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Tracing CAT5 Cables with a continuity tester

Picture of Tracing CAT5 Cables with a continuity tester
I work in a school that has had multiple installers come to run CAT5 cables, while they are secured very well and safe, none of them were labeled when installed.  We recently had an internet problem that required us to trace tons of cables!  I searched online for a cable toner/tracer but while some were reasonable, none were local, and most were outrageously expensive.  So I went to my local Lowes to look for an alternative.

Follow along and I'll show you what I did to track down the cables from the router/switch/patch panel to their destination.

**Please make sure that all cables that you might be tracing are unplugged because I am not sure if the tester could damage computer hardware, or if the computers could damage the tester.**

**Also use proper safety as you are dealing with electricity (albeit very low voltage) you never know what might have been done to the wires!**
 
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Step 1: Tester

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For this project i picked up an Extech CT20 from my local Lowes.

It has a nice visual and audio indicator if you have continuity across a wire (and in my case if you have the wire you're looking for!).

Step 2: CAT 5 male and female test connections

Picture of CAT 5 male and female test connections
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For this section I grabbed a female jack and wired it up with a short 6" length of CAT5 cable, and to save the time of making a really short male connector I just cut the end off of one of the extra cables that we had around.  I also took a small section of CAT5 and clipped just the twisted pair (in this case I will only be using the brown/brown&white pair) to use in case I have two female or two male connections to test (this was not used on this job but will keep with the tester for future jobs).
Shame no one thought to check on the work while they were doing it. .You can get a cable tester that will check a live line pretty cheap
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