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Easy methods for making cat 5/6 patch cables

One of the most frustrating chores that I have encountered in my 20 years at Falcon Technologies is making good patch cables for cat 5/6 applications that are consistent in quality when you are out in the field. When we first started Falcon we were considered a cable house. 20 years ago 4 pair structured cable was just being introduced in out industry. In the early years, we did it all. Sales, Purchasing and Production. This was a good thing in a way because we personally knew every aspect what it took to get product made correctly and out the door on time . Even back then with eyes that were much better than they are now putting together cat 5 patch cables were difficult. After doing them for a while I could do maybe six or seven patch cords in an hour. Due to technological advances this is a far cry from what our production facility can do now, but I learned many valuable aspects of the process. When talking to contractors and installers the subject of making cat 5&6 patch cords seems to reflect much of the destain that I expressed. Over the years we run across a lot of cool products that make doing our jobs a whole lot easier. One  product I felt worth mentioning really helps to simplify construction of  cat 5 & 6 cables. This solution is actually a system designed to help with the most difficult parts of the process of puting patch cables together.  Platinum Tools manufacturers a patented product called EZ-Crimp that consists of an innovative cat 5 and cat 6 plug that has holes drilled in the nose for each individual conductor. They also have a matching crimper that crimps the connector and cuts the excess wire off at the same time. What makes this so great you might ask? Well several of the most difficult parts of putting a cat 5 cable together are getting the color code in the correct order. Most patch cords are done in accordance to the EIA/TIA 568B color code. When putting together a cat 5 cable getting the right color in the right spot can be challenging, especially if you are putting a plug on plenum rated cable and in low light. The orange and brown colors in a low light situation are hard to tell apart. When you insert them in a typical cat 5 connector, usually you look through the clear acrilic connector body to check for the correct order before you slip the connector into the crimper. Once it is crimped if the order is not correct, you have to cut the connector off and start again. For me looking through the connector body was very difficult and was almost impossible to identify colors in a dark wiring closet. With the EZ crimp system you first strip about 2" of the outer jacket, untwist and put the conductors in proper order, slide the conductors in the back of the plug and pull them out the tip until the outer jacket is up into the back of the cat 5 plug as far as it can go. you can then easily examine that the colors are in the correct order before you crimp. This should make scrapping plugs a thing of the past. Another big benefit of the EZ crimp system is getting the untwisted conductor pairs as close as possible to the tip of the plug. With a cat 5 termination, you should not exceed 1/2" of untwisted conductors at the tip. When using a conventional cat5 plug, you have all the untwisted conductors laid out so you can grip them between your thumb and finger when you load it into the plug. It takes some practice to keep from exceeding a 1/2" especially if you have big fat fingers.  What happens if you exceed the distance? Usually you get more of what they call crosstalk problems. This may be not to noticeable if the network is running at 10 megabits per second. As the network speed increases all the little flaws really start to show up. When doing cat 6 systems adhering to all these specs become extremely important since network speeds can exceed 1 megabit per second. What makes it more challenging is that on cat 6 terminations, the untwisted  conductor recommended allowance is usually about 1/4". Can you make good reliable patch cords with conventional cat 5 cat 6 plugs?  Sure you can, but if you are only doing the occasional termination the EZ crimp system makes a frustrating choir much more pleasant and can save you a lot of time. Can you use the EZ crimp plugs without using the EZ crimp tool? Yes, you have to have a tool that has an open die set. so the excess conductors will not get in the way. We found that most people buy the system because it is much faster than having to clip off the individual conductors after crimping. One of the most frustrating chores that I have encountered in my 20 years at Falcon Technologies is making good patch cables for cat 5/6 applications that are consistent in quality when you are out in the field. When we first started Falcon we were considered a cable house. 20 years ago 4 pair structured cable was just being introduced in out industry. In the early years, we did it all. Sales, Purchasing and Production. This was a good thing in a way because we personally knew every aspect what it took to get product made correctly and out the door on time . Even back then with eyes that were much better than they are now putting together cat 5 patch cables were difficult. After doing them for a while I could do maybe six or seven patch cords in an hour. Due to technological advances this is a far cry from what our production facility can do now, but I learned many valuable aspects of the process. When talking to contractors and installers the subject of making cat 5&6 patch cords seems to reflect much of the destain that I expressed. Over the years we run across a lot of cool products that make doing our jobs a whole lot easier. One  product I felt worth mentioning really helps to simplify construction of  cat 5 & 6 cables. This solution is actually a system designed to help with the most difficult parts of the process of puting patch cables together.  Platinum Tools manufacturers a patented product called EZ-Crimp that consists of an innovative cat 5 and cat 6 plug that has holes drilled in the nose for each individual conductor. They also have a matching crimper that crimps the connector and cuts the excess wire off at the same time. What makes this so great you might ask? Well several of the most difficult parts of putting a cat 5 cable together are getting the color code in the correct order. Most patch cords are done in accordance to the EIA/TIA 568B color code. When putting together a cat 5 cable getting the right color in the right spot can be challenging, especially if you are putting a plug on plenum rated cable and in low light. The orange and brown colors in a low light situation are hard to tell apart. When you insert them in a typical cat 5 connector, usually you look through the clear acrilic connector body to check for the correct order before you slip the connector into the crimper. Once it is crimped if the order is not correct, you have to cut the connector off and start again. For me looking through the connector body was very difficult and was almost impossible to identify colors in a dark wiring closet. With the EZ crimp system you first strip about 2" of the outer jacket, untwist and put the conductors in proper order, slide the conductors in the back of the plug and pull them out the tip until the outer jacket is up into the back of the cat 5 plug as far as it can go. you can then easily examine that the colors are in the correct order before you crimp. This should make scrapping plugs a thing of the past. Another big benefit of the EZ crimp system is getting the untwisted conductor pairs as close as possible to the tip of the plug. With a cat 5 termination, you should not exceed 1/2" of untwisted conductors at the tip. When using a conventional cat5 plug, you have all the untwisted conductors laid out so you can grip them between your thumb and finger when you load it into the plug. It takes some practice to keep from exceeding a 1/2" especially if you have big fat fingers.  What happens if you exceed the distance? Usually you get more of what they call crosstalk problems. This may be not to noticeable if the network is running at 10 megabits per second. As the network speed increases all the little flaws really start to show up. When doing cat 6 systems adhering to all these specs become extremely important since network speeds can exceed 1 megabit per second. What makes it more challenging is that on cat 6 terminations, the untwisted  conductor recommended allowance is usually about 1/4". Can you make good reliable patch cords with conventional cat 5 cat 6 plugs?  Sure you can, but if you are only doing the occasional termination the EZ crimp system makes a frustrating choir much more pleasant and can save you a lot of time. Can you use the EZ crimp plugs without using the EZ crimp tool? Yes, you have to have a tool that has an open die set. so the excess conductors will not get in the way. We found that most people buy the system because it is much faster than having to clip off the individual conductors after crimping. Click here for more information about the EZ crimp System.
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