Servo Extension Cables Part II

After some reading it looks like the best option is to go ahead and use CAT 5 cable to extend the servos to the PC.  There are lots of references to using lengths of CAT 5 that are 50′ or more with no issues, as long as the servo power supply is correctly sized.  Our kit came with a power supply that can provide up to 2 amps.  That should be plenty of power to push through 25-50′ of CAT 5 cable.

So what is CAT 5?  It is sometimes called UTP or Unshielded Twisted Pair.  It has 4 pairs of wires that are twisted together.  It is most commonly used to connect computers to networks.  The cable that runs from your home DSL modem to your computer is a CAT5 cable.

CAT 5 comes in different grades.  There is CAT5, CAT5e, and also CAT6.  E and 6 are more expensive.  You do not need the E or the 6.  Plain old CAT5 will be fine.  You can purchase a length of bulk cable from a hardware store or buy a long CAT 5 patch cable at someplace like Fry’s, or order one from Monoprice.  If you get a patch cable, you will be cutting the ends off anyway.

One more thing – CAT5 wire comes in stranded and solid.  Bulk wire is often solid.  Patch cords are usually made with stranded wire.  This makes them more flexible and the wire in the cable is less likely to break from being moved around over time.  So stranded is probably the way to go.  So if you do go to the hardware store, check if the bulk cable on the spool is solid or stranded.

So the next step is to figure out what we are going to cut and splice, nut, crimp, or solder, to what.

On to Part III…

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