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The Acme 25AC Cable Stapler
Last updated: 3/6/04

It's a sad story that keeps repeating in our forums... A new home owner has had his or her entire house wired for networking, the dry wall has been installed, and the network doesn't work. The wiring was done by a unqualified subcontractor (or the homeowner) who stapled the network cabling to studs, etc. with a stapler that was not designed for the job.

That may work for telephone lines and even dial-up MODEMS, but it will stop a 100 bps 100BASE-TX Ethernet, operating at frequencies in the 38 MHz range, cold. Maintaining the geometry of CAT 5e and CAT6 cables is absolutely critical for signal propagation at these higher frequencies. Kinking it, bending it too tight, stretching it too much, squashing it, and walking on it can permanently ruin it.

Among the ways to attach twisted-pair network cable to studs, etc. without ruining it is to use the Acme Staple Company's 25AC stapler. It is specifically designed to install network and coax cable without crushing it. It drives specially configured staples to a predetermined depth in most substrates. I have tested it on pine, plywood, and chipboard. It consistently works well. As shown in the crosssectional picture, the staples do not crush the cable. In fact, the cable is loose enough that it can be pulled through the staples. Also, the resin-coated staples hold well, well enough that pliers are usually required to remove them.

Another obvious way a stapler not designed for the job can damage network cable is to drive a staple into it. I have purposely tried to use this stapler to drive a staple through a CAT 5e cable. Because of the arched nose piece (3), that fits over and protects the cable, it is next to impossible to do.

Unlike many staplers with rear-loading magazines and pushers that must be removed to replenish staples, the ACME 25AC is so very easy to load. Hold the stapler upside down, squeeze the clothespin lever at the rear of the staple magazine, pull the spring-loaded pusher assembly (16) back, drop in the staples, and push the pusher assembly back in until it snaps into place--ready to go!

The bottom loading feature also makes the 25AC easy to unjam. When the pusher assembly is pulled back, the magazine is wide-open at the bottom and loaded staples are completely exposed. If one inverts the stapler (from the loading postion) with the magazine open, the staples will fall out. When the pusher assembly is pushed back into the stapler the bottom is covered and protected from dirt and debris. Also, the pusher stays attached to the gun so it will not misplaced while looking for the correct staples.

The cost of a network cable stapler is not the only consideration if one is going to do a lot of cabling. Besides ease of loading the stapler, the price of the staples and how many staples a stapler will hold are also factors. As compared to the Arrow T-59, a competing product, which holds 30 insulated staples that cost $6.50 for a box of 300, uninsulated staples for the Acme 25AC cost $2.89 for a box of 1,000 and it holds up to 84 staples, which reduces reload frequency.

The 25AC is a quality product designed by Acme in the U.S. and manufactured in Taiwan using nickle-plated steel parts. Critical wear/impact parts are case-hardened and heat-treated. It has a hefty feel while its ergonomically designed handle reduces fatigue. Acme states that it's staplers have been found to exceed multiple tens of thousands of cycles and are used in large numbers by companies such as Verizon.

The 25AC can also be used to attach 1/4" coax cable such as RG-59 and RG-58. It is one of a series of staplers designed for various kinds of cable. I have an Acme AC 37AC. It compares in quality to the 25AC and is designed for RG-6 coaxial cable, which is widely used for cable TV.

Some building codes may require insulated staples, even for low-voltage wire.



Acme Staple Company, Inc.

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