New Skill

We have a spaghetti tangle of various wires behind the hifi, which looks awful. So we decided to do something about it. Most of the wires can be simply replaced with shorter ones (hdmi, power, ethernet), but two of the ethernet/network cables come from another room on the other side of the house. One is a flat ethernet cable, one is a standard round one. The standard one wasn’t particularly well fixed to its plug, and the wire sheath was a bit short, exposing the inner wires.

So I decided to replace the ethernet RJ45 plug.

Well. What a to-do.

Luckily, there is tinterweb and YouTube, which helped enormously.

Inside each ethernet wire, whether it’s “Cat 5e” or “Cat 6”, are eight very small wires, twisted into four pairs. All different colours. They have to go into the tiny little RJ45 plug in the right order. But they are not twisted in the right colour order. Why not? you might well ask, but I have no idea. And of course the twisting leaves the tiny little wires curly, so they have to be straightened out, then sort of wangled into a flat row.

Long story short, I found the best way to manage it, having practised (a lot) on a spare standard Cat 5e cable, is the magic “pass-through” RJ45 plug. That means that you can leave plenty of length of stripped wires, push them all the way through, and then check they’re in the right order before you crimp them. Saves a lot of trouble, and many plugs. Also, once you’ve crimped and trimmed them, you can be more sure that it will all work. There are apparently crimpers which do the trimming, but my crimpers didn’t, so I just used a kitchen knife and sharpened it afterwards.

You can buy network cable testers and I guess it would be worth it if you’re going to do a lot of this. I’m not, just a couple here or there, so I tested mine on our laptop, plugging the spare cable, with new plugs on both ends, into the laptop and a switch box. Oh my, the glee when it worked!

So now I’m awaiting short HDMI cables, and we have a plan for the power wires, so it should start to look a lot better soon.

And here, to lighten things up a bit, is a photo of our lovely black elder with the pink flowers. It stinks, though, of tom cat. I don’t remember it being smelly in years past, so I’m assuming it’s actually a tom cat. Am currently spraying a diluted solution of white vinegar, each evening, round the base of the plant, and on the patio flags nearby. Today our cat won’t go out. I really hope it’s not because of the vinegar!

Black elder in flower.

5 thoughts on “New Skill

  1. I agree with you about labels. Here’s hoping someone will invent the perfect labels/identity tags we sorely need.

    I had to google the black elderberry. The flowers are beautiful! I’ve never seen anything like them.

    • Black Elder – I love it. Saw one whilst on holiday in the south of England, and discovered that it’s very hardy and sturdy, as well as beautiful. When it stops raining I’ll take a photo of the whole thing. I love the pale pink flowers on the black leaves (which start out pale green!).

      Just ordered some labels from Amazon for all the network/hdmi cables. Not sure if this is the sort of thing you wanted but they get excellent reviews, are plasticized so they don’t just rot away like all my paper ones are (!) and somebody said in their review that they just wrote on them with an ordinary pen – I guess they mean ballpoint/biro.

      • I look forward to seeing those. I learn so much from British gardeners. LOL. Thanks for the link! All the ugly cords drive me to distraction but forgetting which goes to what pushes me to the edge of wishing everything was cordless. But some cords and cables are necessary, aren’t they? I have the same problems with my cameras. The Olympus cord looks like the Minolta that looks like the Canon. First World problems make me sound foolish. Thanks for helping bring order to this part of my life. I’ll order first chance I get and share with my daughter and mister. πŸ˜€

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