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Cat 5e/6 tools

Redcoat

Dedicated Sage
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
1,747
I have a large old house to fully network cable. Since I lost all my tools in last year's fire I need to buy a new cable stripper and a new crimper. Can anybody recommend good quality 5e/6 tools? I don't want the big-box-store quality stuff.
TIA.
 

John Digital

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Jan 7, 2015
Messages
777
As a former cable pro I always got my enterprise grade tools at Budco they got the good stuff.
 

Patrick M. Hausen

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Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
2,223
@Redcoat Where are you located? Here (Germany) Krone is the gold standard for LSA+ tools, but they seem to be uncommon in the US for example.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Messages
141
If you don't mind, @Redcoat, I'd like to piggy back on this thread please, as I'm also in need of hardware for making my own CAT5e cabling... only I'm in the UK, so Budco isn't an option but perhaps other recommendations might apply to us both.

I'm currently looking at the Klein Tools VDV226-107, as I've heard good things about the Klein Tools range and my research usually points me back in their direction. Budco stocks the VD226-110, which I believe is basically the same as the 107, except that the 110 is of the "Pass-Thru" type (and requires passthrough type connectors).

There are a few questions I've been researching. Again, perhaps they might help you too Redcoat.

1. Are passthrough and / or load bar connectors worth the added expense if time isn't an issue?
2. Are there any particular brands of connector that @John Digital or other cabling pros recommend?
3. Further to the previous question... how much should you spend on the connectors (see note)?
4. Do cable testers do anything that a multimeter and a bit of extra time can't do? (I already have a multimeter and an aversion to creating e-waste)

Note: my current El Cheapo "don't even know where it came from, I think it just appeared in the back of a draw one day" crimping tool and the cheap as I could find them online connectors have an issue where the metal connnector "teeth" embedded in the connectors don't always get driven into the individual wires. Some teeth just get pushed to one side by the crimping tool, I believe because the connectors are crappy and because the tool is of the hinged type, and therefore pressure is applied unevenly, from one side of the connector to the other, as the tool is closed. Some connectors even have teeth that are so lose, that they can fall out. So I have to examine each connector before using it. Is that just par for the course?... that each bag of connectors will have a certain number of duds, or is it because I bought old rope rather than spending the extra dough? Quite how you tell old rope from new these days though!
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Messages
141
Happy for you to do it. I can say that I have and have had several Klein Tools that have performed well - I just don't know if there's something much better out there to consider when buying what I expect to be my last network cabling tool (I'm 75...)
Thank you.

I the older I get, the more I believe that the tools I buy should be the last ones I buy. I'm sure there's a saying along the lines of "you only buy the right tool once". I just wish it was easier to find the right tool as you can't just do it by spending more these days as cost is less and less a colleeration with quality.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
13,189
If you don't mind, @Redcoat, I'd like to piggy back on this thread please, as I'm also in need of hardware for making my own CAT5e cabling... only I'm in the UK, so Budco isn't an option but perhaps other recommendations might apply to us both.

I'm currently looking at the Klein Tools VDV226-107, as I've heard good things about the Klein Tools range and my research usually points me back in their direction. Budco stocks the VD226-110, which I believe is basically the same as the 107, except that the 110 is of the "Pass-Thru" type (and requires passthrough type connectors).
Platinum Tools pioneered the "passthrough" connectors under the EZRJ45 name.

There have been some knockoffs since then, including the Klein version. Having spent many years doing telecom and data work in the 80's and 90's, it isn't impossible to get really good at non-passthru connectors, but you'll still suffer several percent failure rates on cable assemblies (and anyone who claims otherwise is probably just delusional or lying). I spend a lot of time doing custom length wiring harnesses in racks, and it really hurts when one doesn't work.

If you have great technique, it is pretty easy to get 99.5%+ with EZRJ45, conditionally:

1) You need the correct crimps, and one of the things lately is that Platinum has been suffering Chinese knockoffs. Most of them are easy to identify because they do not have the crystal appearance of the legitimate Platinum crimps. The geometry is just a bit off and they don't do the cables just right.

2) You need the correct tools, you really do need the Platinum Tools standard or "pro" tool. I really like their cable stripper too.

3) You need decent cable. Legrand, General Cable, Honeywell Genesis, etc. A few years ago, I grew unhappy with carrying around lots of boxed cable, and started using long patch cords from "Cable Matters" as material for custom patch cables, and I've been very happy with how compatible that is with the EZRJ45 stuff.

4) You need to develop great technique. The EZRJ45 stuff favors he who is willing to correct mistakes by pulling out and reworking. "Great technique" is not individually inserting conductors, but using the same general methods as regular RJ Cat6 conductor grooming, but with a lot more length on the conductors.

5) Boots are required for gigabit cable to help maintain bend radius. This means that your cost per end is somewhere between $0.60-$1.00 if you buy crimps and strain reliefs in moderate quantities.

Note: my current El Cheapo "don't even know where it came from, I think it just appeared in the back of a draw one day" crimping tool and the cheap as I could find them online connectors have an issue where the metal connnector "teeth" embedded in the connectors don't always get driven into the individual wires. Some teeth just get pushed to one side by the crimping tool, I believe because the connectors are crappy and because the tool is of the hinged type, and therefore pressure is applied unevenly, from one side of the connector to the other, as the tool is closed. Some connectors even have teeth that are so lose, that they can fall out. So I have to examine each connector before using it. Is that just par for the course?... that each bag of connectors will have a certain number of duds, or is it because I bought old rope rather than spending the extra dough? Quite how you tell old rope from new these days though!
Definitely a thing for cheap parts and tools. Definitely NOT a thing with the Platinum Tools stuff. I did have one crimper that suddenly one day started doing bad crimps and I have no idea what was awry. I took the tool apart, put it back together, and it's been fine ever since. I've had maybe a dozen mechanically bad crimps (other than the several that tool generated) over the ~15-20 years I've been using the Platinum stuff. I've had a few cases where I got overzealous because I like to "tug" the wires into the crimp. If you do this too firmly, you can get shorts. You're not supposed to do that so I don't blame Platinum, just my OCD.

The Cat5 and Cat6 crimps are different. I strongly suggest the Cat6 with the plastic boots. It is easier to learn on the Cat5 though.

4. Do cable testers do anything that a multimeter and a bit of extra time can't do? (I already have a multimeter and an aversion to creating e-waste)
If you are going to be doing only a little bit of cabling, buy a $10 eBay Asian cable tester. This pays for itself the first time you reverse pairs inadvertently. You'll immediately wonder why you ever thought a multimeter was a good idea.

Klein makes the nice Klein VDV Scout Pro 2 which is usually around $70, which is the tool that's in most of our Cat and RF cable bags.

I also really like the Platinum Tools Net Prowler TNK850K1, but unfortunately at $800, it doesn't add enough value unless you're using it a lot. It has a great feature set though.

None of these tools are "certification-grade" cable testing tools. They mainly make sure your cables are wired right and have no glaring faults.
 
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