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Author Topic: Splices in Category wiring  (Read 2811 times)

Jonathan Johnson

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Splices in Category wiring
« on: October 11, 2016, 03:37:36 pm »

On another forum, I saw a question about splicing a CAT6 Ethernet cable in a wall, then patching the wall.

That got me thinking: that's a wire connection that's not accessible, even though it is low voltage. I know that connections in line voltage wiring must be accessible, but how are low-voltage wiring connections addressed by the Code?

In signal line operating at less than 12V (standard Ethernet), a concealed splice may be acceptable. But since CAT6 Ethernet premises wiring could be used to supply power to a remote device (via PoE standards, typically 48V and 350-600mA; some proposals indicate upwards of 2A), would that splice not have to remain accessible? How are splices in telephone wiring (which can have significant voltage and current during the ringing cycle) treated?

EDIT: I know the idea of a splice in a CATx cable is a bad idea (but if it *must* be done, a proper category-rated splicing system must be used to preserve integrity). I'm just wondering about the whole "inaccessible connection" problem.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 04:43:42 pm by Jonathan Johnson »
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Frank DeWitt

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Re: Splices in Category wiring
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2016, 04:09:53 pm »

On another forum, I saw a question about splicing a CAT6 Ethernet cable in a wall, then patching the wall.

That got me thinking: that's a wire connection that's not accessible, even though it is low voltage. I know that connections in line voltage wiring must be accessible, but how are low-voltage wiring connections addressed by the Code?

In signal line operating at less than 12V (standard Ethernet), a concealed splice may be acceptable. But since CAT6 Ethernet premises wiring could be used to supply power to a remote device (via PoE standards, typically 48V and 350-600mA; some proposals indicate upwards of 2A), would that splice not have to remain accessible? How are splices in telephone wiring (which can have significant voltage and current during the ringing cycle) treated?

That is just evil wicked mean bad and nasty.  These days CAT 5 and 6 carries all sorts of signals.  In my church some cables carry 72 separate audio signals (and preamp control) and other cables carry 1080P video.  Neither one is going to like a in line splice.  I can just see sitting there with a cheep tester saying, I don't understand, It works with a temporary cable laying on the floor, why won't it work with perfectly good cable going through the wall.   
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Splices in Category wiring
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2016, 04:45:18 pm »

On another forum, I saw a question about splicing a CAT6 Ethernet cable in a wall, then patching the wall.


What's the point of running CAT6 if you're going to put a splice in it? There is almost no chance of it maintaining the CAT6 spec with the splice. It will probably not even be CAT5. If an installer makes a splice in the wall demand that the circuit be certified with a real certification tester. He'll have to open the wall and replace the cable after that.

Mac
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Splices in Category wiring
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2016, 05:01:05 pm »

What's the point of running CAT6 if you're going to put a splice in it? There is almost no chance of it maintaining the CAT6 spec with the splice. It will probably not even be CAT5. If an installer makes a splice in the wall demand that the circuit be certified with a real certification tester. He'll have to open the wall and replace the cable after that.

Mac

In the case of the post I referred to, it was in some guy's house where the cable was damaged by a subsequent contractor. He was trying to find a way to locate the damage so he could splice the cable. He figured it would be too difficult to re-run the cable.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Splices in Category wiring
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2016, 10:49:12 pm »

In the case of the post I referred to, it was in some guy's house where the cable was damaged by a subsequent contractor. He was trying to find a way to locate the damage so he could splice the cable. He figured it would be too difficult to re-run the cable.

Ifthe subsequent contractor was running a well run business, they should have had insurance to cover a mistake like that (though probably with a deductible).  Of course, if you hire a cheap contractor it could just cost more in the long run.
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Lyle Williams

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Re: Splices in Category wiring
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2016, 12:29:34 am »

Splice it.  Just because there is probably no other easy/practical way out.  It'll still be fine for gigabit ethernet.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Splices in Category wiring
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2016, 12:47:33 am »

Use a proper splice.  They are basically a pair of 110 punch downs.  It will maintain the integrity of the run and if done correctly will pass a complete certification test.

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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Splices in Category wiring
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2016, 01:36:22 pm »

So far, nobody's answered the actual question.

I'm not concerned whether or not to splice it. I know that splices are not preferred, but if they must be done, they must be done with proper materials (i.e., category-rated splice blocks).

What I am asking is if concealed (not accessible) splices in low voltage wiring is acceptable, and if so, what threshold (voltage, current, duty cycle) or other factor determines whether a splice and be concealed or must remain accessible.
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Josh Millward

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Re: Splices in Category wiring
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2016, 02:41:31 pm »

So far, nobody's answered the actual question.

I'm not concerned whether or not to splice it. I know that splices are not preferred, but if they must be done, they must be done with proper materials (i.e., category-rated splice blocks).

What I am asking is if concealed (not accessible) splices in low voltage wiring is acceptable, and if so, what threshold (voltage, current, duty cycle) or other factor determines whether a splice and be concealed or must remain accessible.

I expect that the actual answer is up to the AHJ.

However, typically if it is "low voltage" no one cares at all. Generally, "low voltage" is pretty much anything that is not 120V outlets, switches, and lamps. Sometimes you will have some interest from the AHJ regarding your loudspeaker cabling. They may want a 600V sheath if you have to share a raceway like in a light pole with 480V power for the flood lights or something.

Chop it, splice it, cover it, with low voltage it is generally all good. That does not mean that it is a good practice.

Were I in this situation, I would try to re-run the cable first. I would do this because I know that it is always better to have an unbroken wire from here to there than any splices. Plus it will probably take less time than splicing the wire back together. But, if that can't be done I would probably put wood blocking in the wall, mount the splice block to it, and mount a 2 gang low voltage ring in the drywall over the splice block. I would cover that 2 gang low voltage ring with a blank 2 gang cover plate. This will allow it to be accessed in the future and provide a good splice point now.

Bonus points are to be awarded if the blank 2 gang cover can be located inside a cabinet, closet, utility room, or something similar. This way you are not defacing the walls in the dining room, living room, parlor, or other "public" space.
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Josh Millward
Danley Sound Labs

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Splices in Category wiring
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2016, 02:41:31 pm »


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