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Old 03-10-2013, 09:40   #1
WiskyT
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Coax "Cable" Help

I'm talking about the standard stuff used for cable/sat TV used in the home, RG6 I think.

Anyway, we have three home runs in our house. One is going from the sat dish to the bedroom and is fine and is not part of this issue.

#2 goes from the sat dish to the living room and works fine.

#3 goes from the same exterior part of the house to the office and was used for cbale internet. We switched over to DSL a couple of years ago, so the cable has been dormant. The exterior end of it was connected to a spliter inside the big empty box from comcast on the exterior of the house.

All three home runs, the sat dish, and the comcast box are in the same location. Due to redecorating, we need to connect the TV to HR#3. I disconnected HR#3 from the comcast splitter, connected it to the same place regarding the sat dish as HR#2, and hooked the sat box to the terminal on the wall inside the house (wall plate thingy). We get no signal to the sat box.

I switched things back as they were and the sat box, TV, and HR#2 work fine 99-100 on the signal strength. Something is wrong with HR#3, or me because I can't figure this out. There are no mystery accessories that I can see like comcast filters etc. HR#3 is simply a coax cable that sticks out of the house and goes to the wall plate inside the house. There is nothing inside the wall plate box like a filter. We never had any problems with the comcast service through HR#3. The house is 9 years old and we are the fisrt owner.

The compression connector on the HR#3 looks as good as the rest of them, no obvious problems.

Is there something that comcast could have done to this HR#3 to make it not carry the sat signal?
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:05   #2
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Get an Ohm meter. Check/measure center wire to shield on both ends first to insure there is not already a short. Short one end of the cable with a paperclip or piece of wire. Go to the other end of the cable and measure to see if there is a short there. If you can open and close the short the cable should be good to go.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:02   #3
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One thing to add to W4CNG's advice.

A few times I have seen damaged cables that check good with an ohmmeter but still do not pass high frequency satellite signals. So the test is not a 100% guarantee.
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Old 03-10-2013, 13:41   #4
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I have a multimeter and I will check for a short. I guess there is no practical way to see if the cable is open anywhere since the ends are about 40 feet apart?

It didn't occur to me that the cable itself could be compromised since it worked with the internet connection. There are no moving parts here and nothing is exposed to any weather. I know the section of cable we are using from the wall plate to the sat box is good because we are using it now with HR#2.
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Old 03-10-2013, 13:52   #5
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I guess there is no practical way to see if the cable is open anywhere since the ends are about 40 feet apart?
There is, read the W4CNG's reply. Short the center conductor and the shield on one end of the cable, then measure the other end.
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Old 03-10-2013, 13:57   #6
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There is, read the W4CNG's reply. Short the center conductor and the shield on one end of the cable, then measure the other end.
Will do.
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Old 03-10-2013, 14:07   #7
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There is, read the W4CNG's reply. Short the center conductor and the shield on one end of the cable, then measure the other end.
Will do.
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Old 03-10-2013, 14:51   #8
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Okay, I fired up the Fluke 77 and stopped at the first reading because I don't think it's good. Bear in mind that just because I own a Fluke 77, it doesn't mean I know a lot about how to use it. I connected one pointy probe to the female threaded collar, the thing with the wrench flats on it. The other probe went on the center conductor. I zeroed the meter prior to this by touching the probes together. The number I got was 3.5 ohms. There was no "M" or anything else like hash marks on the bottom of the display, so I figure it was simply 3.5 ohms. There is only on position on the meter for ohms readings, so it wasn't on the wrong scale.

This says "short" to me. Is the threaded collar the part to test from? It seems to me that it is.

If this is a short, I will cut off the outdoor end and test the bare cable. Hopefully there is just a problem in the connector that comcast put on. It looks like a high quality connector, it's a digisomething compression fitting.
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Old 03-10-2013, 15:33   #9
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I presume the other end of cable was disconnected while you tested it? What you describe does indeed indicate a shorted cable.

Take a good look at the connectors. Look for a loose strand of wire or a piece of foil between the center conductor and the body of the connector. Sometimes a sloppy installer does not strip the cable properly.
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Old 03-10-2013, 15:41   #10
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I presume the other end of cable was disconnected while you tested it? What you describe does indeed indicate a shorted cable.

Take a good look at the connectors. Look for a loose strand of wire or a piece of foil between the center conductor and the body of the connector. Sometimes a sloppy installer does not strip the cable properly.
The HR cable is hooked up to the wall plate, then the store made cable (intended to go to sat box) that is not attached to anything. So, the cable is not connected to any equipment, but it is connected to the union in the wall plate box and then the store bough cable.

The wall plate are now behind the book cases and it will be a real PITA to get to them. We had to put the book cases back because we could barely walk around the house, and now I regret it.

The connector outside "looks" good. But, it is very easy to get to and there is enough cable for me to cut it off. I think I will go do that first and hope that is it. At this point, I'm going to have to cut one or more of these ends off, so I might as well do the easy one.

BRB.
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Old 03-10-2013, 15:49   #11
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According to the laws of electronics, the fault will be in the least accessible place.
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Old 03-10-2013, 16:10   #12
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Okay, I cut the nice, high quality, connector off of the outside because it was easy to get to, and it wasn't it, still 3-4 ohms. Nearly got killed moving the bookcases and found the problem. A lousy union inside the wall box. The strands were all over the pin inside the union. It is one of those screw on connectors and I re-did it and I'm damn near infinity now

I'm going to run out to home Depot and get one of those screw on connectors to get it working tonight. I don't know how long it will hold up outside, but it will get me running.

I think I have some silicon grease. I was reading that I should pack it in the connector to prevent oxydation. Any thoughts on that?

And thank you guys for all of your help
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Old 03-10-2013, 16:12   #13
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According to the laws of electronics, the fault will be in the least accessible place.
You're a ****ing Profit!

Well, it could have been somewhere inside the walls of the house. Then it would be FUBAR. I ain't gonna get all Three Stooges and rip the walls out.
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Old 03-10-2013, 18:51   #14
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You guys are the best! Signal strength is 100. Everything is honky-dory.
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Old 03-10-2013, 20:30   #15
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Glad you found the problem!

As for screw-ons, I personally hate them. I know you probably don't have the crimping tool for crimp-on connectors. What you can do is buy compression type connectors - it's easier to put them on without special tools, plus you get a weatherized connection without using tape or silicone.

Here is what you need for compression connectors: a 5/16" open end wrench, a 1/2" socket, and a small hammer. Don't laugh, I don't have the tool for them either.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:18   #16
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Glad you found the problem!

As for screw-ons, I personally hate them. I know you probably don't have the crimping tool for crimp-on connectors. What you can do is buy compression type connectors - it's easier to put them on without special tools, plus you get a weatherized connection without using tape or silicone.

Here is what you need for compression connectors: a 5/16" open end wrench, a 1/2" socket, and a small hammer. Don't laugh, I don't have the tool for them either.

Can you see if you can find a YouTube video for this wrench/socket method?

By the way just to mention the crimping tool and crimp connectors are very affordable at Harbor Freight. The tool comes with a stripper for the perfect crimped connection.


/
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:28   #17
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Can you see if you can find a YouTube video for this wrench/socket method?

By the way just to mention the crimping tool and crimp connectors are very affordable at Harbor Freight. The tool comes with a stripper for the perfect crimped connection.


/
Yeah, this is a good time to segway into the merits of the various types of connectors. One place I read said that the crimp on ones are better in theory, but are often done wrong and can cause more problems than they solve. This particular sight said that the screw-ons are better overall. The idea being that a screw-on is easier to get right than a crimp or compression fitting.

I don't know what's best. I do know that the screw-on cost me $2.50 for a 2-pack and is working (for now). I'll follow any discussion of connectors and upgrade it down the road.
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:51   #18
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One thing to be aware of with the screw on connectors. There are two different sizes. The smaller size is for indoor only sized cable not exposed to weather. The larger size is for the thicker jacket on outdoor cable that is designed for direct burial and weather exposure.


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Old 03-11-2013, 13:48   #19
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One thing to be aware of with the screw on connectors. There are two different sizes. The smaller size is for indoor only sized cable not exposed to weather. The larger size is for the thicker jacket on outdoor cable that is designed for direct burial and weather exposure.


/
They had RG6 and another, smaller, one R59 I think. I got the larger of the two. It did seem light duty, and I had a hard time screwing it on. It did have an O-ring in it though. The O-ring made me think "weatherproof". This may last a week, or a few years.
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Old 03-11-2013, 15:10   #20
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Can you see if you can find a YouTube video for this wrench/socket method?
Let me see if I can take a picture...

BTW, the socket is 7/16", not 1/2". I was half asleep last night when I typed it.

Tech Talk

Tech Talk


Quote:
By the way just to mention the crimping tool and crimp connectors are very affordable at Harbor Freight. The tool comes with a stripper for the perfect crimped connection.
This crimping tool is pretty good if it comes with the right jaws (the jaws in the picture are for electrical wires, not coax). Brand names like Paladin sell pretty much the same tool in the $50-$100 range.

Tech Talk

And I like this stripping tool:

Tech Talk

Keep in mind that the stripping tool may need to be fine-tuned for best results. The blades must go just deep enough to cut through the insulation, without scratching the conductors.

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Old 03-11-2013, 15:22   #21
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One place I read said that the crimp on ones are better in theory, but are often done wrong and can cause more problems than they solve. This particular sight said that the screw-ons are better overall. The idea being that a screw-on is easier to get right than a crimp or compression fitting.
Let's put it this way, I haven't seen screw-on connectors in any kind of professional or even semi-professional environment. I don't think they are inherently "easier" either. But they do have the advantage of being reusable and not requiring special tools.
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Old 03-11-2013, 18:26   #22
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Let's put it this way, I haven't seen screw-on connectors in any kind of professional or even semi-professional environment. I don't think they are inherently "easier" either. But they do have the advantage of being reusable and not requiring special tools.
I don't doubt it. Mine is a test mule at this point. Crappy big box twist on + total weather exposure=X.

It's kind of hard to argue with your idiot proof pictographs for the compression type. I wonder if anyone sells small bags, like one or two, of the compression connectors.
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Old 03-11-2013, 19:18   #23
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I wonder if anyone sells small bags, like one or two, of the compression connectors.
I think RadioShack sells them in 5-packs.

If you decide to go with a non-weatherproof connector, here are ways to weatherize it...

- Self-fusing rubber tape: best.
- Regular electrical tape: not so good, but it helps.
- Silicone: works well, but a bit messy and hard to remove.

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Old 03-11-2013, 19:35   #24
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I think RadioShack sells them in 5-packs.

If you decide to go with a non-weatherproof connector, here are ways to weatherize it...

- Self-fusing rubber tape: best.
- Regular electrical tape: not so good, but it helps.
- Silicone: works well, but a bit messy and hard to remove.
I used silicone grease, not RTV sealer, so removal shouldn't be an issue. I don't know how well it will work, but it was reccomended by the dude who was professing the virtues of the twist-on connectors.

I don't have any self-fusing tape, and I figure a roll will probably cost as much as the connectors at RS. I might wrap some regular black tape around it since I have some of that to hold things over while I get the compression type.

The buss bar thingy that the connector connects to has a rubber washer that butts up against the mouth of the connector that I ASSume keeps the weather from getting in that way.
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Old 03-11-2013, 19:42   #25
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Quote:
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I think RadioShack sells them in 5-packs.

If you decide to go with a non-weatherproof connector, here are ways to weatherize it...

- Self-fusing rubber tape: best.
- Regular electrical tape: not so good, but it helps.
- Silicone: works well, but a bit messy and hard to remove.
Outside weather connections:
For lots of years I have used ignition silicon grease for cars (insulator for moisture on spark plug wiring) on my company outside R.F. electronics. Tubes at a car store.

Just assemble your connector as usual (I prefer the Good RG6 crimp ones, and then squirt a gob of silicon grease the size to fill the open end of the male connector and assemble to the female with a wrench to tighten.

We use this technique up to 10 GHz and have excellent results over many years.

When you try to seal a connector you will accumulate moisture inside the sealed connector when the temperature goes below dew point.

You will never have a gas tight seal with tape. That is why better systems at high frequencies back-fill with Nitrogen dry gas to keep out moisture. The grease makes it impervious to moisture.

Also the dielectric constant for this grease is so low it doesn't foul up the impedance matching. Little loss.
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