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Cat5 over long distance + Outdoor?


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Alright...newb-ish question...

 

I'm going to be using the CMB-24D to power and control the 8-pack of RGB ribbons that LOR sells, (here) but I'm placing this controller further away from my other two controllers that will more than likely control other features of the house. The reason I'm putting this controller further away is so that the wire that comes from each RGB strip will be less than 50 ft away from the controller and will actually light up. My concerns are two-fold:

  1. Cat5 over long distance - the cat5 needs to be at least 75-80 ft in order to be daisy chained to the other controllers. Will this be a problem with the data it is sending? Or will it be just fine? Which cat5 should I buy, if it is a problem? [i know I can use the Easy Light Linkers too, but why waste $250 on 8 channels? It's only at most $10 to do Cat5 if I use the correct one.]
  2. This CMB-24D is going to be outdoors in frigid California winter temperature. Will this affect the cat5? Is cat5 suitable to be outdoors? It will also be around water/on my roof so... should this be a major concern?

Any and all advice, even as simple as it may seem, will definitely help. Thanks a bunch!

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I have run 100' cat-5 from one controller to another and had no issues, matter of fact I ran 100' cat-5 from the USB485B to the first controller and then a 2nd 100' cat-5 from controller 1 to controller 2, then a 75' cat-5 from controller 2 to controller 3, no problems whatsoever.

 

  I have also had cat-5 cables outside for years and have had no issue with wet weather or hot, humid dry weather.  

 

As for snow, don't get any where I live in Florida, so I can't say on the frigid weather.  

 

Although mine were outside during a couple of hard freezes that we did get for a few days here and there, they held up very well in that, just a bit stiff, but the shows still ran fine.

 

EDIT: VERY IMPORTANT!  Never bend, walk or lay anything heavy on or over a cat-5 that's been in freezing temps!  You could actually damage and cause breakage of the wires inside the cat-5 sleeving!

Edited by Orville
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85 ft is nothing to worry about and some of my CMB-24D's spent 2 months in temperatures as low as -40 deg C and were fine. Same goes for the 1602''s

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85 ft is nothing to worry about and some of my CMB-24D's spent 2 months in temperatures as low as -40 deg C and were fine. Same goes for the 1602''s

 

I have run 100' cat-5 from one controller to another and had no issues, matter of fact I ran 100' cat-5 from the USB485B to the first controller and then a 2nd 100' cat-5 from controller 1 to controller 2, then a 75' cat-5 from controller 2 to controller 3, no problems whatsoever.

 

  I have also had cat-5 cables outside for years and have had no issue with wet weather or hot, humid dry weather.  

 

As for snow, don't get any where I live in Florida, so I can't say on the frigid weather.  

 

Although mine were outside during a couple of hard freezes that we did get for a few days here and there, they held up very well in that, just a bit stiff, but the shows still ran fine.

 

EDIT: VERY IMPORTANT!  Never bend, walk or lay anything heavy on or over a cat-5 that's been in freezing temps!  You could actually damage and cause breakage of the wires inside the cat-5 sleeving!

 

Thank you both for setting me straight. I appreciate it. Now, I had someone tell me that I should not have my 80+ft. cat5 near/on top of/under/around other power wires... (a) can you explain why? and (B) by power wires, do you think they mean power as in like extension cord (SPT-2) wire or like wire from the RGB strips?

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Thank you both for setting me straight. I appreciate it. Now, I had someone tell me that I should not have my 80+ft. cat5 near/on top of/under/around other power wires... (a) can you explain why? and ( B) by power wires, do you think they mean power as in like extension cord (SPT-2) wire or like wire from the RGB strips?

They were more than likely referring to possible electrical interference from the extension cords but I've never run into this problem yet...

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They were more than likely referring to possible electrical interference from the extension cords but I've never run into this problem yet...

Yes they were.  I had confirmation that they were meaning SPT-2/extension cord - it would interfere with the wire apparently.

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You know the funny thing about the "electrical cord" issue still makes me kind of chuckle, because I'm not sure that they will interfere with a good, quality cat-5/6 cable.   I get mine from monoprice.com and I've actually ran mine right alongside extension cords with no issues,  But that's not what makes me really chuckle.

 

Everyone says don't put them near extension or any type of power cords, but then someone eplease explain to me why LOR has the cat5 jacks at the top of the controller inside the box and the cat5 cable RUNS RIGHT UP alongside the Controller power cords, as well as up and through the hot and neutral wires INSIDE the controller to get to those jacks, usually lying right against them.  

 

So why wouldn't that cause any issues?  

 

The cat5 inside the box as well as going into is less than 2 inches from the controllers main power cords, not to mention the AC power feeding the PC card inside that makes it all work, as well as the dongles that will have power going to them when needed to light a light or prop.   I measured mine and the cat5 is less than 1-1/2 inches from the main power cords entering the controller.  

 

Yet everyone has always stated keep the cat5 at least at a minimum of 6 inches from ANY power cord, which is not possible at the controller end of it!

 

So why doesn't the controller create issues since the power cord and cat-5/6 cables are basically right next to each other, and again even lying on electrical wiring that will become live at some point during a running show. as well as routed behind the dongles that route power to the display items?

 

Kind of why I have some serious doubt about it being stated that electrical cords will interfere with cat5/6 cables, something I've really not encountered in my set ups.  Matter of fact my set-up in 2014 for Halloween and Christmas had some short and long cat5 cables routed alongside extension cords, even had some extension cords had to cross over some of my cat5 cables due to how I had to lay things out in my display, nothing at all was affected during showtimes.

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I've been using LOR in my displays since 2006. I run cat5 next to power wires (several of them) and have never had an issue of interferance.

Same here, no problems at all

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Has anyone ever actually had problems with interference from cords and proven it? How did you prove it? Just a simple relocate or is there some type of instrument to check this?

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Has anyone ever actually had problems with interference from cords and proven it? How did you prove it? Just a simple relocate or is there some type of instrument to check this?

 

Yes, but can not prove anything.

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Those of better electrical knowledge can chime in, however, there are 2 type of cords typically in our displays. Power and connection. I personally do not run CATx parallel to power cords, there can be EMI interference that potentially cause problems. By parallel, I mean immediately adjacent. Several inches (6 or more) separation helps. I cross the 2 at 90 degrees wherever possible. Simple rules to ensure when you do have problems, it is not EMI related.

 

Issues mainly arise with wet or damp connectors. While plugging the CATx connectors in while it is snowing or raining. I assume a high humid area could have problems as well. In this case you should spray a water displacement product on the connector (CorrosionX or similar), or wipe some dielectric grease on the contacts. I have had more problems in this area since I live in Seattle and it can be raining when I am doing the comms connections.

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