[Chicago-talk] LAN/Phone wiring help needed

Alexander Danel danel at speakeasy.net
Tue May 13 12:40:40 PDT 2008

I can tell you where to go for tools and parts:

	Graybar Electric Co
	539 W 14th Place
	Chicago, IL  60607
	(312) 491-1123

They specialize in telephone and Ethernet cabling, tools, and supplies.  You
can ask questions, too.

A high quality punch-down tool costs about $70 to $100, and is a worthwhile
investment.  Buy yourself a 1,000 ft roll of cat-6, 4-pair cable; although
you will never use even half the roll, it is none-the-less cheapest to buy
the big roll.  The actual punch-down blocks, etc, are cheap.  I attached a
wooden board to the masonry wall, and then attached the blocks to the board.

You will also want a good quality staple gun, and a selection of staples.

The punch-down tool should have a reversible tip; where one option has a
knife blade, and the other option has no blade.  (There are also two types
of tips available, older style versus newer style -- you will need to choose
one style or the other.)  You will be flipping the tip between blade versus
no-blade as you work.  The no-blade option lets you punch down a wire that
then continues to the next position.  A block has 25 positions.  Typically,
you might have each incoming wire span 6 positions; so a block handles four
wires (i.e. two pairs of wires.)  If you are just connecting one or two
pairs, you would use a single block, if you have three or four pairs you
might consider two blocks.  Bring the first wire to the top most position,
letting the wire get loosely gripped by the pincers, then pull straight down
and let it get gripped by the pincers at the next five positions below.
Using the non-cutting side, punch down the first five positions, then flip
the tip so you have the knife edge and punch down, this final act cuts the
wire.  (A common error here is to put the knife side up, cutting the wire
before it enters the pincers, instead of as it exits.)  Then take the next
wire (the matching wire of the pair) and repeat, spanning the next six
positions down.  Etc.

It might be traditional that incoming signal goes at the right side of the
block, and outgoing lines to your house go out the left side; or maybe it's
the other way -- ask the guys at Graybar what the tradition is.  Anyway,
every position consists of a horizontal row having four pincers in the row.
These four are arranged as a pair of pairs, with the left two having
continuity, the right two having continuity, but no continuity between the
pairs.  You connect your incoming/outgoing wires to the pincers at the
extreme right/left, then use a "bridge clip" to short the pairs together.
The idea is that you have the option of not using a bridge clip, in which
case you would use wires punched down onto the inner pincers, and thusly
would have the option of carrying the signal to some different position.
But you won't be doing that; just use the bridge clips to connect straight
across, right pair with adjacent left pair.  The bridge clips envelop the
inner pincers, shorting them together.

Don't forget to buy the bridge clips.

Alexander Danel

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