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HOW TO Number 2:

Attaching a BNC Connector to thinnet cable

Other Sources:

BNC Connectors Attaching a BNC Connector to thinnet cable. Courtesy U. S. Navy SEANET - Internet to the Sea Web site.

RJ-45 Connectors Attaching an RJ-45 connector to UTP cable. Courtesy U. S. Navy SEANET - Internent to the Sea Web site.


Jensen Tools Mail order supplier of tools



Attaching BNC connectors to thinnet cable is part art and part science and I must admit I am neither a master of the art or the science, but I do well enough to muddle through.

Some skills are easier to attain if you have an old-timer to show you the ropes. My father, a ham radio enthusist, could have shown me the ins and outs of coax cable, but when he was alive, I wasn't the least bit interested in his hobby. Just one of my many youthful mistakes.

As a result, what follows in this tutorial was self-taught, and there are gaps in my knowledge since I didn't have a guide when I went down this road. Most of the connectors I prepare this way work, so I'm not too far off the path. There might be easier methods out there, however.


There are two tools I consider essential: A cable stripper and a BNC crimper.

Cable StripperThe stripper is required because the different bands in the coax cable have to be cut precisely to different lengths and depths, and this is difficult to do without the proper tool. Even so, the particular stripper shown (which uses razor blades as the cutting tools) is not the easiest device in the world to use, but it is better than nothing.

BNC CrimperThe BNC Crimper is used twice in the process - first to crimp the BNC pin to the main conductor, and then to crimp the collar over the outer insulation at the end of the operation. A quality crimper can make the difference between a connection that works and one that has to be discarded.

The remaining tools below may not be essential but they can make the job easier, especially if you're getting older and don't have the eyesight or manual dexterity you once had (like me).

Hobby ViseThe hobby vise can come in handy to hold the cable when you are trying to fit the barrel of the BNC connector under the outer insulation of the coax cable.

Magnifying VisorA Magnifying visor, or lamp, or pocket magnifier for that matter is a great help to check the quality of your cable preparation prior to the actual crimping operations. Tolerances are very important and if they aren't close you'll be throwing away a $3.50 connector - once it's crimped, you're committed.

Network Cable Tester A network cable tester can check your work, although sometimes it can hinder more than help. On one job I cut off and threw away several perfectly good connectors before I discovered my malfunctioning cable tester! After that incident, I made it a practice to try the cables on the computer even if the cable tester rejects them.

Finally, sidecutter and needlenose pliers, x-acto knives and hobby files can also be useful as well as a rich vocabulary of cuss words.

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LAROKE Microcomputer Consultants
155 East Boca Raton Road
Boca Raton, Florida 33432
(561)368-0659 (Tel & Fax)

Issued Saturday July 24, 1999

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