Does anyone put their own ends on network cables?

Long, long ago I decided putting your own ends on network cables just isn't worth it. Too hard to see, too hard to crimp, too hard to untwist. You are up on a 40 foot lift with the sun in your face with a cable scanner. You name it. Just way too many issues. I went to using Keystone inserts and surface jacks.

   So today I decided to revisit this issue. Got out my crimp tool and ends. Sitting it a relaxing chair in my office and bam. Missed it twice. So do most people still put on their own network ends? If so what am I missing? What equipment are you using? The keystone insert and surface jack are a whole $3 then you just buy a pre-made patch cable. Done deal. Te pain and frustration in putting ends on just isn't worth it in my opinion. What do others think?
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LockDown32OwnerAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Long, long ago I decided putting your own ends on network cables just isn't worth it.

Agree. I stopped doing that as well. Machine made, top quality cables work better and last longer.

Missed it twice. So do most people still put on their own network ends? If so what am I missing?

I have a set of top quality crimpers and can do (have done) this.

I cut back 1/2 inch of jacket, straighten out the pairs into singles lined up according to the network end standard. Then I accurately cut across the end with really good and sharp diagonal cutting pliers. Then put on the end and crimp. Success rate is about 80-90% so I miss as well.

I wired some of my own 6 conductor plugs for DCC train control. But even there, I purchased a lot of my own
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Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalCommented:
Cables are also cheap enough that you have to consider the cost of your time making/remaking cables vs doing other things.

I used to make my own as well, but I made my boss buy me a good tester to help with troubleshooting.
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
Depends on the situation.  For a fixed, permanent installation you are right; it makes little sense.

But if one needs a dozen cables ranging from 30 to 80 meters each for an event such as a food fair, the easiest thing is to pull cable off the spool, punch 'em up, and recycle them afterward.  They'll be walked over by people, run over by carts and vehicles, and generally abused such that they won't be trustworthy for further use at the end of the event.  A thousand foot roll of cable is less than fifty bucks and connectors are a dime a dozen.

But there is another side to this, and that is:  Commercially made cables (and here I mean the ebay stuff, not something from a retail store) is getting to be so cheaply made that they cannot be trusted for anything other than home and hobby purposes.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I find Belkin and like cables to be good and long lasting. I am willing to pay a good dollar for good cables. I do not expect to get them cheap.
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Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalCommented:
True, for long permanent runs it's best to pay someone to run them and put good ends on them. Professionals will also have good testers that can also provide testing reports.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
Where I'm located, the only licensed installers of building cable are electricians (low voltage license).  They *should* be able to do Ethernet cable but many are woefully ill-prepared and can't even follow simple instructions (Port A1 to Port B2).  The *should* bring modular jack blocks but don't.  They *should* have testers but don't.  etc. etc.

We generally use punchdown patch strips or jacks for terminating building cables and then call the electricians back one or two times to get it right after *we* do the testing.

Recently, I tried to put connectors on a direct-bury shielded cable and never did get a cable type and RJ-45 connector type to assemble reasonably.  Bought the "right tools" too!

So, I guess my answer is that putting RJ45 on cable is done but rarely.  The best example I can think of was improving workmanship on existing building cables with short length and no patch panel.   Otherwise, I can't think of a good example when we might do it.  Of course, we buy patch cables.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Most of our long runs are from Network Room punch-down racks to Wall Socket punch-down sockets. So our purchased cables are very often short run commercial cables.
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Steven AtencioSystem AdministratorCommented:
We still make our own cables fairly often and in-fact re-cabled the majority of our building ourselves (No Fun BTW). I would definitely suggest it's better to just pay a company to do permanent cabling if it can be afforded.

However due to what our company does we often have short notice to make odd length cables and cables that need to be very specific sizes for their implementation. That said, I agree with John's technique above:
I cut back 1/2 inch of jacket, straighten out the pairs into singles lined up according to the network end standard. Then I accurately cut across the end with really good and sharp diagonal cutting pliers. Then put on the end and crimp. Success rate is about 80-90% so I miss as well.

We usually use cable-matters cable, Platinum Connector RJ-45s, and a Klein crimper then of course test the cable. We've had pretty good success overall I'd say but it's certainly a waste of our time and more expensive than buying pre-made. But when time doesn't permit for that we do it ourselves.
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
That is the way most of them are. A patch panel (punch down) in the "phone closet" to wall jacks which are also punch-down. This particular case is security cameras. They are punched-down in the same patch panel in the "phone closet" but the other end is the debatable end. Rather than putting and end directly on the cable before plugging it in to the camera I put a keystone jack on the end then just a short, purchased network cable. I just can't see putting ends on in this day and age when punch down jacks are so cheap.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I agree with you. Whenever I / we must do our own work, we use good tools and work carefully.
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Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
I also agree. A good set of tools for striping and crimping, and good (not cheap) ends will up your success rate. I have done many of them, and they get easier when you have done many. But you will also make a lot of mistakes getting good at it.

If you can get the cables you need in the lengths you need, just by them. Many of our installs were punch down's where not a solution, we made custom cables at a fraction of the cost of long pre-made cables.

For short cables, I just buy a big bag of pre-made cables in the colors I need and have then ready to go.
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kenfcampCommented:
Typically speaking,

The inside wiring should terminate to a jack (patch panel to wall, jack to jack, etc) and internally connected via patch cable
As far as terminating plugs for patch cables etc, I only do so in emergencies opting instead for manufactured patch cables

licensed installers of building cable are electricians (low voltage license)

Sparkies are good at what they do, but most (in my experience) are clueless when it comes to low voltage.
I can't count the number of times I've been called in to troubleshoot a problem, only to find out a electrician spliced two ends with wire nuts

Luckily I'm in an area that doesn't have licensing requirements for low voltage. The worst I see is their putting in the conduit and perhaps pulling the runs, but aside from that, It's up to someone else to extend, terminate and dress
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rogerorenCommented:
I've wired a few places with a crimper and cable ends, and it takes some time to align the wires in the correct order and a magnifying glass to be sure before crimping. It is easier to pull a too long cable with ends already, but it seems a waste. I guess it's a time vs money decision.
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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
Thanks all. It doesn't look like too many people make their own anymore. I did find a CrimpTool/End combo that actually lets you pull the stripped cable thru the end and then trims in while crimping. Sounded interesting. Will give it a try.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thank you and good luck with cabling.
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Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
Some of the newer connectors do not require stripping anymore. You just cut the ends square, align them and push in. When crimping with the tool, a blade pushes in and grabs the wire. They have been very successful for me. The biggest error is making sure the order if the colors is the same on both ends. I would say that was 90% of my early errors. A good magnifying glass is very important here.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalCommented:
I've had bad luck with the through-hole for the wires within the connector.  
Even when I believe I've trimmed the extra wire length at the front edge of the connector, there appears to be enough left that the plug won't go into the jack far enough to "click" in.  It's a mechanical problem with the assembled connector too long relative to the lock tab position.
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