How to Use Wire Mapping Tester for Copper Cable Testing
Many copper cables installed today are twisted-pair cables. The number of individual wire connections involved makes the installation and testing process more complicated than for other cable, especially in light of the various standards available for the connector pinouts. This tutorial will focus on the wire mapping tests for copper cables.
What Is Wire Mapping Test?
Wire mapping is the most basic and obvious test for any twisted-pair cable installation. For twisted-pair cables, you must test each cable run to make sure that the individual wires within the cable are connected properly. As there are T568-A and T568-B pinout configurations, you can select either one for a twisted-pair installation. Because all of the pairs are wired straight through and the difference between the two configurations is minimal, there is no functional difference between them. But only one pinout should be selected and stick it throughout the entire installation. In this way, you can perform end-to-end tests as needed without being confused by mixed wire-pair colors.
A wire mapping test can be performed visually by simply checking the pinouts at both ends of the cable, but problems can occur that are not visible to the naked eye. So a proper wire mapping tester is used to detect the faults.
What Can Wire Mapping Tester Do?
A wire mapping tester transmits signals through each wire in a copper twisted-pair cable to determine if it is connected to the correct pin at each end. The wire mapping tester can detect all problems that render a cable run inoperable. Generally, the following faults can be detected by the wire mapping tester.
Open pair—An open pair occurs when one or more of the conductors in the pair are not connected to a pin at one or the other end. In other words, the electrical continuity of the conductor is interrupted. This can occur if the conductor has been physically broken, or because of incomplete or improper punch down on the IDC connector.
Shorted pair—A short occurs when the conductors of a wire pair are connected to each other at any location in the cable.
Short between pairs—A short between pairs occurs when the conductors of two wires in different pairs are connected at any location in the cable.
Reversed pair—A reversed pair occurs when the two wires in a single pair are connected to the opposite pins of the pair at the other end of the cable.
Crossed pair—Crossed pairs occur when both wires of one color pair are connected to the pins of a different color pair at the opposite end.
Split pairs—Split pairs occur when the wire from one pair is split away from the other and crosses over a wire in an adjacent pair. Because this type of fault essentially requires that the same mistake be made at both ends of the connection, accidental occurrence of split pairs is relatively rare.
The picture above illustrates the common wire mapping faults with T568-A pinout configuration. If you are using the T568-B pinout, pairs 2 and 3 switch positions from the T568-A pinout. Typically, wire mapping faults are caused by improper installation practices, although some problems like opens and shorts can result from faulty or damaged cable or connectors.
How to Use Wire Mapping Tester to Test Copper Cabling Faults?
The process of testing a connection’s wire mapping is fairly straightforward and requires a remote unit that you attach at one end of the connection and a main unit for the other end. Wire mapping test is usually included in multifunction cable testers, but you can also purchase dedicated wire map testers that are less expensive. A wire mapping tester consists of a remote unit that you attach to the far end of a connection and the battery operated, handheld main unit that displays the results. The main unit simply transmits a signal over each wire and detects which pin at the remote unit receives the signal. Typically, the tester displays various codes to describe the type of faults it finds. In some cases, you can purchase a tester with multiple remote units that are numbered, so that one person can test several connections without constantly traveling back and forth from one end of the connections to the other to move the remote unit.
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