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  • Crimping RJ45 plugs - Help!

    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/produc...-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
    All of the gear, no idea...

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ian B View Post
    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/produc...-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
    Last edited by 3 Phase Lightbulb; 12-19-2017, 03:43 AM.

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    • #3
      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.
      Last edited by MrFluffy; 12-19-2017, 04:44 AM. Reason: added recall about bad ends + ftp

      Comment


      • #4
        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...

        Comment


        • #5
          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.
          Paul A.

          Make it fit.
          You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

          Comment


          • #6
            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.

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            • #7
              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
              All of the gear, no idea...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by 3 Phase Lightbulb View Post
                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

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                • #9
                  Hi Allan,

                  I hadn't either! But then I found these: https://www.platinumtools.com/produc...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
                  All of the gear, no idea...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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/mats...219_070304.jpg
                    -straiten and order the wires like above. http://electronicsam.com/images/mats...219_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/mats...219_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/mats...219_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/mats...219_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.

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                    • #11
                      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.

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                      • #12
                        Someone is looking through the pass-through

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                        • #13
                          I forgot I haven't touched standard cat5 in probably 10 years.

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                          • #14
                            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.

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                            • #15
                              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-...-548/301809651

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