Looking for a crimp tool to create your own patch cables on a budget? I recently took a chance on the TRENDnet TC-CT68. It is an all in one cable crimp tool that you can get for as low as $15 USD. I personally used this to make my cables when wiring our apartment. So how well did it fare? Read on to find out.
If you have been following my posts you may know that I have recently decided to wire our apartment with Cat 6 to reduce the wireless headaches we were getting from overcrowded airwaves and using a more complex set up with including a wireless bridge.
As I didn’t just want to buy a premade cable that would end up having too much excess at the ends, I decided to buy a spool of cable and make my own. To do so though I needed to find a decent cheap tool to add the 8pin RJ45 connectors to my custom length cables. Browsing online I came across the TRENDnet TC-CT68 which only cost around $15 USD. Given that was the cheapest and seemed to have high review ratings all around I picked it up and gave it a go.
This device has a very good build quality. The only plastic pieces on this device are it’s handles and they feel solid and sturdy while the metal used for everything else is thick enough and gives an impression of being a durable tool. It’s weight is as light as I can imagine it being without making it feel cheap. I am left with the impression that this tool will last for years to come, even if used more heavily than my rare use for wiring or recrimping broken cables.
The functions are pretty straight forward, it can crimp 8 pin and 6 pin connectors and the product description lists it as being compatible with 8P/RJ-45 and 6P/RJ-12, RJ-11. It has a built in stripping tool to remove the jacket from the cable as well as blades to cut the cable. It also contains a ratchet design that will lock you grip on the connector so you can readjust your hands mid crimp. I wasn’t sure I would find that needed but it did come in handy on more than on instance crimping cables.
What I am most happy about is that this ratchet design functions as a way to easily strip cables without damaging the wire underneath. All you need to do is slide the cable in, squeeze until the blade starts to leave and impression in the jacket and release. The handles lock in place and you can easily spin the tool to score the outside without nicking the inner wires. When done, there is a release wheel that you can turn which allows you to unlock the handle without squeezing further which would end up cutting completely through the jacket and most likely into your data wires. Then you just have to bend and pull lightly to tear the jacket and have access to your wires. No separate jacket scoring tool needed.
So how does the actual crimping work/feel? To crimp the connectors you simply slide them all the way to the end of the receiver. There is a stop at the end to keep them in place and ensure you are at the right length. Once inserted you just need to apply pressure to crimp. The tool doesn’t impede your action so it doesn’t take excessive force or feel as though you may break anything in the process. Once fully depressed the ratchet mechanism will disengage and the tool will open fully allow you to remove the connector.
The only issue I had when using this device was with it’s ability to cut cable. For this I used standard wire cutters instead as the plastic core in my Cat 6 cable seemed to prevent a solid clean cut. To be honest though, depending on the core you may need something else to cut it as cleanly and as flush as possible once the jacket is removed so I don’t really see this as a negative. It does work though, I just found wire cutters to be easier to work with.
If you are looking for a cheap, versatile crimp tool, this is it. Costing only around $15 and including the extra functionality there isn’t a better option that I could find. I would only note that you shouldn’t count on it’s ability to cut the wire as that was the only issue I experienced with it. However for the price, this thing really can’t be beat. I think it’s a solid purchase for anyone who is starting out in working on/with wired networks and even for those who wish to fix broken cables instead of throw them away. I would definitely recommend this.
If you are looking to purchase this tool you can find it on Amazon. Click the following link to leave NautilusMODE.com and visit Amazon’s product page: