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Unread 04-25-2010, 01:07 PM   #1
ritjobbie
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 1,283
In-cab winch control with CAT5e

STOP!



Before I go any farther, credit to bradcoudriet for harvesting this silly idea to use networking gear to wire up switches in a Jeep. You'll notice his switches and punchdown and relays look a whole lot like mine--we bundled our orders together to save on shipping.

The idea was to use punchdowns and Cat5 (standard networking cable, 8x24awg copper conductors) to power relays. I added the perk of in-cab winch controls with a three-position momentary switch.

Here you can see my dash panel, switches installed. A sharp eye will notice that I wired everything backwards... Everything was upside down so right after this pic was taken I had to move stuff around. PITA. I used Loctite Stick'n Seal to seal the punchdown caps and attach the punchdowns to their final resting surfaces. It's waterproof and bonds like a mofo in just a few minutes. A+



Here you'll see a grey Ethernet cable with a standard RJ-45 end (configured for EIA-568-B on both ends because you NEVER need a crossover on the trail...) coming from the red loom. The red loom snakes its way to a hole in my firewall and then on to the gauge cluster. My MV-50 in the foreground is above some relays self-tapping-screwed into my fender. The black loom coming of of the blue punchdown hides a mess of heat-shrink that is protecting the sometimes-delicate 24AWG wires. The two relays in the foreground waiting for some more KC Daylighters as per this thread; thus, they aren't connected to the small distribution block next to the punchdown.



Below is the pretty end of the switches. The amber-illuminated paddle switch next to my rear wiper switch controls the 12V supply to the panel of switches under the gauges. That switch previously powered the relay for my KC lights and it was a convenient 12V source so I used it as a master kill switch. The silver switch under the temperature gauge controls the winch, but only if the switch above it is in the ON position. Forward spools out, pull towards you to reel in: no need for labeling since it's intuitive. (The black box under the clock is a Bracketron bracket for phones and GPS crap. Yes, it's held in with wood screws. I'm not ashamed.)



A (fuzzy) iPhone phone pic shows the Cat5 snaking its way to my Superwinch solenoids. Two seconds with a multimeter and I figured out which solenoid controlled IN and which controlled OUT. I doubled up on the Cat5 strands for the winch control for three reasons: safety; I had unused strands left; it ended up being a much tighter crimped connection on the winch side. Orange and White Orange go to the IN solenoid, the Greens to the OUT.



If I did it again tomorrow, I wouldn't solder anything while on Dayquil. I melted some wires when my attention wasn't 100% focused on the present. I said that the 24awg wires are kinda' delicate, but it's really only during assembly. Once everything is in place they are tough enough. If you've ever crimped an Ethernet cable you know that you can EASILY nick one of the strands while stripping the outer casing off of the cable. The cable stripping notch in my Leatherman pliers was perfect for stripping the individual strands to bare copper for soldering.

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Unread 04-25-2010, 01:17 PM   #2
monkeyhouse
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Cumberland, Maryland, Maryland
Posts: 3,157
Quote:
Originally Posted by ritjobbie View Post
STOP!



Before I go any farther, credit to bradcoudriet for harvesting this silly idea to use networking gear to wire up switches in a Jeep. You'll notice his switches and punchdown and relays look a whole lot like mine--we bundled our orders together to save on shipping.

The idea was to use punchdowns and Cat5 (standard networking cable, 8x24awg copper conductors) to power relays. I added the perk of in-cab winch controls with a three-position momentary switch.

Here you can see my dash panel, switches installed. A sharp eye will notice that I wired everything backwards... Everything was upside down so right after this pic was taken I had to move stuff around. PITA. I used Loctite Stick'n Seal to seal the punchdown caps and attach the punchdowns to their final resting surfaces. It's waterproof and bonds like a mofo in just a few minutes. A+



Here you'll see a grey Ethernet cable with a standard RJ-45 end (configured for EIA-568-B on both ends because you NEVER need a crossover on the trail...) coming from the red loom. The red loom snakes its way to a hole in my firewall and then on to the gauge cluster. My MV-50 in the foreground is above some relays self-tapping-screwed into my fender. The black loom coming of of the blue punchdown hides a mess of heat-shrink that is protecting the sometimes-delicate 24AWG wires. The two relays in the foreground waiting for some more KC Daylighters as per this thread; thus, they aren't connected to the small distribution block next to the punchdown.



Below is the pretty end of the switches. The amber-illuminated paddle switch next to my rear wiper switch controls the 12V supply to the panel of switches under the gauges. That switch previously powered the relay for my KC lights and it was a convenient 12V source so I used it as a master kill switch. The silver switch under the temperature gauge controls the winch, but only if the switch above it is in the ON position. Forward spools out, pull towards you to reel in: no need for labeling since it's intuitive. (The black box under the clock is a Bracketron bracket for phones and GPS crap. Yes, it's held in with wood screws. I'm not ashamed.)



A (fuzzy) iPhone phone pic shows the Cat5 snaking its way to my Superwinch solenoids. Two seconds with a multimeter and I figured out which solenoid controlled IN and which controlled OUT. I doubled up on the Cat5 strands for the winch control for three reasons: safety; I had unused strands left; it ended up being a much tighter crimped connection on the winch side. Orange and White Orange go to the IN solenoid, the Greens to the OUT.



If I did it again tomorrow, I wouldn't solder anything while on Dayquil. I melted some wires when my attention wasn't 100% focused on the present. I said that the 24awg wires are kinda' delicate, but it's really only during assembly. Once everything is in place they are tough enough. If you've ever crimped an Ethernet cable you know that you can EASILY nick one of the strands while stripping the outer casing off of the cable. The cable stripping notch in my Leatherman pliers was perfect for stripping the individual strands to bare copper for soldering.
Man, that is awesome! I have been in networking my whole career and took a job last year in radio. They use cat5 and cat6 for everything. The audio is even sent over cat5. I've learned alot about being creative with wiring and I think it really unlimited in what you can do if you take some time and think about it. Great job!
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Unread 04-25-2010, 01:38 PM   #3
Fhajad
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1993 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Greenfield, Indiana
Posts: 1,934
Not sure if that's the same guy or not, but I did see someone do this with a switch panel in the lower/right of their YJ that had like, 20 switches it seemed, all using Cat5 for the relay controls. I never woulda thought about it, but it is genuis at its finest.
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Unread 04-25-2010, 01:40 PM   #4
JohnFM3
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1992 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Bonney Lake, Wa
Posts: 1,166
I like what you have done. I use Cat6 for RCA connections between my radio and amps. What is the current draw when using using the winch along the Cat5? If I recall correctly, Solid core 24 awg can only support a max current of .5 amps per strand. This is supported by the link provided below.

American Wire Gauge table and AWG Electrical Current Load Limits with skin depth frequencies

I would be really interested in what your load (current & voltage) readings are during usage.

I do say, it does look clean.

John
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Unread 04-25-2010, 02:17 PM   #5
ritjobbie
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 1,283
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFM3 View Post
I like what you have done. I use Cat6 for RCA connections between my radio and amps. What is the current draw when using using the winch along the Cat5? If I recall correctly, Solid core 24 awg can only support a max current of .5 amps per strand. This is supported by the link provided below.

American Wire Gauge table and AWG Electrical Current Load Limits with skin depth frequencies

I would be really interested in what your load (current & voltage) readings are during usage.

I do say, it does look clean.

John
If you can send half an amp over each 24awg strand, I should be fine doubling up the strands like I did. I seriously doubt the solenoids control current tops 1 amp.

Regardless, I'll measure it sometime because I'm curious.

I, too, have used shielded network cable for long RCA runs. Works like charm with little to no chance of induced noise.
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