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Where to buy 6-wire modular cables for Digitrax UP-5 panel?

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Where to buy 6-wire modular cables for Digitrax UP-5 panel?
Posted by CSX_road_slug on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 8:45 PM

I'm ready to go 'live' with my Super Chief system and have 6 UP-5 panels to install around my layout, but I can't find the type of 6-wire modular cables that I need. The wires in the 24" piece that came with my UR-91 look like this with the plugs side-by-side, facing upward:

 

Radio Shack only sells the type where the wires are reversed on the plugs, like this:

 

Can somebody tell me who sells the regular (straight-thru) type in 15-20 foot lengths with the plugs attached?

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

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Posted by Rotorranch on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 9:07 PM

Digitrax? Whistling [:-^]

You can probably get the local telephone repair guy to make some up. They have the cable, and the connectors, it just needs to be assembled correctly for the loconet.

Rotor

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Posted by Stevert on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 10:17 PM

  For less than it would cost to have some custom-made, you can go to a big-box home supply store and buy the 6-conductor flat cable, a box of RJ plugs, and a decent crimper.

  My advice is, Don't try to be cheap with the crimper!  A decent one (not industrial quality, but decent) will be somewhat more expensive than the cheap plastic ones, but it's money well spent.

HTH,
Steve

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Posted by Rotorranch on Tuesday, July 8, 2008 10:52 PM

Definitely get a decent crimping tool. Good tools do make a difference!

Rotor

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Posted by CSX_road_slug on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 2:27 AM

 Rotorranch wrote:
Digitrax? Whistling [:-^]
LOL! Rotor, I agree, Digitrax SHOULD sell the stuff they require for their products.  I tried to buy some cables at MB Klein (where I bought the UP5's) but they don't carry it.

The crimper they are selling at Radio Shack is made of metal and cost ~ $40; does that seem about right for a 'decent' tool?

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 7:08 AM
I have the Chief.  I use the cables from Lowes.  They work just fine.

Dave

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Posted by simon1966 on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 7:27 AM

If you don't want to mess with crimping Litchfield Station carries these cables made up.

http://www.litchfieldstation.com/xcart/home.php?cat=177

They are not too bad prices either.

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by Stevert on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 9:11 AM

 CSX_road_slug wrote:

 Rotorranch wrote:
Digitrax? Whistling [:-^]
LOL! Rotor, I agree, Digitrax SHOULD sell the stuff they require for their products.  I tried to buy some cables at MB Klein (where I bought the UP5's) but they don't carry it.

The crimper they are selling at Radio Shack is made of metal and cost ~ $40; does that seem about right for a 'decent' tool?

  I think the reason Digitrax doesn't sell them is because they realize that there's a lot to be said for having exactly the right length cable, and since every installation is different, that means having to stock (or make on request) many, many different lengths.  It's just too expensive of a proposition to be worthwhile.

 

  Anyway, I see you also posted your question on the Digitrax list.  The consensus there seems to be the same - Yes, you can buy them pre-made, but in the long run you're better off buying the supplies and the crimper and making your own.

Steve

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Posted by CSX_road_slug on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 10:15 AM

 simon1966 wrote:

If you don't want to mess with crimping Litchfield Station carries these cables made up.

http://www.litchfieldstation.com/xcart/home.php?cat=177

They are not too bad prices either.

Wow Simon, you weren't kidding - those prices are really cheap - especially if the plugs are already installed! 

 Stevert wrote:
... - Yes, you can buy them pre-made, but in the long run you're better off buying the supplies and the crimper and making your own.

Yeah, that's what I've decided I'm gonna do.  Having the ability to replace plugs with their plastic latch broken-off is the argument that finally convinced me.  Now, if I could only find a supplier within driving distance who stocks flat 6P6C cable on bulk rolls... I'll have to check out Lowes (thanx for the tip P-V)

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

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Posted by simon1966 on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 10:35 AM

Ken, I have had my Loconet in place for years.  I have never had need to unplug the cables once they were daisy chained together between the devices (command station, booster, UP5 panels etc) the likelihood of ever breaking the plastic tabs with so little need to unplug them is very limited.

I happen to have gone the crimper route myself and to date have not replaced the connector on a single cable.  For my size layout it would have been cheaper to buy the cables pre-made from Litchfield.  Litchfield is a great dealer by-the-way, I have purchased a lot from them over the years.

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by Rotorranch on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 10:49 AM
 CSX_road_slug wrote:

 Rotorranch wrote:
Digitrax? Whistling [:-^]
LOL! Rotor, I agree, Digitrax SHOULD sell the stuff they require for their products.  I tried to buy some cables at MB Klein (where I bought the UP5's) but they don't carry it.

The crimper they are selling at Radio Shack is made of metal and cost ~ $40; does that seem about right for a 'decent' tool?

$40 is about what I thought the "decent" crimper would run.

I thought Digitrax used to sell the cables, I guess I should have looked at the web site. Whistling [:-^]

Rotor

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Posted by jackn2mpu on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 1:25 PM
 CSX_road_slug wrote:

 simon1966 wrote:

If you don't want to mess with crimping Litchfield Station carries these cables made up.

http://www.litchfieldstation.com/xcart/home.php?cat=177

They are not too bad prices either.

Wow Simon, you weren't kidding - those prices are really cheap - especially if the plugs are already installed! 

 Stevert wrote:
... - Yes, you can buy them pre-made, but in the long run you're better off buying the supplies and the crimper and making your own.

Yeah, that's what I've decided I'm gonna do.  Having the ability to replace plugs with their plastic latch broken-off is the argument that finally convinced me.  Now, if I could only find a supplier within driving distance who stocks flat 6P6C cable on bulk rolls... I'll have to check out Lowes (thanx for the tip P-V)

I see in your profile you're an IT guy - I'm assuming software geek. Talk to some of your hardware buddies and see if they can't come up with some cables for you. What you need is nothing more than a straight-through cat 5 ethernet type cable, not a null-modem type which as you've seen swaps a few wires around.

de N2MPU Jack

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Posted by Svein on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 5:31 PM

A simple CAT5-cable? Wow...

 

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 7:01 PM

Cat5 is 8 conductor with an RJ-45 connector.

Digitrax uses 6 conductor with an RJ-11 connector.

6 conductor telephone cable works fine.

Dave

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Posted by jackn2mpu on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 7:30 PM
 Phoebe Vet wrote:

Cat5 is 8 conductor with an RJ-45 connector.

Digitrax uses 6 conductor with an RJ-11 connector.

6 conductor telephone cable works fine.

I apologize - my bad. Got to get new glasses. I've been popping between a couple of different forums (trains and music) and got my wires crossed.

de N2MPU Jack

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Posted by CSX Robert on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 7:35 PM
 CSX_road_slug wrote:


I'm ready to go 'live' with my Super Chief system and have 6 UP-5 panels to install around my layout, but I can't find the type of 6-wire modular cables that I need. The wires in the 24" piece that came with my UR-91 look like this with the plugs side-by-side, facing upward:



Radio Shack only sells the type where the wires are reversed on the plugs, like this:



Can somebody tell me who sells the regular (straight-thru) type in 15-20 foot lengths with the plugs attached?


As long as you are only wiring UP-5 panles, the reversed cables will work fine. The polarity becomes critical when you are wiring boosters. The red and green wires are common to each other, and the black and yellow wires are common to each other. The blue and white wires are the rail sync signal(the signal that the boosters 'boost' to make the track output). The UP-5's use the rail sync lines to power the throttles, but the polarity of the lines doesn't matter to the UP-5's.
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Posted by mfm37 on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 9:40 PM

Robert's right.

Digitrax formerly said that telco style was OKback in the mid 90's.  Since then, some signalling boards and additional boosters depend on the cables being staright through. Things like PM42, UP5, UR90&91, DS64, etc. will function either way. One thing to do if you go the premade, Radio Shack telco style cables is to mark them for future reference. I  use brown tape at each end on my reversing cables. That way if I'm adding something to the loconet, I can tell at a glance what type of cable is in use. Two wrongs can make a right as well. Two telco style cables daisy chained through a UP5 will be "straight" at each end.

Martin Myers

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Posted by jbinkley60 on Thursday, July 10, 2008 4:30 AM

 Phoebe Vet wrote:
I have the Chief.  I use the cables from Lowes.  They work just fine.

 

I've gotten mine at Home Depot.  I get a 12 or 25 foot and cut one end off.  Cut it to length and then crimp new ends.  Use what I cutoff, with new crimped ends,  for shorter patch cables. I've also used bulk Cat5 cable (just using the first three pairs) and crimped new ends. 

Engineer Jeff NS Nut
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Posted by retsignalmtr on Thursday, July 10, 2008 9:09 AM
i've found several electronics parts suppliers with the cable and modular plugs online. the wire runs at about 8 cents a foot so 100 ft would be $8. they also have the 6 pin modular plugs. all this is mutch cheaper that buying at radio shack and they get delivered to your door. i did buy the crimper at radio shack several years ago for $10. it's plastic and it crimps 4 and 6 wire and it works as long as you don't apply too much pressure. i've made over 100 crimps with it. they sell another crimper for $35 which is metal but you can buy a lot of wire and plugs with the difference. check out www.allelectronics.com which i think has the easiest site to navigate and some of the better prices.
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Posted by Lakeshore 3rd Sub on Thursday, July 10, 2008 12:16 PM
 CSX_road_slug wrote:

I'm ready to go 'live' with my Super Chief system and have 6 UP-5 panels to install around my layout, but I can't find the type of 6-wire modular cables that I need. The wires in the 24" piece that came with my UR-91 look like this with the plugs side-by-side, facing upward:

 

Radio Shack only sells the type where the wires are reversed on the plugs, like this:

 

Can somebody tell me who sells the regular (straight-thru) type in 15-20 foot lengths with the plugs attached?

The lowest cost pre-made cables that I've found are at Wal-Mart in lengths from 8-24ft.  They used to be marketed under the Southwest Bell name but I'm not sure what name would be on them now.  The package says that it is a modem/fax cable but the pairs are not reversed.  They even come in three different colors, white, buff and black. Average cost was around $5.00 per cable.  They work great for my 4 UP5 panels.

Scott Sonntag 

 

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Posted by CSX_road_slug on Thursday, July 10, 2008 12:32 PM

Gentlemen,

I appreciate the continued input and suggestions, but here's what I wound up doing: I ordered a half-dozen cables of varying lengths from Litchfield Station (thanx for the link Simon!Thumbs Up [tup]). They are priced so low that even when I paid extra for 2nd-day-air delivery, it came out about the same as I wouldv'e paid if I had bought the ones at Radio Shack.  Now I'll have exactly the cables I need, already made up by a DCC professional, when I need them on Saturday morning - can't beat that!  (I can always learn to crimp my own later when I'm under less time-pressure...)

 

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

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Posted by JulesB on Thursday, July 10, 2008 1:39 PM
 CSX_road_slug wrote:

I'm ready to go 'live' with my Super Chief system and have 6 UP-5 panels to install around my layout, but I can't find the type of 6-wire modular cables that I need. The wires in the 24" piece that came with my UR-91 look like this with the plugs side-by-side, facing upward:

 

Radio Shack only sells the type where the wires are reversed on the plugs, like this:

 

Can somebody tell me who sells the regular (straight-thru) type in 15-20 foot lengths with the plugs attached?

I bught 50' of cable,crimper and 6P6C RJ11 jacks from Tony's Trains. It was cheap. The crimper he sells is the best I have tried. HD also sells the jacks, they have a crimper too, but it's not as good as the one Tony sells. Tony's crimper cuts and strips the cable to the perfect leingth. I just had the phone guy over here to switch back to ADSL. He looked at the jacks and said we don't use em, only 4P4C jacks?

If you look down at the Jack, like your going to plug it in, just make sure the white wire is on your left. You can't go wrong.

I have made up thousands of connections using CAT3-5-and 6 cable. It's not hard at all if you have the right crimper,cable and jacks. And you can make em however long you need them. 

Jules

 

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Posted by NeO6874 on Friday, July 11, 2008 8:09 AM

yeah, 4P4C is the "correct" term for RJ11/12 using standard phone cable (the 4-wire stuff with red green black and yellow wires) - has 4 pins in the jack and the cable has 4 cunductors.  I've never seen phone companies use less than 4P6C connectors.  Same RJ11/12 connector, just using Cat3 cabling. 

Then there's the 8P8C (RJ45) wiring for data.  

-Dan

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Friday, July 11, 2008 8:47 AM
 NeO6874 wrote:

yeah, 4P4C is the "correct" term for RJ11/12 using standard phone cable (the 4-wire stuff with red green black and yellow wires) - has 4 pins in the jack and the cable has 4 cunductors.  I've never seen phone companies use less than 4P6C connectors.  Same RJ11/12 connector, just using Cat3 cabling. 

Then there's the 8P8C (RJ45) wiring for data.  

That is incorrect.  4P4C is the smaller RJ9 jack that connects the telephone to the handset.

8P8C (RJ45) is larger than a telephone jack and is used in computer networks.

RJ11 and RJ12 are  6P4C and 6P6C.

Digitrax requires 6P6C.  It is the telco jack and cable that can accommodate up to 3 lines.

Dave

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Posted by JulesB on Friday, July 11, 2008 2:20 PM

I got some RJ11 jacks from Tony's. I also found some RJ11 (6p6c) from HD. The  phisicle measurements for RJ11 and RJ12 are the same according to IEEE.

The ones sold at HD are labled RJ11. Who cares, as long as there 6p6c. A fellow modeler I know bought a crimper with 4 tines. Would not work, look closeley. Just because the RJ11 fits the crimper it wont press all the conductors unless it 6 tines, you end up with two wires un-secured, no good, duh.

HD has a crimper called "Data Shark", it works but is not as good as the one Tony's Trains sells, IMHO.

The cable Tony sells is stranded, bends easy etc. Some stuff is solid, not as good IMHO!

Jules

 

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Posted by NeO6874 on Friday, July 11, 2008 8:15 PM
 Phoebe Vet wrote:
 NeO6874 wrote:

yeah, 4P4C is the "correct" term for RJ11/12 using standard phone cable (the 4-wire stuff with red green black and yellow wires) - has 4 pins in the jack and the cable has 4 cunductors.  I've never seen phone companies use less than 4P6C connectors.  Same RJ11/12 connector, just using Cat3 cabling. 

Then there's the 8P8C (RJ45) wiring for data.  

That is incorrect.  4P4C is the smaller RJ9 jack that connects the telephone to the handset.

8P8C (RJ45) is larger than a telephone jack and is used in computer networks.

RJ11 and RJ12 are  6P4C and 6P6C.

Digitrax requires 6P6C.  It is the telco jack and cable that can accommodate up to 3 lines.

 

whoops.  I *meant* 6p4c and 6p6c was rj11/12.  sorry for any confusion there folks ;) 

-Dan

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Posted by tcf511 on Saturday, July 12, 2008 9:42 PM
Tony's Train Exchange sells them in various lengths. 20' is $5. Unless you need a lot of them, I think it is cheaper to buy them like this than get a crimper, etc. At least that is how I'm doing my layout.

Tim Fahey

Musconetcong Branch of the Lehigh Valley RR

 

 

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Posted by jbinkley60 on Monday, July 14, 2008 7:39 AM
 JulesB wrote:

I got some RJ11 jacks from Tony's. I also found some RJ11 (6p6c) from HD. The  phisicle measurements for RJ11 and RJ12 are the same according to IEEE.

The ones sold at HD are labled RJ11. Who cares, as long as there 6p6c. A fellow modeler I know bought a crimper with 4 tines. Would not work, look closeley. Just because the RJ11 fits the crimper it wont press all the conductors unless it 6 tines, you end up with two wires un-secured, no good, duh.

HD has a crimper called "Data Shark", it works but is not as good as the one Tony's Trains sells, IMHO.

The cable Tony sells is stranded, bends easy etc. Some stuff is solid, not as good IMHO!

Jules

 

The IEEE does not set the standards for telephone and data jacks.  They are set by the TIA. 

http://www.tiaonline.org/

http://www.part68.org/documents_order_disclaimer.aspx?ID=5   Page 107

  

 

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Posted by JulesB on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 12:48 PM
 jbinkley60 wrote:
 JulesB wrote:

I got some RJ11 jacks from Tony's. I also found some RJ11 (6p6c) from HD. The  phisicle measurements for RJ11 and RJ12 are the same according to IEEE.

The ones sold at HD are labled RJ11. Who cares, as long as there 6p6c. A fellow modeler I know bought a crimper with 4 tines. Would not work, look closeley. Just because the RJ11 fits the crimper it wont press all the conductors unless it 6 tines, you end up with two wires un-secured, no good, duh.

HD has a crimper called "Data Shark", it works but is not as good as the one Tony's Trains sells, IMHO.

The cable Tony sells is stranded, bends easy etc. Some stuff is solid, not as good IMHO!

Jules

 

The IEEE does not set the standards for telephone and data jacks.  They are set by the TIA. 

http://www.tiaonline.org/

http://www.part68.org/documents_order_disclaimer.aspx?ID=5   Page 107

  

 

Sorry, your right.

I found the sales slip from Tony's

50' mc6 6 Conductor Flat Phone Cable @.12' = $6.00

12 mpg RJ12 Crimp Plug @.30ea = $3.60

1 mcp Crimp Tool 4/6 Conductor = $17.95

So, for $27.55 I can make 50' worth of various size cables. Don't seem too bad to me.

Jules

 

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