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Old 06-14-2010, 12:22 AM   #1
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Default Ordering Shielded CAT5e...

Hey guys.

I need a 200ft CAT5e cable for this which I'll be buying here (unless someone knows if Gefen will do a price match).

I'm pretty sure I should go with shielded cable because our church is old...and, well there's a lot of exposed wiring where this will be ran. (no don't start telling me to find a better solution or run it through conduit...we don't have the money)...

The cheapest I can find it is here, and that's a great price because I'm also going to run some network cables for the internet, so I'd just get a few more.

Anyone ordered from Firefold before? Just wanna know if anyone has experience with their products. For $27, I think I'm gunna just try it regardless. I just have obsessive fear of ordering lots of stuff that I haven't used before which is why I always triple-check.

EDIT: Well. It's ordered. I'll let you know how it is.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ordering Shielded CAT5e...

I know it's late, but I think you'll be fine. I've ordered wires from all kinds of different places, and never notice a difference. In my book, wire is wire...lol
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ordering Shielded CAT5e...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmacavali View Post
I know it's late, but I think you'll be fine. I've ordered wires from all kinds of different places, and never notice a difference. In my book, wire is wire...lol
Same here. I've been up all night (literally 9 hours) researching audio cabling now for the audio part of this church project. Basically, everything is the same. Wire is wire. It would take sophisticated instruments or a serious audio/network guru to tell the difference between "great" and "normal" stuff. Fine by me.

Also, FYI, for anyone reading this in the future, FireFold was friggin expensive for shipping. Like $25. It might be because of where I live, but that's still a lot for UPS ground...for simply cable. I was pissed. But it still turned out to be the cheapest so I guess I shouldn't complain a whole lot.

If someone orders from there soon from the time of this post, use the facebook promo code FBNEWFAN to get 15% off up to $15. I got all 15 cuz my order was so much.
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Old 06-14-2010, 03:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ordering Shielded CAT5e...

Quote:
Basically, everything is the same. Wire is wire. It would take sophisticated instruments or a serious audio/network guru to tell the difference between "great" and "normal" stuff. Fine by me.
Oooh... if only that were the case!

However, what people don't tend to realise is that the difference between cheap / expensive cable is rarely to do with the quality of the signal and far more to do with the handling and durability of the cable. If I got a load of cheap mic / dmx cable and toured it to death, the inner cores would most likely tear very quickly, the shielding would come all unraveled and no-one could get the damn thing coiled nicely if their life depended on it. Go for the expensive stuff and it'll tour in the harshest conditions for decades without giving up.

The same applies with CAT5 - tour reel of cheap solid core and expect to coil / uncoil it, tug it and abuse it time and time again without it giving up the ghost and you'll most likely find yourself in a sticky situation early on when none of it works anymore!

However, in a church permanent install none of this really applies - unravel a reel of cheap CAT5 once and if it works, it's likely to stay working for years (unless the resident mice decide it makes a good snack!) Spend more just because "more means better" and you'll find yourself with a cable that works and lasts just as well as the cheap equivalent in this case.

Unfortunately - not many people realise this. You'll see speaker cables for "hi-fi enthusiasts" on sale for thousands sometimes claiming all sorts of elaborate figures with regards to oxygen free copper and the like. It means absolutely nothing, and it's literally just a scam (in at least one case in the UK legal action was taken over a particularly extreme case of this!)

Regarding the shielded / unshielded choice - unless you're working in an environment that you know is a definite source of horrific EMF, I wouldn't bother going shielded. As you pointed out, unshielded stuff is so cheap it's at least worth trying it first (from what you've said I reckon you should be ok.) Remember that Cat5 is balanced anyway which will deal with the majority of issues on this front.
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ordering Shielded CAT5e...

Let me break this down because you've gotten it completely correct (from all of what I have read over the past few months during research)

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Originally Posted by berry120 View Post
Oooh... if only that were the case!

However, what people don't tend to realise is that the difference between cheap / expensive cable is rarely to do with the quality of the signal and far more to do with the handling and durability of the cable. If I got a load of cheap mic / dmx cable and toured it to death, the inner cores would most likely tear very quickly, the shielding would come all unraveled and no-one could get the damn thing coiled nicely if their life depended on it. Go for the expensive stuff and it'll tour in the harshest conditions for decades without giving up.

The same applies with CAT5 - tour reel of cheap solid core and expect to coil / uncoil it, tug it and abuse it time and time again without it giving up the ghost and you'll most likely find yourself in a sticky situation early on when none of it works anymore!
EXACTLY. Said perfectly, Berry. I'm very glad that this is a permanent install because we'd be paying a pretty penny for some kind of portable system. Thanks for adding this bit of information, Berry, because if someone were to read this later on down the road, they wouldn't have had that disclaimer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by berry120 View Post
However, in a church permanent install none of this really applies - unravel a reel of cheap CAT5 once and if it works, it's likely to stay working for years (unless the resident mice decide it makes a good snack!) Spend more just because "more means better" and you'll find yourself with a cable that works and lasts just as well as the cheap equivalent in this case.
The best part is, this is all going to be run on the ceiling/joists in the basement, so the only thing that could possibly touch this cabling is a bat. However, all of the cable there now is just fine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by berry120 View Post
Unfortunately - not many people realise this. You'll see speaker cables for "hi-fi enthusiasts" on sale for thousands sometimes claiming all sorts of elaborate figures with regards to oxygen free copper and the like. It means absolutely nothing, and it's literally just a scam (in at least one case in the UK legal action was taken over a particularly extreme case of this!)
I noticed this, too. I was seeing 20' XLR cables for like $200!!! I was like, there is no way. Wire has got to be wire at some point. Then I read the bit about how all that oxygen free copy bit is a bunch of rubbish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by berry120 View Post
Regarding the shielded / unshielded choice - unless you're working in an environment that you know is a definite source of horrific EMF, I wouldn't bother going shielded. As you pointed out, unshielded stuff is so cheap it's at least worth trying it first (from what you've said I reckon you should be ok.) Remember that Cat5 is balanced anyway which will deal with the majority of issues on this front.
I went with shielded going on one hunch. Our wireless internet has an absolutely horrible range, and our church is basically all wood and no metal. However, it's so old that it's got ancient wiring (you being the UK may not have ever seen the same stuff...not sure if 240v is the similar to 110v over here, but..) that's black hard cloth-y material with that nasty paper wrap inside around the wires. I'm thinking that this is kind of creating some kind of interference. The ONLY reason I got shielded in the first place was because it's going to be used for that VGA adapter. I do not want ANY EMF interference (if possible) to throw off that 200 foot run. I was just going to get the other cables at 200 foot in just normal Cat5e, but shielded was the same price so...haha.

Thanks so much Berry. I appreciate it, man. Really!
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ordering Shielded CAT5e...

No problem at all - here to help! You're more than welcome, I've had a fair amount of experience with this kind of thing so thought I'd add to the info given

Quote:
However, it's so old that it's got ancient wiring (you being the UK may not have ever seen the same stuff...not sure if 240v is the similar to 110v over here, but..) that's black hard cloth-y material with that nasty paper wrap inside around the wires. I'm thinking that this is kind of creating some kind of interference. The ONLY reason I got shielded in the first place was because it's going to be used for that VGA adapter. I do not want ANY EMF interference (if possible) to throw off that 200 foot run. I was just going to get the other cables at 200 foot in just normal Cat5e, but shielded was the same price so...haha.
If the shielded stuff is the same price (or around the same price) then yes, that makes sense. Those electrics do sound nasty, I certainly haven't come across anything like them in the UK (thankfully!) so I'm afraid I can't sensibly comment on them in terms of likely interference.

One other tidbit that may or may not apply in your case, but just generally - if the install is complicated, takes ages and involves running cables in difficult positions it might make sense (cost / leftover cable permitting) to run more than 1 line. That way if 1 does pack up (or, more likely, somehow gets damaged in install and never works to start with) it's a 5 minute repatching job rather than another day spent running another length of cat5. I speak from experience of a 100m run over and through some very high trees going bad - luckily we'd run 2 lines as we always do, but if not it would've been a bit of a disaster!

Thanks for the comments - always great giving advice when its so gratefully received!
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Ordering Shielded CAT5e...

Quote:
Originally Posted by berry120 View Post
No problem at all - here to help! You're more than welcome, I've had a fair amount of experience with this kind of thing so thought I'd add to the info given


If the shielded stuff is the same price (or around the same price) then yes, that makes sense. Those electrics do sound nasty, I certainly haven't come across anything like them in the UK (thankfully!) so I'm afraid I can't sensibly comment on them in terms of likely interference.

One other tidbit that may or may not apply in your case, but just generally - if the install is complicated, takes ages and involves running cables in difficult positions it might make sense (cost / leftover cable permitting) to run more than 1 line. That way if 1 does pack up (or, more likely, somehow gets damaged in install and never works to start with) it's a 5 minute repatching job rather than another day spent running another length of cat5. I speak from experience of a 100m run over and through some very high trees going bad - luckily we'd run 2 lines as we always do, but if not it would've been a bit of a disaster!

Thanks for the comments - always great giving advice when its so gratefully received!
Yup. Actually I'm going to run two lines for the VGA setup (1 extra) and then 1 for the network (this one won't be going to the exact same place in the latter 50 feet of the strand) so 3 total. Then the forth one is for network as well but it goes a completely different route.

There was no way I was going to risk one line going bad later and having to run it again. Not too difficult of an install from what I can tell, but still, why not cover your butt in the first place!!!

And the thanks were very much warranted. I wouldn't get stuff done with the out the knowledge of others. (as much as we'd all like to think we know it all )
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ordering Shielded CAT5e...

Quote:
There was no way I was going to risk one line going bad later and having to run it again. Not too difficult of an install from what I can tell, but still, why not cover your butt in the first place!!!
I thought that might be the case, just checking!

Funny story kind of related: I once knew a guy that dug up his garden to run cat5 to his shed. When it stopped working two weeks later, he dug his garden up again to find the problem.

The amusing thing? The cause of the problem: he'd unplugged the cat5 from his PC and forgotten about it...!
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ordering Shielded CAT5e...

BAHAHAHAHAH! Oh man. That would suck.

I hope he wasn't married. His wife probably killed him
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