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Thread: CAT 5 wire for audio and etc...

  1. #1
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    CAT 5 wire for audio and etc...

    Here is a thought, I am not sure if it has been brought up before.

    Can we use cat 5 wire for most wiring needs. Is it poor quality compared to RCA and other stuff?

    Cat 5 wire should be of high quality copper because it is made to carry data...right? Also the twisted nature of cat 5 should provide some shielding..right?

    Therefore, instead of buying RCA cables and stuff, couldn't we just solder some connectors on to some cat 5 wire and use that instead?

    Some possible uses would include, USB extension, low voltage sound, extension of keyboard wire, IDE cable extensions and maybe many more.

    What say you?

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate jusatry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NovaKane
    Here is a thought, I am not sure if it has been brought up before.

    Can we use cat 5 wire for most wiring needs. Is it poor quality compared to RCA and other stuff?

    Cat 5 wire should be of high quality copper because it is made to carry data...right? Also the twisted nature of cat 5 should provide some shielding..right?

    Therefore, instead of buying RCA cables and stuff, couldn't we just solder some connectors on to some cat 5 wire and use that instead?

    Some possible uses would include, USB extension, low voltage sound, extension of keyboard wire, IDE cable extensions and maybe many more.

    What say you?
    I say search.

    Cat5 is what most people use when wiring most patch cables.....


    for all the reasons you listed

  3. #3
    Low Bitrate frenchnew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NovaKane
    Here is a thought, I am not sure if it has been brought up before.

    Can we use cat 5 wire for most wiring needs. Is it poor quality compared to RCA and other stuff?

    Cat 5 wire should be of high quality copper because it is made to carry data...right? Also the twisted nature of cat 5 should provide some shielding..right?

    Therefore, instead of buying RCA cables and stuff, couldn't we just solder some connectors on to some cat 5 wire and use that instead?

    Some possible uses would include, USB extension, low voltage sound, extension of keyboard wire, IDE cable extensions and maybe many more.

    What say you?
    If you do not mind the stiffness of the wire (They are not stranded copper wires but solid copper) and if you flex it at the same place it will eventually break.

    Cat 5 wiring can be used to wire the low level audio (Eg from Computer to Amplifier) but the most important aspects would be to eliminate the ground loops. It would be more beneficial if the setup would be a balance line like professional sound systems.

    As for USB, I have not tried it. For Ide, I vaguely recall some article on the web but for the life of me can located.

    Best regards

    frenchnew

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I did a search and I found this article someone had posted on the forum earlier.
    http://www.installer.com/tech/cat5.html

    I slap myself for not searching properly before posting

    Almost forgot, thanks for the response.

  5. #5
    Raw Wave Rob Withey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NovaKane
    Also the twisted nature of cat 5 should provide some shielding..right?
    Nope, twisted pair is designed for differential signalling, shielded cables have exactly that, a shield, usually grounded.
    Old Systems retired due to new car
    New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

  6. #6
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    Cat 5 is unshielded (cat 6 is the shielded version of cat 5 and is much more expensive) The "pairs" within the wire provide shileding because the positive and negative wires are twisted which mostly cancels out the magnetic field that causes inteference.

    I wouldn't recommend cat 5 for audio, the cables are of much cheaper deisign, and are much crappier quality. Quality RCA cables have much better shielding and the join onto the plugs provides a much more solid connection than if you were to put a RCA connector on a Cat 5 cable

    hope that helps, cheers

  7. #7
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    I may be wrong, but as my understanding of cat5 and ethernet transmission standards: In your twisted pairs each wire consist of the same signal, except one is "inversed". The theory is that any interference will be the same on all wires in the cable. Now once the signal gets to the other ethernet card one of the wires in the pair is then inversed yet again which leaves you with 2 wires having the same 'data' in them but an inverse noise signal which cancels out when you overlay them.

  8. #8
    Raw Wave Rob Withey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anaxagoras
    I may be wrong, but as my understanding of cat5 and ethernet transmission standards: In your twisted pairs each wire consist of the same signal, except one is "inversed". The theory is that any interference will be the same on all wires in the cable. Now once the signal gets to the other ethernet card one of the wires in the pair is then inversed yet again which leaves you with 2 wires having the same 'data' in them but an inverse noise signal which cancels out when you overlay them.
    Correct. See differential signalling, balanced line drivers, etc...
    Old Systems retired due to new car
    New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

  9. #9
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    with all that about audio covered what about the exc.? What kind of power will these things take? Could you safely run 5v for a powered usb hub? How about control lines for relays? Like said before it is terrably convenient to run one wire with eight pair instead of lots of other stuff.

    Interested in this pelase let me know what yall are thinking

    -Dustin

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate tom2112's Avatar
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    Just to clarify a little for those reading: (A.K.A. Category 5/6 Cabling 101)

    Cat 5 and Cat 6 cables can be shielded or unshielded. They also can be solid core or stranded, though the most common are solid core and unshielded. Solid core means that there is one solid peice of copper inside the insulation, running the length of the wire. Stranded means that there are many hair-fine strands of copper wound together inside the insulation, running the length of the cable. There are also plenum and non-plenum cables which has to do with the fire rating of the cable and it's sheath.

    The stranded cables are better for use in which they are going to move. Solid core is generally only for use where the cable will be placed and left there unmoving. (like inside a wall) Unfortunately, many cable vendors sell solid core patch cables, which after you roll them / un-roll them a few hundred times (like stuffing them in your laptop carry-on case) they cause breaks in the copper colid core and have intermittent connections.

    The twisted pairs within Cat 5 and 6 cables have nothing to do with shielding. Shielding is a foil wrapper around the bundle of all eight wires, but inside the sheathing of the cable. Be careful if you purchase shielded cables, as it is easy to create ground loops with them.

    The twisted pairs are designed to cancel signal interferance within the cable. Signals travelling down a wire create very small (in this case) magnetic fields. These fields can interfere with signals on other wires near to them, creating noise in that signal. The wires twisted together in the pair are the positive and negative of the same signal pair. Thus, by twisting them at specific rates, they can cancel out most of the interference of each other.

    So are Cat 5 or 6 cables good to use for wiring up CarPC parts? No. Consider that the wires in Cat5 and 6 cables are usually 24 gage. The power cables on your PC are usually a good bit heavier than that, like 18 to 12 gage. Heavier gage wires can safely carry heavier current draws. So if you've got a device that draws 30 watts (like a 3.5" 7200rpm Hard Drive) you would want a heavier gage wire than 24. There is a formula for determining what gage wire to use with what current. I don't remember it. But the whole idea is if you draw too much power over a thin wire it heats up (like in a toaster). Will your carPC catch your car on fire? I doubt it. I don't know of any computer device that draws enough power to ignite a cat 5 or 6 cable. But since a spool of 12 gage wire at Radio Shack is only a couple bucks, why not use it?

    Would the twisted pairs in Cat 5 or 6 give you better signal to noise ratio for your carPC parts? No. Keep in mind that the twisted pairs in those cables are specifically twisted at certain rates to match the signals carried on those pairs. They become ineffective, and actually create more noise if the signal on those pairs is outside the design parameters of that original signal (voltage and amperage). So you could actually be doing the exact opposite of what you intended by using Cat 5 or 6 for non-ethernet signals.

    With all that in mind, you can still use Cat 5 or 6 cables to connect all kinds of stuff. It won't hurt. Just don't draw tons of power over it, and don't expect your signal to be pure as the driven snow because of it. Will the added signal noise appreciably affect the operation of your device? No. The noise from the cable will be far less than the noise from other outside devices in your car.
    So far:
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