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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am running a bunch of wires

- HDMI

- Coax

- Cat6

- Speaker


What are the best (and hopefully cheapest & easiest) ways to check continuity on those cables before the walls go up? I'm trying to avoid having to terminate every single one and test it on actual equipment.


Thanks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pocoloco /forum/post/18226827


I am running a bunch of wires

- HDMI

- Coax

- Cat6

- Speaker


What are the best (and hopefully cheapest & easiest) ways to check continuity on those cables before the walls go up? I'm trying to avoid having to terminate every single one and test it on actual equipment.

Thanks.

Only pick one. Best or Cheapest. You can not have both. If you want the best it's not going to be the cheapest.
 

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I think you should terminate the cat6, with keystone jacks and/or male connectors - try to use what you'll need eventually. Buy a cheap $20 RJ45 ethernet cable tester from HD/Lowes. It will get easier to add the connectors as you progress.


I don't know about testing HDMI. I'd be worried about replacing the HDMI cable in 5-10 years, if it's drywalled in. Maybe conduit in place of the HDMI runs, to make replacement easier? Make sure the conduit is large enough to pass the hdmi connectors. Run 2-3 cat6 cables with each HDMI cable, perhaps, to allow for future HDMI over cat6 use? Might be easier (but more expensive) than eventually replacing the HDMI cables.


For speaker cables, you can get a cheap continuity tester at HD/Lowes - whatever they have. I think you could also use that tester for the coax, but it won't tell you if the cable is deformed, the main problem with coax. I don't know what the best testing device is for coax.
 

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Suggestion: for the cables that contain multiple wires within them, tie half the individual wires to each other one the far end, and repeat using the same bundles at the beginning of the cable. Then tie the two bundles together on the far end and see if you have a short or an open across the two bundles at the beginning. A short means you probably have a good cable, and an open means you definitely have a bad one. Crude, not perfect, but quick and will catch cables that have been severed.


For cables that contain a single wire (coax), use one of the other cables that you previously tested per above, tie the copper conductor of the far end of the coax to the far end of either one wire or a bundles of wires in the other cable, and see if you have a short or an open at the beginning. Good luck!
 

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For coax, you can also short the copper conductor to its grounding mesh on the far end and test for continuity at the beginning. You can vary exactly what you bundle within wires of a cables or across cables, just apply the principle that you try to create a loop by shorting wires at the far end and see if you have a short (continuity) or an open (no continuity) at the beginning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the tips everyone. Here's where my head is at now.


HDMI

Looks like there is no other way to test other than plug in some equipment.


Cat6

terminate the ends or buy pre-terminated wire and test using something like this?
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...3NXAE7Z8S8YR6H


Coax

Strip the coax and test bare wire using a cheap continuity tool. I'll use DJS's tips to speed things up. Can anyone suggest or post links on a tool to test this? Also, what happens if the cable has continuity but is deformed?


Speaker wire

Strip the wire and test bare wire with a cheap continuity tool. Can I use the same tester that I use for coax?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
According to the post below, looks like I can test coax and speaker wire with a simple multimeter.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1#post16969921

Quote:
Originally Posted by cctvtech /forum/post/16969921


All you really need is an inexpensive multimeter. First, test for continuity or resistance between the center pin and the outside case. It should be "open" or infinity ohms. Then test the continuity from end-to-end for both the center pins and the outside cases. They should be a short or 0 ohms.


You could get something fancier, but the multimeter should do a decent job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Pulling HDMI thru the walls is a disaster waiting to happen. Every once in a while you hear about how someone only ran an HDMI cable to a projector and after drywall found out the cable was bad or got damaged during drywall. You would be better off with a 2" conduit so that you can pull the cable later. And when you install the conduit avoid unnecessary bends. Your goal should be 2 90 degree bends or less from start to finish.


If conduit is not in the cards pull 2 Cat6 as backup for when the HDMI cable fails because the sheetrock company used it to hang things from while they worked.
 

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One of my computers, unfortunately, it's a desktop, has a bios setup routine that will analyze the cable connection, including length back to the switch. With a Gigabit connection, it check out all four pairs. Neat, but difficult, as it's a desktop, not a laptop.


What I did to check out my wiring, was to have my kid by the patch panel, as I moved a gigabit equiped laptop around checking for the gigabit signal. That verified all four pairs connected.


Jack
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewaves /forum/post/18268571


There are HDMI testers on the market don't know if you want to spend $50-100 on one


for example, http://www.mcmelectronics.com/produc...72-847-/72-847

Unfortunately that tool will only tell you that the cable has continuity from end-to-end, not if it will successfully pass a full 1080p image without artifacts or that full bandwidth is available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I was wondering, does a custom installer test all Cat5/6 cables, even if they are not going to be immediately used? If so, when does he test them? Twice, before and after drywall, or just once after drywall goes up?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pocoloco /forum/post/18303545


So I was wondering, does a custom installer test all Cat5/6 cables, even if they are not going to be immediately used? If so, when does he test them? Twice, before and after drywall, or just once after drywall goes up?

Unless you are able to provide the name of the custom installer doing the work it is impossible to answer such a question. If you do know the name of the installer, the fastest way to get the answer to your question is to ask the installer.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pocoloco /forum/post/18303545


So I was wondering, does a custom installer test all Cat5/6 cables, even if they are not going to be immediately used? If so, when does he test them? Twice, before and after drywall, or just once after drywall goes up?

Well if you think about it a bit you probably can come up with a pretty good answer.


If you only tested them after the drywall was up you would have missed the chance to replace any defective ones while the walls were still open.


If you only tested them before the drywall was up you would not know if any were damaged during the installation of the drywall. Of course if any were damaged during the installation of the drywall they are going to be a pain to replace.


If you only test them when you need to use them well that's just going to be totally frustrating.



I can't speak for anyone else but I test both times - pre-drywall, and post-drywall. I also will test again if I am about to try to use a cable that has been sitting unused for quite some time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt /forum/post/18304490


I can't speak for anyone else but I test both times - pre-drywall, and post-drywall. I also will test again if I am about to try to use a cable that has been sitting unused for quite some time.

Well this is what I am going to do but I have seen plenty of times where pre-wires have not been terminated and looks like untested raw cable in the walls... so I was just curious what the standard practice was.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pocoloco /forum/post/18303545


So I was wondering, does a custom installer test all Cat5/6 cables, even if they are not going to be immediately used? If so, when does he test them? Twice, before and after drywall, or just once after drywall goes up?

Hard question to answer because there are so many variables. In a perfect world this is what would happen.


House would be completely framed and the electrician, plumber hvac guys would be completely done before the low voltage guys begin.


This allows us to avoid running parallel with high voltage, lets us center our speakers on light cans, lets us determine what outlet and switch height is so that our low voltage boxes match the height of high voltage outlets and switches. It lets us choose wiring paths based on unused areas. We have no idea that a HVAC needs a specific path for ducts and it sucks to have to move your cables after they have been run & managed. And more importantly.. There is less chance of someone damaging our cables if they are all done working.


If the wiring is done properly and you are using good cable and you have a plan to manage the cables at the control system end then IMO you usually dont have to worry too much about your cables being damaged. Installers know how to route cables so that they are protected from the sheetrock guys.

Before Sheetrock:

We use a toner to test continuity to make sure cables are labeled properly and to make sure that none were forgotten about. Cat5/6 are punched down at each end with jacks and tested with a lan tester.


Cable certification is another service we offer where cables are not only tested for continuity but also rating. In some cases a cable might test okay for continuity but not pass certification because the cable has been damged during installation.

After Sheetrock:

All Cat5/6 cables are punched down to patch panels at the control system end and terminated to wallplates in locations around the house. This makes it easy to use a lan tester to make sure all your cables are good and wired correctly at the patch panels.


And if certification was a requested service the cables would also be tested again to make sure they pass.


Cable certification tool:
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pocoloco /forum/post/18306380


Well this is what I am going to do but I have seen plenty of times where pre-wires have not been terminated and looks like untested raw cable in the walls... so I was just curious what the standard practice was.

I think a lot of guys don't test the cable. They run it properly and run enough extra where it becomes a non issue. Or they may do what we do which is carry a bag of Cat5 leviton jacks around and terminate each end, test, cut off jacks and put them back in the bag for the next project and then shove the unterminated cable back in the wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
39CS...


Thanks for all your help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp /forum/post/18306669


Installers know how to route cables so that they are protected from the sheetrock guys.

Please share some of these tips! Also, any tips related specifically to working with steel studs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 39CentStamp /forum/post/18306669


Cat5/6 are punched down at each end with jacks and tested with a lan tester...


Or they may do what we do which is carry a bag of Cat5 leviton jacks around and terminate each end, test, cut off jacks and put them back in the bag for the next project and then shove the unterminated cable back in the wall.

So are you saying the punchdown keystone cat5 jacks are reusable? Is this easier than trying to crimp RJ45 connectors on each wire to test? This is a big thing I have been going back and forth on.
 
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