Eric Wahlquist, Network Design Systems Inc.
Often, cable installers improperly untwist the wire pairs in a Category 5 unshielded twisted-pair cable. Improper untwisting sacrifices the cable`s performance and negates the efforts of cable manufacturers to produce high-performance cable.
Using the scrap cable sheath as an untwisting tool will allow you to quickly untwist the wire pairs without damaging them.
1) Strip away the sheath from the cable using a handheld cable stripper.
2) Hold the cable, with the wire pairs exposed, in one hand and the stripped-away sheath in the other.
3) Place the scrap piece of sheath against one pair of wires so that one of the wires is inside the sheath and the other wire is outside it.
4) Twist the scrap piece of sheath in a counterclockwise direction, at the same time moving it toward the sheath that remains on the cable.
5) Once you have untwisted the entire length of the exposed wires, pull the scrap sheath away.
6) Repeat this process for the three remaining twisted pairs.
Hold the scrap piece of sheath so that one wire of a twisted pair is inside the sheath and the other wire is outside.
Twisting the scrap piece of sheath in a counterclockwise direction will separate the two wires in the pair from each other.
Eric Wahlquist is a project manager with Network Design Systems Inc. (Denver, CO). This tip was submitted for the Installer Tips Contest at Cabling Installation Expo `97, held last October in Charlotte, NC.