Why are digital voice, data, and video testers gaining popularity with installers in residential and commercial applications?

Due to IP now being incorporated into so many different products, installers are being asked to develop new skill sets associated with this convergence technology. Supporting many platforms requires investing in the tools and testers that confirms they are installing these products correctly. For instance, these units are used to measure the length of entire cables and its pin pairs and allows for viewing and adjusting the length constant value for video, data, and voice cables. The Platinum Tools VDV MapMaster 2.0 tests Cat-6, Cat5e, Cat-5, Cat-4, Cat-3, and coax cables, as well as shielded cables. Video and data cables can be connected to their respective remotes at the same time to improve testing efficiency. Patch cables may be tested without removing the master remote from storage. Single platform devices are just not cost effective. That is why multi-platform testers like the VDV MapMaster 2.0 are in such demand. Convenient and cost effective…plain and simple.

What are the Cost vs ROI? Why should installers invest in such testing equipment?

ROI is virtually immediate. A VDV MapMaster 2.0 enables the installer to accurately test, map, and tone as well as measure the length of cables on an installation. This can save many man hours on every job. Plus with a msrp of only $129.95, and by eliminating call backs for a no charge repair or rework, the VDV MapMaster 2.0 will pay for itself many times over. 

What are the benefits of the remote sets?

It provides the installer a schematic layout of the wiring network. This will also allow the installer to accurately identify/label each cable run from wall plate to patch panel. One of the problems with bundles of cables is properly locating the path and labeling each cable. This has been traditionally performed by two technicians with a Tone generator and a wire probe to identify each cable.  The installer populates the wall plates and labels each throughout the building with the numbered remotes and goes to the patch panel where all of the cables are terminated. They then plug into a patch panel port with the VDV and each port is now associated with a remote ID number. Perfect for troubleshooting faulty cables; create a schematic layout of the wired network, and labeling everything with confidence.

Mapping is identified without a tone probe. Since a remote ID number is displayed quietly on the large LCD screen; disruption within a business environment is minimized. Mapping can be performed up to 19 locations at a time efficiently with one technician, greatly reducing installation time which reduces labor costs.  Platinum Tools offers remotes in a pack of 19 for Coax “F style” (T120C); and 19 for Twisted Pair “RJ45 style” (T121C) with an MSRP of $39.95 each.

How many typical tools would this replace?

Since the VDV MapMaster 2.0 Tests, Tones, Maps and Measures lengths of cables… it would replace eight different testers.  VDV stands for Voice (telephone), Data (Cat5/6) and Video (Coax) so that represents three testers.  Cable mapping devices would represent another three products.  The VDV MapMaster 2.0 with the ability to measure the lengths of the cables with the built in TDR equals one more device.  The VDV MapMaster 2.0 also has a tone generator with four selectable cadences which would require yet an additional device. This enables the installer to greatly reduce their investment versus buying several single platform devices. The VDV MapMaster 2.0 will allow the installer to always be prepared and have the right tool for the job.

What are the most common problems the tool will diagnose?

For data, the main function of a tester is to verify that the wires are correctly terminated inside the connector for twisted pair cable. If connectors are wired correctly, the VDV screen will display a “pass” icon.  If connectors are wired incorrectly, the large screen will display a “fail” icon. This is very important because it verifies that the connectors are terminated correctly before leaving the job site.  Being able to test your drops quickly and efficiently is the VDV MapMaster 2.0 greatest strength. While this tester can impressively map up to 19 locations, it still does utilize the tried and true tone generation. This gives techs the capability to adapt to the mapping features of the product while providing a great fall back when toning speaker wire and other miscellaneous cables. Now with the added TDR technology, it has the ability to both measure the entire length of a cable and or individual pairs, as well as measure the distance to a short in the cable. This allows the tech to find and repair damaged cabled without having to pull new wire.  Plus there is no need for multiple techs to be able to diagnose problems quickly. 

The VDV MapMaster 2.0 will simply save the installer time and money and eliminate potential service calls or reworks.

What makes the Platinum Tools VDV MapMaster 2.0 stand out from the competition? What are its most prominent features?

What separates VDV MapMaster 2.0 from our competition are the 20 percent larger display screen with easy to read graphics; the one-button test functions, which eliminate complicated sequences; mapping 19 coax and 19 RJ45 simultaneously; the cable length measurement and built-in tone generator; and the feature that I am most proud is the VDV MapMaster 2.0 is manufactured in the USA and is still priced 20 percent below competition.

What are Platinum Tools’ plans for future voice, data, and video testers?

This year we have concentrated on providing value added testers with extra features for the field technician. We are filling the needs of our ever growing fan base for Platinum Tools products.  

We have targeted the third quarter for telephone test sets, a data continuity tester, and a tone and probe kit.  For 2013, we will launch more advanced products with unique key features. Our customers have grown to expect it from Platinum Tools. Stay Tuned.

Tell us a little bit more about Platinum Tools?

Platinum Tools, founded in 1997, was created based upon two very simple objectives. First, develop the absolute best possible solutions for the preparation, termination and testing of wire and cable. Second, implement an operational infrastructure that can deliver these products in an efficient, timely, and high quality manner.

Serving the Custom Electronics, Security, Datacom, Broadband, Telecom, and Electrical markets, all of our products must satisfy critical benchmark criteria…utility and quality of function and economic value. Our products provide unique and time saving solutions for installers. The patented EZ-RJ45® termination system for Cat5 and Cat6 is our flagship product.

Our people are our company. They, too, must be focused on and work to satisfy multiple critical benchmark criteria…customer satisfaction; product knowledge and expertise; and willingness to learn and adapt.

About Todd

Todd Cota is Platinum Tools VP – Sales

An industry vet for more than 20 years, Cota was VP – sales for Valor Enterprise, owner and sales rep for Tap Marketing, director of sales for Vanco International, and VP – sales for Quest Technology before joining Platinum Tools in 2010.