Cat5

Spent almost the entire weekend freelancing – tweaking on Matthew’s iMac (turns out that 2nd memory slot is hidden beneath the processor card – the original 32MBs isn’t soldered on, but you have to dig to find it), fixed a crashing issue on the landlord’s Mac, then setting up DSL in a client’s home — I suggested they have ethernet laid in the walls during their remodel – now we’re putting it to use… but SBC screwed up and wasted my time and theirs … there is still no signal going into the home… trouble ticket time, will finish the job during the week.

Sick of paying CompUSA’s extortionist prices for Cat5 cable every time these jobs come up — $22 for a 6′ cable! Just amazing they can get away with it. Decided it was time to learn how to make my own Cat5. Bought a crimper, terminators, and 50′ of 5e at The Shack. Looked up some sites on the subject, wasted 3 or 4 terminators getting the hang of it, and am now posting through my own homebrew cable. “The man” got nuthin’ on me, hyunh. However, making cable isn’t quite as lickety-split as I thought it would be, so have to be careful that labor time doesn’t cancel out the savings. For longer runs it will definitely be cheaper. For shorter jobs it probably would still make more sense to stock up on misc bits from cables.com.

Music: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan :: Meri Ankhon Ko Bakshee Hain Aansoo

17 Replies to “Cat5”

  1. Hey Scot,

    What do you charge for your freelancing? I’m always being asked to fix people’s Macs. First it started with friends and then they referred me to others.

    I’ve been charging $45/hour (Cdn), but when I’ve called Mac troubleshooters around the city, they charge from $65-$120/hour! I think $45/hour is already high, but I wonder if I can or should charge more.

  2. I charge $60-80/hr depending on how long I’ve worked with the client (the long-standing ones are grandfathered in at older rates). It sounds like a lot, but figure in things like being called at the worst possible moments (invariably), drive time (that can be negotiated up-front, but I don’t charge separately for it with my main client), the fact that virtually any job will take longer than you think (expect the unexpected…. if you can), and it starts to make sense.

  3. I should add that not all of the jobs I did this weekend were paid at all – the iMac for example belongs to a broke friend who simply needed the help.

  4. If you have a Greybar or some other wholesale electronics supplier around, you can pick up 1000 feet of CAT5 for something like $60 (us). Makes all CAT5 jobs cheap. And once you start crimping a lot of cables, it really only takes a couple of minutes per end. I usually keep 10 or so 25 foot cables lying around, and assorted other lengths for patch cables.

  5. Terminated 40′ for the SliMP3 that arrived tonight and nailed it on the first try. You’re right – this gets easier quickly. How ironic that I should pick this up at the dawn of wireless everything.

  6. Would you believe that in a CCNA course there’s a week on how to do this? You have to be able to build a straight through fully wired ethernet cable, a Cisco console cable, and a crossover cable. The mnemonic I came up to do this is rude, but the colors for cat five are:
    White-Orange
    Orange
    White-Green
    Blue
    White-Blue
    Green
    White-Brown
    Brown

    This is in order from pin 1 to pin 6, if memory serves.

    To wire a crossover, you wire as follows:

    pin 1 white-orange pin2
    pin 2 orange-white pin1
    pin 3 white-green pin 6
    pin 6 green pin 3

    I think. Again, this is from memory. And one of those $100 cable continuity testers will save you a ton of agrivation in the long run.

  7. Cool, but which bit is the mnemonic? WOWBWGWB doesn’t remind me of anything in particular…

    A week long course? Sheesh. What does the continuity tester do? Let you test the run before crimping?

  8. So Scot has browbeaten me (er… well, okay he asked nicely, really) to put my mnemonic for cat5 into the thread. Please remember this was just a device to keep the whole cat5 wiring thing in my head, it’s lewd (which I suppose is why it works for me *sigh*) So please, if crude anatomical references to female anatomy bother you, just skip this message. Anyway.

    White-orange
    Orange
    White-green
    Blue
    White-blue
    Green
    White-brown
    Brown

    So the sequence I needed to remember was WOW BWGWB
    Which became: Wow, beautiful women got wiggly boobies.

    Proof that it works, this was from the middle of the first semester of my CCNA program, which was in the fall of 2001.

    Oh, and the letters for the 7 layer cake of OSI are:
    All People Seem To Need Data Processing

    Application
    Presentation
    Session
    Transport
    Network
    Datalink
    Physical

    This one didn’t work as well, I had to ask my sweety for the middle one. :) Didn’t think of this mnemonic, one of my much-cleaner minded classmates did.

    -Jim

  9. The continuity tester. Forgot about that. Yeah, you plug each end of the cat5 cable in question (after crimping, unfortunately) into either the transmitter or receiver end of the tester and it tests each pair in sequence. If the lights are out of sequence you know it’s wired wrong. If they’re yellow, you’ve a short, and if one of them doesn’t light, one of your pairs is dead. $100, CompUSA. Probably much cheaper at Frys.

  10. Re: continuity — the first person to figure out how to do that without requiring you to crimp first will become a gazillionaire. Or at least a thousand-aire.

  11. Well, the problem is that until the teeth on the rj45 bite into the insulation, there’s no continuity to check. (Yeah, they are actually designed to go on insulated rather than stripped wires. Pretty counter intuitive to me, at least. I guess you could make a tester that would inductively check to make sure all the wires of one end were good before you crimp on the other end, but the electronics are far beyond me.

  12. It would be cool if there was at least some way to ensure that one has twisted the right wires into the correct place before crimping — it’s kind of baffling to me why all cables aren’t straight across to begin with – why is all the untwisting and retwisting even necessary? Any logic changes should be handled at the software layer, not at the physical wire layer, if you ask me.

  13. all i know is that this helped me to solve a tivo problem that has been plaguing me for months and now (thanks to you) i’ll never forget how to make cat5 cable…thanks 10E+06

  14. Gents – I just wanted to thank you for that great mnemonic for the cabling. Been searching for one for a long time. The other part of the conversation was on crimping first — check out a product called EZ-RJ45. It lets you see it before you crimp it.

  15. Thanks for the great, memorable mnemonic. That works for TIA-568A, but I wonder about one for 568B, which goes

    white-orange orange white-green blue white-blue green white-brown brown
    or in short:
    wo o wg b wb g wb(r) b(r)

    All i’ve got is a start…
    WithOut Orgasms We’d Get Blue … and that’s all I got.

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