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If you work in the datacomm installation business, then you know Paladin. Sean, for example, is very proud of the set of Paladin CAT5 crimpers he owns. After going through a couple of sets, he finally bought a “good” set — by Paladin. But did you know Paladin makes multitools, too?

They do, and they call them PowerPlay. Specifically, they make three models, one designed for datacomm specialists, one for telcomm people, and one for electrical work.

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Striping fiber optic cable isn’t a job for a pair of wire strippers. You need special strippers that allow you to precisely remove the correct cable layers for the job. Paladin tools manufactures one such stripper — the FiverOptic 5-in-1 stripper.

In order to understand what this tool does, a description of the structure of a fiber optic cable might be helpful — I’m not an expert, so if I get something wrong here please let me know. Generally, a cable with a single fiber consists of the core made from silica, quartz, or plastic covered with a cladding that is also part of the optical path made from acrylate or another material. A buffer surrounds the cladding and separates the fibers in cables with multiple fibers. Finally, an outer jacket wraps around the cable to protect it.

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We read about the Paladin Universal Cable Slitter for the first time today and decided to look for the lowest price — we found it at Technical Connections for $21, a good $4 off the list price.  The cable slitter strips cable both longitudinally and peripherally, which looks like a great timesaver when doing any intensive wiring jobs.

Paladin Universal Cable Slitter [Technical Connections]
Street Pricing [Google Products]

 
Paladin's PowerBlade

Not only did Paladin include a SOG beveled-edge blade on this specially designed electrician’s knife, but they also packed 11 different wire strippers into the handle. If you do any electrical work, you might want to add this knife to your tool pouch.

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I need to hit up the Toolmongers for advice on working with RG6 CATV coaxial cable.  Firstly, if I need to splice two segments, how should I do it?  It needs to be weatherproof; are there specially rated connectors for outdoor use?

I want to get a starter tool set for crimping and/or using compression connectors on RG6. I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, but on the other hand I’m tired of using the crappy twist-on F-Connectors. Any of you Toolmongers out there know where I can get a cool stripping/crimping kit online that’s good enough for occasional, non-pro use and will last beyond my first crimping job?

I found these online:

DataShark Cable TV “F” Compression Bundle Via Amazon [What’s this?]
F-TYPE 2Ghz VIDEO COUPLER F/F [Cables-to-go] 
Paladin SealTite Pro Compression Cable Kit Via Amazon [What’s this?]
Paladin Compression Crimp Bundle Via Amazon [What’s this?]

It seems to me that I can just pick up the first two and be done with it. Do you have experience with any of these?  Are the Paladin kits worth the extra dough?

Of course, we can’t forget the Harbor Freight option:

Coax Cable Tool Kit [Harbor Freight]

Your help on this in comments will be much appreciated.

 
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Terminating coaxial cable just got a little bit easier: the double-ended Paladin 1917 flares the brad of both both common co-ax cable types — RG59 and RG6 — so you don’t have to carry a second tool.  Plus, its ten-dollar price tag pales in comparison to high-buck strippers and crimpers, so there’s no reason not to grab one if you’re doing a lot of coaxial work.

Paladin 1917 Coax Braid Flaring Tool [Paladin Tools]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s this?] 

 

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If you’ve yet to use a cable tie gun, you’re definitely missing out.  Cable ties are easily one of the most useful tools in the shop — closely following duct tape and trailed slightly by 3-in-1 oil — but they take on a whole new level of handiness when combined with a good tie gun.

I came across these the first time when bundling zillions of cables in a large network install.  One of the guys had a cheaper unit, and one had a Paladin.  The cheaper one did the job — and was far quicker than applying the ties by hand — but the Paladin really was first class.  It works in a single squeeze, tightening the tie and cutting it in one fluid motion.

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Myself writes: “Got no use for the ‘blasting cap crimper’ in the jaws of your multi-tool? Spend more time in communications closets?  Try the 66 and 110 punchdown blades in the PowerPlay.  It also sports a drywall saw, real wire strippers, spudger tip, and all the screwdrivery and pliery goodness you’d expect from a multi-tool.”

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Jeff T. writes: “This cable tester is a massive jack-of-all-trades when it comes to data cable testing.  It doesn’t test all types of cables, but comes pretty darn close.”

This is exactly the kind of thing we’ve been looking for to use around the office.  According to Paladin Tools (the manufacturer), it’ll handle LAN, telephone, serial, coaxial, USB, VGA, mini-USB, S-video, FireWire, PS/2 keyboard, and parallel printer cables.

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