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Where to rent Cat5e / RG6 Cable Tester?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm retro wiring new Cat5e and RG6 at my parents' house and want to test the cables now that they've been fished to each room and collected at the headend in the attic. From digging around online, I've kinda focused in on Fluke Networks products including the CableIQ (CIQ-KRQ), DTX (DTX-1800 or DTX-1200), and DSP (DSP-4300). Since this is a one-off project, I'm hoping I can rent something that will verify the cables and identify faults.

Are there any places to rent these testers online, or locally in the Dallas area? I've found MetricTest (I can't post URLs yet) rents them, but one month is the minimum rental and I only need it for a couple of days max.

Thanks!
post #2 of 14
Are you checking for continuity? If yes, a multimeter from Radio Shack will work just fine.
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by masonbrown View Post

I'm retro wiring new Cat5e and RG6 at my parents' house and want to test the cables now that they've been fished to each room and collected at the headend in the attic. From digging around online, I've kinda focused in on Fluke Networks products including the CableIQ (CIQ-KRQ), DTX (DTX-1800 or DTX-1200), and DSP (DSP-4300). Since this is a one-off project, I'm hoping I can rent something that will verify the cables and identify faults.

Are there any places to rent these testers online, or locally in the Dallas area? I've found MetricTest (I can't post URLs yet) rents them, but one month is the minimum rental and I only need it for a couple of days max.

Thanks!

Why don't you hook it up and assume if it works fine there aren't any problems?

Neither of those systems are THAT critical - I mean it's not like your setting up a broadcast facility and an internet node.

Afaik, not many places do that sort of testing unless a problem is manifesting itself.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses. One reason I'm asking about this is that the curious geek in me wants to play with the cool toys.

But more importantly, I've already found two Cat5e cables that won't link up between my laptop and switch. Of course, the two that aren't working are part of the longest cable run in the house. Since I completely forgot to run additional pull string through with the cables, pulling two new Cat5e cables isn't trivial. It appears that these testers will point out exactly what is wrong and where. With that info, I can make an informed decision on whether I run more cable or if there's some easier remedy.

And lastly, I'd like to confirm the coax is happy before scheduling the DirecTV installation so there are no surprises when the gear is installed.
post #5 of 14
I've worked with some Fluke Network equipment, and let me tell you, they're nice : )

But for this kind of testing, I find that it's easiest to take each end of a cable and plug it into a switch. If the two lights light up, then you're golden! Also, the first thing to do if a cable isn't working is check on each end that the wires are wired correctly. It's very easy to mix up a solid blue with a stripped blue since they're next to each other (depending on which standard you're using, I forget which one is proper for home installation).

The thing with the fluke testers is that they can pinpoint if two wires cross, or if one of them is discontinuous (well, at least this is what they're mostly used for). Now obviously this is seemingly hard to test at first with just a multimeter since the two ends are at different parts of the house, but there's a very simple solution. You can simply create a little loop-back connector at the one end (this is what fluke actually uses, except the little guy is sending signals back as well), so that it will cross pin 8 with pin 1, 7 and 2, 6 and 3, and 5 and 4. Then you go back to the other end and there you can use a multi meter and test those pins together and check for connectivity. I believe you can actually buy these, but they're easy enough to make if you have a crimper and and soldering iron. Simply cut a small length of cat5e, use 4 of the cables on one end and the same 4 on the other end, and crimp those 4 wires mirroring each other as stated before.

Also, as a side note, make sure the run isn't too long. ISO says you can run Cat5e or Cat6 for up to 300 feet if I remember correctly, but in a home installation you probably aren't pushing that. Besides, you would still get connectivity in the line, but with a couple of random 1s and 0s. Quite a when you're running serial lines for data processing...


-Tyler
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by masonbrown View Post

Since I completely forgot to run additional pull string through with the cables, pulling two new Cat5e cables isn't trivial.

If the one in the wall does turn out to be bad, tape the new one to the end of it. When you pull out the bad one, it'll bring the new good one (and a string) with it.
post #7 of 14
Annexter and CSC both rent Wirescope 350's and I think they rent the Fluke 4300 too. Do you really need a certification tester? It will run you around $350.00 for a couple of days.
post #8 of 14
There are a few companies that rent all sorts of test equipment and some of them have very broad inventories of gear that can do what you need.. Luckily, their applications people are good at finding something that accomplishes the job without costing too much.

You might try the cable testers category at advanced test equip. or the same category here at a UK-based rental company. This company also seems to have a lot of Cat5-6 related gear for rent.

Good luck!
post #9 of 14
Might be good for future reference but I'm hoping the OP has figured out since 2007 if it's OK. wink.gif
post #10 of 14
Just buy a $70 tester from Home Depot.
post #11 of 14
If any faults are found in the cable, someone would have a hard time finding them using a $70 'cable tester' from Home Depot. I'd recommend those for individual sections of cable (testing for short to shielding), but not to test a re-routed home. That said, the connectors are almost surely where any faults will be and that wouldn't require the heavy duty, feature packed locators you can rent... or purchase for a few thousand bux. Fluke is my favorite (GUI is somewhat similar from one product to the next).
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by RDeanK View Post

If any faults are found in the cable, someone would have a hard time finding them using a $70 'cable tester' from Home Depot. I'd recommend those for individual sections of cable (testing for short to shielding), but not to test a re-routed home. That said, the connectors are almost surely where any faults will be and that wouldn't require the heavy duty, feature packed locators you can rent... or purchase for a few thousand bux. Fluke is my favorite (GUI is somewhat similar from one product to the next).
The inexpensive testers indicate pass/fail for each pair. If there's a rolled pair, it fails; if there's an open pair, it fails; if there's a shorted pair, it fails. If it's wired as a crossover, it doesn't cycle consecutively. Personally, I would prefer an STM-8 for that application, but money talks. One of those inexpensive ones is fine for his needs.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by egnlsn View Post

Just buy a $70 tester from Home Depot.

Much cheaper at MP: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=105&cp_id=10524&cs_id=1052401&p_id=8130&seq=1&format=2

It will indicate short, open or crossed.
post #14 of 14
Get one of these
http://www.amazon.com/Pyle-PHCT45-Network-Cable-Tester/dp/B003ZUQSUI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360147592&sr=8-1&keywords=ethernet+tester

I used it, and it gives you the basics you want very quickly - continuity, switched pairs, etc. You put one part on the closet, and the other in the room, and watch the leds. You don't need a Fluke.
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