Telco Cable Topics & Basics

Telco or Phone cables are used to connect various devices together so they can communicate.  However you cannot just go down to the store and buy any old phone cable and have it work.  For MOST DCC system, the cables have to be made a special way (Pin to Pin) and this section talks about that.  You also have two choices in acquiring these cables:

1) Buy them.
2) Make them.

Below are various sub topics as they related to the telco (telephone/Phone) cables.  Of note is the recent option of using low cost standard ethernet cables to implement a NCE/Digitrax Compatible Cab Bus.

Contents

1) Basic Cable Information and Construction: See Below
2) Buying your cables ->  Go here: Telco Buying Cables
3) Making Your own Cables (DIY) ->  Go here: Telco Making cables
4) Making Cab Panel Cables (DIY) using Ethernet Cables:  Go here: Telco Using Ethernet Cable
5) Telco Couplers ->  Go here: Telco Couplers
6) Telco Splitters -> Go here: Telco Splitters
7) What does RJ Mean?  Go here: Telco RJ?

NOTE: EasyDCC uses standard off the shelf Phone Cables.  This section does not apply.


Basic Cable Information and Construction  (Not for EasyDCC)

The type of telco cables used in by far in most DCC systems go by the other names such as "Data" or "Reverse" Telco Cables.   They are all constructed as a "Pin to Pin" cable simply which means Pin 1 of the connector on one end goes to to Pin 1 of the connector on the other end.

Bellow is an assembly drawing of RJ12 cable compatible with most DCC system's cab bus wiring.  RJ12 simply means the cable is a 6 conductor with 6P6C modular plugs on each end wired in a Pin to Pin way.   6P6C is a description of the modular connectors used on each end which have a 6 wire Positions filled with 6 gold Contacts.

A cable consist of 2 Modular Telco connectors and a flat cable that contains individual color coded wires.  The modular telco connectors have two different sides.  One side has a plastic spring or tab and the other side has the gold metal contacts.  Below is a diagram of the cable wiring and connector orientation on each end:



Below is a photo showing the twist that naturally occurs in the cable with a "pin to pin" cable when both modular connectors are facing up showing the gold contacts.  Look at how the white wire (Pin 1) is oriented.  It has flipped sides with respect to the cable.