Running Wire: Connections and Terminations

Sept. 2, 2014
Use these tools from Platinum Tools and Windy City Wire to make hard-wired access control installations run smoothly

The report of hard wire’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. Wireless technology has made enormous inroads into communications and security, but hard-wiring (real conductors rather than radio based connections) is still very important.

One reason is that no one has figured out how to eliminate wiring for AC line voltage. It’s true that there is a lot of battery-operated equipment, but not for all applications (such as electric locking devices and refrigerators). And for every battery-operated device, there is someone worrying about if the batteries are about to die or if it is time to put the device back on the charger. And used batteries are not good for the environment.

Some argue that hard-wired is more secure and ultimately more reliable than wireless. The reliability of wireless is affected by the issue of battery life in mobile electronics, which has greatly improved over the last several years thanks to more efficient electronics, the usage of frequencies which function efficiently at low power levels, and better battery technology.

Reliability is also affected by signal penetration and vulnerability of a communications platform to hacking, interception and interruption.

The mobility of wireless devices tips the scales, since it is hard to argue that having technology at your side is safer and more convenient than having it hanging on the wall.

Low voltage wiring will continue to be used more in non-residential applications, and less and less in residential work as wireless products and services proliferate.

Wire installation is an art to itself. During the dawn of the electronic security industry, we called it pulling wire, and learning to conceal wires and getting from point A to point B was a significant element of being a security installer. All alarms, access control systems and life safety systems were hard-wired.

We’re in transition, but hard-wired infrastructure will continue to play and important role in security technology. Virtually all the projects I’ve been involved with over the last several years have actually been hybrid, using both hard- wired and wireless devices working synergistically to achieve the system objectives.

Wire installation involves the following factors:

  • Determining the number of conductors required for each device
  • Determining the type of wire required
  • Determining the endpoints
  • Plotting out the wire path and routing
  • Calculating voltage drop issues and determining the gauge of the wire required
  • Drilling the holes
  • Managing the cable on site. (Properly attaching the cabling, labeling each cable, and properly terminating).
  • Testing the cable, connecting to the equipment and testing the completed system.

Windy City Wire

Windy City Wire is a distributor of low voltage cable and accessories for wire installation. Being able to efficiently manage multiple rolls of cable and be able to consistently pay it out (unreel it as you are pulling it throughout the structure) is essential. Their new SmartWire RackPack MegaPack™, part of the SmartWire RackPack Field Systems Solution product line, is a valuable tool.

Smartwire RackPack MegaPack:

  • Accommodates up to six spools of the cable combinations of your choosing in various lengths
  • Ideal for standard security, fire, home automation, Pro AV or temperature control cable set ups
  • Functions with all RackPack transporting devices
  • Maintain uniformity in wire set ups and pulls
  • 100% Recyclable

SmartWire Grab-N-Go:

  • Built exclusively to accommodate our patented RackPack®
  • Durable and lightweight
  • Ideal for access control composite cable, fire alarm, temp control and av integrators
  • Used for moving and pulling 3 to 4 cables at a time
  • Maintain uniformity in wire set ups and pulls

For more information, contact Windy City Wire, 386 Internationale Drive, Suite H. Bolingbrook, IL 60440. Phone: 800-379-1191. Web:

EZ Connections

Platinum Tools manufactures solutions for the preparation, installation and hand termination of wire and cable. Their innovative installation products allow a security installer to go to the worksite and perform accurate and reliable terminations with confidence. 

I’ve been using EZ connections for several years. Installing RJ-45 connectors is not always easy. Perhaps with a lot of practice, a high degree of manual dexterity, excellent eyesight and a steady hand in a well lit, warm and clean work environment, it is possible to install conventional RJ-45 connectors quickly and efficiently. That’s not the world I live in.

This is a more typical scenario. I would send a helper or attempt to terminate a set of network cables myself and several bad outcomes were common:

  • They’d use up a bag of connectors and need more to complete the task.
  • They’d take way too long.
  • The wires they terminated would not pass the electrical test.
  • The equipment to which the cables were attached would get damaged.
  • All these things can happen to anyone. Installing connectors under less than ideal conditions will lead to problems even if you’re a highly skilled genius (like me)

Platinum Tools “Makes Connections EZ” helps eliminate most of these issues.

For twisted pair terminations, the patented EZRJ45 connector system will allow a contractor to quickly and easily perform high performance in the field terminations for Cat5 and Cat6 cables, says Sterling Meade, Platinum Marketing and Communications, adding that Platinum Tools is the first adopter of field terminations for 10Gig cables (Cat6a) and Crestron Approved for the Digital Media systems.

Platinum Tools’ TCB360K1 Cable Prowler™ combines the functions of a high-end cable tester and length measurement tester, with the capability to identify link status, link capability, and PoE detection. All of this is in full color and internal memory to save and print results.

 “The revolutionary design of the EZ Connectors transformed the way modular plugs are prepped and crimped. Allowing each individual conductor to completely pass through the connector and out of the front greatly simplifies terminations,” Meade explains. “Installers can easily see and verify the proper wiring order before crimping. The unique design also optimizes electrical performance by reducing the distance between the wire twists and contacts. Whether terminating data or voice connections, the job is EZ using the EZ-RJ45® crimp tools – crimp and trim the wires in one easy cycle.”

With conventional RJ-45 connectors, Cat cable has to be arranged by color code into a flat bunch, trimmed perfectly straight then inserted into the plastic RJ-45 connector. Then without moving the wires, the connector must be compressed to trap the conductors and pierce the insulation. It is easy to make a mistake and end up with an improperly attached connector.

The EZ system uses special connectors which allow the eight Category wires to be passed through the connector, assuring they are inserted far enough, and permitting the technician to verify the color coded wires are in the correct order. Then the connector is crimped by the EZ crimper tool.

It works out well, cutting down on the time required to successfully terminate the cable, and reducing ruined connectors after an unsuccessful installation attempt. I still manage to get the wires in the wrong sequence, but primarily because I am not paying attention to what I am doing. I always o use a tester to confirm the cable is properly wired, before plugging into equipment.    

EZ Terminations

The newest product from Platinum Tools is the EZ-RJPRO™ Termination Pod, designed for the professional installer to provide consistent, repeatable terminations and overall quicker and easier installations, says John Philips, Platinum Tools product manager.

“This heavy duty kit is the perfect solution when working with both delicate as well as high performance, larger OD cables that are tougher to terminate due to larger wire gauges, thicker, harder insulation on the conductors and pair separating splines. Not only will you overcome these connectivity obstacles but you can be assured that every termination will meet FCC specifications,” Philips adds.

The “EZ” crimp & trim modular plug termination kit includes:

  • EZ-RJPRO HD Crimp Tool - P/N 100054
  • Cat5e/6 Cable Jacket Stripper - P/N 15015
  • Electrician’s Scissors - P/N 10517
  • EZ-RJ45® Cat5e connectors (100 each) - P/N 105003
  • EZ-RJ45® Cat6 connectors (100 each) - P/N 105004
  • EZ-RJ12/11 connectors (50 each) - P/N 105005

The EZ-RJPRO HD Crimp Tool uses the EZRJ45® patented ‘crimp & trim’ system and is designed to handle larger dimensional size cables. It is compatible with all EZ-RJ45® and EZ-RJ12/11 connectors as well as all standard modular plugs, except AMP.

The economical Cat5e/6 Cable Jacket Stripper has been specifically designed to strip the cable jackets from Category 5, 5e and Category 6 twisted pair cables. No adjustments are required and will not nick the inner conductors. Durable high impact plastic housing is molded from yellow plastic to make it easier to locate. Long life blade.

Electrician’s Scissors feature smooth cutting action and scissor-run design, excellent for cutting Kevlar®, foil, and wire. Cuts wire up to 16 AWG solid, 12 AWG stranded, and will strip 19 AWG and 23 AWG. Includes full serrated bottom blade for non-slip cutting; through hardened, high carbon steel for edge retention; double plated chrome over nickel; easily re-sharpens and holds cutting edge; scraper and file on backside of blades.

The patented EZ-RJ45® Cat5e Connector simplifies twisted pair terminations by allowing the wires to be inserted through the connector and out the front. This allows the technician to easily verify the proper wiring order. Electrical performance of the termination is optimized by pulling the connector down over the cable jacket and seating it tightly in the rear of the connector.

The patented EZ-RJ45 Cat 6+ Connector simplifies twisted pair terminations by allowing the wires to be inserted through the connector and out the front. This allows the technician to easily verify the proper wiring order. Electrical performance of the termination is optimized by pulling the connector down over the cable jacket and seating it tightly in the rear of the connector.

The patented EZ-RJ12/11® Connector simplifies twisted pair terminations by allowing the wires to be inserted through the connector and out the front. This allows the technician to easily verify the proper wiring order prior to termination. Use the EZ-RJPRO HD™ Crimp Tool (for single cycle crimping and trimming of the excess wire. FCC compliant and UL rated.

For more information, contact Platinum Tools, 806 Calle Plano, Camarillo, CA 93012. Telephone: 800-749-5783. Web: