Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How To Punch Down Cat5e/Cat6 Keystone Jacks

How to punch down a Cat5e/Cat6 keystone jack, step-by-step instructions. I took a bunch of pictures along the way to better explain the process, and to let you see just what it should look like. If you want to see the process of punching down a Cat5e or Cat6 jack on video, scroll to the bottom of this post. To get started, let's take a look at what tools you will need:

Electricians Scissors (regular household scissors will work also)

Wire Stripper (you can use electricians scissors if you don't have any wire strippers)



Now that we have all the tools, let's punch down some keystone jacks.

First, strip off at least 1 inch of jacket on your Cat5e/Cat6 cable. Make sure not to cut into the wires. If you do, you'll need to start over. This picture shows what the two cables look like side by side. The Cat6 cable is larger (bottom) due to the separator between the pairs.

Cut off the ripcord

If you using Cat6 cable, it should have a separator. Cut that off as well. Simply pull the 4 pairs of wire back and cut it off

Now were ready to lace up the wires on the keystone jack. This style of jack is very user friendly and great for beginners or professional installers. You can see 110s are in a single row and that they are pointed, making it easier to lace the wires down

Let's go ahead and wire these keystone jacks following the 568b Wiring Diagram

You can see the keystone jack has the color code for 568A and 568B on the jack. They are very similar, but 568B is most commonly used nowadays.

Once all the wires are laid down, your keystone jack should look like this. Notice how I left the pairs of wire twisted. I was able to do this because of the pointed ridges on the jack, making it much easier to set the wires in. Many other styles of jacks out there have a flat surface, requiring you to untwist all 4 pairs of wire down to the jacket. Also notice how the jacket of the cable is right up against the keystone jack. You don't want any more than 1/2" of the wires exposed.

Once you have the wires laced in correctly, set your keystone jack in a jack palm tool. If you don't have one of these available, you can punch the jack down on the ground or a desk, but I suggest putting a piece of cardboard down to prevent the jack from slipping out when you punch them down. I would strongly suggest AGAINST using your hand to punch down jacks without the use of this tool. The jack can slip out and the tool will cut right through your hand. Not a pretty site

Now, take your punch tool and find the side that says "CUT". You want to make sure the tool faces the correct way, or you'll cut the wrong side of the wires off. This is how your tool should look when punching down the jack. Notice the pointy tip on the left side of the 110s

 A close up view of the 110 blade shows this better

Once the punch down tool is positioned correctly, push down firmly until you feel it pop. You should see the wire cut off. If it doesn't, you may need to do it once more. Here you can see I terminated the brown pair

Repeat with the other 3 pairs of wires and you have a completed keystone jack. It will look like this. Note how the jacket is very close to the jack. You want to make sure you keep it as close as possible.

Here is a picture or the WRONG way. The cable jacket is stripped too far back, exposing more than 1/2" of the wires

Lastly, press the clear dust cover on your jack and your DONE

Now let's watch it on video

New Tool Available!

Want to terminate Cat5e/Cat6 jacks quicker? Try the Kwik Tool and Kwik Jacks, available at Read the instructions for Terminating Cat5e/Cat6 Kwik Jacks here. The Kwik Tool removed the need for buying the punch down tool, 110 blade and palm tool. Safer, faster and less expensive. Call us for details on how to get a free Kwik Tool today! (888) 797-3697

We hope you enjoyed this article on how to punch down Cat5e/Cat6 keystone jacks. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions in the comment box below and thanks for visiting.

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Still have questions? You can reach us at (888) 797-3697
Visit our website at to order any of the items seen in this article.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Category 6 Shielded 4 Pair 550mhz Cable Video

Category 6 shielded 4 pair 550mhz cable available at is ideal for voice, data, video and security applications for your network installation where EMI/RFI interference may be a concern. Wiring your business, home office, or even an entire college campus, we have the right cable for you. This bulk 550Mhz shielded Category 6 cable is ROHS compliant and UL Listed. Here is a video of the Category 6 shielded cable we carry. Enjoy

- 4-pair Shielded Twisted Pair
- Meets or Exceeds Cat6 Specifications, TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1
- PVC Jacket High-Density Polyethylene Insulation
- UL Listed
- ROHS Compliant
- Shielding Prevents Alien Crosstalk

We also carry shielded Cat6 and Cat6A shielded keystone inserts for this cable. For more information, visit

To order Category 6 shielded cable, visit
Or give us a call at (888) 797-3697

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bogen Ceiling Speaker HFCS1 Video

Bogen Ceiling Speaker HFCS1

The Bogen HFCS1 ceiling speakers deliver superior sound and clear intelligibility in a variety of ceiling environments. The system can be easily installed in hard-surfaced ceilings, suspended ceilings, and new constructions. The HFCS1 offers several levels of power output controlled via a front-mounted rotary tap selector switch (under grille). The low-distortion speaker design, coupled with a computer-matched venting system, delivers high intelligibility and exceptional low-frequency response for both music and speech reinforcement. Bogen also offers the HFCS1LP (low profile) for applications where space might be an issue. The HFCS1LP is 4.25" shorter than the HFCS1, which can make a huge difference in cramped spaces. In this video, Mercy shows you what to expect when ordering the HFCS1. Enjoy

• Wide-dispersion coaxial driver for broad, even coverage
• Good off-axis response with smooth contouring
• Computer-matched venting system for full bass output
• Large back can for deeper bass response (HFCS1)
• Low-profile housing allows greater range of installations (HFCS1LP)
• High power handling capability for foreground sound
• Selectable power taps via front-mounted control
• Power taps (in watts) - 32, 16, 8, 4, 2, and 1
• 16-ohm input for non-transformer, multi-speaker systems (selectable via tap selector switch)
• Compounded rubber surround, plus polypropylene and polycarbonate drivers for lasting performance
• Easy wiring with plug-in connector
• Connector provides loop-through terminals for the next speaker
• Integral swing-out clamps for easy installation
• Attachment point for seismic cable (safety cable)
• Input terminal cover with knockouts and safety eyelet provides protection for connections
• Off-white textured finish easily painted to match theme decor
• Attractive, contemporary, sturdy steel grille assembly with fine perforations
• Accessory tile bridge support ring (Model TBCR, sold separately)
• Accessory 10-foot long cable kit (Model CK10, sold separately)

For full product specification, user manuals, or to order, visit
If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at (888) 797-3697

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Copper Prices Going Up

Current copper price as of November 18th, 2009 is $3.09 per lb

30 days ago, the copper price was $2.89/lb

60 days ago, the copper price was $2.78/lb

6 months ago, the copper price was $2.03/lb

1 year ago, the copper price was $1.54/lb

Over the 5 year history, copper prices have been on a roller coaster ride. Back in November 2004, the copper price was around $1.40/lb, then increased dramatically over the next year and a half to almost $4/lb. Then the opposite happened in June 2008. The copper price was at an ALL TIME HIGH of around $4.10/lb, then over the next 6 months bottomed at around $1.30/lb. Thanks to for all the charts.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day Night Dome Security Camera Video

Day night dome security cameras are perfect for indoor applications where low light viewing is a concern. In today's economy, it's more important than ever to be protected. One of the best ways to protect your investment from burglary, is to prevent it. According to United States Burglary Statistics, in 2007 a burglary took place roughly every 14 seconds. That means by the time it takes you to finish reading this article and watching the video, 17 burglaries have occurred. That's 6,171 every day. By installing a surveillance security system in your home or business, you chances of a break in are dramatically reduced. Here is a video about the very popular Everfocus ED230 day night security camera. Enjoy


  • 1/3” Sony Interline Transfer Super HAD CCD
  • 380 TVL of horizontal resolution
  • Special optical low pass filter (inside) for high IR response
  • Low light sensitivity of 0.3 Lux/F=1.2
  • Automatically switches to black & white image when light levels fall below 1 Lux
  • Angle View: 75° range
  • IR Distance: 45 feet (13 meters)
  • Compact size for discreet surveillance
  • Suitable for any indoor IR surveillance

The Everfocus ED230 day night dome security camera is top of the line in performance and reliability. This dome camera uses the Sony 1/3" chip and has 380 TVL (television lines of resolution). We do have the optional high resolution version available, which has 480TVL (Everfocus part # ED330). They both run off of 12V DC power and have a 4.3mm lens. One of the greatest features about this dome security camera though, is the small rubber boot on the end of the lens. This prevents unwanted glare into the lens that you would typically get from some of the lower end IR dome cameras. These day night dome cameras are available with either a black or white base, depending on your application and have an IR distance of 45 feet, which should be more than adequate for most indoor uses. To order, or get more product specifications, visit
Or give us a call at (888) 797-3697

Thursday, November 12, 2009

IR Bullet Security Camera Video - ECZ230

IR bullet security cameras are a great choice for your home or small business. They can be mounted inside or outside, offer discrete surveillance, and have a great picture. With 14 infrared LED illuminators, this camera can see in complete darkness. As soon as a light gets turned on, the illuminators turn off and the camera functions as a regular color camera. In addition, it weights under 1 lb and is only 2" wide by 3.1' deep, making this a very versatile security camera. Great quality and a great price make this our best selling IR camera by far. Take a look at the video.

- 380 TVL of horizontal resolution
- Electronic Shutter and automatic gain control allow the camera to be operated in environments with various light levels
- 1/3" Sony Interline Transfer Super HAD CCD
- Low Light sensitivity 0.3 lux/F=1.2 (automatic gain control on), 0 lux (IR LED on)
- Compact size for discreet indoor or outdoor surveillance
- View angle 50-78° range
- IR illuminator distance:10-15m / 33 - 49 feet
- IP66 weatherproof rated
- IR illuminator wavelength: 850nm
- Mount included

This IR bullet security camera is manufactured by Everfocus Electronics Corp. (part # ECZ230)

For more information, visit
Or give us a call at (888) 797-3697

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Discount Low Voltage Adds Google Voice to Website

Here at Discount Low Voltage were always looking for ways to make your online shopping experience easier. Just today I was on the website of my cable tv company trying to find information. I searched for 10 minutes navigating the vast array of pages they offer, only to end up empty handed. Why don't I just call them, I thought. Easier said then done. It seems as if they make you jump through hoops just to get their phone number, only to go through the automated system that couldn't recognize the words "Customer Service" if I typed it out for them. This made me think, why not put our phone number right up on the top of the page. Or better yet, a link that calls us for you. Were proud to announce the addition of Google Voice to the website. Simply click the link, type in your phone number and Google does the rest. You will get connected instantly to a real person. It's that simple. Try it out at
Or just do it the old fashioned way - (888) 797-3697

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Signamax Media Converter Video

Signamax Media Converters are used for converting signals from a twisted-pair 10BaseT or 100BaseTX cable to 100BaseFX fiber optic cable. In this video, Mercy shows you what to expect when your Signamax media converter arrives at your door. Enjoy

Signamax Connectivity Systems’ Switching Media Converters with Link Fault Signaling (LFS) provide the means for an SNMP-Managed switch to recognize a failure on a fiber channel or twisted-pair connection, enabling the switch to automatically route to a backup path if the connected switch is equipped with Spanning Tree Algorithm. This intelligence maximizes the power of managed switches, and enables fail-safe design solutions for complex networks. These converters also extend the maximum singlemode fiber distance, spanning over 46 miles with the 065-1120XLD model.
The built-in 10/100 switch enables the fiber cable connection to operate at 100 Mbps connected to either a 10BaseT or a 100BaseTX network, while remaining completely 100BaseFX standard-compliant. Fiber connection can also operate in full duplex mode whether the RJ-45 port is connected to a full duplex switch or a half duplex hub, with the built-in switch providing the network segmentation that permits the maximum fiber distance.  Each Media Converter provides a 10/100BaseT/TX auto-negotiating RJ-45 twisted-pair connector port featuring store-and-forward switching architecture. Auto-MDIX capability on the twisted-pair port allows for convenient connections.

· Built-In Twisted-Pair Port 10/100 Switch
· Auto-Negotiation RJ-45 Connector with Auto-MDIX
· SC, ST, MT-RJ or SC Connector
· LEDs for Functions, Links & Activity
· Link Fault Signaling For Use with Managed Switches
· 1,024 MAC Address Capacity
· Store-and-Forward Architecture
· Full and Half Duplex Operation
· Singlemode Spans up to 75 Km
· Wall or Chassis Mountable
· IEEE 802.3 and IEEE 802.3u Compliant
· Lifetime Performance Warranty
· Toll Free Tech Support at (800) 446-2377
· 100% compliant with Ethernet IEEE 802.3u specs, FCC Part 15 Class A and CE approved.

As you can see, the Signamax Media Converters come very well packaged, insuring it gets to you in perfect condition. The whole package is wrapped in plastic, which helps keep any dirt or debris from getting inside. Once you get that off, open up the box and you'll find the media converter tucked nicely into foam padding. The media converter itself is also wrapped up in a plastic bag. In addition, you get an individual power supply and the users manual (on disk).


Convenient Connectivity:
Expand the distance your present network covers by converting twisted pair cabling to either multi-node or single-mode fiber. Connect to carrier-based networks by converting your multi-mode distribution fiber to a single-mode fiber. Units are rack-mountable without changes (using the 065-1180 chassis featuring redundant power supplies), avoiding the need to maintain any specific rackmount-type spares.



Connectivity... made simple!


For full product Specifications, Data Sheet and User Manual, visit
have any questions about Signamax Media Converters? Call us at (888) 797-3697

Monday, November 9, 2009

Everfocus EIP220 IP Camera - Deal of the Week

The EIP220 is an affordable entry level IP camera by Everfocus for indoor applications. This network camera offers indoor surveillance and remote monitoring. The EIP220 is engineered with user friendly browser-based management software for simultaneous viewing, recoding, playback and management of multiple cameras with no additional software required. The EIP220 is ideal for homes and small businesses and is our Deal of the Week. To order, visit

• User friendly browser-based management software for
simultaneous viewing, recording, playback and management
of multiple EIP220 cameras
• Supports MPEG4 images at up to 30 frames per second at
up to full D1 (720x480)
• 1/3” Sony Super HAD color CCD with the high sensitivity
of 0.3 Lux/F=1.2
• 380 TVL of horizontal resolution
• Day/Night feature
• 10Base-T/100Base-TX network interface for remote
monitoring via PC
• Support digital Motion Detection
• Digital inputs can be used to trigger the transmission of
images from the video server upon alarm (email notification
or FTP video upload)
• Support DC drive auto IRIS lens
• AGC/BLC/Contrast/Color adjustable control via web browser
• Easy-to-use on-screen PTZ control
• Built-in digital zoom function

For full product specifications and pricing, visit
Or give us a call at (888) 797-3697

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How Low Voltage Cable is Made - Cat5e, Cat6, Cat3 and OSP

In this article, I'll explain step by step how low voltage Premise and Outside Plant (OSP) cable is made. This includes Cat3 telephone cable, Cat5e, Cat6, Armored, Gel-filled and more. Enjoy

Copper Rod Breakdown
The first step in low voltage cable production is copper rod breakdown. Copper is sent to the factory in 5,000lb coils. These copper coils are continuously drawn through diamond dies that drastically reduce the diameter of the copper to 10 or 12 gauge. Lubrication is used during this process to reduce the amount of friction and heat on the copper cable. Once completed, the copper is stacked in vertical coils, called Stem Packs. These stem packs are then transferred to another drawling operation that further reduces the gauge of the copper. During this stage, the copper is also charged with an electrical current. This anneals the copper, which is a softening process. Once annealed and cooled off, the copper runs through a laser measurement system, to verify it is within manufacturing specifications.

Copper Insulation Process
The copper insulation process is continually monitored and controlled up to +/- .0001". Once the copper is insulated, it runs through a water cooling trough, allowing the wire jacket to properly harden.

Copper Twisting
Twisting helps reduce crosstalk between the individual pairs of wire. Some Cat6 premise cables include a center spline, or wire separator, to further reduce crosstalk and increase performance. Copper twisting is accomplished by running each individual wire through multiple faceplates. This helps control pair position. Once twisted, we have what's called a Cable Unit.

The cable unit then goes through the jacketing process. This step varies, depending on what type of cable your manufacturing. OSP cable typically uses a black polyethylene or UV rated Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). For Cat3, Cat5e and Cat6 Premise cable, varying grades of PVC are used, depending on flame safety rating requirements. This steps starts off with molten plastic being extruded at high pressure and formed around the moving cable core. Shielding, ripcords, armoring and water blocking compound may also be applied at this step. Cables that require dual shielding or double armor will need to repeat this process. Once completed, the cable passed through a long cooling bath, then through a laser micrometer to verify the final diameter.

Printing is done just before the cable is put in it's final packaging. For OSP cable, a hot foil printing process is used, that leaves an indented print in the cable jacket. For Premise cable, a high speed ink jet printer is used. Some cable manufacturers print footage marking from 1000-0ft, making it very easy to determine how much cable you have left in the box, or measuring out cable runs. Other manufacturers use a 6 digit footage mark, making the process a little harder.

The completed cable is then wound onto a reel or coil. the coiling process requires very precise tension controls to insure the cable won't tangle when being pulled out of the box.

Final Testing
Once the cable is printed and coiled, it goes through one last set of tests. The manufacturer will test it against a large set of mechanical and electrical performance specifications. Once tested, the cable is ready for shipment.

To order Cat3, Cat5e, Cat6, Outside Plant Telephone cable, Fiber or many other types of bulk cable, visit
Or give us a call at (888) 797-3697

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Crazy Data Center Wiring Pictures and Video

Got Cable Management Supplies? These people need to visit and order some wire management panels, cable ties, and maybe a new job while their at it.

Enjoy this compilation of pictures showing how NOT to wire up your data center. I feel sorry for anyone that has to ever go back and work on these job sites.


































And just a couple funny ones:

Fiber Jumper hair tie anyone?

Scorpion Mod Plug

From Messy to Clean

Have any pictures of a wiring mess you had to clean up? Cat5e cable out of control? Ethernet cables tangled? Patch panels with no wire management? Server rooms that look like a bomb went off? Sent any pictures you have to and I'll feature them in the next Crazy Wiring Pictures blog.

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