Crimping Cable ! What am I doing Wrong!

So last year I laid Cat6 cable in my house. My problem is when I crimped the ends I had 1 in 2 connections failing. The wires were separated by a sheath. Now I’m finding my connections are fragile, the slightest motion will render them useless :rage:

This is a list of the exact items I’ve used:

Cat6 cable

Cat6 plug

Crimping tool

Cable tester

Is there some special technique to crimp ? Or is my crimping tool not up to the job or is it something else ?

Can anyone make a recommendation on what tools/parts they’ve used that I could buy in the UK that work first time please.

Those parts and tools are fine. Sounds like you have a problem with technique.

Here’s a good video that shows a good technique for cat6.

Ok thanks actually saw that video in the past, not sure my technique is gonna improve much more after 200 terminations.

I guess most cables are punched down rather than terminated in offices …

Think I have 50% made up my mind to retrofit keystone jacks in my rack.

That type of crimper is not my first choice. I’m guessing it squeezed the wires inside too hard and crushed them together. This causes the insulation to flow over time and shorts can developed.

Second thought is it didn’t squeeze the pins down far enough and is making a poor connection with the wires.

Third would be wrong connector for the cable used, again pins didn’t squeeze down into the wires properly.

Do you have a simple checker, and does it show shorts or opens?

Is there another type of crimper that works better ? They all looked kinda similar to me.

I have a line tester, I’m guessing that is not a checker, could you post a link to what you are referring to ? thanks

I have finally gone to a “real” crimper, even though it wasn’t cheap. Formerly Paladin and now Greenlee:

Get the RJ45 crimp dies separately unless you can find them included. I originally got mine from Newegg including the dies.

Note that the above DOES NOT work with the pass through style of connectors, I don’t use that style because I think there is too high a risk of a short from the trimmed end. Lots of people like them though so use what works for you. After thousands of connectors, there really isn’t a speed or convenience issue from the “traditional” connectors.

I have two cable devices that I can use, one I bought, one that work bought bought.

Cheapo is essential this same product, but it only cost $15 so look around

You need one with cross and short indicators.

The “good” one is 10+ years old so good may be a stretch but still a current product. Don’t use it much anymore as the cheapo gives me most of what I need in a hurry.

I’m looking at upgrading my personal cable checker/certifier/identifier but not yet ready to drop the money on something really appropriate.

Punch down tool :

I have a variation of this tool, they keep changing the design. I’m also building tips for some of the audio patch panels we use.

keystone jack helper:

I bought mine from Cables and Kits, I like their service and prices are normally pretty low… This thing makes the job of punching Keystone style jacks tolerable. And yes it will spread out the force so that your “probably” won’t dent your sheetrock. Notice the word probably, but I’ve had good luck in this area.

Strippers: The only ones I’ve used are a utility knife on most cables, or the included stripper and wire separator that came with my bonded pair Belden 10GX cable (Cat7?) 10gb rated cable. It has a hook with a partially exposed blade that you can swing around with your finger and it just strips the jacket and does it perfectly every time. Not so good on thinner Cat5e or 6a cables, but I keep them around. Care MUST be taken when using a utility knife, if you nick the conductors, cut it back and try again! You DO NOT need to cut clean through the outer jacket. Just score it and fold it over, it will break cleanly without risk of nicking the copper.

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Thanks a lot that’s really helpful. I’ll look into these and see where I can source them in the UK. Fortunately I have no confidence in my ability so I’ve left enough extra length at the end of my runs for corrections!

If possible, always leave some extra in the cables because there us always a need for change or repair. Repairing a jack that someone ripped out of the wall when you only have an extra inch of cable is not fun!

Whenever possible, I try to terminate at a patch panel or a female keystone block with punchdowns, then I use commercially made cables for my patch cables. I have had much better luck going that route.

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Pretty much the only time I terminate with a plug is when I am installing cameras and there’s nowhere to put the jack.

Also, commercially made patch cables use stranded wire and are much more flexible than the cable. Cable is meant to be stationary, so it uses solid copper for better signal transmission, but patch cords need the flexibility.

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Yeah … I’m thinking those punchdown keystones are the way to go, luckily I have these type of connectors in each room. Though I have to replace my patch panel while not terribly expensive the ethernet jacks I have currently in them have cost a few quid in total.

Think my error was believing before I started that using ethernet plugs would be both easier and more flexible than using keystone jacks, a few quid later I’m wrong :frowning:

Ah well live and learn !

I had to learn similarly! :slight_smile:

Get a crimper where you can paththought the wires like this one,

Dont have to get exact one, but it will help.

I use the Crimper above every single day, would never go back to the old stile it’s just to much hassle and guesswork.

Yeah I did see these (obviously after I bought my crimper) but thought somehow they were not as good as there seemed to be only a few of these type on sale by comparison.

Before I spent any money I thought it would be as simple as wiring a plug, so I was somewhat bemused that nearly 50% of my connections failed. Plus I was doing it this way to save a few quid !

I’ve since replaced my patch panel with the punch-down style, now all my ethernet sockets in rooms are working as expected.

My learning from this is that it really is hit or miss, then the connection is fragile, in future I simply would not bother terminating my own connection where possible.

Practice makes perfect. I’ll get around 1 out of 100 or less failures if I’m doing a lot in a batch, large batches are usually zero because you get into a groove. Stranded wire is harder if you don’t have good connectors made for stranded cable.

While a good workman doesn’t blame his tools … you really need good components and tools … no way to sort the wheat from the chaff on Amazon unless you’ve done it before

Pass through cat5 cat6 work awesome! Buy proper crimpers & ends. Make sure you replace your blade every 100-200 crimps and you will be fine.

People who say Passthrough suck, are the people who never change their cutting blades. I’ve crimped well over 10,000 ends and hardly have issues. Only issues I have rarely had is using cat6 ends on cat5e cable, Holes are a little bit larger for cat6 and when using cat5e cable the wire doesn’t get pinched properly by the crimped end.

IMO always check your ends with a network tester & verify.

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It seems there is no happy medium, it’s really an investment in the right kit, if it’s for the home then financially it’s optimal to stick with punch down sockets and pre-terminated cables. Think I basically bought the wrong kit but really difficult to discern what will or won’t work without prior experience, life is only getting shorter :slight_smile:

I’ve used the other style like you have, and it works. One of the biggest reasons I have a failure is not getting the wires flat where the strain relief crimps down. If there is a bulge, it will probably smash conductors together and cause a short.

For stranded it is really nice to have the connector style that uses the little plastic separator to keep the conductors where they need to be. You can use the “regular” style of connector, but it is harder to make sure that the conductors stay in place and reach the end of the connector.

Also note that stranded are not supposed to be used in punchdown terminations, but they can work if you have no other choice. They will very likely fail sooner than a solid wire will fail, you might get days, you might get years out of this combo. Solid wire punched down can be decades, especially so if the punchdown has silicon goo in them to seal out the air.

I still down’t like the feed through style of connector, but that’s obviously a personal choice and many people seem to make them work without issue. I think a really good tool is more required for this style than for the non-feed through style. You will want a nice clean cut off the end, and the few I’ve used were not a clean cut.

There are also styles of Keystone (and similar) that do not require a tool to punch down. Some of these work really well, but I can’t give an example because it has been too many year now. Many come with a little plastic tool, these can work OK for the person that only needs to install a few jacks. But when you start doing this as part of your work, I really suggest the above style punch tool and the little holder tool to help hang on to the jacks.