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  • Any Cable Guys Out There?



    I was over at a relative's house trying to help her with a cable problem. the cable company changed over to digital and the signal was too weak for the digital converters.

    I opened the service box to the house and disconnected the unused lines from the splitter and capped the unused ports.

    I'm assuming that the two tall fittings in the center are locking signal caps that the cable company or the builder installed because I couldn't remove them. I was just wondering if that was correct.

    anyway removing and capping the unused ports seemed to help. if I need to do more the next step would be to change to a newer digital splitter or an amplified splitter.

    any other ideas before I have to call the cable company?

    edit: I also went around and tightened all the connectors inside the house.
    Last edited by gary94080; 07-06-2009, 11:37 PM. Reason: added info

  • #2
    Re: Any Cable Guys Out There?

    If the signal is too weak for digital - you should contact the cable company immediately. It is their problem to fix - not yours.

    You are paying (I assume) for a service you are not receiving because it is too weak? I'd have been on the horn yesterday...

    They may owe you a credit for service undelivered.

    But then, depending on who your cable provider is, it might be less painful to jump into a tub of leeches than to contact them. One of many reasons I dumped Comcast and moved to satellite. Best move I ever made.





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    • #3
      Re: Any Cable Guys Out There?

      yes she has Comcast. I thought I would try a few things before making a service call and having to wait around all day. also, I wanted to make sure the problem wasn't on her side, loose connections, bad cable, too may splits, etc. before calling.

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      • #4
        Re: Any Cable Guys Out There?

        Normally when they do the install, they verify at that point things are good enough for the boxes to work.. else they say your inside wiring is insufficent and will happily charge you to fix it. However, sometimes things like lower channels will work, but not higher channels, etc.

        If they did the initial install, walked away without saying its bad, and it wasn't working, you should be able to get them back out without a charge.

        Those long barrels look like filters.

        As for buying another splitter, etc. In my experience, the cable company will provide splitters for the # of ports you are paying for. So if you have say 4 boxes, they will provide the splitters as necessary to feed up to 4 boxes. You don't need to provide the spliters, just the cabling from the box location to the d-mark. Where you need to provide splitters is if you are only paying for 3 boxes, but you want 3 other TVs to get basic cable, etc.

        If this was a transition problem, and she's paying for convertor boxes.. I'd let Comcast come over and setup so all her boxes are working - unless they specifically say she has an inhouse wiring problem. Normally they will do all the basics like re-terminate the cables, and exclude spliters before they call it that tho.

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        • #5
          Re: Any Cable Guys Out There?

          Originally posted by flynnibus View Post
          Normally when they do the install, they verify at that point things are good enough for the boxes to work.. else they say your inside wiring is insufficent and will happily charge you to fix it. However, sometimes things like lower channels will work, but not higher channels, etc.

          If they did the initial install, walked away without saying its bad, and it wasn't working, you should be able to get them back out without a charge.
          it's not a new installation. Comcast in the San Francisco Bay area stopped analog signals for alot of channels so they provided basically 3 digital converters per house. you had a choice of doing a self-installation or making an appoinment and waiting for a tech to show up.

          edit: yes it is just a few high number channels that breakup once in a while

          Originally posted by flynnibus View Post
          Those long barrels look like filters.
          I was just curious about them. I couldn't take them off to put a standard cap on the port.

          Originally posted by flynnibus View Post
          As for buying another splitter, etc. In my experience, the cable company will provide splitters for the # of ports you are paying for. So if you have say 4 boxes, they will provide the splitters as necessary to feed up to 4 boxes. You don't need to provide the spliters, just the cabling from the box location to the d-mark. Where you need to provide splitters is if you are only paying for 3 boxes, but you want 3 other TVs to get basic cable, etc.
          it used to be that way here. now they charge for service and the number of boxes you have over 3. any receivers that don't require a box aren't charged extra.

          Originally posted by flynnibus View Post
          If this was a transition problem, and she's paying for convertor boxes.. I'd let Comcast come over and setup so all her boxes are working - unless they specifically say she has an inhouse wiring problem. Normally they will do all the basics like re-terminate the cables, and exclude spliters before they call it that tho.
          most of the houses around here have older cable and spliters. with analog signal it wasn't much of a problem. now that they are switching to digital, the wiring and number of splits you have becomes an issue. three other houses, I had to install two way signal amplifiers and new spliters, that was the easier than rewiring.
          Last edited by gary94080; 07-08-2009, 11:01 AM.

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          • #6
            Re: Any Cable Guys Out There?

            I'm assuming you're referring to the actual box that is part of the house, not the service box that serves several houses. The long barrels are the kind of locks they install to prevent you from stealing cable, although I'm not sure why they would be on a splitter in the house box.

            Switching to digital may require you to replace the splitters in the house. Especially if they are generic ones that were purchased at Radio Shack. A lot of times those are in the wrong frequency range. Changing out that 8 way splitter into a 3 way splitter would probably help too. You could be getting more than a 3db drop in signal having it split so many ways, even if you do cap them.

            Take a barrel connector and connect the cable input directly to a line to one TV. Is the signal still low? If so, even a little bit, call the cable company. If not, then you're looking at replacing splitters and possibly cable if it has degraded. You might be able to just replace the fittings. That particular type of fitting isn't really used anymore by cable companies because they don't seal well oxidize.

            Hope that all made sense and helps.

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            • #7
              Re: Any Cable Guys Out There?

              Originally posted by TTechGuy View Post
              I'm assuming you're referring to the actual box that is part of the house, not the service box that serves several houses. The long barrels are the kind of locks they install to prevent you from stealing cable, although I'm not sure why they would be on a splitter in the house box.

              Switching to digital may require you to replace the splitters in the house. Especially if they are generic ones that were purchased at Radio Shack. A lot of times those are in the wrong frequency range. Changing out that 8 way splitter into a 3 way splitter would probably help too. You could be getting more than a 3db drop in signal having it split so many ways, even if you do cap them.

              Take a barrel connector and connect the cable input directly to a line to one TV. Is the signal still low? If so, even a little bit, call the cable company. If not, then you're looking at replacing splitters and possibly cable if it has degraded. You might be able to just replace the fittings. That particular type of fitting isn't really used anymore by cable companies because they don't seal well oxidize.

              Hope that all made sense and helps.
              yes, thanks.

              that is her house service point. the picture doesn't show the box is inside the wall. her house was wired for 6 lines and only 3 are used, so only 3 of 8 ports are used on that spliter.

              it seems to be ok with the caps I installed and retightening all the connections I could find.

              my next step would be to replace the 8-way with a new 3-way.

              I didn't see anything on the 8-way, but the older spliters I've seen are marked 900 MHz. I've seen some spliters advertised for 2 GHz.

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              • #8
                Re: Any Cable Guys Out There?

                Wow, they charge for service? I'm glad I have Bright House... free service calls! Plus their HD channels are free too.

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                • #9
                  Re: Any Cable Guys Out There?

                  Yeah, I'm a brighthouse subscriber too; they're decent, especially in the service department, although their incessant advertising gets kinda annoying (as does their seeming blood-pact with Mor Furniture for Less but that's a different topic). Only local HD is included with service; the rest is a separate HD tier, at least here.

                  Anyways. For a few months last year my favorite (digital-cable) channel was on a carrier at 99MHz and almost never worked presumably due to ingress from the FM broadcast band. I got tired of missing out and had a service call done. It wouldn't have cost me anything. I rent an apartment, so maybe that's why, compared to any limits that might apply with property you own. It's just the one line that goes to the wall plate inside. The line was analyzed and a "post line" (or something, the idea was to not use the existing line) recommended, that just needed consent from the property management. (The lead-in cable is old RG59 instead of the better RG6, and probably damaged somewhere. Although it does need to be fixed still, the channel I liked was reassigned to a different carrier shortly afterward and I never did follow up on it.)

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