Sunday, January 6, 2013

CAT5 & RJ45 & Everything In Between

Being a newbie to Computer controlled lights myself, I have found the howto's very useful. So here's a little something that I can give back to the community. I know nothing about programming, or soldering, or about electricity in general.....BUT, I do know quite a bit about networking and running cable. This howto will give you an inside look into CAT5 and RJ45 and everything in between.

Step 1 : CAT5 

CAT5 cable is generally used to connect computers together on a network. CAT5 also has a few other common names.....

ethernet cable
Patch cable
Network cable

i may explain the more detailed things, if anyone would find it helpful, but for this community and how its being utilized, it doesn't matter too much.

what you do need to know is that it has 4 twisted pairs (total of 8) wired inside. 

Step 2 : RJ45

RJ45 is simply the plastic boot or connector that is attached to the ends of the CAT5 cable. It is similar what you would plug into a phone...but fatter. 

Step 3 : TOOLS
The tool you need to attach an RJ45 boot or connector to the end of a CAT5 cable is a crimper. i got mine a Fry's electronics almost 2 years ago and i never had a bad cable....well not due to the crimper, i just mixed up a wire. (more on that later).


Before we begin. please read the following......I make no warranties or guaranties or promises with anything you do or attempt to do or think about doing by reading the rest of this howto. I am not responsible in any way for the mistakes you make or the mistakes you will most likely make. also I am not liable for any of the possible consequences of any kind as a result of your mistakes and all mistakes you will ever make with making cable or any other aspects of your entire life. I can't control your actions nor would i ever want to. This is simply listing the steps I take to make network cable that I use personally in my own home, for my own personal uses. I hold no certifications or degrees and I am not to be considered an authority on this subject, even though i probably know more than you do. i'm just a simple man who looked it up online and started doing it....and it far. good luck.

Step 5 : LETS STRIP 

Using the crimper or a razor blade, carefully cut the outer plastic sheathing so that approx 1 inch of wire is exposed. 

Seperate the 4 twisted pairs of wire from the white hair. then cut off the white hair. untwist the wires and straighten them and line them up. It takes quite some bending to get all the wires lined up. 

PS...i'll try to get some better pics up.


There are a bunch of standards out there that state what order you place the 8 wires when putting on an RJ45 connector. 

For what we are doing here, throw it all out the window. I'll keep this simple. There is only one thing you need to know. 


That's it. Just make sure that each end is identical. Now if you're curious to know, this is the order I use for everything (lights, computers, servers, routers, switches, printers, cameras) when I make my cable. I started with this order and I guess it just turned into habit. 

From left to right..... 

1. white/orange 
2. orange 
3. white/green 
4. blue 
5. white/blue 
6. green 
7. brown 
8. white/brown 

Step 7 : Still To Come.... 

More pics....hopefully they'll be clearer 
More details on sliding the connector on and crimping it. 

...and DB9 (serial) connections too.

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