Using Cat 5 For Power Extenions

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by fatso, May 18, 2004.

  1. fatso

    fatso New Member

    Just cut loads of cat 5 and using them as power exts cut in 1m lenths and fishpates on each end gives 2 pairs of cables neat cheap and useful also sticks well to underside of board using double sided tape.mike
  2. Cogent

    Cogent New Member

    I didn't even think about using CAT5...[​IMG] I have a spool of it at home that will be perfect for wiring my layout. Woohoo! [​IMG]
  3. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    What is CAT5? Never heard of it. :confused: :confused: :confused:
  4. AIGI

    AIGI Member

    CAT5, networking cable for LAN systems. Although not sure what he's wanting to use it for, accesories or main power.
  5. kf4jqd

    kf4jqd Active Member

    Hello All:

    I have mention the use of Cat 5 or multiconductor telephone cable on The Gauge several years ago. Believe me, it works and cheap! I buy a 100ft roll of 12 conductor telephone line at Walmart for $10. You can't go bad! There is one thing you need to keep in mind. The gauge of wire determins the amount of current(amps) through the wire!!!

  6. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    CAT5 cable is about 24 AWG size wire. While it might be okay for powering the track in analog (or what some people call DC), don't even think about using it for DCC (Digital Command Control), not even for track feeders. Chuck it in the garbage.
  7. hocaboose

    hocaboose New Member

    Cat5 and the new Cat5e (better shielding) are the standard wiring for office (and some home) computer networks. The wire is very easy to work with and relatively cheap-hint get to know a computer network installer. The "scraps" they throw out because they are too short are great for modeling purposes. Also please take a piece of advice-if you use lots of this wire (or phone co cabling) label everything. The twisted pairs become confusing if you depend on aging memory :)

  8. hocaboose

    hocaboose New Member

    Two other thoughts:

    use Westinghouse twists to join two ends, not the blasted 3M connectors (sorry 3M).

    It has been my experience that the 3M connectors don't hold all that well and de-bugging a circuit is tough with them.

    Also. please remember that the size of the wire denotes the current it will carry. IE dont try to use this size wire for track power only low voltage (and low current) applications, like signaling systems and the like.

    Hope this helps.

  9. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I agree about using Cat5 as power wire, it's a bit small for that. It was designed to carry digital signals in the 5volt range at less than 20ma. It's also a pain to remove the cover and sheilding and strip. Might I suggest speaker zip cord to our penny pinching modellers. It's cheap and heavy enough for railroad use. I also agree about "suite case" connectors. Use 5 cent twist on wire nuts, you will be happier on troubleshooting day. Fred
  10. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Or bettery yet, get a cheap 20 - 40 watt soldering iron and solder the wires. I can get 40 watt soldering irons for about $8 each. Some resin core solder (about $3), some resin flux (about $4), and I've got my investment back in no time.

    But the important thing is I've got real solid joints.
  11. Lightbender

    Lightbender Member

    My DC panels are mounted on inverted monitor arms enabling them to be moved for the convenience of the operators. I have used multi strand cable attached to amphenol connectors, because I had them. I wanted to make all parts of the control panels instantly and easily unpluggable. The wire is fairly light so I just wired several strands in parallel until I had enough to take the amps.
  12. fifer

    fifer Active Member

    Working for Qwest communications I can dispute Bobs remark to not use 24 ga. cable . On some Hi-Cap circuits we throw a digital signal and 250 VDC on it with about 5 amps for 3000' defore regenerating . I have used it on every layout with both DC and DCC. My control panel is wired with it and has Amphinal conectors to connect to the layout then there is a 24ga. wire to each block , never had a problem.
    The panel cables go to a punch block for easy problem diagnosis and marking.
    Here is a picture of the back of the panel.

    :) :) :)

  13. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    So you are saying that you can run 1250 watts 3000 feet on 24 gauge conductor? So you can run a coffee pot a half mile away on 24 gauge wire? Fred
  14. fifer

    fifer Active Member

    I am not an electrician or electricly inclined but I know we do this , as I have been set on my butt a couple times working on them and , by the way , your houshold ringing current on the phone is 90 VDC but do not know the amps but it too will bite you.
    I am just saying it is and has worked for me and the Bell System for over 52 years.

    PS , that should have read .5 amps
    Thanks Fred , Mike
  15. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Dang, I though maybe you knew a trick I didn't. :) Fred
  16. fifer

    fifer Active Member

    Well Fred , now that you mention it there is a trick. You could use multiples of conductors and do it . That being said , I did this for some peco switch machines and electro-magnetic couplers and was still able to use the cables on a module.
    Thanks Fred , Mike

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