6wirepatchFor the installation of ethernet cables and connectors no toolbox would be complete without certain tools. Ethernet cables have to be at least Cat5 or higher. Though Cat5 is largely antiquated, it is still seen from time to time. Ideally the wire used will be Cat5e or higher.

Wire cutters should be the #1 tool in the electricians toolbox. Watch out for the rubber. When it starts to wear the wire cutters no longer have as much protection against shocks and burns as they once had. So, no matter how long you have been working with that trusty pair of wire cutters, if you have had to wrap duct tape around the handles, it is well past the time for a new pair.

The crimper, dare we say #2 tool in the toolbox. This guys main purpose is to join together electrical connectors. There are hundreds of types of electrical connectors. The full breadth of them would take up many articles. What they do, in a nutshell, is to serve as a temporary or permanent connection between to electrical wires. The wire is crimped, some crimp twice, to make sure that the connector remains in place. They can also connect directly to a terminal.

A modular connector is a device which was originally designed for telephones. They were first developed in 1974 and quickly replaced the hard wired connections that had been in place prior. Be sure to note the gender of each plug. To avoid confusion, male connectors are plugs and female connectors are either jacks or sockets. Jacks are always in a permanent location, but, plugs are movable. Cables can also be connected by using a male-to-male adapter. The same can be done with the female jacks, they would be wired together.

The punch down tool, aka a krone tool is a small handheld tool. It is used for inserting wire into insulation-displacement connectors, which also go by biscuit jacks. The punch down tool is spring loaded and works similarly in principle as a center punch. When an electrician pushes down on the punch down tool, the spring loaded action goes through the tip. It is great for cutting through the outer casing of the wire while still leaving the internal ones intact.

While looking at these tools, do not forget the most important tool of all, yourself. Gloves need to fit right and should be leather or a similar shock absorbing material. The boots you wear should be neither too big nor too small and should have ankle protection. Rubber soles are a must to prevent shocks.

The most important tool of all though, is common sense. This can’t be taught unfortunately. But paying attention and thinking things through go hand in hand with electricians. Hopefully those who are already in the field are the common sense type. Knowing what you are going to do, before you do it, prevents more accidents, wasted time, and wasted money than any other tool. Be sure to use it and the tools of the trade for the most success.