Making your own Co-Ax cables?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt Harwood, Apr 8, 2002.

  1. Matt Harwood

    Matt Harwood Agent

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    Here's part two of my cabling questions. I have co-ax cable going to my system TV and VCR, but my reception is extremely bad--I'm guessing that the cables I made are faulty. I used RG6 cable and screw-on connectors, and I have the proper stripping tool. I'm guessing that I did something wrong with the foil portion of the connection.
    Do I leave the foil on the white insulation, or peel it off? Do I remove the wires as well? Or do I just put the connector over the wires and foil insulation?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Matt, the most important thing is that the solid copper wire running in the middle of the cable is making a solid connection to the device. Make sure that things are screwed on properly and that enough of the wire is sticking out from the end of the twist on connector. It should stick out 1/8" to 1/16" beyond the connector. Also, are you using a splitter anywhere in the chain? If so, I'd do some tests such as removing the splitter from the equation. Also, if you can connect the tv directly up to the cable company cable coming into the house that that would also be a good test in helping to narrow down what is causing the problem.

    hope this helps,

    --tom
     
  3. Matt Harwood

    Matt Harwood Agent

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    Yes, I am using a splitter. Two, actually. One is where the main cable comes in from outside to my control box. There are three lines coming out; two of them for the other to existing outlets in the house which work fine. The third is the one I added myself for the HT.
    The second splitter is at the HT where one line of cable goes to the VCR and one goes to the TV. Since my TV and A/V cabinet are not connected, I ran all the wires in the walls to the Quick Port wall connectors. I used the splitter so that I could hook the TV directly to the cable OR to the VCR as in a traditional set-up. I suspect this splitter, but I used it previously without problems. That's why I suspect my cables.
    Could I have the copper cable too long (mine typically stick out 3/16" to 1/4")?
    Thanks for the help--keep it coming.
     
  4. Cave Canem

    Cave Canem Auditioning

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    When doing anything with a sheilded cable such as RG6, it is very important to ensure that the shielding and the center conductor do not touch or in anyway are able to touch or have any conductance. If there is in-proper shielding you will pick up interference on your cable. I had this problem and the cable company came out and replaced it all for me, free of charge.

    I have only worked on the confusing connectors that are used in aircraft and come in about 5 or 6 pieces. The ones that are usually used by cable company's seem much easier. From what I can gather by watching, you strip the cable to the required lengths, slide the shielding into the outer portion, the center insulation and the center conducter through the middle.

    I would also check the wall outlets and splitters for shorts. Get a cheap Fluk/Ohm-Meter and some leads and check the resistance between the center and shield of each cable you build. It should be very high Kilo-Ohms, Meg-Ohms would be ideal. Also check the splitters for shorts. You should also be able to check the wall sockets but you may get screwy readings b/c its plugged in somewhere down the line.

    Once last thing, see if you can find the crimp on connectors instead of screw on. Better connection to help alleviate any interference.

    Good luck!
     
  5. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Matt, what is the reception like through the VCR?

    I think the first thing I'd do is eliminate the 2nd splitter for testing purposes and just run it directly to the tv and try to get that working. You can always redo the connector on the cable. There should be bare copper wire about 5/16"-3/8" long. Then there should be about 1/4" (I think) of the white foam insulation. You should then screw on the connector so that the copper wire sticks out about 1/16 of an inch. You should be able to look into the connector and see the white insulation part just at the edge of the inside of the connector. Also, make sure none of those wire strands that are on top of the white insulation part are protruding through or touching the copper wire. I'd just clip them all off or bend them back when screwing on the connector.

    hope this helps,

    --tom
     
  6. Matt Harwood

    Matt Harwood Agent

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    VCR reception is only slightly better. I spoke again with a friend here at work who has done a lot of co-ax work (formerly with a cable company), and he says that the screw-on connectors are unreliable, and splitters tend to go bad. He also suggested leaving the black sheathing intact, and just stripping the end where the copper wire comes out, then crimping on a connector.
    My confusion comes from the foil and smaller strands--these are the ground, no? If I remove them entirely, or leave them in the black sheath, then there won't be any contact between the outer part of the connector (the screw-on part) and the wall jack, which is supposed to be grounded. My thought is that I should leave the smaller wires and foil intact, but separate from the copper wire, and make sure that they are contacting the outer part of the housing for a proper ground. Am I mistaken?
    On the plus side, my friend here at work said he'd make cables for me if I was unsuccessful at getting a good signal. I'm going to rebuild them tonight using his suggestions and see what happens. I'm also going to try bypassing the splitter (or replacing it with a known good one) and see what happens.
    Thanks for all the advice--if there is anyone with any other good tips, they are definitely appreciated. Thanks to everyone who is helping out.
     
  7. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Matt the only time the screw on connectors are going to be more unreliable than crimped on connectors are if something is tugging on the wire or putting stress on it. Screw ons are just not as tight. I use screw on's for one run to a tv and the reception is just as good (or bad) as the reception on the tv that has ends put on by the cable company guy. My guess is that the connection of the copper wire to the connector on the splitter is probably loose.

    I have another question for everyone, has anyone just decided to use some kind of plumber's adhesive to glue the connector onto the cable to hold it in place. I noticed when I was redoing an end on a radio shack connector that the Radio Shack connector seemed to have some type of adhesive helping to hold the connector in place.

    cheers,

    --tom
     
  8. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Matt, as for ground, the strands should make contact with the one end of the connector as you screw it on all the way. I think what you don't want is to have any strands sticking out into the cavity where your copper wire is sticking out. What I did was snipped the wires down and bent them back over the black and then when the connector went over the black outer part of the cable, I crimped it on and I assume that a few of the strands made contact. I may have done it wrong with respect to grounding but I suspect that if you have strands sticking into the same cavity as the copper wire that that could be your problem.

    cheers,

    --tom
     
  9. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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  10. jeff cr

    jeff cr Agent

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    i was in thhe same boat a few months ago i did everything . i finally called the cable conmpany and they sent someone out. they actually found the cable to be bad from the house to the telephone pole. they replaced it for free and everything was great. this may be your next step.
     
  11. Matt Harwood

    Matt Harwood Agent

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    Thank you for the detailed information, Bob. I'll try all of that tonight. I have a few guesses as to my problem, most notably that I was cutting off the foil/ground wires instead of folding them back under the connector as I install it. Perhaps lack of grounding is causing my problem.
    I'm also going to buy a quality pre-terminated cable to go from the splitter to the TV to eliminate that long variable. I'll pick up some terminators as well.
    Thanks again for all the great info. This place rocks!
     
  12. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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  13. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Thomas: Thats a great link. [​IMG]
     
  14. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Bob. I printed the entire guide out and read it and it was helpful. I think someone else on some other thread awhile ago pointed someone to it. Of course, that was after the fact for me running both my cable and speaker wire. [​IMG] My crimped on F connectors are far from perfect, I'm sure of that. But my personal experience/comment earlier with regard to screw on vs. crimped on did involve connectors and cable made by the same manufacturer (RCA) and was said mostly based on me not noticing any difference between the professional cable guy's crimped on connection and my amateur screw on cable run. Of course, two different TVs, two different types of RG-59 cable, two different length runs, etc so by no means an official experiment to be sure.
    Actually when I went to Home Depot to do another run (the one I eventually used crimp on connectors for), they were all out of the screw on variety. I asked the person working there and he said that they always sell out fast. I asked him what the difference is between the two, knowing that crimped on must be better but all he said was that screw ons make a less tight connection and if you have kids tugging on it or more stress on the cable, it's more likely that the it will come loose. I decided to pick up a RCA crimping tool and a few RCA crimp on connectors and gave it a try. Now that I think of it, I did run into the problem you stated with one manufacturer's idea of cable diameter different than another. Radio Shack's RG-6 cable seemed to be a little less in diameter than what RCA had for RG-6 on their crimping tool. I ended up using the RG-59 slot to crimp it on. I'm thinking of going back to Radio Shack and picking up their RG-6 F connectors and their crimping tool but since the connection seems to work as well as the rest in the house, I haven't really been that motivated. [​IMG]
    Matt, let us know how things turn out and what the problem was. I have a separate thread over in the Accessories section asking about cable signal amplifiers since my cable from the pole to the house is about 100 feet. I was told that I would probably benefit from a 10db amplifier at the point it enters the house. The rest of my runs (4 in total) are all between 35-55 feet.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  15. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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  16. Matt Harwood

    Matt Harwood Agent

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    Hi Guys,
    Well, it was my cables, or rather, the connectors I installed. I broke down and went to a local home theater electronics store and bought some quality RG6 Co-Ax and installed new crimp connections according to all the advice I got here. I also removed my 4-port splitter and bought a new 2-port, which is all I needed. Combined, they cleared the picture right up.
    Again, many thanks for all the great assistance I got here. Now if I could only get my Leviton quick port S-video connector to work... But that's another thread.
    Thanks again.
     

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