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Author Topic: Road Worthy Ethernet Cable  (Read 18049 times)

Bennett Prescott

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Road Worthy Ethernet Cable
« on: October 18, 2006, 07:24:53 pm »

If you've read my RSS Digital Snake thread you may recall that I complained about the install-grade ethernet cable they shipped me to use with it, that was basically unusable for more than one setup and take down. I had this in mind when I went to InfoComm a few months ago, and I talked to a number of cable distributors about their flexible ethernet solutions.

Link USA, the US distributor of Eurocable, drop shipped me 150' of their "ETN2" cable. The cable is a CAT-5e spec but has a CAT-6 style spacer to keep the pairs aligned. It's matte black, feels excellent in the hand, and lays out and re-coils easily. It's got a little bit of a memory effect, but only about as much as the mic cable I'm used to working with, and it was fixed by laying the cable out and re-coiling it later. The jacket is durable, I've pulled it around corners and run it over bare ground and certainly stepped on it a few times, but a quick wipe and it's as good as new. Very nice cable, eons better than what I'd been using. MSRP is $111, but you can probably get it from a dealer for around $90.

Charlie Wicks at ProCo Sound in Kalamazoo (Michigan) gave me some nice background information on what it takes to make this kind of cable on the phone, and then promptly sent out 150' of his "ProCat" cable, model PCE-150. This cable is every bit as nice as the stuff that was sent to me by Link USA. The jacket is a dark blue, and the sample I cut open was double-jacketed and a real pain to hack apart, so I've no doubt it'll withstand road use. Also a CAT-5e spec, but Charlie says it "almost meets Cat-6". In any case, you're good to go gigabit over it. I found that this cable had less memory effect than the Eurocable stuff, and of course laid out flat and coiled back up easily. Definitely a good option for your digital snake or networking needs on the road. I accidentally got quoted a 250' cable when I called to ask for pricing this afternoon, however, so my prices don't match up... they said $299.98 MSRP and probably $209 street, but again for a 250' cable so I'll call back tomorrow and post the correct pricing.

Last but not least, Zane Kadro at Four Star Wire and Cable shipped me a 15' length of their My Star Sound line's flexible ethernet cable. Their thing is custom heatshrinking and etching, so they threw on a heatshrink at each end with my company name and phone number on it... pretty cool, and it's free with any cable. The cable's made in the USA and of course has Neutrik Ethercon ends. The cable itself feels a little less durable... I can roll the conductors around inside it and it's slightly smaller in diameter, but it's still very flexible (although since I only have 15' I didn't really get to roll out a bunch of it and then see how easy it is to coil back up). Zane says it's designed for guitarists who connect their pedalboards or guitars with CAT-5 cable, but I could certainly imagine using it for FOH to MON networking or snaking. MSRP for 150 with Ethercon is just $136, with street significantly less than that, and Zane suggests to call him directly and mention this forum if you'd like some, 877-789-1626.

Sorry there aren't any photos, but I couldn't figure out what I'd even put up... I mean, it's cable with ends on it. In any case, Dave Dermont has 'em all out right now with the RSS Digital Snake, so hopefully he'll have something to add.
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-- Bennett Prescott
Director of North American Sales
ADRaudio d.o.o.
Cell: (518) 488-7190

"Give me 6dB and I shall move the world." -Archimedes

Tim Padrick

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Re: Road Worthy Ethernet Cable
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2006, 03:24:36 am »

Horizon has a portable Cat5 as well.  You might want to get a sample.

Bennett Prescott

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Re: Road Worthy Ethernet Cable
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2006, 11:36:56 am »

I've been trying to get ahold of Belden and Whirlwind, too... I'll see what I can do.
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-- Bennett Prescott
Director of North American Sales
ADRaudio d.o.o.
Cell: (518) 488-7190

"Give me 6dB and I shall move the world." -Archimedes

John Horvath

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Re: Road Worthy Ethernet Cable
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2006, 08:52:51 pm »

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-John

Alan Pro Audio
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Phil LaDue

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Re: Road Worthy Ethernet Cable
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2006, 08:56:13 pm »

I wonder if I could run it over with a Humvee?

John Horvath

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Re: Road Worthy Ethernet Cable
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2006, 09:13:22 pm »

Phil LaDue wrote on Thu, 19 October 2006 19:56

I wonder if I could run it over with a Humvee?

My Gepco ethernet cable, my Ramtech 54 pair snake, and a 12 pair Gepco driveline were all run over by the honey-dipper every morning for 3 or 4 days before I caught him and asked him to stop.  All of the cables still work fine.
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-John

Alan Pro Audio
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Dan Brown

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Re: Road Worthy Ethernet Cable
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2006, 10:10:49 pm »

Bennett and all,

I would like to add some more actual road use on these products.

I have used the Gepco cable which is what Whirlwind uses with their connectors for RJ45.  If I remember it was actually a  female ethercon in a custom Whirlwind housing that looked like their multipin connectors.  It worked well and seemed very durable.  The Gepco cable was more on the stiff side of what I have used but wasn't any worse to coil than the blue whirlwind cable.

I bought some ProCo ProCat for a tour that was going out with Aviom system for the monitor rig.  It lasted well and we had no issues during the tour with any of the cables that were all setup ethercon - RJ45.  They are still using these cables and to my knowledge all still work without any issues.  The cable is very easy to roll and very supple (spl?)  These were all loomed together the first day and so I am not as familiar with them as individual cables.

I just recently purchased a Aviom system for another artist that I am out with currently and we purchased the Horizon DuraCAT cables for this system.  I have used them on several shows now and they are all working well.  They are very similar to the ProCo product and roll very well but maybe not quite as flexible, yet very close.  We purchased many different lengths from 30ft. to 300ft.  To stay within ethernet protocol after the lengths get over 60ft. they moved from stranded cable to solid.  We special ordered stranded cable for all of our lengths for better cable flexability and because it holds better in the RJ45 connector. (This fact is according to my buisness partner who is a electrical engineer, so I am not sure of all of the reasoning behind this but trust him.)  It is certified cat5e cable like the others and can run gigabit ethernet if need be and if less that 300ft per ethernet protocol.  A 150ft. Horizon cable with Ethercon's on both ends(DURACAT-150NN)has a retail/MSRP of $125 or so, I am not positive on retail/MSRP pricing but I am guessing that is what it is.  Street pricing would be less than that

The pricing on the Horizon cable is a fair amount less that the ProCo offerings and yet the same quality.  I am very happy with both the Horizon and ProCo cables.

The one thing I would like to see is a boot that fits over the jackets of these road worthy ethernet cables.  For the Aviom system, they have ethercon on the distribution unit but a regular RJ45 on the mixer end.  I will be replacing ends fairly soon on these cables as neither ProCo or Horizon have a boot on their standard offering with RJ45's.  The latching clip bends and breaks off easily with no boot.

When it comes to these cables from ProCo and Horizon, from what I understand they are taking premade ethernet cable and adding another jacket over the top of that.  This is what I found in the Horizon offering and I believe I remember the same thing on the ProCo offering.

It seems that any of these Road cables are fairly good quality and all have seemed to hold up for me.

hopefully this adds to what Bennett has already put down.

sincerely,
Dan Brown
REACH Communications
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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Ethernet Cable--need boots
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2006, 02:16:26 am »

Quote:

...I will be replacing ends fairly soon on these cables as neither ProCo or Horizon have a boot on their standard offering with RJ45's.  The latching clip bends and breaks off easily with no boot...


We all could use a separate split boot product that can be snapped over an unprotected connector to make it more roadworthy. I've been looking for one for a couple of years now but I've never located a good product. I even have a thin, cheap example of a split boot off an ethernet cable that I found left behind at a gig. Still no luck.  Confused

-Bink
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles
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Mac Kerr

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Re: Ethernet Cable--need boots
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2006, 10:35:36 am »

Michael 'Bink' Knowles wrote on Fri, 20 October 2006 02:16

We all could use a separate split boot product that can be snapped over an unprotected connector to make it more roadworthy. I've been looking for one for a couple of years now but I've never located a good product. I even have a thin, cheap example of a split boot off an ethernet cable that I found left behind at a gig. Still no luck.  Confused

-Bink
I have been using a product similar to these, that I thought was from L-Com, but I can't find it on their site. I will be able to check the supplier on Tuesday. They go on easily, and seem effective so far.

Mac
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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Re: Ethernet Cable--need boots
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2006, 12:51:34 pm »

http://www.homestead.co.uk/CategoryImages/RJSNAPm.jpg

Effective so far, yes. This looks exactly like the kind I found on the cable left behind. Hasn't failed yet but then my cable isn't a 100' long getting yanked out of multiple cable tangles pathways on gigs.

index.php/fa/6279/0/

I bet it can help cheap connectors last longer on gigs but it makes me want to see something tougher.

-Bink
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles
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