Monday, September 21, 2015

Pyle Pyle-Pro PCT40 Cable Tester Review


I got a box full of stuff to try out a while back inside was a Pyle Pyle-Pro PCT40 cable tester. This was a stroke of luck, as I gave my Nady cable tester to a friend in need, and I had a box of cables that were suspect, as they had previously given me trouble on various gigs.

You may remember Pyle as the company that made those mediocre yet big, thumpy, and cheap car speakers back in the 1980s. Well, it turns out that nowadays they crank out mediocre yet amazingly low priced pro audio equipment that is generally good enough to get the job done. This tester is definitely of this ilk.

There is nothing like having a channel go dead while you are running a show. At least a few times a year I have mic channel go out in the middle of the action. I always have spare on hand, so I swap out the XLR cable and microphone (praying it is not the snake), so I swap out both components post haste to keep the show going.

Later on I test the mic and usually find out it is fine (especially the Shures, they never go bad), so I throw the cable into the bad box and figure I will get to it later. I used to scoff at cable testers because I have a pretty strong electronics background and have a really nice digital multimeter so I can test things out myself without needing to have another piece of equipment. In theory this is nice, but I hadn’t gotten around to checking these cables, had I?

Besides testing failed equipment, it is also nice to have something like this so I can go through all of my cables before I pack up for a gig, so I know I am not taking any bum equipment. Of course I carry spares, but why deal with the hassles of tracking down dead leads during the stress of a set-up.

The Pyle PCT40 gets the job done for me. It is a sturdy metal component, painted gaudy yellow with cheap-looking graphics on the front. It is a bit bigger than an effects pedal, measuring 8 x 3 by 5 inches, and it weighs 1 pound, 10 oiunces. There are outputs and inputs on the top and sides that allow you to test cables with the following ends: USB, RJ45, banana plugs, ¼-inch TRS, DIN (3, 5, & 8-pin), phono (RCA), Speakon and XLR (3 & 5-pin). This covers just about everything, and the addition of USB jacks is awesome!

This unit is fairly easy to use. A 9-volt battery (not included) powers it up, and there is no ON/OFF switch -- the unit powers ON as soon as a cable is plugged in. When you plug a cable into both sides of the PCT40, it passes a small amount of current through the cable, and if it comes out the other side ok, it will illuminate one of the LEDs. By turning the 8-position knob, a pair of LEDs will light up for however each conductor that is inside the cable. If an LED does not come ON, there is an open circuit. The ninth position is for testing the battery.

If you have a cable or circuit that you want to check that is not included on this unit, you can plug electrical test leads into the banana plug jacks and use this as a continuity checker.

I have been using this tester on the box of bad cables and they all tested bad, so there were no surprises and it seems to work. Learning how to use it was a breeze, and it seems to be holding up well. If any of the connectors on the box go bad, they look like they should be easy enough to service. The only hang-up I have is that the battery leads seem REALLY thin, so I think that will be the first thing to break.

The Pyle Pyle-Pro PCT40 cable tester gets the job done for me, and if you are interested in picking one up it will not break the bank. These have a list price of $91.99 and a street price of $32.99 through Amazon. That is pretty cheap, if you ask me!


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