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Cable tester?


eggzlot

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anyone recommend an affordable handheld device to check cables?  I got a long run for a camera and the camera is flakey.  I changed the patch cable, I changed the port on my switch, but no luck.  I cannot easily run a new long wire, so I was thinking of buying a tester to test the cable.

 

The camera is PoE, I am using a Cisco SG 300 28 port PoE switch.  I have 2 cameras, same brand.  One has 100% up time no issue.  The other one, in the last few months has started to be flake out, falling "offline".  I say "offline" because it is still pingable and I can see a substream, but the main stream which I can see on a browser, C4, or other camera apps, is not working.

 

The manufacture seems willing to maybe take back the camera, but it will not be easy to remove, so I'd rather test the cables first.

 

Anyone have something, hopefully that can be purchased on Newegg or Amazon or B&H so I can get some quick shipping?

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Sounds like you're not looking for a simple CAT cable tester for $20 but something more along the lines of a Fluke.  

 

Byte Brothers make some decent testers which will not just check the cable for pinouts and shorts, but also quality of transmission. Not as good as Fluke, but I find it fills that middle gap of more information, but not crazy expensive.You can get them on Amazon. 

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The Byte Brothers is $350....for a professional could be a worthwhile investment but for a home owner testing one cable, ouch.

 

I saw two Fluke ones on amazon, one at ~$110 http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-Networks-MT-8200-49A-Network-Tester/dp/B0001FSCRM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428420379&sr=8-1&keywords=fluke+ethernet+tester and the other at $475 - http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-Networks-MS2-100-Network-Tester/dp/B000QJ3G42/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1428420379&sr=8-2&keywords=fluke+ethernet+tester

 

 

 

I dont mind spending more than $20, but $350 seems overkill or at least too rich for my blood at this point.

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In that case it sounds like you're looking for a cheap tester to see if the pinouts are valid.

 

I think most cheap testers will validate what you are looking for. The main difference between that $110 Fluke mentioned above and a cheap $10 one will be durability. Both will tell you the same information. 

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other than durability, what does the $400+ Fluke or the $350 Byte Brothers offer over a $20 tester?  You said the $100 Fluke is mostly a quality thing over say a $30 Trendnet one I saw on amazon.  I can understand that.  But once we get into the multi hundreds, I am assuming it offers other options.  If those options appeal to me, I could justify the cost.

 

End of day, I just want to see if this long run is the issue.  The wire bad, the end piece have a loose wire in there somewhere, etc.  I know the PoE switch works, since I can plug something else in that port and it is steady.  I tried the camera in a few ports and they are all not supporting it.  I changed the critical power level in the switch, made sure it is getting full power, etc.  So now I am testing cables.  It has a home run to the patch panel, then a short run from patch to the switch.  I tried various switch ports, and I tried a new small patch cable.  neither worked, so now trying to isolate/test the long run cable.

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The Byte Brothers one will estimate the cable length, and will test and verify that a cable can handle 100MB or 1GB.

 

It has tests to help determine the quality of the cable run instead of simple continuity.(i.e. cable kinks, etc.) Fluke has tools that are better, but start around $1,000

 

The $400 Fluke one you mentioned seems to just do some basic testing with a nice LCD screen. Not all that much more than a basic tester. 

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very helpful.  I am mostly looking at the termination and is the cable good/bad.  I may go with a cheaper but highly rated device to test.  If I had this in the field daily I could see the investment in a better model.  But for less than $400 (Byte Brothers model) I could bring in a low voltage guy and run a completely new wire.

 

Again this is a total newbie question, but looks like most of these devices come as a set, whereas I put one device at one end of the cable and the other device at the other end?  To get to my camera to unhook it from the ethernet will not be easy.  I was hoping to maybe just unplug the the cable prior to it going into the patch panel and just test it from there, but that is not how these things work I assume?

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very helpful. I am mostly looking at the termination and is the cable good/bad. I may go with a cheaper but highly rated device to test. If I had this in the field daily I could see the investment in a better model. But for less than $400 (Byte Brothers model) I could bring in a low voltage guy and run a completely new wire.

Again this is a total newbie question, but looks like most of these devices come as a set, whereas I put one device at one end of the cable and the other device at the other end? To get to my camera to unhook it from the ethernet will not be easy. I was hoping to maybe just unplug the the cable prior to it going into the patch panel and just test it from there, but that is not how these things work I assume?

Everyone I've seen requires you to connect on both ends.
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eh ok - I'll have to see if I can even easily get to that point.  I could always attack it from the outside of the house, but was hoping this would be easier to test then getting up on a ladder 2 stories and plugging this in on one end and the other end at my AV Rack which is located obviously not outside :-)

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Sorry, I didn't know you meant you wanted a quick fix and you were planning on never having another "flaky" cable issue again.

 

BTW, to me "flaky" means intermittent, which a cheap tester isn't going to give you good answers.

 

And Byte Brothers vs higher end stuff.  Its a fraction of the cost of what your LV guy uses.

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If I'm certifying cables, I use Fluke and rent a $13,000 tool. Besides being easy to use, easy to generate reports, you can count on the results telling you more than just "the pinout is correct" - near end cross talk, poe wattage at the far end, etc. etc. Saves on what hair I have left.

 

That byte brothers real world certifier should get what you need at the basic level for a fraction of the cost.

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Turls - wish I had a crystal ball to see into the future to know if I am going to have issues again in the future.  I have had my system up and running for about 16 months, and I got one cable that *could* be an issue.  It could also be the camera as well.  I've eliminated the switch, patch panel and patch cable.  I am a newbie at these things and trying to knock off item at a time to determine the issue at hand.  If I can avoid spending $400 to continually diagnose the problem I'll likely avoid spending the $400. Since the device is not falling offline and it is still pingable and has perfect up time, I am fairly convinced the problem is hardware related, not network related, but I'll continue to test where possible.

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How long is your run?

To get any good accurate test with any tester you will need to attach something at both ends of the cable. With something already terminated it most likely wont test correctly. Sounds like you will need to pull the device either way. 

A "flaky" connection cam be caused by many things. Run too long, POE switch taxed too much (ho many other POE devices on switch and what is it rated for), CAT5 running adjacent to or near high voltage, AC motors, devices that cause interference.....

 

Where are you located? Maybe someone here like myself is close with an expensive tester that can lend a hand......

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I am located in Bergen County, NJ - not far from the GWB.  A tad far from Wisconsin but maybe someone else is in the area - so good idea, thank you.

 

The run is not super long, my basement is about 1,300 sq ft ish - pretty much a square, it goes from one side to the other, then through a 2 car garage and the side of the house.  so not that far honestly.  

 

PoE Switch is the Cisco SG line, its the 28 port model.  I have a door station, 2 cameras, 3 touch screens and a HC 250 being powered by the switch.  Other devices in the switch are there for networking purposes, not power purposes.  I did purchase (but have not used) a PoE+ injector that can provide up to 30watts of power (the camera needs 15.4w).

 

Last night I went to see if maybe the patch panel was the issue, but again being a newbie I did not realize this, the cable is terminated inside the patch panel.  I thought there was a usual ethernet clip that the cable was termintaed into, then into the patch panel.  But that is not the case.

 

It still puzzles me that the IP address is online for the camera, it is pingable and responds just like all of my other devices.  the reports on the ping look identical to the other camera.  That is what leads me to believe it is a hardware issue.

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The other one, in the last few months has

 

 

So - it was fine before, then started to be flakey?

If your run of the mill tester that checks continuity and wiring order doesn't come up with an error - and you have no specific reason to believe any mayor cabling changes could be causing interference I'd try the separated injector on the cam. If that makes no difference, my first thought would be the camera.

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http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/switches/small-business-smart-switches/data_sheet_c78-610061.html

 

looks like 180w

 

I have SG300-28P model.

 

Is that the power limit?  This was working flawlessly for a year.  Camera fell offline once around January.  Was back up for about 1.5 months, and now its basically a 24/36 hour thing before its off.  That said, its not "offline" - it is pingable.  and if I go to the Lilin NVR I can see the "substream" on the NVR screen.  I cannot see the normal feed via the C4 interface (touch screen, app, etc), I cannot see it in the Live Cams iOS app, nor can I see it on the web via a browser.  

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