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Author Topic: 4 channel Cat snakes  (Read 3722 times)

Dan Mortensen

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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2019, 04:48:54 pm »

Dan, I'm curious as to your looming process that takes a couple days. It usually takes me a couple hours, I suppose, but the job isn't that bad (the way I do it). I'd like to know what you do to see if it's better than what I typically do. Or better in certain situations.

I've got some time off coming up, starting tomorrow, and I'll try and take pictures of the resulting looms, although I'm not sure I want to show how nuts I am about this stuff and the lengths I'll go to to try to get it right. OTOH, I care about this a lot and have thought about it a lot and have tried to come up with solutions that work and continue to work, and have made several tries at it. Most are still working. The one or two that aren't were due to a bad choice of cheap cable. Other choices of cheap cable have so far been fine.

Should I add to this thread and swerve it or start a new one?

The Elite Core Supercat5/6 cable isn't a copy of any Gepco cable I know of. The main advantage of the Elite Core is that the pairs are individually jacketed. It's a tiny bit tougher to terminate than a normal Cat5, but the jacketed pairs make it a very durable cable since the conductors don't grind against each other like in a normal Cat5 cable.

Are you talking about the single Ethernet cable or the 4 in 1? The latter is what I'm talking about.

I use Platinum feed through connectors and it makes terminating them a lot easier.

Can you provide a link? There seem to be tons of connectors available, to the point where each type of cable "prefers" a different connector.

How are you confirming that your terminated cables meet spec? I made one cable assembly (3 Ethercons) that met spec and have failed repeatedly after that with different cable and now only buy completed individual cables, adding Ethercons if necessary.  :'(

I'm not sure who OEM's Elite Core's cable, but I've had a bunch of it in service for years and I've been very happy with it. I've been happy with the Gepco I use too, but it's a very different cable (and not shielded).

I'm only basing that suggestion on looking at the pictures of the cable and its jacket printing on the Elite Core website. I'm going to call them this week but not today.
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Dan Mortensen

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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2019, 08:39:01 pm »

...Elite Core website. I'm going to call them this week but not today.

Just talked to Elite Core about their 4 in 1 cable, and they do not test their terminations to confirm that the completed cable is performing at CAT6 (or any other speed), so that is distressing.

There is also no longitudinal spacer between the pairs in each wire to isolate the pairs capacitatively (if that's a word). Since AES50 is in all my mixers and has shown itself to be sensitive to disruption from certain types of handling, that is important to me since the spacer might reduce that problem, although it also seems like the problem would be reduced if the cable is bulky enough to not move pairs individually when significantly jostled.

It sounded like the four internal cables were not isolated much from each other, only by the foil and by some cloth or something. The spaghetti on each end has to have jacket added, he did tell me that part. (The Gepco UTP seems to have a molded jacket around each internal cable.)

They are sending a data sheet with a cross section of the cable to confirm, but I am suspicious that this is not a product for AES50 users, despite the rep's repeated assertion that these cables are "used by the largest production houses in America and they have no problems with it."

This is disappointing, because I am hoping to get another 250' snake and a 4-in-1 cable would be better than the 3 twisted individuals I'm now using on that cable, for a couple of reasons.

Also FYI: I started by doing the Chat on the website, and mistakenly sent only the word "Hi" by hitting the return key.

While still typing a follow up that was more complete and suggesting that it would be simpler to talk instead of type and including my phone number, the phone rang and it was "X from Elite Core! How are you doing?" 

!!

I asked how this was possible before I sent the Chat note; he said they can see as you type.

So that was interesting, too.

No email yet in the time it took me to type this, but I'll report when it comes.

Man, I wish Gepco made an STP version of their Quad cable! (I did ask the Elite Core guy if Gepco OEM'd their cable, and he vigorously said no, and that he would be fired if he told me who did. I said I didn't need to know.)

FWIW Belden owns Gepco now, and it's not cheap to build a custom cable factory, so the former Belden guy, Steve Lampen, who was one of the presenters at my Ethernet cable workshop a few years ago, talked often about how they made cable for people all over the world to the customer's specs, no matter what they wanted. Including directional cable in which the signal flowed better one way than the other. The guys in the warehouse were happy to put an arrow on it to indicate the correct direction.

It seems like a non-zero chance that if this cable isn't being made in China it's being made to order by Belden.

Fake edit: Had to leave before posting this, so in the meantime the data sheet came (attached below) and they're also going to send a 2' chunk to see its construction. The drawing seems to show a jacket around each internal cable. Hmmm. Dissecting the sample will confirm this or not.

Elite Core seems pretty responsive and is trying to be helpful; hope it works out that I can buy something from them. That kind of responsiveness deserves support.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2019, 09:30:25 pm »

Watching with interest, Dan.  Thanks for the update.
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Frank Koenig

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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2019, 10:47:34 pm »

Including directional cable in which the signal flowed better one way than the other. The guys in the warehouse were happy to put an arrow on it to indicate the correct direction.

Well that's a pretty cool trick. I wonder how they do that????  :o :o

"Capacitively" is a fine word. I can adverb an adjective any damn time I want, and so can you.  ;)

Thanks for all the digging and your report.

--Frank
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Dan Mortensen

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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2019, 12:38:22 am »

Well that's a pretty cool trick. I wonder how they do that????  :o :o

I'm quite certain that either you or I could do it equally as well and with exactly the same accuracy.
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Jim Layton

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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2019, 08:39:14 am »

That one is a true 4 CAT5 snake, the Rat Sound Cat boxes are 4ch of audio down 1 CAT5 cable and will not work for your use. I don't know how big and stiff the TMB version is, but the ones I have seen are about as big and stiff as a 20pr analog snake. I would just bundle a couple of heavy duty CAT cable with etape every few feet. It will be much cheaper and lighter and easier to fix when one gets damaged.

Mac

Question on those Rat boxes. Do you need a send and receive "box" on either end? It appeared to me that you have a Rat box with a XLR fan that plugs into your main stage box. Run a Cat from that fan box to another rat stage box.  Is that how it works? Does that work with a Soundcraft or X32 rig? I'm guessing there will be a "failure to communicate."
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Dan Mortensen

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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2019, 02:56:23 pm »

Question on those Rat boxes. Do you need a send and receive "box" on either end? It appeared to me that you have a Rat box with a XLR fan that plugs into your main stage box. Run a Cat from that fan box to another rat stage box.  Is that how it works? Does that work with a Soundcraft or X32 rig? I'm guessing there will be a "failure to communicate."

Yes to your first, second, and third questions, and no to your last phrase.

The Rat boxes "transform" 1 shielded CAT cable into 4 mic cables with a shared ground and have no "communication" (in the sense that I think you're using the word) with consoles other than as mic cables.

Quotes around "transform" because there are no actual transformers (the kind with cores and windings) involved.
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Jim Layton

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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2019, 09:24:29 am »

Yes to your first, second, and third questions, and no to your last phrase.

The Rat boxes "transform" 1 shielded CAT cable into 4 mic cables with a shared ground and have no "communication" (in the sense that I think you're using the word) with consoles other than as mic cables.

Quotes around "transform" because there are no actual transformers (the kind with cores and windings) involved.

It seems like the weight of the two boxes and "labor" of connecting the fan to stage box and Cat cable between the pair of 4-CH boxes is more than a conventional 4-Ch copper drop snake. But I see the "coolness" of being able to customize the length of a drop snake with an inexpensive Cat cable. Eliminates the need for a collection of long and shot drops. I get it now.
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John Sulek

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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #28 on: December 20, 2019, 11:16:02 am »

It seems like the weight of the two boxes and "labor" of connecting the fan to stage box and Cat cable between the pair of 4-CH boxes is more than a conventional 4-Ch copper drop snake. But I see the "coolness" of being able to customize the length of a drop snake with an inexpensive Cat cable. Eliminates the need for a collection of long and shot drops. I get it now.

Also let's you repurpose extra/unused cat5 lines in a multicore run for analog utility lines..comms, talkback, VOG..
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Dan Mortensen

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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2019, 02:00:34 pm »

It seems like the weight of the two boxes...

The boxes are aluminum, which seems problematic from a shielding standpoint but has so far caused no problem in my usage. Each one weighs about as much as a smallish TV remote, maybe less.
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Re: 4 channel Cat snakes
« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2019, 02:00:34 pm »


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