Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tester for phone, video, data wiring

If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance that you have a house with a growing collection of wiring for music, video, phone, computer and maybe security and remote control.

The more wiring you have, the more chance there is that something will stop working. Wires inside walls should be safe for decades, but cords and jacks that people touch, are bound to crap out.

If you're faced with a dead phone or a PC that can't connect to the Web, you can call for help, wait a few days, and maybe spend $150.

Or, you can spend $99 for your own tester and fix it in five minutes.

Within the last few days, I had to troubleshoot a dead bedroom phone, and a rack-mounted PC that couldn't reach the iTunes website.

The phone is on my wife's night table. She beats the crap out of phones. Every phone in the house that she uses, is missing parts.

I wanted to teach her a lesson, and was reluctant to fix the phone, On the other hand, if she can't use that phone, she uses MY den as HER phone booth, or grabs an expensive cordless phone that usually crashes onto the floor and spends a few days under the bed with our remote controls and lost socks.

So, I replaced the phone; and the new one still didn't work. I then removed the jack from the wall, assuming that wife tripped over the cord and the force damaged the pins inside the jack -- but the jack looked pristine.

I then connected one part of my handy Paladin ProNavigator tester to the bedroom jack, and the other part to the patch panel in my basement phone room, and quickly determined that my wiring was fine. What wasn't fine, however, was the patch cord from the patch panel to my phone system control unit. I replaced that cord, and restored communication, and had one less reason to yell at my wife.

I have a monster rack-mounted PC in my "movie room" that has a big collection of music files, some going back to the original Napster days. I wanted to install the latest version of iTunes, so I could load the music and TV shows from my iPod, but I could not get the PC to connect to the web.

I have two LAN jacks behind the rack that used to be live. I used the Paladin to confirm that the in-wall wiring was good, and my patch cords were good.

The only thing left that I could think of, was that the network card in the PC was no good. I thought some more, and remembered going through the same testing a few years ago and coming up with the same conclusion. It's a major PITA to pull the heavy Antec PC chassis out of the rack to replace the network card, so I had previously installed a USB-to-LAN adapter, but it had fallen out of the USB port and was lying in the abyss at the bottom of my rack.

I fished it out, plugged it in, and got reconnected with Steve Jobs so my tunes could start flowing.

This set includes a main unit and remote, plus two Cat5 RJ45 patch cords. You can test cables or in-wall wiring, and get test results at both ends.

One-button, simple testing (PASS/FAIL or fault find)
  • Traces wires with tone & remote lights)
  • Quick fault analysis on coax & data cables)
  • CAT-5, CAT-5e or CAT-6 (UTP/STP) cable testing
  • Detects Opens, Shorts, Crossed Wires & Split Pairs
  • Compact & lightweight, comfortable to hold)
  • Designed & manufactured in the USA
  • Test status lights at both ends (main unit & remote)
  • Uses standard 9-volt battery (included) with auto-off function to preserve battery life.
  • One-year warranty.

  • CLICK to order.

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