How to Crimp Cat 5

Category-5 cable (or Cat-5 cable) is the most common type of cord used for wiring computers together in a network. While Cat-5 cables are readily available in various finished lengths, cutting and crimping your own is a far more cost-effective method for wiring together large networks. Learning how to cut and crimp Cat-5 cable is a simple process requiring only a few items.


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    Determine the amount of Cat-5 cable you will need. If you only need a few lengths of cord to wire a home network or other small network, consider buying cables in finished lengths from a computer supply store. If your needs are larger, come up with a rough estimate of the total length of cable you need.
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    Purchase the items you will need to build the cables. You will need to buy 3 things: a length of Cat-5 cable, as many RJ-45 heads as you need, and a wire crimping tool. Cat-5 cable is best purchased from small computer supply stores; larger chain stores are less likely to carry bulk spools of cable. The plastic ends of the cables are called RJ-45 heads, and can also be purchased from computer supply stores. Each cable needs 2 heads, so buy twice as many as the number of cables you want to make. When buying a Cat-5 crimping tool, look for a model that includes a wire snipping tool. To be conservative, buy more cable and heads than you think you need.
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    Cut the cable to length. Determine the length needed for your cable and use the wire cutting tool on the crimping tool to cut the cable to this length.
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    Prepare the ends of the cable for crimping. Use the wire cutting tool to strip away about half an inch (12.5 mm) of the outer coating on each end of the cable. You will see 8 small colored wires twisted into 4 pairs. Carefully untwist each pair so that each of the 8 wires is separate. Now arrange the wires in the proper order. From left to right, put the wires in this order: green and white, green, orange and white, blue, blue and white, orange, brown and white, brown.
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    Place the Cat-5 cable ends into the RJ-45 heads.
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    Determine the orientation of the wires. (see pic)
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    Line the 8 wires up neatly so that they will fit into the plastic head. Carefully insert the wires (all at once) into the plastic head, pushing them in as far as they will go. The exposed wires should line up with the 8 small metal contacts in the head.
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    Crimp the head onto the cable. Place the plastic head into the appropriate slot in the crimping tool, being careful not to dislodge the 8 wires. With the head positioned properly, apply pressure to the crimper's handles to clamp the head down onto the wires. The metal contacts should now be touching each of the 8 wires. Repeat this process on the other end of the cable.
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    Test your cable if desired. If you have a cable testing tool, insert both ends of your finished cable into the tool to check for a signal. The cable should now be ready to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat-5 cable
  • RJ-45 heads
  • Cat-5 crimping tool

Article Info

Categories: Cabling and Wiring Connection