Using the Right Cabling Tools to Reduce Costly Service Calls

Stu Tisdale

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On December 7th In Wire and Cable
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Anecdotal evidence collected over decades in the electronic security business shows that many service calls are a result of problems related to cable/conductor terminations, splices, and connector installations.  The time it takes to troubleshoot for a broken or “swinging” conductor within a cable or panel connection can be very time consuming and expensive.

The most effective solution to this problem is to ensure that terminations made during an installation will last for the life of the installed system. This is a simple solution that doesn’t take a large investment or extensive training for technicians. The key is having the proper tools and using them correctly to prepare cable ends for termination.

One common method involves removing cable jackets and stripping off the insulation jacket on the copper conductors using a set of side cutters.  While this method might have worked in the old days when using stranded large conductor cables such as 18-2 was common however, using side cutters on Cat5e/6 cables can cause even the most careful technician to nick the solid conductors.  Nicked conductors can break or “swing” between non-conductivity and proper functionality, and can be very difficult to locate during a service call.

The proper way to remove the outer jacket of a Cat5e/6 cable is to use a jacket scoring tool such as the IDEAL IL-45605.

 

45-605

IDEAL Industries PrepPRO Coax/ UTP Cable Stripper

This cable preparation tool has two blade cassettes. The grey cassette is for coax cable and the blue cassette is for UTP/STP cable. To strip UTP/STP cable, place the blue cassette in the cavity closest to the nose of the tool and then place the tool two to three inches from the end of the cable. The tool has an auto adjusting blade depth for both types of cable. Once the spring-loaded tool clamps onto the cable, the technician only need to rotate the tool around the cable two or three times and then remove the IL-45605. The jacket can now be removed by gently grasping the jacket on both sides of the score marks by hand and “working” the plastic until the jacket separates. At this point the technician can gently remove the outer jacket to expose the inner conductors.

The use of a wire map tester is also a good practice to ensure that there are no issues with a cable and reduce services calls as well. Wire map testers transmit a signal through each wire in a copper twisted-pair cable to determine if it is connected to the correct pin at the other end

Having the proper tools and using them properly will help to ensure that terminations made during an installation will last for the life of the installed system in turn, reducing future service calls for cabling problems.

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