Why Use Cheapest Cables For Wiring ?

It seems to make no sense to me that integrators are using the cheapest & sub-standard cables (to wire electromagnetic locks for example) because of lowest price, when in the long run it is one of the hardest expenses to justify for overhauling/renewal facing the customer. The customer always say: why if yesterday it was working, today it no longer works, is it because of the cables you say ??? Those cables have been there forever and they worked ....

IsnĀ“t it cheaper to change a maglock or replace a camera which is at "hands-reach" rather than pull out all the old cables stucked in old-aging conduits most of the time ??

That said, what is the average lifespan of cables under normal conditions, excluding places that are near the bodies of water (salinity, humidity, corrosion, etc.)


The customer always say: why if yesterday it was working, today it did not work, is it because of the cables you say ??? Those cables have been there forever and they worked ....

It might a tough sell, but isn't the cable failing the reason you are on site to begin with?

So the customer already knows there is a problem. If the cable plant is disintegrating, you can show him the jacket deterioration.

The sight of frayed wires, even LV ones, have a strong effect on even the most miserly customer.

Well, it is an old installation we are "inheriting" from another company ... not done by us. As you know, a difficult (if not impossible thing) is to decode where each wire and it's color begins and ends.

I understand the contempt one feels when one discovers some absolute crap has been used, to save $50 10 years ago.

On the other hand, for someone taking over work they didn't do, this seems like a great oppurtunity to upsell.

If the system is critical and failing, then it must be fixed.

And the client who might be pushing back against redo-ing wiring that is still mostly working, may find it far easier to justify when new capabilities will be implemented at the same time.

Would it be a good idea to just refuse touching an old installation or else take the job but tell the customer first we won't guarantee success with the old cables ??? (you know, to keep expectations within range) ....

I do that on occasion. The only job I ever went back to the owner on was a one that had cable problems. They were not honest upfront. We found three different types of cable in one run alone. But you can't see that in a walk-through.

I am like your customer in many ways, but, (big but here) I was taught to troubleshoot in the military in a different century. The cable really was of the highest quality and the least of my problems. In the last 10 or so years, I have noticed a perceived downward trend in cable quality. I don't mean to say that it really sticks out, but I hear it more frequently than I would have believed. I have not had the time to study it and figure out why like I did with batteries. Off the top of my head, manufacturing standards could be an issue. My guess (only) is that if you traced it all backwards you would find that a lot of it is being made overseas. The quality control could be questionable (does sheetrock ring a bell) or it is being manufactured to a minimum standard on purpose. Heat (over time) plays a part, the insulation breakdown is a factor, application is a factor, but IMHO, installation is the biggest culprit. All that being said, the expected lifespan should be +/- 70 years.

As metal production and other manufacturing goes overseas, the 'race to the bottom' price wise heats up. I have been involved with hands on testing of cables from several overseas vendors and when you compare hard data to what is expected scientifically, it's pretty shocking. An 'off the shelf' siamese cable that is supposed to be 18-2 with the voltage drop of a 22-2. A random pull test of 10 cables from a batch of several thousand had an 'out of box' fail rate of 60 something %. When we had a meeting with that distributor, he actually said to us 'So what, i'll take them back and sell them to someone that doesn't care'. With this particular example, it was both very poor molding/tooling on the insulation as well as extremely poor metal/wire construction and it became clear that they are using alloy instead of pure copper.

I think the problem is public perception. Take 'Monster Cable' home theater gear for example. (I worked retail for a decade and had to try to sell that stuff). Can you actually really convince someone that they needed a $150 S Video cable, that would make their DVD player look THAT much better than the $12 one?

So, that perception has been brought over by the purchasing agents to CCTV and other structured wiring. I think it is our job to explain to our customers (in simple terms) that they want a good quality construction with good materials, and that spending an extra dollar or two now will save them thousands on rip and replace in 10 years.

Can you actually really convince someone that they needed a $150 S Video cable, that would make their DVD player look THAT much better than the $12 one?

Unfortunately, yes.

Related:HDMI Cables - How Much Do You (Want To) Pay?

I love that 'ethernet' is misspelled in the ad for a $4,000 cable. Gives me a lot of confidence.

so is "specifications"

thankfully HDMI is not :)

Cables are cheap enough, why opt for crap?

People are always trying to save a dollar. In a large company, if you're selling 250 cables a DAY, and you can save $1 on each, it adds up. Think about it, if you're bidding a job to rewire a big office building, you probably need several thousand feet. The accountants that are responsble for the bid process aren't going to know to ask about the difference. They get a quote from a mom and pop shop that are trying to win on price, then get a quote from a larger integrator that's using Belden or Coleman, and when they look at the line items, all they see is the $$. We have to be the one's that explain the difference

I don't want anyone to misinterpret my comments, but accountants should not be involved in bid preparation or evaluation. They don't know enough despite their insistence otherwise. But you are correct, you have to explain the difference and the value. You are always selling value. If the customer does not see it, they never will and you should walk away.

I have always maintained that people who are good at this business make it look easy. Others convince themselves they can do it if you can. They put no value on your training, knowledge or experience. That is why golf is so popular. The pros make it look easy.