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Do I rewire or amplify?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hello all.....new to this website and a ton of informed people here! Here's my situation.....I have Comcast cable for phone, internet & TV. I have a total of 5 TVs, 2 of them HDTVs. I have had Comcast here several times for signal problems and they recently just replaced the cable from the pole outside to where it comes into my house. There are piecemeal splitters of course and I recently just added a 32inch LCD to my gym downstairs, replacing a basic 25inch stereo. The old TV worked fine and received all channels it should. I installed the new HDTV and the signal is poor enough that I only receive ch 1, 17, 22, 31, 55 then 63 and above seem ok. Comcast has broken up my ceiling panels so much I don't want them back. I know the wiring fairly well in the house. My question is this.....should I install a signal amplifier out in the garage before it comes into my house or would a distribution amplifier be the answer. I have also thought about rewiring the house with RG6 and better connectors. Also, is it better to run a 1-into8 splitter or more 2 way splitters? Difference is signal loss???? Your knowledge is greatly appreciated!

Rick
Pittsburgh, PA
post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityZ View Post

Hello all.....new to this website and a ton of informed people here! Here's my situation.....I have Comcast cable for phone, internet & TV. I have a total of 5 TVs, 2 of them HDTVs. I have had Comcast here several times for signal problems and they recently just replaced the cable from the pole outside to where it comes into my house. There are piecemeal splitters of course and I recently just added a 32inch LCD to my gym downstairs, replacing a basic 25inch stereo. The old TV worked fine and received all channels it should. I installed the new HDTV and the signal is poor enough that I only receive ch 1, 17, 22, 31, 55 then 63 and above seem ok. Comcast has broken up my ceiling panels so much I don't want them back. I know the wiring fairly well in the house. My question is this.....should I install a signal amplifier out in the garage before it comes into my house or would a distribution amplifier be the answer. I have also thought about rewiring the house with RG6 and better connectors. Also, is it better to run a 1-into8 splitter or more 2 way splitters? Difference is signal loss???? Your knowledge is greatly appreciated!

Rick
Pittsburgh, PA

That sounds more like a cabling issue than a signal strength issue. It would be best to have all outlets homerun to a common location, such as garage or basement.

The fewer the connections, the better. Each connector is just another potential point of failure. It is always better to have just one splitter rather than several.

With that many outlets, you probably should have a drop amplifier, though.
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityZ View Post

The old TV worked fine and received all channels it should. I installed the new HDTV and the signal is poor enough that I only receive ch 1, 17, 22, 31, 55 then 63 and above seem ok. My question is this.....should I install a signal amplifier out in the garage before it comes into my house or would a distribution amplifier be the answer. I have also thought about rewiring the house with RG6 and better connectors. Also, is it better to run a 1-into8 splitter or more 2 way splitters? Difference is signal loss???? Your knowledge is greatly appreciated!

Rick
Pittsburgh, PA

It seems unlikely that you would need either a drop or distribution amplifier. Since you said you receive ch 1 I'm assuming you have a digital cable box. Depending on what frequencies Comcast actually used (not the virtual channel numbers) for the channels you're missing, old RG-59 rather than RG-6 cable might cause problems or you might have a bad or mis-adjusted cable box.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
I also thought it may be a cable box that was bad because I received all channels on old TV. I troubleshot the problem with a technician online and he couldn't provide a solution saying he never had seen that channel problem before. I did go get another cable box and booted it up, auto-programmed the HD TV, and its the same thing. When I choose the source on TV from "cable" it gives me a "low or no signal" error, but when I choose the source "HDMI-1" I do receive stations, just not all the lower number ones. The fact that everything worked before kind of ruled out a cabling hook-up issue to me, and then I wondered if I should add a signal booster and/or eventually rewire the house to RG6 and change the splitters from the mess it has to a 1 into 8 and have only one spot the signal splits.
post #5 of 13
Receiving only the high channels is often caused by an open connection somewhere in the coax. If two conductors are close but not touching, there is a capacitor formed between them. This capacitor acts like a high-pass filter, passing only the higher frequencies but none of the lower ones. (This is an extreme and overdone example of what a tilt corrector does to equalize the signal levels in a long distribution run.) Maybe you need to check all the cables with an ohmmeter. Another way would be to temporarily hook-up a by-pass for each section with a new piece of coax to isolate the problem cable. The partial open can be in the center conductor or shield.

I had to help our cable guy isolate a similar problem. I would wiggle each connection outside while he looked at the TV and holler out to me when it acted up. The problem was a female to female type F barrel (F-81) used to make a splice in very old RG59 from the previous provider. All of the old coax has since been replaced with new RG6.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Rabbit.....that makes sense! My main HDTV in living room works fine so with that statement, would that lead me to believe the bad connection is in the new TV cable run? I think at thispoint its time to start to eliminate all the splitters and cable runs and replace with one distribution point and some new RG6 cable. Do you guys prefer a particular type/brand of RG6 cable and crimp on connectors or compression connectors? Thanks to all for your help!
post #7 of 13
It would give you more satisfaction, knowledge, and experience if you found the problem spot before replacing all the coax.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelCityZ View Post

Rabbit.....that makes sense! My main HDTV in living room works fine so with that statement, would that lead me to believe the bad connection is in the new TV cable run? I think at thispoint its time to start to eliminate all the splitters and cable runs and replace with one distribution point and some new RG6 cable. Do you guys prefer a particular type/brand of RG6 cable and crimp on connectors or compression connectors? Thanks to all for your help!

Preferably Times Fiber, CommScope, or Belden cable in conjunction with compression fittings. As for what manufacturer fittings, seeing as how they are all pretty much the same electrically, It's pretty much personal preference. I like Holland's SuperLok and PCT's DRS series connectors (http://www.cencom94.com/gpage1.html). They both have an all-metal design and dual o-rings. I love the feel of the SuperLok as you compress it. Everyone likes various manufacturers for various reasons.
post #9 of 13
I think there are certain building code requirements for the type of RG6 coax that is used in walls and suspended ceilings; some coax is marked "not for in-wall use." I defer to the guys that know more about it than I do.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post

I think there are certain building code requirements for the type of RG6 coax that is used in walls and suspended ceilings, but I defer to the guys that know more about it than I do.

It has to be a plenum rated cable if it is going to be used in a return air space, but those are pretty much exclusive to commercial buildings. Other than that, the standard PVC jacket is fine (meets requirements).
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by egnlsn View Post

Preferably Times Fiber, CommScope, or Belden cable in conjunction with compression fittings. As for what manufacturer fittings, seeing as how they are all pretty much the same electrically, It's pretty much personal preference. I like Holland's SuperLok and PCT's DRS series connectors (http://www.cencom94.com/gpage1.html). They both have an all-metal design and dual o-rings. I love the feel of the SuperLok as you compress it. Everyone likes various manufacturers for various reasons.


Thanks for the suggestions. I have started to check and there are some RG6 Belden cables already used. I am looking to get rid of all the 2 and 3 way splitters and use one eliminating the unnecessary connections. I have to measure out the runs and replace those that are older cable. All of your help is much appreciated. I wish I had the time and all tools and equipment to really go through the system.
post #12 of 13
I remember that some coax used to be marked as having passed a "vertical burn tray" test, but I never found out exactly what standard that referred to.
post #13 of 13
This isn't coax, but it came up when I Googled "vertical burn test" and "coax".

Quote:
Riser Rate (CMR) CMR cable is used in vertical tray applications such as cable runs between floors through cable risers. Riser rated cable must self extinguish and must prevent the flame from traveling up the cable in a vertical burn test. Complies with UL-1666.

http://cablesshop.com/castpssobuca.html
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