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Ian B
12-19-2017, 02:29 AM
I need to crimp a fair number (think 250) RJ45 plugs onto CAT-5 cable. I started out with a Chinese crimper, horrible thing. I replaced it with a decent brand, Paladin, with the correct dies. Still no success.

I have been doing test pieces, and find that some of the connectors make contact, some don't. On average, half are ok, but it's random as to which half (I'm crimping a plug on one end of a short bit of cable as a test, stripping the other ends, and checking with an Ohmmeter with a pointy probe).

I have different types of cable to work with - some is good quality pure copper, some is Chaiwanese copper plated steel (yes, yes, I know - it was sold as copper plated aluminium, and I didn't check...). All solid core. I need to be able to get reliable (say, >90%) crimps on both types of wire. I'm having the same problem with both types of cable. Changing the wire isn't an option, as it's already installed, and new wire can't be pulled through. Punching the cable down into sockets also isn't an option - it really has to be crimp-on plugs.

I've tried 4 different brands of plugs; some with the separate guide bars, some without. One shielded, the rest not (I don't need the shielding). They were all for CAT 5 cable. I'm definitely getting the cable all the way to the end of the plugs. Crimping the plugs several times has no effect. I even tried a bit of WD40, to lubricate the pins as they cut through the insulation; no effect.

I can occasionally "fix" a bad pin by punching it further down with a narrow screwdriver (ie. mash the living snot out of it), but not always. Once driven deep into the plug, it then probably wouldn't work in the socket.

I tried to 'tweak' the Paladin crimper, by slightly packing one of the dies to make them close tighter - no effect, they were already fully closing. The tool & dies are virtually brand new.

If I was getting bad results on the cheap cable and succeeding on the good quality copper cable, I'd understand it better (ie. lousy cable).

So, what next? I've seen the plugs and crimpers from Platinum tools: https://www.platinumtools.com/products/crimpers/ez-rj45-crimp-tool-100004c/ - and they make plugs to match. It's nice that the cable goes all the way through the plug and then gets trimmed off, but cable sequencing & length isn't my problem - it seems to be how well the little pins cut the insulation and bite into the wire. I need to solve this problem, so I have no problem in paying more for tools & consumables if need be, if they'll fix it. I'm tempted to try these.

Anyone have any other practical suggestions?

Thanks,

Ian

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-19-2017, 02:40 AM
I need to crimp a fair number (think 250) RJ45 plugs onto CAT-5 cable. I started out with a Chinese crimper, horrible thing. I replaced it with a decent brand, Paladin, with the correct dies. Still no success.

I have been doing test pieces, and find that some of the connectors make contact, some don't. On average, half are ok, but it's random as to which half (I'm crimping a plug on one end of a short bit of cable as a test, stripping the other ends, and checking with an Ohmmeter with a pointy probe).

I have different types of cable to work with - some is good quality pure copper, some is Chaiwanese copper plated steel (yes, yes, I know - it was sold as copper plated aluminium, and I didn't check...). All solid core. I need to be able to get reliable (say, >90%) crimps on both types of wire. I'm having the same problem with both types of cable. Changing the wire isn't an option, as it's already installed, and new wire can't be pulled through. Punching the cable down into sockets also isn't an option - it really has to be crimp-on plugs.

I've tried 4 different brands of plugs; some with the separate guide bars, some without. One shielded, the rest not (I don't need the shielding). They were all for CAT 5 cable. I'm definitely getting the cable all the way to the end of the plugs. Crimping the plugs several times has no effect. I even tried a bit of WD40, to lubricate the pins as they cut through the insulation; no effect.

I can occasionally "fix" a bad pin by punching it further down with a narrow screwdriver (ie. mash the living snot out of it), but not always. Once driven deep into the plug, it then probably wouldn't work in the socket.

I tried to 'tweak' the Paladin crimper, by slightly packing one of the dies to make them close tighter - no effect, they were already fully closing. The tool & dies are virtually brand new.

If I was getting bad results on the cheap cable and succeeding on the good quality copper cable, I'd understand it better (ie. lousy cable).

So, what next? I've seen the plugs and crimpers from Platinum tools: https://www.platinumtools.com/products/crimpers/ez-rj45-crimp-tool-100004c/ - and they make plugs to match. It's nice that the cable goes all the way through the plug and then gets trimmed off, but cable sequencing & length isn't my problem - it seems to be how well the little pins cut the insulation and bite into the wire. I need to solve this problem, so I have no problem in paying more for tools & consumables if need be, if they'll fix it. I'm tempted to try these.

Anyone have any other practical suggestions?

Thanks,

Ian

Make sure you slide the 2 pairs (cat5) or 4 pairs (cat5e/6-gigabit) out past the end of the connector before you crimp them. After you crimp them, trim off the excess that sicks out of the connector. If you don't feed all of the wires completely through the connector and out the other side it won't crimp properely. Also make sure the wires are also nice and straight. If I have a few minutes tomorrow I'll video how you can make a cat 6 gigabit patch cable from a spool of cat6 and connectors in less than 30 seconds -- assuming I can still do it and find my tooling :)

MrFluffy
12-19-2017, 03:29 AM
I've done literally thousands of rj45 ends when I used to be a infrastructure intergration engineer, and oddly I still quite enjoy it now.
First I have some Amp crimpers, they are the best I found, and they have replaceable dies if they should ever actually wear out. Theyre my second set, someone stole my first set in a DC so I bought the same model I liked them so much, though they are exhorbitantly expensive.
Next a cyclops style desheathing tool is needed, I have some crap plastic thing that does the same job as a much more expensive one, but for 250, dont resort to trying to roll round on a blade to desheath or use automotive style cable crimpers. It just has to be able to cut the sheath cleanly without damaging the pairs insulation, its not super precision.
When you have the pairs stripped, I always strip them overlength, and pair up how I want the plug wired, 568a or b depending on if its making a straight or cross, personally I stick to b for straights so I'm always consistent at either end of the wire run without having to check. Some equipment wont care if its straight or crossed but even so, best be consistent.
Then holding them firmly between finger and forefinger I sort out the pairs, trying to maintain twist until the section that actually goes into the holes in the plug inside, then pinch tight, I work the area to be inserted back and forth a little and pinch them up to settle the wires at this point so its completely flat in the pinch, and cut it to size with a SHARP pair of cutters. If you have to take more than one nip, your cutters are junk for this job.
Then, I insert them into the shell without releasing the pinch, and without bending the wire at all, if you flex the wire to align to the plug the pinch will loosen and it wont be square. I push the shell onto the pinch and push it home until it seats with the bottom of the plug.
I measure the stickout from the sleeve with comparing it to the rough size of the pinch on unsheathed wire, you'll get the hang of this a few cables in so it becomes instinctive and this is the slightly tricky bit, insert the shell into the crimps without shifting the wire at all relative to the shell. Then crimp and its done.

Good quality wire is easier to feel whats going on, the cheap stuff is slippy and difficult to hold. If its somewhere people live or you care about, try to get them to use LSOH spec cable too (low smoke on heating). Farnell make some great crimp in strain relief's that dont interfere with the plug exterior dimensions if the client will spring for them too, they have to be on the wire at time of crimp so slow you a little, but they sit really nice.
Not sure how much more I can add, its about feel, sharp cutters, and not flexing the wire after positioning before crimp, you'll develop it a few ends in.

I built out a entire 60 47U rack install in colour coded wire once, just me on cabling all bespoke and marked up per the schedule, you could trace every cable by eye in the management trays was another spec I was asked to meet & my failure rate on the tdr was something like 1%, meanwhile the sister project bought in commercial patches bulk ordered, and they cost more and had a 8% failure rate. The client used to bring visitors into the server room just to show them how professional it all looked.
Still kind of proud of that even though I moved on from racking and cabling many years ago.

Uhh on thinking about it, I think I've encountered two sizes of cable shell too, I remember ordering a bag of shells one time and they being a pain to use, and we queried with the supplier and it came back that they were for cat6a, not cat5e and while the spec is the same there's no standard dictating size of sheath etc and these were for larger diameter insulation.
This would mean the pins wont make contact properly, this could be the root of your issue?
I also remember we cured the problem by buying a new bulk bag, from the same company as supplied our cable.
The other time I had fun was with some FTP (foil insulated twisted pair) that we used on my own house build here, because we had ideas about piping round satelite signals to decoders in each room, I tried a few terminations but it seemed simpler to krone onto a panel at the switch end, and krone right into faceplates in each room rather than fighting foil insulation for every plug.

dave_r
12-19-2017, 03:56 AM
If they are going to be Ethernet cables, you may want to purchase an Ethernet cable tester (available for a pretty wide variety of cost with similar variety of quality and testing capability).

Or make your own testing apparatus so you plug the cable in and then either semi-automatically test it or just have large pads to use an ohmmeter on it...

Paul Alciatore
12-19-2017, 04:05 AM
This may help.

https://www.wikihow.com/Crimp-Rj45

If it doesn't, there were many other hits when I searched. Surely one or several of them will help.

Crimping is a precision process. The tolerances are measured in the thousandths or less. Problems are usually caused by simple things: be sure the cable and the connectors match each other. And YES, I did read your post. You are stuck with the cable so you need to be sure the connectors used are for that size and kind of wire. Just "CAT 5" isn't enough. For one thing, "CAT 5" cable comes in many different gauges. If your connectors are not for the gauge wire that you have, they won't work. Different insulation thickness can also cause problems. Solid vs. stranded. The connectors expect one and only one set of wire/cable specs. Of course, be sure the tool matches the connectors.

The RJ connectors used for telephone connections use highly standardized cable types and this simplifies the interchange of connectors. Also the crimping die is built into the connectors for them. I have crimped hundreds, perhaps thousands of them with inexpensive tools with almost zero problems. But that situation becomes more complicated with the many types of cable used for data circuits. Hence more care is needed in selecting connectors and tools.

Cenedd
12-19-2017, 04:19 AM
I've not had any grief with cheap tools so far - don't do enough to warrant buying nicer ones. Last batch of plugs I bought was from RS and they were fine. Plugs can be quite variable in quality - I've previously had a batch that I had to shave down to fit in a socket.
If you don't need shielding, don't make your life more complicated. Ditto for the Cat6 - I believe cat 6 requires the staggered type plugs and they are more awkward to get the wires in. For an easier life, you want the type with straight flat wire path.
I'm guessing it could be technique that's causing you grief so I'll describe how I do it - apologies if I'm just telling you what you already know.
Your crimper should have a set of blades in the handle. One that meets flat metal for cutting the wire and one that faces another blade but doesn't meet it for stripping the end. This should have a stop to make sure you strip the correct length.
Cut your wire.
Strip the end.
You'll need to pull the insulation back a bit - don't strip it further back, you want it to come back and get crimped into the plug at the end.
Untwist the pairs and order them as follows
Stripey orange
Orange
stripey green
blue
Stripey blue
Green
Stripey brown
Brown

That's the 578B pattern - follow the same pattern at both ends (everywhere preferably).
You'll need to unbend the wires a bit to straighten them by bending them while gripped between thumb and forefinger. Get them straight and in the right order and then trim the ends so they're cut straight and finish in a straight line (at right angles to the wires)
Slide them into the plug all the way. Check the order is still correct. You should be able to see the face of each wire looking through the end of the plug. Some variation will be fine but too much and some won't connect.
Slide your insulation back so that it goes into the plug body. Check you haven't pulled the wires back out while doing that and then crimp.

Other things worth noting. For long runs you should be using solid core cable. Stranded is more flexible for patching etc but a little more tricky to crimp.
If all your cables go to one point, think about putting a patch panel in at that end instead of crimped plugs.
If your cables are 20m or less and don't pass through small holes, you could probably buy off the shelf patch cables.
While it's correct that some uses only require two of the pairs (blue and green) it's not a Cat5/Cat6 thing. 100Mbps uses only two pairs - specifically 100base TX - but gigabit uses 1000base T and runs over all four pairs. There is a 2 pair gigabit (1000 base T) that requires Cat6 but almost nothing uses it. If you only have two pairs you will likely run into issues with autonegotiation - the devices will talk over two pairs, agree both can do gigabit and then fail.
Additional pairs are also used in things like Power over Ethernet (PoE) and any non-ethernet uses of Cat5 such as telephony or audio.

Ian B
12-19-2017, 06:48 AM
Thanks for the input so far!

Most of the cabling is for signal use (ie. not Ethernet) - 12 VDC, a few milliamps. I don't need shielding (although I tried some shielded plugs to see if they'd work better - they didn't). I'm using 568B throughout, as it keeps everything consistent.

The plugs that I have don't allow the wires to go all the way through; the EZ system does. I'll try gently drilling a few through and put overlength cables in - that wipes out the 'not reaching the end' problem. The EZ plugs & crimper combination still looks attractive.

So far, getting the sequencing right hasn't been an issue (but the above fix will make checking easier).

There are endless videos on how to crimp properly. I'm not doing anything different to what they show (as far as I can tell). I suspect that Paul's close, on the diameters of wire and insulation. I'll measure up what I have this eve and post it - maybe someone would be kind enough to check cabling where crimping hasn't been an issue. How I would then get 'matching' plugs for the wire that I have, I don't know - the plugs are just sold as CAT5 or CAT6, solid or stranded. I'm only using CAT5 solid, plugs & cables. The only sizing info that I've come across is in the form of "24SWG or smaller". If the wires were larger, I presume they wouldn't fit in.

I'm hoping to find a trade fair or the like, where I can turn up with a few meters of cable and let the salesman demo what he has. I'll buy from the first one that can make a couple of good cables!

Thanks,

Ian

kitno455
12-19-2017, 07:35 AM
Make sure you slide the 2 pairs (cat5) or 4 pairs (cat5e/6-gigabit) out past the end of the connector before you crimp them. After you crimp them, trim off the excess that sicks out of the connector. If you don't feed all of the wires completely through the connector and out the other side it won't crimp properely. Also make sure the wires are also nice and straight. If I have a few minutes tomorrow I'll video how you can make a cat 6 gigabit patch cable from a spool of cat6 and connectors in less than 30 seconds -- assuming I can still do it and find my tooling :)

I have never seen a male plug that had a pass-through for the cable. The end is always closed.

allan

Ian B
12-19-2017, 07:44 AM
Hi Allan,

I hadn't either! But then I found these: https://www.platinumtools.com/products/connectors/ez-rj45-connectors/shielded-ez-rj45-for-cat5e-cat6-with-internal-ground-100020/

The company that makes them makes crimping tools to match - when the crimp is made, an additional blade wipes down the end of the connector and cuts all 8 conductors off flush.

Ian

skunkworks
12-19-2017, 08:20 AM
This is how I do it.

-strip about 3/4 inch. This gives you enough wire to get a hold of and straiten. http://electronicsam.com/images/matsuura/20171219_070304.jpg
-straiten and order the wires like above. http://electronicsam.com/images/matsuura/20171219_070606.jpg
-this is the cool part. - buy a pair of scissors - use that to cut the ends of the wire strait at about 1/2 inch in length. http://electronicsam.com/images/matsuura/20171219_070653.jpg
-now the ends are strait and not bent/malformed - they slide right into the rj45 plug.
-Get the spacing right so the insulation goes in far enough to get crimped by the plastic strain relief. http://electronicsam.com/images/matsuura/20171219_070826.jpg
-before crimping make sure all the individual wires make it to the end of the connector as far as they will go
-crimp http://electronicsam.com/images/matsuura/20171219_070923.jpg

I have also done probably thousands of ends. no issues. We have a fluke network testing kit also. Tests bandwith and such - nice tool to have.

Puckdropper
12-19-2017, 09:14 AM
One thing I do before crimping is to take a close look at the wires in the connector and make sure everything's lining up properly. Make sure the wires go all the way to the end and the colors start at the right side. (A quick check is to make sure they alternate white and solid color.) Also, make sure the sheath goes into the connector where it should.

Once the wires are in the connector, you can usually pull the connector off to make an adjustment without the wires going all over the place again.

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-19-2017, 09:36 AM
Someone is looking through the pass-through :)

http://www.bbssystem.com/pictures/cat6.jpg

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-19-2017, 09:39 AM
I forgot I haven't touched standard cat5 in probably 10 years.

Cenedd
12-19-2017, 09:46 AM
The channels in the plug to hold the wires are usually a fairly tight fit. Not difficult to push in but you do have to push them - and they don't just fall out. If that's not true for the plug/wire combo you have, that could be your problem.

BobinOK
12-19-2017, 10:03 AM
Can't add much that hasn't already been said. I buy my connectors from GrayBar Electric, they have outlets in all major cities. Make sure you are buying the correct connector for the wire type, GrayBar sells one for stranded and one for solid. Like many others never had an issue with the tools from the Big Box stores like these.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Eclipse-QuikThru-RJ45-Professional-Crimp-Tool-902-548/301809651

Bob La Londe
12-19-2017, 10:13 AM
There are a couple things to bear in mind.

The biggy is whether its sold wire or stranded wire. Stranded wire plugs spear the wire and solid wire connectors fork and skin the wire. Monoprice has one that is supposed to work for either solid or stranded. I prefer to have the right plug for the wire. I may still have part of a box of each from AMP around somewhere.

There are also plugs with shallow flat or half round rear entrances. The shallow flat are supposed to be for satin wire and the half round are for round cable. I'm not sure I recall ever having any issue with that. I just recall seeing it in a book somewhere. The only time I ever had any issue was with the heavy jacket of direct burial CAT cable. I always specified to vendors that I wanted the double jacketed type, and at the connector I would remove the heavier outer jacket. For most folks that's not something they will run across, but when running cable to weatherproof IP cameras I had to deal with that from time to time.

I have a set of AMP replaceable jaw universal crimpers, but to be honest I do not like them. I also have several sets of inexpensive block shaped head RJ/MJ crimpers that I tend to like better. (I have several sets because I was the boss/owner and at one time I had several guys working for/with me) Maybe I like them just because they also strip satin wire, and I have made than a few phone cords over the years. I have not really had any wear out. I was a communications contractor for 23 years so they saw some use. I've probably run a couple hundred thousand miles of wire in my career. (Most not terminated with RF plugs. LOL.)

I too have crimped literally thousands of plugs onto cables, but with the advent of the CAT5e standard requiring strain reliefs on patch cables, and the manufacturing side making patch cables so affordable (**unless you buy retail where the price is stupid) I crimped a lot fewer plugs in more recent years. Just cameras, MJ plugs, and short patch cords for *** wall phones.

** A patch cable in a retail store like Staples that costs $15-20 costs $1.50 to maybe $5 from a low voltage supplier, and prices that are close can be found on-line. Unless you are terminating long runs with plugs instead of jacks, terminating weatherproof cable, or making short satin cords for wall phones its just not cost effective to make patch cables. For just one the tools cost to much, and for hundreds just order the lengths you want. I can get them from 1 foot to 25 foot in high quality name brand patch cables pretty darn cheap. I'm a big fan of the Tripplite soft ear strain relief, but Belkin also makes a strain relief like that. If you don't mind a little fatter plug the strain relief and catch protector from ICC is ok too, and they cost less if you have a good ICC distributor to buy from. The ICCs are fat at the back. Not the front. One of my customers didn't like them because they were hard to manage in high density patch panels. Since they have tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of terminals, printers, ip phones and other hardware they have a lot of high density patch panels.

*** The 500 wallsets used to have an integral plug. You placed the phone over the jack and slid it down to lock it in place. Most phones today leave wall mounting as a sort of after thought. They recognize its sometimes desirable, but don't make a wall model any more. They make a deskset that's got features to allow it to wall mount. Sometimes in the phone, sometimes in the snap on base, and then often a reversible tab where the handset hangs so it can hook the handset when its in wall phone mode. Nobody includes a short cord to hook the phone up when wall mounted, although years ago some manufacturers did. Particular keyset manufacturers.

engineerd3d
12-19-2017, 10:59 AM
I use an "IDEAL" brand crimper I bought probably 15-16 years back. Its USA made and has replaceable dies, not that I could find any dies to replace. I believe I paid close to 100$ for it way back when. It has been my good friend through thick and thin. I use cat5e/cat6 cable with RJ45 connectors, dont cheap out on these its more hassle than its worth to save 5$. This one does RJ11 as well, not that anyone in their right mind would run cat3 through their house. With that said, I have gotten my share of bad crimps on that thing simply because when starting off it takes a while for muscle memory to catch up with the brain. Once its set, I could probably do 200-300 connectors with less than a 5% failure rate. Also a RJ45 tester is a life saver. All it does is test pairs by sending 9v through the cable. I say grab a chunk of wire and practice. Then go do the real thing.

browne92
12-19-2017, 11:09 AM
I was hired to do the wiring on a nurse call system for a hospital. I walked in and there were 35 1000 ft spools of cable and 12 100 count bags of connectors. People would watch me put one on and say "Hey, you're quick at that!", and I'd reply "Yea, after the first 6 or 7 hundred, you get pretty good at it."

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-19-2017, 11:23 AM
I walked in and there were 35 1000 ft spools of cable and 12 100 count bags of connectors.

If I saw that, I'd call up my boss and say... "what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey **** he is! Hallelujah! Holy ****! Where’s the coffee!!!" -- or something like that especially if I just saw Xmas vacation.

danlb
12-19-2017, 12:42 PM
If you are doing a lot, it's a really good idea to get a cable tester. Cheap ones will quickly tell you if you have opens or miswired connectors. I've used several models.

Dan

old mart
12-19-2017, 01:07 PM
I have the cheap kit and tester and occasionally do cat6, similar to cat 5 except for the plastic separator. The were designed by a total sadist who should have his gonads crushed in a vise.
Allow an extra inch, just in case the first attempt fails.
When I was working in an engineering firm before retiring, we had to log in and out the work on computer linked by Ethernet cables. Our pc in the fitting shop was very unreliable. The factory maintenance man traced the cable and found that it had been run over the rails of the ten ton travelling crane. The cat 5 cable was squashed flat, but still worked most of the time.

Paul Alciatore
12-19-2017, 02:31 PM
The plugs should have data sheets. The electronic supply houses make this easy. Places like Amazon and E-Bay do not. Here is one example:

https://belfuse.com/resources/StewartConnector/Stewart%20Data%20Sheets/CT370039.pdf

I got there from Digi-Key's listing of CAT5 plugs:

https://www.digikey.com/products/en/connectors-interconnects/modular-connectors-plugs/367?k=RJ45%20CAT5%20plug

You click on a part and then on the data sheet link. Other electronic supply houses, like Mouser, will have similar functionality.




Thanks for the input so far!

Most of the cabling is for signal use (ie. not Ethernet) - 12 VDC, a few milliamps. I don't need shielding (although I tried some shielded plugs to see if they'd work better - they didn't). I'm using 568B throughout, as it keeps everything consistent.

The plugs that I have don't allow the wires to go all the way through; the EZ system does. I'll try gently drilling a few through and put overlength cables in - that wipes out the 'not reaching the end' problem. The EZ plugs & crimper combination still looks attractive.

So far, getting the sequencing right hasn't been an issue (but the above fix will make checking easier).

There are endless videos on how to crimp properly. I'm not doing anything different to what they show (as far as I can tell). I suspect that Paul's close, on the diameters of wire and insulation. I'll measure up what I have this eve and post it - maybe someone would be kind enough to check cabling where crimping hasn't been an issue. How I would then get 'matching' plugs for the wire that I have, I don't know - the plugs are just sold as CAT5 or CAT6, solid or stranded. I'm only using CAT5 solid, plugs & cables. The only sizing info that I've come across is in the form of "24SWG or smaller". If the wires were larger, I presume they wouldn't fit in.

I'm hoping to find a trade fair or the like, where I can turn up with a few meters of cable and let the salesman demo what he has. I'll buy from the first one that can make a couple of good cables!

Thanks,

Ian

Paul Alciatore
12-19-2017, 02:37 PM
RE: All the advise about cable testers. Most cable testers are designed for cables where both ends can be plugged into the tester. If the cable is installed in a building, this is probably not possible and those testers are almost useless. You would need a tester that can work from a single end of the cable. A shorting plug would be needed on the other end of that cable during the test. The tester would test one wire in the cable at a time with the switching being either manual or automatic.

H380
12-19-2017, 02:54 PM
These are not pass through. Although both types are available in pass though. The connector on the left has a built in wire comb. On the right you fit the wires into the black comb. Then trim the wires. Then insert into the connector and crimp. They are both Amphenol brand. As for as crimp tools go. Avoid the Ideal tools from Home Depot/Lowes. The cheap crimp tools are cast metal and wear out fast. The expensive tool dies are hardened machined tool steel. Each one of the 8 pins needs to be set the same height. The cheap crimp tools crimp in a arc. Some pins are left high and not fully seated in the wire. Paladin was the cheapest good crimp tools. But they are branded as Greenlee now and the price doubled.

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=2031&d=1513711453
The tester was a $50 thing. But it is discontinued. You can check with a normal multimeter if you can test before you run the cables. A cheap cable butter is almost priceless. Get one. Also use flush cutting dykes.
http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=2032&d=1513711460

danlb
12-19-2017, 02:55 PM
RE: All the advise about cable testers. Most cable testers are designed for cables where both ends can be plugged into the tester.

My tester (from IDEAL) is two part. I can use either end with jack or plug. It uses a clever tone system to automatically check each pair and identify crossed pairs, opens, shorts and split pairs. The tone generator can also be used as the transmitter if you have a "fox and hound" style receiver.

Dan

MrFluffy
12-19-2017, 03:07 PM
Pretty much most of the budget cat5 pair testers come in two parts, a generator and a reciever. You plug the generator in and wander across site to the other end and plug the reciever in and you can see from the sequence on the reciever if each pair is wired correctly & good or not. The only pain is moving it to the next cable involves a walk, but you'd have that with a loopback plug anyway?
A tdm will beat them hand down in range of faults you can diagnose, but round the office and paying for the kit, I just use a $10 tester.

MrFluffy
12-19-2017, 03:08 PM
Also if one end of the cable is kroned into a patch panel, I just plug the tester in with a short patch cable. Same result.

Ohio Mike
12-19-2017, 05:56 PM
As a Senior Network engineer I don't terminate a lot of cable but I still do a fair bit now and then. I terminate everything 568B that is...

White Orange
Orange
White Green
Blue
White Blue
Green
White Brown
Brown

When starting out cut the jacket really long if you can, even as much as an inch and a half (more doesn't hurt). I'm right handed so... Start by holding the cable with your left hand facing up at you. Separate the four pairs into the four directions North/East/South/West and get the twist out of them. Then while holding the jacket with your other fingers begin by placing the White Orange and Orange between your thumb and index finger using your right hand to slide them together tight. Then continue to add the additional colors by sliding them into the slot between your thumb and index finger. As you add them continue to work the pairs straight with your right thumb and index finger. Eventually you'll have all eight there at which time you'll take a pair of electrician's scissors and cut them all even. Do NOT cut them short! Every novice I've seen wants to cut to exact length and you want them longer than you think... At this point you will insert the conductors into the jack and since they are all cut even and you straightened them all out they should slide right in all the way to the end of the jack. Getting them all they way to the bottom is very important. Now place the crimp tool over the RJ jack and push hard with your left hand to insert the cable jacket far enough into the jack so its crimped by the tool. Now you can crimp. They will be long enough you will probably have to push pretty hard to get the CAT5/6 jacket into the back of the jack. As you make more you'll get the hang of how long they really need to be so they are not be to short but not so long you can't catch the jacket too. You have to pay attention to how the pairs are twisted in the jacket to keep from having a tangled mess at the jack. It can take a couple a hundred just to get decent at it. Unfortunately cable quality can make a big difference.

Ian B
12-20-2017, 04:47 AM
Solved it!

First, thanks to everyone who contributed - I picked up a lot of other useful stuff along the way.

Most of the crimps that I'd been testing were with the 2 piece modular plugs, that have a small cable guide. I was simply assembling them incorrectly! I hadn't realized that the plug itself didn't have 8 holes at the front end, just a larger rectangular volume for the entire guide. I'd been leaving 6mm sticking through the guide, and thinking that the cables then went into the 8 holes in the plug. In reality, they were just waving in fresh air, and occasionally one got harpooned when crimped. This explains the random results that I was getting. The guides have slots in the top to accept & guide the pins when being crimped; I hadn't seen this at first.

I went back to Ebay to look at the plugs I bought. I didn't find the original vendor (atcercimai) (https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/50-X-Pcs-RJ45-8p8c-Network-Cable-Cat6-Shielded-Modular-Connector-Plug/112535960149?hash=item1a33aa7a55:g:jHYAAOSwdYlZm-M5), but I found another one: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/50-X-Pcs-RJ45-8p8c-Network-Cable-Cat6-Shielded-Modular-Connector-Plug/112535960149?hash=item1a33aa7a55:g:jHYAAOSwdYlZm-M5 (these are CAT6 shielded, mine are CAT5 unshielded, but same cable guide).

and this one shows a photo of the cables being trimmed flush with the end of the guide.

Once I did this, every test piece was perfect right off the bat. It's a really nice design - the guide goes almost hard up against the end of the sheath, so very little untwisted cable. Easy to get the colours right, and check them before cutting off flush ready for insertion. The whole pack slips straight in and can be held firmly in place while being crimped. Lots of sheath inside the plug, so good for strain relief (additional strain relief boots fit as well, if needed / space allows).

Massive sigh of relief!

Ian

MrFluffy
12-20-2017, 05:43 AM
Sorted, always bought ones that didnt have two pieces, but I guess for cat6 they maintain the twist further into the plug for the higher bandwidth.

These are the boots I mentioned, theyre called slimline or snagless, they dont add to the width so dont cause pulling routing snags, nor do you ever have that issue of trying to fit a row of them into a densely populated device. Also handy to colour code for different cable types, then you can keep all your red for 5v poe, 12v blue, rs485 green etc etc.

https://www.netshop.co.uk/products/rj45snagless-strain-relief-flush-boot-violet-65mm

Ian B
12-20-2017, 06:12 AM
Yep, I have those already - they are indeed much better than the ones that slip over the plugs.

Most of the connectors & CAT 5 cables are being used as signal cables (ie. not Ethernet, although I have those too), so bandwidth and maintaining the twists isn't an issue. Compactness and flexibility is an issue though. They end up in wall switch sockets, ceiling connector boxes etc. So I'm stripping about 6" of sheath off and replacing this with expandable nylon braided sheathing with glue lined heat shrink at both ends to stop fraying. The plug then crimps onto heat shrink & braid instead of normal CAT 5 sheath; it works just as well.

This gives me much more flexibility. With this, I don't need the extra strain relief. It's a very neat solution (and even better now that it actually conducts electricity!)

The plugs go into RJ45 PCB sockets. Just need to make the PCB's now...

Ian