The speed and accuracy of terminating cat5e and cat6 data cables with RJ45 plugs has been improved for electrical contractor Cerberus Systems thanks to the new FT-45® Feed Thru Modular Plugs and Crimp Tool from IDEAL. Jobs such as IP CCTV installations can now be completed more efficiently and profitably.
Cerberus Systems Ltd is an electrical contracting company that designs, installs and maintains intelligently configured and high quality electrical systems, IT networks, CCTV and access control systems to diverse client premises including radio studios, offices, warehouses, showrooms and shops. Regardless of the type of structured cabling required, Cerberus Systems’ clients need the work finished within tight deadlines and with minimal disruption to people and processes.
To avoid delays when installing data cable, it’s important for cat5e and cat6 cable terminations to be done correctly first time. However, the type of installations Cerberus performs often requires technicians to install RJ45 plugs at the end of links which connect directly to CCTV and access control systems. Field-terminated RJ45 plugs are prone to installation errors because they require the installer to trim the conductors to a precise length prior to placing the plug onto the cable.
“If they are too short, there will be open circuits discovered when testing, and if they are too long, terminations look sloppy, or performance can suffer when pairs are exposed outside of the plug body/cable jacket,” explains Nick Shone of Cerberus Systems. “It’s also easy for a conductor to move during this process and go unnoticed until the cables are tested.”
“This makes identifying and resolving faults challenging and time consuming, particularly in the large areas we often work in, which can be up to 15,000 sq. ft,” Nick continues. “Failed terminations can also mean that faults need to be investigated in difficult locations, such as in the case of externally mounted IP CCTV cameras.”
For example, on a recent large IP CCTV installation project, there were 160 plugs to terminate and no time for error. As a complex job where other trades were waiting to come on site, any delays would cost the client time and money. It was therefore vital for Cerberus Systems to complete their work without having to go back and replace faulty terminations – a difficult task with the tools traditionally used. However, while preparing for the IP CCTV installation, Cerberus Systems discovered the new FT-45® Feed Thru Modular Plugs and Crimp Tool from IDEAL.
“We’d been using electrical products from IDEAL, as well as IDEAL Networks testers, for a number of years,” says Nick. “I ordered this new solution straight away as I knew the upcoming job required multiple terminations in a very tight time scale.”
The new IDEAL FT-45 solution speeds up and simplifies termination of RJ45 plugs by eliminating the need to precisely trim conductors to length before inserting the cable into the plug. Unlike the plugs with closed ends usually used for RJ45 connections, the FT-45 Feed-Thru Modular Plugs feature open channels that allow the conductors to be fed completely through the connector before crimping. This lets installers visually check conductor order and if necessary, remove the connector, reorder the conductors and replace the connector.
Once the proper order is confirmed, the FT-45 tool crimps and trims the cable in one step. This makes terminations faster, provides better performance by allowing the cable to fully seat into the connector and virtually eliminates connector waste.
“Across our business, we like to invest in the equipment that helps us to get jobs right first time,” says Nick. “This helps us to reduce delays, meaning that we keep our clients happy.”
“In this case, preventing mistakes and delays ensured that all trades had access to the site when required so no additional costs were incurred by the client,” he continues. “It also allows us to move on to the next job on time, keeping our operations productive and profitable.”
For Cerberus Systems, FT-45 proved to be ideal for working with patch cords in IP CCTV installations, as well as for fitting IP access controls. It makes installing extended patch cords easier, for example to enable video conferencing, and can also be used to create a cat6 cable backbone for linking data cabinets together.
The FT-45 solution also proved simple to use. The modular plugs are suitable for cat5e and cat6 cable without a need for complex assembly, while the versatile crimp tool is capable of crimping and cutting feed-thru, standard and shielded connectors in one action.
“Since purchasing and using FT-45 we are now using it on most of our projects – I never take the FT-45 plugs and crimp tool out of my kit bag,” says Nick. “I would recommend the FT-45 package as you can genuinely reduce errors in terminations and get things done right first time.”
In addition, Cerberus Systems qualifies data cable installations with IDEAL Networks SignalTEK NT to provide proof of performance to clients. As soon as the installation is complete and has been tested, test data can be sent to a mobile phone. Using the IDEAL AnyWARE™ app, a PDF report is generated easily and emailed straight to the client to show that there are no installation issues.
“It is important for us to test our data cable installations to give customers assurance, just like we do on our low voltage electrical jobs,” says Nick. “This reduces unpaid call backs, but most importantly keeps customers happy – they are impressed to get a professional report, and to receive this from us so quickly.”