Rg-6

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by DanMU, Mar 6, 2003.

  1. DanMU

    DanMU Agent

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    Eventually I'll probably set up a satellite dish and go HDTV but for now I'm using one or two antennas and feeding TV and FM signals to a TV, two SVHS VCRs, a computer (soon two) with TV/FM card (both computers) and a HT receiver. I'll be running antenna cable to two or three locations and splitting further from there to several components. Of course, signal degradation is a concern. I've heard that RG-6 is much better than RG-59 (which I now have), so I'll definitely use RG-6. Doing some research I see that there are different qualities of RG-6 available. Some cheaper stuff uses copper covered steel core, whereas some uses pure copper and you can even get silver core for a premium. I saw 500' of RG-6 at Home Depot selling for $38 and wonder if that would be OK. My runs will be around 50 feet, but then there's the splitting, mostly near the end of the run. My first (two-way) split will be after maybe 25 feet. I figure the Home Depot stuff is the cheapest grade, but don't know. I'll be running the cable from the antenna through a wall into my attic, splitting it there and then through ceilings and along molding to the equipment. Home Depot had black and white (they were out of the white when I was there), and I'd get white if I had a choice because it would look better in the house. Can anyone coach me on the basics? Thanks!
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Bob McElfresh participated in a wonderful thread some time back from someone involved in the cable industry who discussed pros/cons/considerations of splitting. BOB!!!! can you post the link here? Say it rings a bell.
    I believe the HD stuff is quad shielded copper center conductor probably with a foamed polyethylene dielectric. A pretty good and inexpensive source. To get less signal loss you'd have to go with a teflon type dielectric but that's likely overkill. Of importance will be making a good connection. I'm not going to say more as I'm hoping Bob will weigh in.
     
  3. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    you need to have home runs between the Sat antenna and the Xcver. Most splitters will kill the signal.
    Try to get Quad shielded coax and make sure the connectors are good and put on correctly. Most problem arise from the connectors. The crimper I use retails for +$150 and does a great job. Once you get everything run email me and I'll help you out if you want. I have been installing for Dish since the 1st of the year and am over in the east bay alot. Generally you cam tell the good stuff from the cheap by stripping of the outer covering and looking how much shield is there.
    Good luck and let me know if you want a hand
    Grant
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    This is the link I was thinking of. Might make for a good read.
     
  5. DanMU

    DanMU Agent

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    Thanks, Chu Gai. I'll read that link with great interest.

    Any man who hates children can't be all bad. - WC Fields [​IMG]

    Thanks, Grant B. I'll use your tips. Yes, you noticed I'm in Berkeley. Maybe I'll contact you! I'm at the early stages of setting things up. I don't expect to go to dish for a while. I have two antennas, one I didn't like because of the bad ghosting, and the other is a Winegard anti-ghoster that replaced the first. The Winegard does a very good job of killing the ghosts, but it's pretty directional and I don't get 11, 36 or 54 with it, so I have been using an A/B switch and the other antenna for those. I don't know if I will continue to use two antennas. Maybe for the occasional program I'll just switch the cables rather than having the extra connections that an A/B switch will entail. That's my thinking now. Thanks again.
     
  6. DanMU

    DanMU Agent

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    I went to Home Depot today and bought a 500 foot roll of RG-6U quad-shielded coax. It cost $59.00, and I had a peak at the center connector and it looked like copper, but getting it home I can see that it's steel, probably copper clad steel - it's drawn to a magnet. Well, it's quad shielded and I think that's the most important thing. I have way more than I'll need, but I shouldn't need coax for a long time! Picked up their crimper too, since I didn't have one. It's no $150 crimper - $6, actually, but I figure that's better than nothing. It basically makes a hexagonal crimp, and it has dies for RG-59 and RG-6. Looks like it will make a good hexagonal crimp. I don't know if that's an adequate method of crimping. I've been seeing ALL KINDS of F connectors and I don't know what's what as far as that goes. I know I'll have to use a certain kind of F connectors with that crimper.
     
  7. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Moderator

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    Dan,

     
  8. DanMU

    DanMU Agent

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    Thanks, Wayne. I guess I'll be returning that coax and the crimper. The shielding on this quad, aside from being double what's on my old stuff looks just like it - silvery and non-magnetic. I figure it's maybe aluminum or some tin alloy.

    I'll keep doing research and try to make informed purchases next time. There's no hurry on this.

    Dan
     
  9. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Hi all, just came across this thread and it peaked my interest since I'm on the verge of doing some rewiring to set up the infrastructure for a cable modem to be added to the mix.

    Wayne, what are the main advantages to a solid copper center conductor as opposed to the copper coated steel variety?

    I just bought some Leviton-branded Home Depot RG6 QuadShield (probably the same bundle that Dan bought) that I thought was a solid copper core but it isn't. One can see the grayish color at the tip when cut and it is attracted to a magnet. Since I only would like to do this once, I'm thinking of biting the cost of the Home Depot cable and getting something better if there is a real advantage to it. I'm looking at the Canare cable that seems popular and is only 31 cents a foot.

    Anyone have any comments?

    thanks,


    --tom
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Thomas.

    If you go to the Belden web site you can read the numbers showing performance differences on coax with copper-coated steel vs pure copper. There is a difference, and since you want to install this coax and not touch it for 10-20 years - go with the good stuff.

    The Canare would be a good choice, but try and make sure to buy a box of "F" connectors that are built for the exact dimensions of that cable.

    And that's the problem with Canare. The F connectors they make are fantastic. They are heavy, solid, industrial. And it takes about $200 worth of tools to correctly strip and crimp them. (See Chris White's Cable website for details.)

    A better choice would be Belden 1694a. The Belden web site used to have a connector cross-reference. Find the matching "F" connector and buy a box. I recommend the connectors with the built-in crimp ring as they are easier to deal with. You can also get weatherproof connectors with rubber seals if you plan to run things outside.

    Whatever you do: buy some extra F connectors and do several practice sections until you get a neat, tight crimp.
     
  11. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    what you need is a conductor, solid or stranded, that's 100% copper.
     
  12. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Chu and everyone else.

    I've done a little inventory and what I have is 5 runs on my first floor that are a mix of "cheap" RG6 that I did a few years ago and what the builder put in originally 6 years ago which is "cheap" RG59. Both of these have a copper coated steel conductor for their center. I'm planning on redoing the first floor with good copper center conductor RG6. Upstairs I have all original RG59 that the builder put in and I don't really know how I can replace this without too much damage to the walls if you know what I mean. I'd love to do new runs up to the three drops upstairs with the new cable but I'm not really sure how to go about it.

    As far as cable is concerned, I'm looking at Belden's catalog and I'm wondering what the big difference is between their 7915A and 1694A products. Both seem to be the same center conductor so the difference is in the shielding and dielectric. Is 7915A decent for satellite and digital cable/HDTV frequencies?

    thanks,


    --tom
     
  13. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You see it's not so much that copper coated/plated steel is cheap, rather it's designed for a different purpose such as CATV distribution, antennas, etc. It's purpose is to pass signals that are approximately 50 MHz and above. At these frequencies and above, a phenomenon known as the skin effect begins to be significant. Basically this means that a significant portion of the signal is riding on the 'skin' of the conductor. As the frequencies increase, the skin becomes thinner. Hence there's no need for 100% copper since a signficant portion of it isn't being used. So since copper is expensive we can replace a portion of it in the middle with steel which is cheaper, lighter, and stronger.
    There are people who have inadvertently made short interconnects with copper covered steel with no deleterious effects. Well that's simply because the lengths in question have been short and when things are short, you can get away with a lot of things that you can't when they become long. That's engineering for you: knowing what you can get away with.
     
  14. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Chu, thanks for the explanation - just a quick followup to see if I completely understand things. At higher frequencies, there is a less of a need for 100 percent copper conductor because it won't be used anyhow. So, if for some of my runs, I were to be doing just CATV including digital/HDTV cable, and satellite, would a copper plated steel conductor suffice? I just assumed that with the latter that higher frequencies used by digital cable would tend to drop off more rapidly and thus a pure copper conductor is what one really needs. But I'm not a hardware engineer so my understanding is limited [​IMG]

    Since it looks like my cable modem will require itself to be upstairs, it's run is going to have to be the old RG59 that the builder had installed.

    thanks,


    --tom
     
  15. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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  16. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Thanks chu for the replies.

    I guess I should summarize what I'm doing and then folks can give me more specific feedback.

    We have a 2 story colonial and I want to replace the 1st floor runs of cheap RG6 (that I installed) and eventually the 2nd floor runs of RG59 (that the builder originally installed. Currently my main run goes from the cable entry point in the basement to the main tv/home theater room. From there, it is split for a run to the TIVO and then a run to a ChannelPlus video modulation/distribution unit (model 3025). I then have 3 runs that go to 3 other tvs in the first floor and the basement. It is done this way so we can watch TIVO on any tv in the house and it all works well. The problem is when I originally set it up in early spring, I really didn't do any research into the RG6 cabling and simply bought the cheapest stuff that Home Depot had. I found out later that it only has 60 percent shielding and has a copper coated steel core for a conductor. So, what I want to do is replace all of these runs as well as add another run from the distribution unit that would eventually tie into the run up to the master bedroom on the 2nd floor. In addition, I may replace the Acoustic Research patch cables I have going from the wall plates to the various devices. I noticed that these do have a solid copper core it's only RG59 - seems extremely thin. I figured if I bought a bulk roll of decent cable, I would use the extra to make my own patch cables since for what you pay, the Acoustic Research cables are a rip off in my opinion but at the time, I was naive. [​IMG]

    So, I went out and foolishly perhaps bought a 500 foot spool of RG6 Quad-Shield 5-6 weeks ago figuring I'd use that for this project but in the meantime I've done some research and determined that perhaps I should invest in something better if I intend not to touch this stuff for a long time. So, if indeed the Home Depot stuff shouldn't be used then I've narrowed it down to the Belden 1694A ($186 for 500 feet, anyone know where they sell it by the foot?) or the Canare L-5FCB for 31 cents a foot. It seems the pros to the belden are that it is a standard size so perhaps some RCA RG6 twist on connectors I bought will fit it. The pros to the Canare is for the extra money for the tools, I can be assured of having a really nice tight professional connector fit. The cons for the Canare besides the extra money for tools is it doesn't say it is RG6/U. Does anyone know if it is? I am thinking that to replace the runs to the 2nd floor, I may need to go outside and then back into the attic and down into the 2nd floor.

    thanks for any feedback,


    --tom
     
  17. DiMora Diamond

    DiMora Diamond Auditioning

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    Check out clearcables.com for custom built canare cables. Mine turned out real nice.
     

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