...way different than working with the Airforce.
 
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