Platinum Tools EZ-SnapJack

ez-snapjackWaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day (okay, so it was only this past February), I talked about an EZ RJ45 plug that saved tons of time for installers because you slide all 8 wires into a wide, unpartitioned slot, instead of inserting each wire into its own individual channel. Believe me – I did a couple of comparison terminations myself, and the EZ version was practically fun compared to the standard RJ45 plugs. The hands-down winner. Well, I’ve just met the EZ RJ45′s soul mate: Platinum Tools’ EZ-SnapJack™, otherwise known as the keystone jack that’s about to rock your world.

If I remember correctly, I actually giggled with glee as I witnessed my first demo of this product. Now, I’m no jaded, punchdown-weary telecom tech, but I have done a few jack terminations at work and in the Learning Lab at CEDIA Expo 2008 (just a quick aside – if you get the chance, go). And while keystone punchdowns are no big deal, they definitely land on the time-consuming side of things.

Not anymore – well, not as long as you’re using EZ-SnapJacks™. These things work exactly the same way as the EZ RJ45 connector, in that you just arrange the 8 wires into the correct sequence, slide them into an alignment sleeve, and then trim the ends. From there, all that’s left to do is pop the prepped cable into the open jack, snap the top down (which, by the way, is the action that acts as the actual “punchdown”), and you’re done. It’s complete and utter laziness, but in the most positive and productive sense of the word. All I have to say is: way to save time on the job.

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Panduit® Mini-Com® Snap-In Port Identification Icons

snap-in-port-iconsDon’t get me wrong – labeling network data ports and phone jacks is a great thing, especially if you have a situation where the two are grouped together. Unless you want to stick to the old phone and data jack color codes (which many people don’t do anymore for decor reasons), the two can be just about impossible to tell apart at a glance, so labels can be pretty important. But then again, they can look so, well… networky. That is to say, extremely technical. Let’s admit it – there are probably times, now and then, when you just don’t want to see printed labels all over your wall jacks. And do you know what? I can’t blame you for that. Neither can Panduit®, which is why they developed Mini-Com® Snap-In Port Identification Icons.

Instead of relying on bold lettering to tell you which jack is which, Panduit’s®  Mini-Com® port ID plates rely on subtle icons to clue you in. A computer means “data,” and a phone means “voice.” Super easy. And since the icons are molded-in and not printed on, they don’t scream for the attention of people who are passing by – they just sort blend in until you need them. Another nice thing about Mini-Com® snap-in icons is that they’re available in 12 different colors – neutrals to further blend in with your room’s color scheme, or brighter hues that fit in with just about any color code. And have I mentioned that they’re fast and inexpensive to use? No labels to print, no backings to peel off – you just snap a plate into the icon slot of a Mini-Com®  module, wall plate, surface mount box or patch panel, and your work is done.

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Cable-Mgr. PRO-10 Series Cable Trays

cm10-straight-sectionIt’s another sunny South Florida Friday morning, and you know what that means: product training. I just sat in on a meeting with Vutec, and got to learn a little more about their top-of-the-line cable tray line, the PRO-10 series. I know what you’re thinking: “cable trays are cable trays,” right? No so in this case.

While there’s not much that visually sets these trays apart from their competitors, CM-10 cable baskets require only a single ratchet tool for assembly, and come complete with all of the necessary connection hardware. We’ve found that the included hardware has been a huge benefit to our customers, some of whom have had the frustrating experience of ordering hundreds or thousands of feet of cable tray from a competing brand, only to find that they have to put their installation on hold until they can order bolts and splice washers separately.

The second major plus of using the PRO-10 series is that these cable trays act as a continuous ground-conductor when connected, without any need for additional grounding splices. This is achieved through the interconnecting grounding points, which are masked during powder coating so that they remain paint-free, allowing metal-to-metal contact where they meet.

Benefit number 3 is that PRO-10 trays require no custom bending. Because their angled accessory trays allow you to make 30, 45 and 90-degree turns by just dropping in the piece you need, the exhausting and time consuming process of removing wire rungs to create a bend is eliminated. This not only results in significant labor savings, but also allows the tray to maintain its structural integrity and full weight capacity, which would have otherwise been compromised and greatly reduced (respectively). Because no bars need to be removed, the angled trays are just as solid as the straight sections.

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Corning UniCam® Connectors

April 1, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Fiber Optics, Network Products 

unicam-connectors-sToday’s featured item is a product line that every fiber optic field installer out there can appreciate – Corning UniCam® Fiber Optic Connectors. Terminating optical fibers can be a tricky and messy business that requires a lot of careful cleaning and polishing, as well as epoxy to secure the connectors onto the fibers. Good fiber terminations are almost entirely dependent on proper cleaning and end-face polishing, which make optimum light signal transmission possible.

Attaining perfect results when terminating out in the field can prove extremely challenging, because the environments in which the technicians are working aren’t controlled. They may not have a clean surface to work on, and there may also be a high level of environmental contaminants. Time is also of the essence-the more time it takes to terminate fiber optic cables, the higher the installation bill is. Fortunately, Corning came up with an excellent solution.

UniCam® multimode connectors offer the absolute fastest termination time in the industry – only 2 minutes per fiber! While you can never skip the cleaning step, UniCam cuts out the time-consuming polishing and epoxy, so in the long run you save money on polishing films and adhesives, as well as on labor! The secret is in the connector’s design: it’s been described as a mini fiber pigtail, and contains a factory-installed that is fully bonded to the ferrule. When the fiber being terminated is precisely cleaved and fit into UniCam’s patented alignment mechanism, both the fiber and the stub are protected against contaminants and other environmental factors.

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Snake Tray® 501 Series for Walls

501-snake-tray-sToday I’m going to talk about Snake Tray’s 501 Series, a very popular line of cable trays that have been specifically designed for use on walls. If you’re thinking that all cable trays are pretty much the same, think again. With minimal tool and hardware requirements, these zinc-plated cold rolled steel trays are quick and simple to install, and can be custom-bent in seconds with your bare hands. While it’s pretty common to see industrial cable trays suspended from the ceiling via brackets and threaded rods, 501 Series Snake Trays are equipped with built-in mounting rings (or “Snake Eyes”), which eliminate the need for hanging brackets.

Because it’s so easy to customize the shape and configuaration of 501 Series Snake Trays, they’re great for use in tight spaces where you may not have the room to accommodate suspended trays. These Snake Trays provide excellent support for telecommunications cables, whether they’re standard copper or fiber optic. As a matter of fact, the 501 Series does the job so well that it’s often specified for university, Fortune 500, and US Government installations.

In addition to the convenience and space efficiency of Snake Trays, you’ll also find that they save a significant amount of money. Because of their minimal hardware and the fact that tray segments take only 15 seconds to connect (versus up to 10 minutes with competitors’ trays), 501 Series Snake Trays can reduce installation costs by up to 85%! Snake trays also nest together for shipping, which can noticeably lower your freight expenses.

The Snake Tray 501 Series is compliant with EIA/TIA, NEC and NFPA standards, and often ships from inventory within just one day.

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EZ RJ45 Connectors

February 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Network Products 

ez-rj45-plug-connectorHow would you like to make your job easier without sacrificing the quality of the final results? If you’re an IT tech who does a lot of cable terminations with RJ45 or RJ11/12 connectors, our EZ connectors will help you do just that. I learned to terminate Cat5e cable with these, and let me tell you, they’re incredibly easy to use. Unlike standard RJ45 connectors that require you to feed each wire into it’s own separate channel (which can be very tricky and time consuming), the EZ connectors have just a single slot into which you push all of the wires (which have been previously arranged into the proper lineup for a T568A or T568B wiring scheme).

Aside from how easy they make it to actually feed the wires in, EZ RJ45 connectors also greatly increase your chances of having accurate terminations, thanks to the fact that when the wires emerge through the front of the connector,you can double-check the order they’re in prior to crimping.

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Neat Patch, Neato!

front-view-neat-patch-s1If you’re an IT professional who feels anxiety and tears welling up whenever you have to troubleshoot amidst the waterfalls of tangled patch cords hanging off your server, take heart. One of our favorite rack-mount cable managers, the Neat Patch, does away with network cable insanity and leaves you with rows of neatly ordered patch cords, none of which stick out beyond the edge of your server rack. I’ve seen the Neat Patch in action on our own servers, and the end results are really amazing. So what sets this cable manager apart from the rest?

To begin with, it does away with excess. The folks at Neat Patch had the epiphany that you don’t actually need 6 feet of cable to make a connection between patch panel ports that are only 1 foot apart! As a matter of fact, a 2-foot patch cable does the trick — not only does it achieve the connection, but leaves you with enough cable to form a single bend-radius-protecting loop, which is tucked into Neat Patch’s storage compartment, a recessed, rackmounted trough that’s installed between the two patch panels being connected.

But that’s not all. As a finishing touch, cover panels snap into place to cover the patch cord loops, and you’re left with beautifully organized, perfectly traceable connections — not to mention lower blood pressure.

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