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RCAtoCAT5conversion

Converting RCA to CAT5

Want to put your game consoles or DVD players far away from your TV? Maybe a little closer to the couch so you don't have to get up to change DVD's... Now you can. By converting the RCA cable into a CAT5 (Ethernet) cable you can easily move all your console(s) to any corner of the room. CAT5 cable is a lot cheaper than RCA cables.

I can't imagine buying 25 or 50 feet of RCA cable.

The best part is, the converter is only about five or ten bucks to make, tops.

It also makes nice for permanent installs as well, since CAT 5 is much easier to run through the walls than a bundle of RCA cables.

Cat5 box001.jpg
CAT5 box with 3 RCA jacks on top

What you need

  • 2 CAT5 Project boxes (a.k.a. Surface Mount Jack) (around 2 or 3 bucks)
  • 6 RCA Jacks
  • Spare wire, preferably small and stranded (2 ft. is more then enough)
  • Soldering iron (around 25 watts is fine)
  • Solder (of course)
  • Epoxy (optional)
  • Dremel (anything that can cut smooth holes in plastic, about a half an inch in diameter)

Concept

The CAT5 project box is made for patching cables to CAT5. Here's a crude drawing of what it looks like on the inside. 8 leads coming from the CAT5 jack connect to 8 different screw posts. 4 twisted pairs of wires make up the CAT5 cable. RCA cables have two wires so to speak. A ground and a live wire, (that’s what I’m going to call them at least. All you need to do is connect the ground connection to one screw post in the box, and the live to another position. When you make the second box, make sure you connect the ground and live wires to the right position in the box.

Here’s a break down of the steps

1. Open up the CAT 5 project box and unscrew 6 of the posts (or 2 posts per RCA jack you want to connect.


inside CAT5 box with 8 screw posts


2. Clip 6 wires about and inch or 2 in length (not too long because we'll have to push it all into the box later.

3. Lay out where you want the jacks to be located. The box I used was a bit small, I would have liked a bigger one.

4. Dremel out the holes for each RCA jack. Try to get it as close as you can, make it look clean.

5. There should be a nut and washer on the RCA jack, unscrew it and mount the jacks in the hole and secure them with the washer and nut.

6. Solder the wires to the live and ground locations of the RCA jack.

inside CAT5 box with 8 screw posts

7. You might want to epoxy the jacks in place on the inside right now. I did it later and it was a bit of a hassle. But only do it if you are confident you won't need to take them out.

8. Wrap the soldered wires from the jacks around separate screws. This is the tricky part, trying to get a screw driver over the screw heads with the top of the project box over them. Do your best, might have to solder on a bit longer wire. Make sure to reference which wires go to which jacks and which are live and which are ground.

9. Put the covers on the boxes, stuff all those wires inside, and you're done.

10. Just connect your red white and yellow RCA cords from you PS2 Xbox or anything into one box, an Ethernet cord in between the two boxes and another RCA red yellow white into the TV. No more getting up to change games or movies when the console is right under the couch at your feet.

A few notes: If it doesn't work the first time, the jack may be shorting out due to a cramped space in the box. The only thing I can tell you it to try to bend everything into its own space, or hopefully, you have a bigger box and don't have to worry about it. I've heard that around 50 ft is the longest you'd want to carry the signal... I haven’t tested it out, but I’ve done 25 ft with no problems whatsoever.