Newbie questions on using splitters for coax cables... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 54 Old 07-19-2012, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello.

Is it true that coax cable splitters, with many ports (e.g., five ports with one input and four outputs), are not even in each of its port? If so, then are they all like this by design? I know they lose strengths when splitted, but someone told me that each port is not the same as the other ports. This is for over the air (OTA) with a CM-4228HD antenna.

Thank you in advance. smile.gif
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post #2 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 03:25 AM
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If the number of ports is a 2,4,8, or 16 way, the power split (insertion loss) should be equal per port. It's when you get into the "odd" numbers like 3 or 6 outputs (or similar) that you often, but not always, end up with unequal splits.

Check the manufacturer's specs, if available.
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post #3 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 03:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phildaant View Post

Hello.
Is it true that coax cable splitters, with many ports (e.g., five ports with one input and four outputs), are not even in each of its port? If so, then are they all like this by design? I know they lose strengths when splitted, but someone told me that each port is not the same as the other ports.
Thank you in advance. smile.gif


The 2 way splitters have 2 -3.5db outputs and 4 way splitters have 4 -7db outputs.

Most 3 way splitters usually have 2 -7db outputs and 1 -3.5db output. The -3.5db output usually is used for a cable modem, or a far run.

Think of a 3 way splitter as a 2 way splitter, with another 2 way splitter cascaded onto it.
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post #4 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 05:49 AM
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"odd" numbers like 3 or 6 outputs

6 is not an odd number.
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Think of a 3 way splitter as a 2 way splitter, with another 2 way splitter cascaded onto it.

Unless it's balanced, with 5.5dB attenuation per output
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post #5 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

6 is not an odd number.

I don't think he meant odd as in not an even number, he meant odd as in strange. Normal splitters are 2, 4, 8, 16 like he said, splitters with 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 etc outputs are not normal, and will usually have unbalanced losses unless they do something to even them out. I assume that's why he put the word odd in quotation marks.
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post #6 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProjectSHO89 View Post

If the number of ports is a 2,4,8, or 16 way, the power split (insertion loss) should be equal per port. It's when you get into the "odd" numbers like 3 or 6 outputs (or similar) that you often, but not always, end up with unequal splits.
Check the manufacturer's specs, if available.
Hmm, I don't have the specifications. The one, I got from Radio Shack from several years ago, has two one one end and three on the other end (one is for input).
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post #7 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 07:32 AM
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splitters with 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 etc outputs are not normal, and will usually have unbalanced losses unless they do something to even them out

A basic splitter is a 2 way power divider. Multiple splits can be made by cascading '2 way' power dividers. Splitters with even numbers of outputs are balanced and have equal attenuation per output. Splitters with odd numbers of outputs can be balanced, but are more commonly not, due to the fact that it's cheaper and easier to cascade '2 way' power dividers.
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post #8 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 07:59 AM
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What are you trying to do? A good description will help us give you some solid advice. All splitters are not created equal and from past experience the ones bought at the shack although nice and GOLD /shiney don't pass high enough freq for Dish/Direct and aren't shielded enough to be used for CATV.
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post #9 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phildaant View Post

Hmm, I don't have the specifications. The one, I got from Radio Shack from several years ago, has two one one end and three on the other end (one is for input).
Hmmm.... The second coax on the one with two ends is probably a power input that would get connected to an external power supply via coax. Essentailly, it's not a passive splitter, but a distribution amp.
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post #10 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

A basic splitter is a 2 way power divider. Multiple splits can be made by cascading '2 way' power dividers. Splitters with even numbers of outputs are balanced and have equal attenuation per output. Splitters with odd numbers of outputs can be balanced, but are more commonly not, due to the fact that it's cheaper and easier to cascade '2 way' power dividers.

Not quite 100% true. While a 6 way and 10 way splitter does have an even number of outputs, they would not have balanced outputs because you could not divide them evenly with only 2 way splitters. For example a 6 way splitter would most likely be a chain of 5 2-way splitters. This would result in 2 ports with 7dB of loss, and 4 ports with 10.5dB loss.

For a splitter to be a balanced splitter it has to be a power of 2 (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, etc) or it has to have something done to equalize the output like I said before. Just having an even number of outputs isn't enough.
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post #11 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Hmmm.... The second coax on the one with two ends is probably a power input that would get connected to an external power supply via coax. Essentailly, it's not a passive splitter, but a distribution amp.
Is there a way to tell from the splitter itself like on its labels? I don't have the packaging, manual, etc.
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post #12 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RollTide2011 View Post

What are you trying to do? A good description will help us give you some solid advice. All splitters are not created equal and from past experience the ones bought at the shack although nice and GOLD /shiney don't pass high enough freq for Dish/Direct and aren't shielded enough to be used for CATV.
I am trying to figure out why some outputs/rooms are weaker than others. This is for over the air (OTA) antenna(s/e). Kind of like http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062051 (not sure if it is the same exact model). wink.gif
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post #13 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 09:56 AM
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Unless you have a signal power meter, you really cannot actually measure the signal power. If you're using the built-in "signal meters" found in converter boxes and many TV sets, You are not measure signal power on any scale that is the same from one make and model of a set to any other (they're all different).

A 6-way splitter could be done in a balanced fashion. Use a 2-way followed by two 3-ways that are balanced.

FWIW. we offer a balanced 3-way that typically exhibits a 5.5-6.0 dB IL per port when measured on the lab gear.

.

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post #14 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ADTech View Post

Unless you have a signal power meter, you really cannot actually measure the signal power. If you're using the built-in "signal meters" found in converter boxes and many TV sets, You are not measure signal power on any scale that is the same from one make and model of a set to any other (they're all different).
.
Thanks. Are those signal power meters cheap for consumers?
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post #15 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by phildaant View Post

Is there a way to tell from the splitter itself like on its labels? I don't have the packaging, manual, etc.
Well yeah.... there should be a model number somewhere on the front or back. rolleyes.gif
You can get manuals for old RS products online.

IMO, if you don't have the power supply, it's not worth the effort. And.......... probably not going to fix your issues anyway. wink.gif

You really need to get some help from someone locally. You can buy all the meters and amps that are manufactured, but if you have bad cables, connectors, long runs, marginal signals and whatever.... this really shouldn't be as difficult as you make this sound.
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post #16 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by phildaant View Post

Thanks. Are those signal power meters cheap for consumers?

Nope, unless you get lucky or know what you're doing.

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post #17 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 11:13 AM
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If you want take a picture of the splitter.
Also after you split the signal how long are your cable runs?
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post #18 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RCbridge View Post

If you want take a picture of the splitter.
Also after you split the signal how long are your cable runs?
If my camera can take close shots. It's not a fancy one that can do macro shots. Worse case, I will just write it down! Hopefully, the texts are still good. wink.gif

As for the coax cable lengths, I used Google Maps to estimate the lengths (note only straight lines, no curves, no vertical lengths, don't see everything in the house, etc. so add some numbers to the estimates): http://zimage.com/~ant/MiCasa2/GoogleMapsCoaxCableLengthEstimatesStraightLinesHorizontalOnly.gif ... Does that help?
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post #19 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Well yeah.... there should be a model number somewhere on the front or back. rolleyes.gif
You can get manuals for old RS products online.
IMO, if you don't have the power supply, it's not worth the effort. And.......... probably not going to fix your issues anyway. wink.gif
You really need to get some help from someone locally. You can buy all the meters and amps that are manufactured, but if you have bad cables, connectors, long runs, marginal signals and whatever.... this really shouldn't be as difficult as you make this sound.
Yeah, it's worth the shot anyways. Because only the family room has stable and strong signals, but the other rooms don't. We definitely know there is a splitter in the attic. Just remember the coax cables were set up from the previous owners for their Dish satellite service. :/
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post #20 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 12:16 PM
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From the power divider (splitter) to each room the longer the cable the more loss so a weaker signal.
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post #21 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 12:32 PM
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For a splitter to be a balanced splitter it has to be a power of 2

No it doesn't, as previously explained, you can have a balanced 3 output splitter if you want.
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post #22 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by phildaant View Post

Hmm, I don't have the specifications. The one, I got from Radio Shack from several years ago, has two one one end and three on the other end (one is for input).
Hmmm.... The second coax on the one with two ends is probably a power input that would get connected to an external power supply via coax. Essentailly, it's not a passive splitter, but a distribution amp.

Hmmm...no. It has one input and four outputs, just like http://www.pacificcable.com/Picture_Page.asp?DataName=201-104

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062051#
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post #23 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RCbridge View Post

From the power divider (splitter) to each room the longer the cable the more loss so a weaker signal.
Yeah, we have no idea how long those "weaker" cables are since they might be longer inside the house's walls even though they have shorter distances according to Google Maps' aerial shot. frown.gif
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post #24 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerstalker View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

A basic splitter is a 2 way power divider. Multiple splits can be made by cascading '2 way' power dividers. Splitters with even numbers of outputs are balanced and have equal attenuation per output. Splitters with odd numbers of outputs can be balanced, but are more commonly not, due to the fact that it's cheaper and easier to cascade '2 way' power dividers.

Not quite 100% true. While a 6 way and 10 way splitter does have an even number of outputs, they would not have balanced outputs because you could not divide them evenly with only 2 way splitters. For example a 6 way splitter would most likely be a chain of 5 2-way splitters. This would result in 2 ports with 7dB of loss, and 4 ports with 10.5dB loss.

Really?

http://www.pacificcable.com/Picture_Page.asp?DataName=201-106
http://www.pacificcable.com/Picture_Page.asp?DataName=201-266
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post #25 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Hmmm...no. It has one input and four outputs, just like ...
Whatever....
Hmmmm... well.... Everyone can only guess to what the problems/questions/solutions can/could be based on vague information. All that can be done is take "the best shot".
As requested in the past in a few theads started by the OP, the OP needs to check splitters, coax, connectors etc. on all of the problematic runs of coax.

Heaven knows how the coax was run, how many splitters, types of splitters, type of coax, intergrity of the coax and/or connectors, that were installed by Dish years ago.
.
Maybe a visual inspection would help. Perhaps a varmint chewed a cable.rolleyes.gif
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post #26 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 03:51 PM
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OMG..talk about the guessing game here, splitter's are based upon a split of two or coupled with a DC-combination that is all there is too it.

All Comments made are my own and not of my employer.
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post #27 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 06:07 PM
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In some situations you can use a distribution amp as an amplified splitter to overcome signal loss on long cable runs to multiple TVs. PCT/Channel Master are good, as are Electroline and Motorola.
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post #28 of 54 Old 07-20-2012, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by phildaant View Post

Hmm, I don't have the specifications. The one, I got from Radio Shack from several years ago, has two one one end and three on the other end (one is for input).
Here's the one in the old house: http://zimage.com/~ant/MiCasa2/OldHouseRadioShackSplitterFrom2008or2009.jpg (with details I saw on it -- no model either so I assume it is just a generic one). I think I got it in the end of 2008 or early 2009. I hope to look at the other house's splitter in the attic this weekend.

I also found an used/old three ports splitter (one input + two 3.5 dB outputs) from my goodies bag. I think I used this splitter before I got RadioShack's five ports splitter since I got more tuners. :P Its sticker label said:
RMS
DigiTap(TM)
Low Intermodulation Splitter
Model 1002DWSBSCTE
6KV Surge Protected
5-1,000 MHz
-120 dB RFI
CE
Made in China

I will try that too to see if it makes any differences in the other house's attic (just to try all rooms with TVs). Also, I found out that the attic's $25 splitter was from RadioShack. That's bad quality splitter, right? frown.gif
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post #29 of 54 Old 07-21-2012, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phildaant View Post

Here's the one in the old house: http://zimage.com/~ant/MiCasa2/OldHouseRadioShackSplitterFrom2008or2009.jpg (with details I saw on it -- no model either so I assume it is just a generic one). I think I got it in the end of 2008 or early 2009. I hope to look at the other house's splitter in the attic this weekend.
I also found an used/old three ports splitter (one input + two 3.5 dB outputs) from my goodies bag. I think I used this splitter before I got RadioShack's five ports splitter since I got more tuners. :P Its sticker label said:
RMS
DigiTap(TM)
Low Intermodulation Splitter
Model 1002DWSBSCTE
6KV Surge Protected
5-1,000 MHz
-120 dB RFI
CE
Made in China
I will try that too to see if it makes any differences in the other house's attic (just to try all rooms with TVs). Also, I found out that the attic's $25 splitter was from RadioShack. That's bad quality splitter, right? frown.gif
Darn, that RMS splitter did NOT help so it is sounds like the coax cables. The one in the attic is from GE (General Electrics) and NOT RadioShack (sorry!) that was $25. FYI, I took photographs/photos. of RadioShack's and RMS' splitters: http://zimage.com/~ant/MiCasa2/2typesOfsplitters.jpg ... I can see how RadioShack's 5 ports definitely made OTA signals weaker compared to RMS' 2 ports when I did in a room for testing.

HOWEVER, we did manage to get most and stable channels (even got the missing channels like KCBS2 and stablized KTLA5) in the weak rooms with the GE splitter (wanted to keep all rooms active since RMS didn't change anything). I don't know why that worked. All we did was hook up a new Samsung 55" HDTV in the family room (the strongest and stable with about 100 channels) and move that old CRT TV with Zeinth converter box into the master bedroom (farthest room). That makes no sense. What did we do to make them work better? Or maybe we just got lucky during the late evening hours? Earlier in the day, they were weak and unstable as usual in the weak rooms. We'll keep checking and testing to be sure they are still strong and stable. Strange, eh?
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post #30 of 54 Old 07-22-2012, 08:15 AM
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Phil - there is a BIG difference in the cabling setup for a Dish Network satellite system versus what you're trying to do with OTA. About the only things that can be interchanged is the physical cable itself - all the interconnectors will probably need to be changed out.

For starters - ANY "splitters" used for satellite probably will not work for OTA - they are , in reality - multiswitches. You can count on needing to replacing all those. Since you said this was Dish setup, it is quite likely that there are diplexers (they look like a splitter but are not) that allowed them to multipurpose a cable to carry satellite signal to the receiver, and use OTA/ cable frequencies to send a 2nd output to another TV.

The best way to setup your OTA distribution system is to do it in a star wiring diagram - all rooms come to a central location, (as well as the antenna input), where you will probably need a distribution amplifer to send balanced signals to all locations.

If I was doing your project, I would start by figuring out how to get at least 1 run of RG6 from the central "wiring closet" to each room that will have an OTA receiver (be it a HDTV with a builtin tuner, or the converter boxes). Once you have that all figured out, THEN you can start working out how to get a signal to all locations at the same time. You may want to check out the offerings at www.smarthome.com for doing your distribution amp system. Another possibility would be any local home theater installers.

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

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