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Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?
2

Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

(OP)
I've been in IT and networking for over 10 years, and I was always told to use pre-made patch cables. An article written by Blue Jean Cable about a high failure rate of cables has me reconsidering this: Is Your Cat6 a Dog?. Basically, the article explains how they tested a number of consumer available ethernet cables advertised as Cat6 but 80% failed, and half of those cables also failed Cat5e tests. This makes me think about making my own cables.

They did explain that professional installers have access to cables, from companies like Belden, that have better build practices and often verify every component they sell. Blue Jean Cable puts a copy of the testing report for the cable in the package or on the outside of it. Consumers normally don't have access to verified cables because they are sold to companies or installers that buy a larger number at a time. You can get cable like Belden 2400 cable from Ebay.

I never thought about making my own cables since I never had the proper tools and test equipment. Recently I read a really good article on Audioholic about crimping terminals Crimping & Soldering - Keys to Connection Performance and Longevity. Somewhere else, someone suggested that one thing that makes a difference is using a better crimper, namely an AMP or GMP Modular Plug Presser. One thing I inferred from this discussion and other discussions is that there are two main factors in making a good crimp: a crimper with the proper amount of force, and using a die that is matched to the 8P8C modular connector.

For a tester, I have been looking at Ebay, and I wonder if an old Fluke model cable tester (Fluke Optiview, NetTool, or MicroScanner Pro,) or a tool for testing phone lines like the Tempo Sidekit Plus TDR or a DSL test meter.

RE: Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

Two points I'd like to add, and I'm sure others will, too. This is a great thread! As far as the crimp tool, pay more and get a ratchetting one. The more expensive ones ratchet, while the cheaper ones don't. Much easier to get the proper tension on the crimp because as soon as the ratchetting is done and the tool releases, perfect pressure. The other thing is unless you are doing a new install and have to certify the cabling, a simple 4 pair tester is fine. Ideal Industries makes a good one. Other people please chime in. This is going to become a favorite thread for sure. Thanks.

Always look out for the next guy because it may be you!

RE: Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

Another thing is the type of ends you use. Some are made for stranded wire and some for solid copper.
As for test equipment, unless you use one for certification and for several projects, getting an $8000 tester would note be worth it. We will certify cables for a fee per drop or as part of a cabling project accounting for the extra time. Other wise a good continuity tester works fine for add adding a few drops.
I have a cheaper crimp tool though from Ideal that hasn't failed a crimp yet. I have crossed pairs, ect... but not had any trouble with the tool. But I may just have lucked out with the tool.
We have used various patch cables from various vendors and have had very few fail. I still would prefer factory made patch cords for the switch to panel connections.

www.i3techgroup.com

If its not working, get a bigger hammer!

Avaya/Nortel/NEC/Asterisk/Access Control/CCTV/DSX/Acti/UCx

RE: Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

(OP)
Here is the first article I read about the cables issue by Audioholics
Why Your Cat6 5e Network Cable is Slowing You Down: Interview with Blue Jeans Cable, which refers to the first article.

Something Blue Jean Cable said that surprised me was that they normally recommend using solid wire rather than stranded for the majority of patch cables, which makes sense when you think about it. This is assuming that the cable will be about three feet and go between a computer and a wall jack and will rarely move. Same with a patch panel port to a switch or router. They said as long as the cable isn't going to be constantly flexing, solid conductors should work fine and have less problems with impedance stability than stranded.

I am looking both the quality of the cable and materials, what works together the best to make a complete unit, and matching the crimping die to the cable ends. I really liked the look of the EZ RJ45 ends with pass-thru cables and matching strain reliefs, but when Blue Jean Cable tested these, the little bit of extra cable at the end of the cable ends, which is straight, causes near-end cross talk (NEXT,} and it marginally passes testing.

One of the reasons I want to get a decent cable/network tester is for troubleshooting existing cable/network problems quickly. Either the LinkRunner AT or the Cable IQ seems like would work very good for that use. I'm looking for a cheaper tester that will do more comprehensive checks on the cable itself.

The original article about crimping from Audioholics, also mentioned that you should only squeeze the crimper once, and I'm sure using a ratcheting crimper definitely helps. What I inferred from this, thinking about the elastic deformation of the wire contacts, is that if you don't do it in one smooth complete motion, or squeeze the crimper a second time (like I was taught,) the connection could be compromised.

That brings up another question. When you punch down cables to a 110 jack, either with an impact tool, or a compression tool that "punches down" all eight wires at once, doesn't the same elastic deformation take place there too? And which does this best? This makes me think that once a cable is punched down properly, you probably can not reuse that port for another cable and have it work the same as new.

RE: Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

(OP)
I forgot to add this, but here is the GMP Modular Plug Presser that I ordered. It is supposed to be among the best handheld crimpers you can buy. I don't know if anyone else sells the cable ends that match the GMP dies for this crimper, or if I need to buy them from GMP. They also sell dies that match up with Amp connectors.

RE: Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

My preference is to purchase pre made patch cords. My former employer uses Platinum EZ connectors and they seemed to work well. I purchased a crimper and a supply of plugs for my own use.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"
http://mysite.verizon.net/vze7n25t/

RE: Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

(OP)
You can buy good pre-made patch cords, but you have to get them from a reputable source that certifies all the cables they sell. Make sure the cables were assembled in the US and you will probably be fine for Cat5e patch cords.

One of the things that worry me about bulk pre-made cables is how much handling and different environments they go through between the time they are made till you use them. I can buy a roll of 1000' of cable and know the cable hasn't had any handling since it was put on the roll.

I am thinking about the Belden MediaTwist Cat5E cable or Cat6.

RE: Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

I use Systimax (Commscope) cable/patch cords purchased from a local Graybar.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"
http://mysite.verizon.net/vze7n25t/

RE: Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

I love Commscope myself. Quality hardware.

Always look out for the next guy because it may be you!

RE: Test Equipment for Testing/Certifying Cables - Old Fluke meter or Tempo or?

(OP)
I found one family of devices that work for certifying cables: specifically LT 8155, and LT8600 LAN Cable Testers. These testers were replaced by Ideal LanTEK II Series Cable Certifier.

I bid on a used LT 8155, which is limited to Cat5e, but right now that is the only specification I need to provide and install cable to. Hopefully I will get enough business to upgrade to a newer cable certifier that will go up to Cat6a or Cat7.

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