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Making My own Cat5 Cable


Ralph A
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I was thinking about making my own Cat5 cable this year. I can get the runs to the exact length and make a neater display. I've not done this before and I was wondering if it matters if it is cat5 or cat6. I found this at Newegg and was wonder if this will work with the LOR setup? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812270128

Thanks for all the help and advice,

Ralph

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Unless you are doing a permanent install where things wont have any reason to flex, you want stranded wire instead of solid. The solid wire will eventually fail as it gets flexed, and it won't lie flat on the ground like the stranded will. Also, I'd personally go with cat 5 instead of 6.. Some of the biggest gains in cat 6 have to with isolating the signals on one pair from another pair. This is not an issue at all with LOR. Making this extra internal isolation tends to make the cable fatter, and stiffer. The Cat 6 stranded cable I use at work is stiffer than cat 5 solid wire...

I'd really recommend stranded cat 5e as the preferred cable. We had 20 controllers in a park spread over 600 feet of stranded cat 5e, with the controllers powered off of 32 circuits, all of them off a different utility feed than the show PC..

I think the Cat5e should be fine..

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Do a search for "EZ RJ45" and see if you can find them locally, they are amazingly easy to not screw up. Make sure the connectors you purchase will work on the wire you choose i.e. stranded or solid, there is a difference and I also strongly recommend stranded.

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The distinction between connectors for stranded and solid wire cable is the number of teeth that bite into the wire. Stranded wire connectors have two teeth that bite straight into the cable. Solid wire connectors have 3 teeth that are offset from each other and end up straddling the wire when crimped.

Here is an example of a contact from a solid wire connector:

http://www.beta-a2.com/I232A1_photo_files/PICT2483B.jpg

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Awesome!! Thanks for all the great advice!! I can see that stranded would clearly have an advantage to a single wire. I also would not have thought about different connectors either.

Thats why the LOR forums are so AMAZING!!! Great people with solid, oops I mean stranded advice. Ha Ha.

Thanks again, Ralph

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http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10208

I thought of making my own but when the price are cheap here. Not to mention all the connectors tools ect you buy. You can order within a few feet. Ordered some this week and in two hours from ordering they were ready to ship. Getting them today.
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  • 5 weeks later...

Those prices are amazing! I picked up a box of 1000' roll of Cat5 last year. Had some networking in the house to do and longer runs for the yard (LOR).

I found just the female connectors to work well. I know, I know, but I didn't screw a single one up. Now, crimping male ends...I'm averaging about a 60% accuracy rate. Plus, you can use the 'telephone' jack on the LOR units into RJ45 female ends. I was able to 'Y' off a few controllers to shorten the runs and provide greater flexibility in my wiring layout.

Just some pennies for thoughts. To each their own, what ever works best for you. For me, I like easy and cheap.

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Can you split a cat5 cable? What I have going on is one controller by the front door under the window ( a Showtime ) which is what I started with this past Christmas.

I bought 3 of the PC units on the Inventory reduction sale and plan on putting one on the side of the garage, which will be about 40' right of the Showtime unit to run a mega tree. Then the other 2 will be on the front of the house behind some shrubs about 40' to the left of the Showtime unit. So IF I run a cat5 to the Showtime unit can I split it coming back out to go both directions to the other controllers? Or will I need to run to one set and then all the way back to the last controller? Thanks in Advance.



Lenny

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http://www.lightorama.com/Documents/CTB16PC_Man_Web.pdf (Page 11 image)

Well, what I have done is, get the Cat5 cable to a controller (with a female connector), then, run a short (patch cord) phone connector into the 'phone in plug'. Then, I have 2 'outs' of the box, either RJ45 (cat5) or phone cable (RJ11). You can then 'Y' off to two other controllers in different directions.

My setup is: Computer to Controller 1 (in garage) then goes to both iDMX unit (in garage) and controller 2 in the front yard. From there, my iDMX line goes to controller 3 in the back yard and controller 2 goes to controller 4 in the front yard.

I'm sure others have additional information, but this setup worked for me. I'm planning on adding 3 more controllers next year.

And no, you can not 'split' a cat5 cable. Signals must run into something (network switch or controller) and then be retransmitted.

Happy lighting.
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Remember that LOR controllers do not retransmit the signal, so by using all three jacks in a LOR, you are creating a Y in the signal path.. Think of the LOR signal buss like an old fashioned speaking tube. To start with, the whole tube is one tuned pipe where sound will echo off the ends. DMX uses terminators to cancel these reflections from the ends, but at the same time, terminators draw signal power out of the wire, but LOR works well without terminators, managing to ignore one set of reflections.

Now if you were to add a couple of side branches off the main pipe, say about 20% as long as the main one, each of those are going to echo at a different frequency, at a different time or phase than the main pipe. Those echoes are going to make it back into the main pipe, and everybody is going to have a tougher time making out what was said. The LOR bus will be the same way. Depending on the lengths of those side branches, there may still be a good chance of the system all working, but at the same time, it is not a recommended topology, and I personally would not supply technical support to figuring out why it does not work until after the wiring was converted to a straight line daisy chain. This is because the extra length on the buss impacts signal quality far less than the Y on the buss will.

Note that in the LOR world, the speaker is allowed to be anywhere along the buss. For example the USB-485B has two jacks on it that are electrically in parallel. This way you can run cables from each port, to the front of the house, then run them in different directions, and you have not violated the straight line topology.

Also, if your showtime box is running the show stand alone, you could run signal out one jack, and off to the left side of the house, while the other jack runs the other side of the house.

Next, is if you have a showtime with MP3 director, and a fairly short cable to run from the director to the phone in jack on the director, I would say that this is a short enough deviation from a straight line that I would still wire it all the way I listed above if the showtime were running a stand alone show.

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Duh !! I completely forgot the 485 has two "out" ports !!! I got this so IF I wanted to down the road, I could go wireless. Never even crossed my mind it has twin ports. That solves the problem rather easily. Thanks klb.

Lenny

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