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How to Crimp Your Own Cat-5 Network Cable


Computers these days are made to be networked. Period. A computer that is not connected to a type of network (LAN, WAN, Internet, etc..) is basically useless in 90% of applications.

These days the term network cable normally refers to Category-5 cable (aka 10BaseT or 100BaseTX cable) which is used to wire an Ethernet network. Very similar in design as the cable that you have connecting any traditional phone in your home (which has two inside wires), Cat-5 cable consists of 8 small wires inside of an outer shell. Each wire is paired up with another, and twisted together; this how the ‘twisted-pair concept’ gets its name. This twisting, along with the outer shell around the cables, helps protect against magnetic interference, among other things.

Any more explanation than that is beyond the scope of this post, and is better explained by Wikipedia. Now, on to making your own cable!

Tools of the Trade

To effectively crimp your own cables, you will need four things. They are:

  • A length of Cat-5 Cable: I have found the best places to buy this cable is at small computer shops in your city, as larger ones don’t usually have spools of cable around because they would prefer you to buy the more expensive, pre-made cable. You can also purchase cable online in large spools.
  • RJ-45 Heads (Ends): You will need at least two heads, one for each end of the cable (obviously), but I would suggest getting some extras for future wiring needs, not to mention having some to fall back on if/when you goof up. You can purchase these from the same place you get the cable.
  • Cat-5 Crimping Tool: This is what makes the magic happen. Crimping tools are available in many different varieties, ranging in different prices. I suggest finding a tool that locks as you squeeze it as it can take quite a bit of pressure to crimp a wire. These tools should also be available from the sources above.
  • Cat-5 Cable tester: This is optional, but if you’re serious about creating network cable, then it is a very good thing to have. There’s nothing worse than crimping a cable ‘perfectly’ but not being able to figure out why it won’t work. Availability is same as above, but they’re pretty expensive. You may even be able to rent a tester at some locations.

Getting Started

First off, figure out how long of a cable you need, then add a couple feet to that number. Next, carefully cut approx. a 1/2 inch (1.25cm) of the outer coating from each of the ends of the cable. Now, unravel the twisted-pair wires so each is it’s own single wire. Here’s where things might get confusing.

At this point you need to figure out how you’re going to be using this wire. In most cases, you’ll want a ‘Straight-Through’ Cable for connecting a PC to a hub/switch/router, but sometimes you might require a ‘Cross-Over’ Cable to connect two computers together without the aid of a hub-style intermediary. Take a look at the simple diagram to the right to figure out in which order the wires should be; assume you’re holding the the two tips of the wire up in front of you.

Making Your Cable

Now, once you’ve decided what type of cable you need, use the diagram to separate the wires in the right order; let’s assume we’ll be making a Straight-Through cable. Grab a RJ-45 end and carefully stick each little coloured wire into the appropriate slot. In order to keep things straight with which wires go where, I always insert wires with the springy tip pointing away from me.

Now here’s where you need a little strength! Grab the Crimping Tool and stick in the now wired RJ-45 End.

Be very careful! Ensure you are careful not to pull out any of the wires from the RJ-45 End while you are placing it in the Crimping Tool; it is best if, while crimping, you keep the ends of each wire pushed in as far as possible to ensure the leads make full contact with the ends.

With the RJ-45 End (with wires inserted) in the crimper, use your crimper to clamp the 8 tiny metal contacts of the RJ-45 End into each tiny wire. Depending on the type of crimper you have, this may require a great deal of pressure.

Once you’re successfully crimped your first end, grab the other end of the wire.


This is where you can make or break the wire! Make sure you insert the small coloured wires in the proper order, using the above illustration for reference. Now check, and double check, that you’ve inserted the coloured wires in the proper order. Once you’re sure you have, crimp that end also.

If you have a crimping tool on hand, jam the two newly crimped ends into the tester and test away! If everything went right, you should get a full, strong reading. If something happens that you don’t, double check the alignment of the coloured wires in the ends, they’re probably wrong. IF so, this si where you chop off whichever end is wired wrong, and start again. Once an RJ-45 End is crimped, you cannot reuse it. This is why I suggested having a few extra ends on hand ;)

All Done!

Well, now you know how to crimp your own Cat-5 network cable. Keep in mind that if you just need one or two cables, it is usually more cost effective to go to your local FutureShop or BestBuy and buy the length of cable that you need, but crimping your own cable is a viable option if you plan on making a large number of cables. Also, making your own cable makes is cool.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

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34 Comments

Ah ja.
Crimping is cool and funny but error-prone.

uhh are you using one of those cables?????

yoou know it doesn’t work as astraight cable unles othends are the same

That diagram shows the two styles of straight cable, use either one but both ends must be either 588a or 588b, legend has it that 588b can work better over long distances as the orange pait run through the middle most area of cable.

[...] fullduplex.org How to Crimp Your Own Cat-5 Network CableComputers these days are made to be networked. Period. A computer that is not connected to a type of network (LAN, WAN, Internet, etc..) is basically useless in 90% of applications. [...]

Do I really need a crimper? Is there no way to do this without the use of a crimper? I have 6 ends to put on so I really don’t want to waste the money on a crimper if I can help it.

Yes, you really do need a crimper, there’s no getting around it. You can try to borrow or rent one from an electronnics store nearby.

Performance of B versus A is identical.
eg
Scenario 1
Bob’s PC is connected to Jill’s PC
Box’s Transmitter is on the orange pair
Luckily Jill’s reciever is on the orange pair at the other end so she can “hear” bob
Bob’s receiver is on the green pair
Luckily Jill’s transmitter is on the green pair at the other end so she can answer bob.

Scenario 2
swap the words orange and green. the repeat the above sentence.

Scenario 3
Use different colours in place of the green and orange will affect performance as the blue and brown pairs have a lower twist ratio.

For the guy who wanted to put the ends on without the crimping tool. Put the end in your mouth between your back teeth and push the cat5 cable up your nose and then bite down REALLY hard.

I make more network cables this way.

ROFL - Smack Man you are a comedy genius

why do we use cables of different colors in CAT - 5 network cable and for what each color stands for.

Why use cable, wet string has worked for me for over 450 years

The article mentions that it can take a lot of force to crimp an end onto the cable. This is only generally true for the very cheap ($20-$50) crimpers. The higher end crimpers that don’t force the pins in at an angle require far less force. Of course, you’ll pay a lot more for these.

Also, when attempting to make an end, cut about an inch of the plastic cover off, align the wires, and then trim them to 1/2 of an inch before crimping. When you untwist the wires, some inevitably end up longer than others. Cutting the wires to the same length after you’ve lined them up makes it easier to put them in the ends, and also makes it easier to comply with the 1/2 inch requirement

Actually i managed to put the ends on without a crimping tool, you can use a pair of pliars or a fine screw driver to push the pins down against a hard surface. Dont see how that seems ridiculous, No need to snort it up your nose!

thank’s for the info!!!!

Thanks for all those info.
I want to know how to prepare female RJ-45 Socket for inserting that RJ-45 Jack.

Please help me.
thank you.

I want to connect two switch &one router,Please define me
how to paching cable for switch to switch connection.

crimpers are nessesary to connect the cables… i tryed to use a fine screwdriver but i couldn’t focus enough force to push the goldplated connector into the cables

Using a screwdriver or pliers to crimp will result in a very crappy and unreliable connection. Just suck it up and buy a crimper. $20 at lowes or home depot and you’re golden.

Crimpers are not needed if you dont want to spend the money. after inserting the wires , turn the jack over so that the pins are facing up.with the jack on a solid surface, use a phillips head screw driver to push each pin down into the wire. a little force is needed but not to much.make sure the pins go down evenly . if they dont , just move the phillips screw driver over a little and push again. this should even out the pin. i have done a hundred cables like this with no problems. once you do 2 or 3 it gets easier. you dont need no darn crimpers.!

I have to extend a wire that runs through the house..
Can’t I just extend it by stripping the ends and adding cord?
What if I add some heat shrink to it? Will this clean up some of the signal lose?

OK first let me say crimpers have come down in price since 2007 I got
1 x Network Crimper
1 x Cable Tester
100 x Cat5 RJ45 Modular plug
for $14.58 USD

Of course it was ebay and took two weeks to arrive but what the heck.

As to extending a wire that runs through the house personally I would use a wiring block or a surface mount RJ45 jack as my joining point. Little computer stores hav e them or remember ebay can be the DIY computer persons friend. Just stick to power sellers

I have an Issue, where, i dont know how the sockets are crimped.

I mean the wire on the other end is crimped and socketed , but the wire on the other end was left free.

How can i determine the order of colors to be followed to crimp the cable.

pull the plastic boot down and look!! it should be fairly obvious to tell witch order the wires are in because most every rj 45 connector is clear.

also it doesn’t really matter which order you put the wires in, so long as you put them in the same order on the other end of the cable. This is assuming your making a standard ethernet cable, not a crossover cable.

colour codes

A great post! I spend a lot of time making these leads and I can never remember which wire goes where!

If going over 100 feet yo gotta use the lt orange-orange-ltgreen-blue-ltblue-green-ltbrown-brown clipdown

Crimping Tools will make the job more easy ,fast ,effient

The Price sold in Wal-mart will be expensive

You can turn to help from following company :

Website : http://www.bontley.com

YueQing Bontley Electric Co.,Ltd

Wish my information will be helpful for you

[...] as it the same A or B scheme at both ends ) CAT5 Wiring Diagram ACE Computer Technology TechBLOG fullduplex.org How to Crimp Your Own Cat-5 Network Cable they make cheap testers, that will send a signal down the line to see which pins are crossed or [...]

I neede to run a cable through a wall, and since I can’t make holes in my rented apartment I thought it to be a good idea to run it through ventilation over a doorpost. Problem is, I needed to cut away one end of the cable. Several months later I’ve finally bought a crimping tool but now I can’t find my ends. One more run to the hardware store and I can finally get rid of the temporary cable running on the floor.

The cross over is wrong. For 1000BaseT you must to cross blue and brown pairs too.

The AB is cat5 (not cat5e) is only suitable for 100BaseTX and 10BaseT. It will not work with 100BaseT4 or 1000BaseT.

Crimping iz nyc nd i enjoyd it d most

crimp baby crimp!!!!!

[...] There are two types of cable layouts, 568A and 568B. You can use either one of them but for a straight network cable, use either 568A or 568B on both ends of the cable. If you want to make a cross cable, use 568A on one end and 568B on the other end. Fullduplex.org has the tutorial here. [...]

if i need to use cat5 router to switch ?

what is the colour code?

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