For my digital electronics project, I'm making a device which will among other things have RS-485 communication.
From what I've seen, the recommended cable type for RS-485 is twisted pair, and one of the requirements for my project is that the communication doesn't need more than one pair of wires, so the two ideas fit in more or less nicely.
The most elegant way to actually connect the cable to the PCB that occurred to me was the RJ-11 jack. Unfortunately, it's heavily associated with telephone use and all suitable telephone cables I could find here were flat. From what I've seen, it's almost impossible to actually find the twisted pair telephone cable which will nicely mate with the RJ-11 plug. So to solve that problem the next best thing to me looked like the 8P8C connector and standard network cable. The middle pair on the 8P8C will connect with the middle pain on the RJ-11 jack, should I manage to get twisted telephone cable, and all network cables that are commonly used with the 8P8C already have twisted pairs, so it looks like the twisted pair problem is solved.
One thing that bothers me is what should I do with the 3 remaining pairs in the network cable?
The communication will be simplex and each device will have it's own ground-isolated power supply. In some tests I did with the unused pairs floating the communication worked fine at the expected cable length (around 50 m in my case) and at much higher data rates than those which will be used in the final design (115200 b/s in test and 9600 b/s in the final design), so one option is to just leave the pairs floating. That seems a bit wasteful to me so the other idea that I thought of would be to use the unused pairs to make sure that the voltages between the grounds of the two devices are within the specified values. It also seems a bit wasteful to me to use 3 whole pairs for that. Unfortunately I'm out of ideas what to do with the remaining pairs.