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Cat5/6 cables for penetrators

We’ve recently built a couple of ethernet penetrators using the larger (black) BR penetrators, marine epoxy and whatever Cat5/6 cable we have lying around the IT department. We have had poor bonding between the the epoxy and the cable jacket, which maybe due to the jacket material, and may be due to the inherent flexibility in the cables.

Before I go nuts trying to source just the right Cat6 cable, anyone have positive experiences with particular jacket materials?


Many cat 6 network cables are designed to be pulled through conduit, and as such sometimes have surface coatings designed to reduce friction and wear. You may be running into that. I would try cleaning the jacket at the potting point either with acetone or mineral spirits, depending on if either one eats the jacket (test first) and then go around the area to be potted with a red scotch brute scuff pad to rough up the surface a bit and give that a try.

In a manner similar to Tim’s suggestion, I’ve used cat5 cable with success (not tested to more than 10 meters, but the bonding was good). I used ~200 grit sandpaper to rough up the jacket uniformly on the entire circumference. I used Alcohol to clean away any oils from my hands and the remaining jacket dust before potting. Be sure to let the cable dry completely after using any solvents on it before you try to pot it. Some solvents can inhibit some epoxies from curing completely.