Will Cat 5 Cable Handle Your Model Railroad Components
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Will Cat 5 Cable Handle Your Model Railroad Components

August 15, 2019

in a previous video I showed you how to
make a wiring harness for your tortoise which with this connector here and this
terminal block right here and in that video I talked about using a cat5 cable
to run that back to your control panel so that’s what we’re gonna do today I’m
going to show you how to use a rj45 wall jack on there so you could run your cat5
cable back to your control panel to operate your tortoise switch machines or
even your cobalt switch machines if you want to do it that way you can also hook
up a cat5 cable to any other thing so let’s get going with that right now i’m
Tom Kvichak and this is Toms Trains and Things this channel was created to
help other modelers who are in need of guidance in pursuing their dream of
building a model railroad we’re going to talk about some cat 5 cable today we’re
gonna hook it up on our harness right here what I use before on my project was
4 twisted pairs telephone station wire we could use cat 5 cable also on this
because it’s eight conductor it just has different wire colors on there now my
old station wire has all solid colors on there on the cat 5 cable you have a
solid color and a white with a tracer of that color so we’ll show you how to hook
up the connectors and we’ll test it and we’ll do it on a short piece of cat 5
cable and we’ll do it on a 25-foot or longer piece of cat 5 cable to see if we
have any voltage drop or performance issues on the longer cable since I’m
using two different types of cables on there on my the cable that I’m normally
using is solid colors so I have white yellow green red orange brown blue and
black going from pins one through eight and up here this is the configuration of rj45 so the pinout
on here is 5 4 3 6 on one side and 1 2 7 8 on the other side so what I’m gonna do
is put the white yellow blue black orange red green and brown on it like
that so it’s a good idea to make up a little chart for you this is how the
wires are going to go so I’ll just place this right here like that and we’re just
going to drop these wires in here I’m just gonna push them in like this
and then I have a little tool that I could push them down a little bit
further so this is orange on this side red green and brown so now that we got them
in there most of the times when you get this you’re going to come and get a tool
like this and what you do is you just push each one of these down like that
okay and then I’ll put this up here and where you can see it a little bit closer
you take this and put this in the slot and just push this down on the wire so
the wire goes go all the way down in the slot and there’s blades in there that
makes contact and strips the insulation and makes contact with the wire just
like that and then what you do now is just take your diagonal pliers and just
snip off the excess and what I’m gonna do is just go again and just push it
down in there just to make sure one whole eight wires and now all we have to
do is work on the other side put the weight in there and make sure you got
wires long enough and we got them and what I’ll do is just
measure these the yellow goes over here and I’ll do the rest of these off-camera
so you don’t have to watch me stripping and doing this to all the wires on here
all right there’s the finished product right there I got all the wires in there
on my terminal strip now if I didn’t have this terminal strip already I would
have just taken this wall connector and connected it right to here but since I’m
going to be testing it and I’m going to be putting the meter on here that’s why
I still have it on the strip I stripped both ends of the wire I took about ang
and a half to two inches so you could see that they are four twisted pairs you
get two blue two brown orange and a green and on this side over here I
separated them now you’re always going to have the brown and the white and
brown on the one end and then the blue and the blue the white and blue in the
center now there’s two different types of connector connections there’s a 568a
and a 568b and the ones all the ones that I’ve seen
use the B color code so what I’m going to do here I’m going to cut off all but
about a half an inch and then try to straighten these out a little bit and
put it on this connector here and when you put it on the connector you’re using
this side here where you see all the pins on it not the part where the clip
is you want to put it on like this what I do on here is I cut them down to about
a half an inch and try to get them as straight as possible now I’m not going
to remove my thumb here because that’ll get them out of order so turn this
around and it should fit in right there and
what I do before I crimp it I go and I make sure so I should have orange tracer
orange green tracer blue blue tracer green Brown tracer in brown okay so now
I got all of them in the correct place and you can see on the crimping tool
this is four six conductor and that one’s for eight conductor so you see
this side right here it’s worth you crimp down on and you could see the
little teeth that come up and press it down on the pins in there so you got it
inserted and you squeeze it clicks and you release it so there’s the other one
and I’ll do the the other side of it all right and I have the same thing on the
opposite side just to double-check it all the wires in place and flat and I
straighten them out as much as possible and stick it up in there as far as it’ll
go stick the cable in there make sure it’s
in push on the cable and squeeze down on it
okay and trying to get the little clip on there so we have us a long cable I’m
not sure how long this is but I’ll measure it and we’ll use this for
testing a long distance on the layout to see if we have any problems with the
switch machines functioning I want to give you an example of the differences
in these connectors this one the pin you know the way that you
push your PIN your wires in to that for the pins this one is arranged to one
three five and this one is one two three six so you have to pay close attention
to what you’re doing when you’re doing that even though these are probably the
same manufacturer they changed the position of the wires
in the back where you push them in I’m going to take a really old patch cable
and this one’s about a estimate this about five five foot long no good so I’m
just going to clip the ends off of it and use this for my wall socket here I
have the other one made up I didn’t cut the last four off of it they come in a
strip of twelve so I have four extra ones on there but I’m just going to go
down the line to make sure that we have a good connection I have a new connector
here a new connector here this is a patch cable that I got okay here’s the
cable that I just made up that’s plugged in here and on that terminal board right
here so we’re just going to go down the line and check for continuity and what
I’ll do is I’ll put on audible one there we go first one second one three four
oops five six seven and eight now if you’re going to be making up cables it
would be a good idea to put make up a test piece like this with terminal
strips on each side so all you have to do is the cables that you’re making up
that you could test them on there to make sure that your wiring is good on
there now we could test out the switch
machines we’re going to test this out I have it hooked up to 12 volts I have my
terminal strip right here I have this is approximately a six foot cable right
here and we’re going to test it out first with just to make sure that the
switch machine works okay now what I’m going to do is I’m going to put the
longer cable on there that I just made up now I have it hooked up to this cable
right here now that’s a lot of resistor resistance going through 24 gauge wire
so let’s see how this functions and it still looks pretty good so what I’m
going to do is I’m going to put the meter on over here eleven point eight
six now let me put it over here on here through twenty five or 230 foot eleven
point eight three so we lost about three hundredths of a volt on there okay then
switch this over and it’s just going to change to a minus eleven point eight
three and you could see while its operating it went back up to eleven
point eight six and drop down to eleven eleven point eight to here now let’s see
it what it does close up now this is right at the power source right behind
the switch so we’re starting out at eleven point eight six and we’ll see
what happens when we operate so it goes up about
one one-hundredth to 11.8 seven but that is pretty good we didn’t we didn’t lose
that much voltage so I’m satisfied with that if you like what you see here and
you are learning from the videos that I produce here go ahead on over to my
patreon page where you can pledge as little as one dollar so you can help out
in my efforts to produce more videos to teach you about beginning your model
railroad so thank you very much well I’m totally satisfied with the results of
this test today using the cat 5 cable the cable that I made up if we could
just get a manufacturer to make a breakout board where we could put one of
these connectors on here and have a wall jack on the other side that would be
wonderful that way all we’d have to do is plug it
in and plug a cat5 cable in there that we make and run it to our control panel
and that’s what I am going to do on my layout because this test that I did was
successful that’s the main reason that I wanted to see if we would have any
problem with the tortoise which machine running it through a long length of cat
5 cable the cobalt classic Omega now what did they do they added another pin
on it for your signaling so that has nine pins on it now a cat5 cable only
has eight so you wouldn’t be able to do it on this version of the cobalt classic
Omega on the original one you would because there’s eight pins on there that
as far as this one here you wouldn’t be able to use pin number three which they
have as a signaling pin so there you go from the test and a little demonstration
and I did today making up the cat 5 cables and the other end with the wall
socket on there I hope you really learn something on it I did and I am satisfied
with the test that I did today on there Oh about a month or two ago they started
the Amazon influencer they opened it up to a lot of more creators and I applied
for it and they turned me down then but I just got an email a couple of days ago
that I was accepted into the Amazon influencer program so I will have my own
page of items that I can sell on there from Amazon and I also applied for
Amazon merge where they could make t-shirts that I design look for that in
the future in the near future by the end of this week I should know about the
page where I’m selling merchandise and a little bit later on about my own
merchandise my own t-shirts so We’ll see Ya


  • Reply Thomas Engelke November 1, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    My employment has been mostly in Networking, so the use of CAT5 cables and RJ45 connectors is very common for me. There are, for a small extra cost, RJ45 connectors that you slide each core wire into a hole in a small adapter. Once all wires are slide into the small adapter then it is slide into the RJ45 plug. This allows for a very easy way to almost ensure a 100% success rate. An amazon link show this small adapter along side the RJ45 connector. https://www.amazon.co.uk/CableCreation-100-PACK-three-piece-connector-Transparent/dp/B01K9Z4D1M/ref=sr_1_19_mimg_1_ce_display_on_website_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1509571620&sr=8-19-spons&keywords=rj45&psc=1 This also saves a lot of time if one is making a lot of cables, which could be a reality in a med to large layout. Great videos and each one adds to my existing knowledge and experience; so a big thank you for the work you do for so many.

  • Reply Toms Trains and Things November 1, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    If your like me, you have Cat 5 cables every where. Have you ever wondered if you can use them in your Model Railroad? In this video, you will see how to make them and see how much of a voltage drop on a cable over 30 ft in length.

  • Reply ELSDP-45 November 1, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    THANK YOU…for sharing.

  • Reply sparky107107 November 1, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    nice job sir. if you keep showing us all these cables. but we don't have the proper tools. you might have to start taking special orders and start a mail order cable company.
    thanks for sharing

  • Reply CSX Baltimore sub division November 1, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    great video nice tips and tricks to help new guys out, thanks for sharing….

  • Reply M&M Rails November 2, 2017 at 3:32 am

    Did I hear right? You're gonna start selling merch?? -Mark

  • Reply bnsf6951 November 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    hi Tom.. great "how to" on making & testing cables.. thanks for sharing.. vinny

  • Reply Charles Greeson November 2, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Hey Tom, where did u purchase ur crimping tool from ?

  • Reply model railer November 4, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    What a great video buddy!!! Very cool to see the outcome. KUTGW

  • Reply Bob Zoom November 17, 2017 at 4:07 am

    A punch-down tool is worth the cost if you’re going to be doing a lot of work with RJ45 jacks. $15 tool is good enough.

  • Reply Eric Wilson December 3, 2017 at 3:12 am

    Hello Tom. Love the videos. You should get your self a proper punch down tool for your rj45 connectors. It’s spring loaded and will punch the wire in and cut the excess all in one go.

  • Reply Zebrails December 21, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Obtaining a MRC Tech 6 sound/power controller accepts the same CAT5 cable… remove the short black six foot flat cable and use the CAT5 cable between hand-held and small console. Plenty of length and easily blue! Another tip is to make sure that the ends of the cable have a method so that they are not the only thing keeping the connection together other than the little press-tab (to release the connection.)

  • Reply Charles Walsh January 15, 2018 at 1:16 am

    Thanks for the information

  • Reply ED Bear January 31, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Tom, You mention about getting T-shirts made. I have had some Great experiences with teespring for Shirts, Mugs and Stickers.

  • Reply Farmer Dave March 11, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Cat 5 works fine for my loconet and LCC but I do not run motors or solenoids with it. Voltage drop might be a concern.

  • Reply Mark Edgar June 7, 2018 at 6:41 am

    DB9 Female to RJ45 Female F/F RS232 Modular Adapter Converter Extender ATF


    I am going to use these, ready made.

  • Reply Andy Wellman June 12, 2018 at 4:15 am

    I have used cat e5 on my Atlas turnouts. I have 1000's of feet of it from my electrician days. I used to pull and terminate it!

  • Reply John Zerbe January 30, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you for the verification. I have a partial roll of cat5e that I plan to use for controlling atlas snap switches. Those need two leads per track switch and can use a common "ground" lead.

  • Reply Robert Wern May 21, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    Tom, would this work?

  • Reply awizardalso June 13, 2019 at 1:45 am

    My wife's brother-in-law was a maintenance worker at a local mall, The mall has been abandoned for a few years. When one of the stores closed and moved out, the interior was gutted and everything was tossed in a dumpster. I pulled out many yards of telephone cables some were 50 pairs of wires and others were 25 pairs. I also pulled out a lot of wood that I used to build the bench work for my model railroad. In one part there are 4 tracks that merged into one, went across a bridge at a door way, then into a tunnel through a wall and into the utility room on a covered shelf where it split into two tracks for a passing siding, then merged back into one track and proceeded to go through a wall back into the viewing area. I used the 25 pair cable to operate the two switch machines for the passing siding, 4 block occupancy detectors, and infrared LED's and optical sensors to send a signal back to the control panel when a train cleared the switch tracks. I'm an electronics hobbyist and designed a circuit around a quad NAND gate IC to control a 3 color LED block signal, that would send a signal back to the previous block signal and change it to yellow, and the one before it to green. I lost the schematic diagram for it. I do appreciate your videos. I don't know everything and can always learn something.

  • Reply Alejandro Millalen June 26, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Tom, I think Cat 6 cable is ok too, right?

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