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Copper vs Copper Clad Aluminum cat5/6 cables

Mr. P

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I wanted to start a discussion and get other members input about these cables as we always see a ton of posts about controllers not being recognized or randomly flashing lights to name a few things.

Personally, from my experience anyways, I think many issues are caused by the cheap, Chinese made cables that people are buying off of places like Amazon. You know, the 25, 50 and 100 foot cables that are ready for use. The issue I see is that these cables are copper clad aluminum (CCA) and aluminum has a 55% higher resistance rate as compared to pure copper. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) will not even certify cat5/6 cables if they have aluminum in them so when you buy a CCA cable certified as cat5e it really isn't up to par.

I know many in here say that LOR is good up to 4,000 feet but that is under ideal conditions and if you are using cheap CCA cables then those are not ideal conditions.

I am by no means an expert and there are many in here who know a lot more about this then I do, but, why spend thousands of dollars on your show and go cheap on the cables?


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14 minutes ago, Mr. P said:

 why spend thousands of dollars on your show and go cheap on the cables?

I agree with this sentiment 100%. Don't skimp on the communications infrastructure for your show. Copper is king in the Cat 5 world.


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Excellent points.

Just as important are the wires used to supply power to the pixels.  CCA wire will have a much higher voltage drop than pure copper going over any distance.  Read the specs carefully - and also read the reviews.  If the specs don't specifically call out CCA, perhaps the reviews will.


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Never buy pre-made cables...

I run mine to length then terminate the ends. Of course in my lifetime I have probably installed 5000+ RJ45 connectors.

I use the cable below and have no issues. The cost is about the same as a cheap pre-made 100 foot cable.

Buying the proper tools is the key to producing working cables every time. A good tester is a must have.



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