By Bob Catanzarite
CATx Stripping and Terminating - Chapter 2
This page will show how to terminate the CATx to a RJ45 or RJ11 jack and to a Punchdown block. For these applications you'll need a Punchdown Tool.
The Punchdown Tool
Several suppliers make punchdown tool ranging in price from $35 to $85. The tools in this price range are impact tools. They work by holding the tool in your hand and pressing the tool down on the CATx wire as it sits in the Insulation Displacement Contact (IDC) slots that these jacks employ. As you press on the tool a spring in the tool is compressed. When the spring becomes compressed to some level the spring releases and 'hammers down' or impacts the CATx wire into the IDC slot. This 'hammering down' or impact action applies a controlled force every time to help ensure a consistent IDC connection. These tools typically have an adjustable impact force and come with interchangeable bits for type 66 and type 110 terminals that are made of high quality tool steel. Even with the tool steel quality bit these will wear out and the bits can be replaced if they wear out. Most of you doing this kind of thing in your own home will never wear out a bit.
A lot of suppliers sell low cost, non-impact punchdown tool for under $10. These tool are made completely out of plastic and will wear out after a few uses and don't have the impact action. Use these all-plastic only if you have a few connectors to terminate.
The photo below shows the most commonly used tool, the D814 made by Harris. This tool can be purchased for about $80. There are 'clones' of this tool that sell for in the $40 range.
Shown in the photo below are the bits that come with
the tool. The bit on the top is for type 110 terminals and the bit on
the bottom is for the type 66 terminals and both have stamped on to
them a number indicating the size it is intended for. Both these bits
are double ended and the left side of the bits will terminate and cut
the CATx wire while the side on the right will just terminate the wire
and does not cut it.
Terminating CATx to RJ45 and RJ11 Jacks
The RJ45 or RJ11 jacks use the type 110 IDC terminals. You'll need to use the 110 bit for the punchdown tool that will cut and terminate the wire.
Start by removing about 1 1/2" of jacket from the CATx cable. Untwist the entire length of the twisted pairs that are exposed. Lay the CATx onto the jack and arrange the wires into the IDC slots on the jacks using the color code printed on the side of the jack as shown in the photo below. Note here that the color shown below are for the T568B wiring standard that I chose to use.
Let's stop here for a brief moment and talk about being neat and following guidelines. Notice in the photo above how jacketed portion of the cable goes all the way up into the connector. This is right way to do this. DO NOT leave portions of the cable exposed without a jacket covering it. This jacket is key to keeping the all important twists in the CATx cable intact and to keep the pairs grouped together. Keep the unjacketed and untwisted part of the cable less than 1/2".
Do NOT do this! The long lengths of wire that do not have the pairs twisted WILL NOT carry data at 100Mbps. Being neat is more than making it look nice. THIS WILL NOT WORK.
With the type 110 bit in the punchdown tool that will cut and terminate the wire, press the tools bit down onto the terminal with the side of the bit that will cut the wire pointed to the outside of the jack. This is shown in the photo below.
Press down on the tool to compress the tools spring until the tool 'hammers down' or impacts the wire into the terminals slot. This action combined with the wire cutting edge of the bit will terminate and cut the wire.
The photo below shows the CATx cable terminated to the RJ45 jack after the wires have been cut by the punchdown tool's bit.
The last step in this process is to snap on a protective cover that is included in the RJ45 and RJ11 jack that will cover the area where the IDC contacts are. That's IT.
Terminating CATx to Punchdown Blocks
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