Making Your Own Cat 5 Patch Cable – Some Common Pitfalls and Mistakes


It can be real handy to have one or two additional Ethernet cables handy — when you are rearranging components, or have to hook up a brand-new component. Pre-made cat 5 patch cables are sometimes expensive to buy, however, so it can be cheaper to learn to make your own. But if you don’t do it correctly, your patch cable will be useless.

One of the most common mistakes that many people make when trying to make their own cat 5 patch cables is that they try to use the wrong tools. For example, they may have a crimping cool designed for use with telephone system modular connectors — they try to use this tool to crimp the connectors for their cat 5 cable wiring — but it just will work properly, because telephone connectors are a different size from those used on 5 wires.

Another common mistake is in not purchasing enough cable. You can generally purchase cat 5 patch cable wiring in 1000-foot rolls — if that will be too much for your wiring project, you can keep the rest of it in storage, in case your installed cable goes bad in the future. Or, you can pass along the extra cabling to a friend or family member so they can do their own home computer wiring.

In addition to these materials, you will also need a good-quality stripping tool — don’t try to use a pen knife or something like that to strip off the outer insulation from the cat 5 patch cable. When used properly, a stripping tool will strip away the outside covering, without cutting or nicking the smaller, inside wires — and it’s very important that you don’t.

Another very important item to have on hand is a cable tester. This device will allow you to check the integrity of your cable connections, before you actually try to use it with your computer equipment. Many people struggle, trying to figure out what is wrong with their computer network connections, when the problem can be traced to a bad patch cord.

If you look inside of your cat 5 cable, you will see four pairs of smaller wires — two wires twisted together — it is very important that you do not untwist these wires any more than is necessary in order to expose enough wiring to attach your connector. The reason for this is that each pair of twisted wires has been designed to work together, to minimize interference with the other sets of wires inside the cable. If you untwist these wires more than necessary, this dampening effect is lost, and it could affect the performance of your patch cable.

Another area where people get messed up is that they handle cat 5 cable improperly. A common mistake is to staple this cable to the bottom of a wall or on a baseboard. This can crimp or crush the wires inside your cable. Instead, use only manufacturer-recommended supplies to hold your cat 5 cable in place. As well, make sure that you do not lay your cable near any existing wiring — it may interfere with the signal transmission through the cable.

A final mistake that many people make when constructing their own cat 5 patch cables is not testing the cable once the connectors have been attached. It is always a good practice to use your testing device to verify the quality and integrity of your connections before you began using your patch cord. If your testing device indicates there is a problem, cut off one end of the cable and attach a new connector — then test it again. If there is still a problem with your cat 5 patch cable, flip it over and cut off the other end and attach a new connector there as well. Now test it — once you get a green light from your testing equipment, then you can begin putting that patch cable to good use.

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