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Author Topic: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks  (Read 527 times)

frank kayser

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ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
« on: September 21, 2022, 09:32:48 PM »

It started yesterday making up some ethercon cables for my brandy-new M32C, and two DL16 stage boxes.  I made one cable to 18" length for the rack to connect M32C and one DL16 within the same 4 space rack.  I had sync when using the DL16 clock, but that did not work well when adding the second DL16 in a separate rack.  I managed to get the clock back to the M32C, and unscientifically managed to get the three pieces sync'd and talking.  I'm drifting off subject already.


Let's start simply: How do you test an "AES50" cable, i.e., shielded cat5e, shielded RJ45, and ethercon shell?  Without the shell, mu Ideal network cable tester tests all 4 pairs, plus the shield.  Cool.  Add the the ethercon shells, and that simple tester no longer works.  I *could* get an ethercon combiner, add a shielded short cat5e cable w/shielded RJ45 on the end. Times 2. (both ends).  Adapter at $38 a pop, there has to be a better way. Whirlwind has a tester that will test a fully assembled AES50 (ethercon) cable.  Whirlwind SC48RJ Cable Tester does that and more, but at $235, also a bit steep.


Let's advance to the ethercon shell and its interaction with a shielded RJ45.  We'll agree (won't we?) that the shielded RJ45 is the electrical conductor for the shield.  Metal to metal contact between the ethercon shell and the shielded RJ45, as far as I can tell, is incidental at best.  So other than adding mechanical strength to the RJ45, and an improved locking mechanism, what does the ethercon bring to the party electrically?  Consider the black shells - is the paint conductive?


Which begs the question: Why would a STP cable terminated with a shielded RJ45 NOT function electrically the same as a "proper" AES50 cable?


I've read many troubleshooting procedures and viewed more than one video that advocates testing continuity from ethercon shell to ethercon shell.  That brings me back to what I view as incidental contact between shell and RJ45... and the paint... and now on yet another logic lap around the barn.


ps.  Yeah, I did read what the search turned up on PSW, back to 2015.  Nothing previously written gave me the warm and fuzzies... One thread talked about short shielded cables, and echoes on the short cables, which had me talking to myself about my "custom" 18" cable, and whether that would be an issue in the future.






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Brian Jojade

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Re: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2022, 10:13:31 PM »

The shell SHOULDNíT be required, but I think the issue is Behringer wired that to ground instead of the rJ45 shield inside the equipment. I could be wrong on that though.
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Brian Jojade

frank kayser

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Re: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2022, 10:23:59 PM »

The shell SHOULDNíT be required, but I think the issue is Behringer wired that to ground instead of the rJ45 shield inside the equipment. I could be wrong on that though.


Thanks, Brian.  Still makes me wonder about the shell paint and incidental RJ45 contact.  Other than the ethercon seating, thoughts just aren't clicking...
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frank kayser

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Re: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2022, 11:55:09 PM »


I just ran into this discussion thread
https://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,177158.0.html


Though it starts out with the question "can I directly connect X32 to a MIDAS DL32 stage box using AES50 without dante card?"
The Dante question is disposed of in the first response, and gets into the AES50 and cable discussion.  The key takeaways are that AES50 spec is NOT ethernet, and is subject to a different understanding as to the substitution of different cable specs.  Music Tribe states Cat5e cable only with ethercons, and that Cat6 and above is not supported/recommended per written note from the tribe engineers.  We are left to wonder why.  Speculations abound.  Blind faith (not the band...) does not sit well with many of us.


I think the discussion renders my questions moot.  It boils down to either a)when in Rome, do as the Romans do, or b) Do your own thing, assuming all risk.



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Russell Ault

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Re: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2022, 12:20:06 AM »

{...} Let's start simply: How do you test an "AES50" cable, i.e., shielded cat5e, shielded RJ45, and ethercon shell?  Without the shell, mu Ideal network cable tester tests all 4 pairs, plus the shield.  Cool.  Add the the ethercon shells, and that simple tester no longer works.  I *could* get an ethercon combiner, add a shielded short cat5e cable w/shielded RJ45 on the end. Times 2. (both ends).  Adapter at $38 a pop, there has to be a better way. Whirlwind has a tester that will test a fully assembled AES50 (ethercon) cable.  Whirlwind SC48RJ Cable Tester does that and more, but at $235, also a bit steep. {...}

Honestly, none of the devices you've mentioned will do a meaningful job of testing an Ethernet cable (regardless of what kind of connector is on it). Simple continuity testers typically work fine for testing audio cables (since 20 kHz isn't really that far away from DC), but will tell you very little of value for testing any cable carrying RF signals or data (which is basically RF).

The cheapest device I know of that will properly test a Cat6 cable is sold under a couple of different brand names and called the "Real World Certifier"; however, this device is explicitly UTP-only (and my experience with it backs this up). Presumably there are devices out there that will properly test STP, but I can't imagine one costing less than $1000 (and even that seems like a serious lowball).

IMHO, plugging the cable in and seeing if it will do the job is going to be a much more meaningful test than anything you'll get out of a continuity tester...

{...}

Let's advance to the ethercon shell and its interaction with a shielded RJ45.  We'll agree (won't we?) that the shielded RJ45 is the electrical conductor for the shield.  Metal to metal contact between the ethercon shell and the shielded RJ45, as far as I can tell, is incidental at best.  So other than adding mechanical strength to the RJ45, and an improved locking mechanism, what does the ethercon bring to the party electrically?  Consider the black shells - is the paint conductive?

Which begs the question: Why would a STP cable terminated with a shielded RJ45 NOT function electrically the same as a "proper" AES50 cable?
{...}

Assuming you're using genuine Neutrik etherCON connectors, and assuming you're using compatible 8P8C connectors inside them (or you bought the ones with the 8P8C connector built in), then the shell of the connector (which I believe is anodized; it certainly isn't painted) should be in good, permanent electrical contact with the metal body of the 8P8C connector (and, therefore, the cable shield). As Brian mentioned, the reason that etherCON connectors are required for Behringer's flavour of AES50 is that the connector shell is what grounds the cable's shield (or, less diplomatically, is because Behringer f'ed up the grounding in the circuit design of their AES50 ports). Put another way, if (for whatever reason) the shells of the etherCON connectors on your cables aren't well-bonded to the cable's shield then you're probably going to have a bad time.

{...} ps.  Yeah, I did read what the search turned up on PSW, back to 2015.  Nothing previously written gave me the warm and fuzzies... One thread talked about short shielded cables, and echoes on the short cables, which had me talking to myself about my "custom" 18" cable, and whether that would be an issue in the future.

Unfortunately there aren't a lot of warm fuzzies to go around on this particular topic. The thing I will say about the short cable is that any issues related to its length are likely to be both immediately apparent and constant (i.e. it should either work or not work), but if it were me I wouldn't go any shorter than about 3'.

{...} The key takeaways are that AES50 spec is NOT ethernet, and is subject to a different understanding as to the substitution of different cable specs.  Music Tribe states Cat5e cable only with ethercons, and that Cat6 and above is not supported/recommended per written note from the tribe engineers.  We are left to wonder why.  Speculations abound.  Blind faith (not the band...) does not sit well with many of us.

I think the discussion renders my questions moot.  It boils down to either a)when in Rome, do as the Romans do, or b) Do your own thing, assuming all risk.

I think your testing question is still pertinent (AES50 is admittedly slower than most Ethernet, but it's still fast enough that I wouldn't trust a continuity tester). But as far as I'm concerned your last observation is spot-on (and is why I tend to go to pains to specify that what we're discussing is not "AES50" but is, in fact "Behringer's AES50 implementation", because the official spec isn't nearly this picky).

-Russ
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Helge A Bentsen

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Re: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2022, 04:58:28 AM »

Fluke cable iq is the cheapest, reliable cable tester Iíve found that can test cables for AES50.
It canít test ground connection to ethercon shells, but you can test that with a regular resistance tester.

The reason a lot of higher spec cable isnít good for AES50 is that AES50 was specifically designed for Cat5e. Higher spec cable can transfer more network traffic. But AES50 isnít regular network data traffic, it just used the physical/electrical properties in the cable, not the bandwith as I understands it.

Midas explained to me that the key parameter is insertion loss, thatís higher on a lot of higher spec cables than on the recommended Cat5e-cable from Midas.
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Tim Verhoeven

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Re: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2022, 07:43:39 AM »

Fluke cable iq is the cheapest, reliable cable tester Iíve found that can test cables for AES50.
It canít test ground connection to ethercon shells, but you can test that with a regular resistance tester.

The reason a lot of higher spec cable isnít good for AES50 is that AES50 was specifically designed for Cat5e. Higher spec cable can transfer more network traffic. But AES50 isnít regular network data traffic, it just used the physical/electrical properties in the cable, not the bandwith as I understands it.

Midas explained to me that the key parameter is insertion loss, thatís higher on a lot of higher spec cables than on the recommended Cat5e-cable from Midas.

Correct indeed, AES50 (the MT implemementation of it anyway) doesn't really as much about the bandwdith (Cat5e bandwidth is enough) as to insertion loss. MT created 2 support pages about this that contain all the details:

- This page shows in a nice table the maximum cable length between the different consoles and stageboxes: https://community.musictribe.com/pages/kba?articlePublicNumber=KA-02590&brand=Midas (it is either max 80m or 100m depending on the combo of console and stagebox).

- This page talks about the cable itself and how "good" it should be: https://community.musictribe.com/pages/kba?articlePublicNumber=KA-09432&brand=Midas (meaning that if your cable isn't good enough you will not get to that max length of the other article).

These 2 pieces of info should help out all Midas/Behringer users
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Dan Mortensen

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Re: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2022, 04:10:21 PM »

What Russell said, plus:

The Real World Certifier (which was a Byte Brothers product when I got mine) does work in my experience to filter out bad wiring from good. It is indeed for measuring UTP only, but the Ethercon shell to shell connection is a continuity thing and that seems to work fine.

The main disadvantage to the RWC is how long it takes to do a measurement. The other tester I bought, whose name I can't think of at the moment but could look up if you are interested, was a refurb IIRC and discounted to only $1100 or so the month before Covid hit. It tests the shield as well and does the whole test pretty quickly, which I thought would save time and it has. I still check its results periodically to the RWC, and they match up so far. (I haven't been testing cables much because all those I have work whenever I use them.)

The mystery of how the Ethercon shell reliably connects to the RJ45 shell and gives you all the continuity you need remains a mystery to me. It works every time I've tested a cable by  zapping it with ESD. Like I said, that connection is indeed a continuity one, so your continuity tester should be a reliable indicator if continuity is present or not. I don't think the speed of the connection is relevant to whether there's a ground connection or not.

So if you had the Byte Brothers or similar tester and an ohmmeter you should be able to reliably test your cables, but that's two tests rather than the one like the second tester I got, and that time can add up if you're testing dozens of cables.

I Have not seen a painted Ethercon shell and would not buy any. If you are using those with Behringer AES 50 you are likely making a mistake IMHO, but I have no proof.
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Russell Ault

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Re: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2022, 09:54:03 PM »

{...} So if you had the Byte Brothers or similar tester and an ohmmeter you should be able to reliably test your cables, {...}

In my experience it hasn't been that simple. The last time I attempted this the RWC refused to test any of my STP cables; in fact, the shield interfered with the testing so badly that the device claimed I had somehow wyed two of the pairs together!

-Russ
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2022, 11:43:54 PM »


I Have not seen a painted Ethercon shell and would not buy any. If you are using those with Behringer AES 50 you are likely making a mistake IMHO, but I have no proof.

I wrote the following last year. I experienced an EtherCon that seemed to be painted black.

Are the EtherCon connectors black? Have you checked for continuity between the chassis of the EtherCon connectors? I was given an EtherCon cable with black connectors and the black coating on the inside of the connectors was inhibiting a good connection. In other words the coating (?paint) was making it so that I wasnít getting a good grounding between the cable shield and the connector. I scraped off the coating on the inside of the EtherCon connectors and I then had continuity between the shield on the 2 ends. I donít think the EtherCons were the Neutrik versions. Mostly because after that experience I had a black Neutrik EtherCon in my hands and their coating was not something that could be scrapped off. I checked the chassis grounds because I knew of the POP issue and I was being proactive.
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Re: ASE50, Ethercon, shielded RJ45, odd little ducks
¬ę Reply #9 on: September 22, 2022, 11:43:54 PM ¬Ľ


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