Just some random notes from my Saturday afternoon. While cleaning up the garage I found a rather long Cat5E network cable hiding from a long-forgotten project in the past:
However after trying to use it between my EtherTen and the router, the cable turned out to have a break in it somewhere. So what to do? Twentieth-century me would have just thrown it out, but that would be irresponsible. But inside that blue insulation are four twisted-pairs of 24AWG wire – perfect for prototyping and general low-voltage use:
So time to strip back the outer insulation and give the twisted-pairs their freedom:
They are a little thinner than first imagined, but how thin are they? Not being one to memorise the American Wire Gauge data I took a few quick measurements:
A quick measurement of the wire diameter without insulation. AWG specification is 0.511mm. Those digital vernier calipers were pretty sensitive so that will do. Excellent – now I have almost 120 metres of perfectly good hook-up wire. Just have to remember to test each piece before using it – that break was in there somewhere! What would that have cost me new? Local retailers (ugh) can charge over 25 centre per metre. So that’s a free lunch.
Next time you have some broken network cable… don’t throw it out – reuse it. What else can we do with the cable? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.
So have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitter, Google+, subscribe for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column, or join our Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other – and we can all learn something.