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3. Common Problems
WARNING: Disconnecting the ground block can be
dangerous if your electrical system is not grounded properly! If you suspect
your home wiring to be old or in very bad shape, do NOT remove the ground block
or you could potentially be shocked!
Take your smallest TV out to your ground block, and hook it up there. If you are still experiencing a problem at the ground block, call the cable company and have them fix it. If your problem goes away, then you have an internal wiring problem and you need to continue troubleshooting from the junction (if you have one).
You may be asking yourself how this applies to cable modems. Your cable modem requires a much cleaner signal than your TV does. If you have a crappy picture on your TV, your cable modem is going to receive a crappy signal as well, which can cause retransmits, slower performance, dropped connections, etc.
I think your information is great!! BRAVO!! Although I am wondering how you expect people to access the ground block when it is in a locked box...
Your troubleshooting is limited checking things from the outlet to the junction (usually in one of the closets). Unfortunately, it's sometimes impossible to run new lines in apartments, and you may just have to run a line on the floor from another room to make up for the bad outlet.
The cable company does NOT own the wiring throughout the building, and you do not either. The apartment complex does.
It is my experience that some complexes take responsibility for bad wiring and will pay to have someone replace or run new lines. Other complexes will tell YOU to contact someone and YOU to pay to have it fixed. Your results may vary.
by the way if your moving in, look at all the outlets if it painted over, tell them to change it, for some reason painters don't know how to tape over the outlets
If you have any problems with cabling at all, just drill a hole into your floor, and run a new wire under the trailer to the ground block. You will usually find a splitter under the home near a corner.
Loop systems are rare in mobile homes, and even then, they are usually so small that it doesn't matter. If you have a loop system with more than 3 outlets, go put on some jeans and crawl under there. It won't take you more than an hour or so.
A lay-up stick is real handy for this.
do not position the splitter to be in constant contact with the earth and or moisture.
However, if you *know* there are signal issues at the tap, and they refuse to fix them, I'm honestly not sure what to tell you. What CAN we do when a big company refuses to do something for us?
Giggleberrie had this to say:
If the cable company isn't meeting it's obligation as agreed upon in the franchise agreement with the community, a call to the franchise authority almost always encourages them to comply.
I know some people here will just start driving over the peds and stuff. I don't condone this. :X
I do have to say that asking your cable company for information on how to contact the franchising authority is a pretty good way to get attention to a case. In my case it was an issue with a digital box returned after I had ended service. It didn't get fully recorded in their system that it had been returned, and went to a collection agency years ago. When I saw the collection on my report (about two months after I had terminated the service), I called the cable company, faxed them the receipt from turning in the digital box, and they contacted the collection agency and all appeared to be well -- it was removed from my credit report and I received no bills. Then they changed collection agencies, and a new agency received all of their accounts. Apparently the account still wasn't properly noted. By that time I had tossed the receipt. Even though they had notes in their own system that they had recalled the account from their agencies, the people were not very nice about things, and I was not pleased. I asked them for the name of the cable franchising authority so I could make a complaint, and within 48 hours of the call (I hadn't yet contacted the franchising authority) I had a note on my answering machine asking me to contact them to discuss "this unfortunate mistake". So yes, cable companies really do not want to get complaints made against them to a franchising authority. If they called a person they hadn't gotten money from in years to resolve the issue before I reported them, imagine how quickly they might resolve an issue to not only avoid a complaint but also keep a customer?
Yes, definitely contact your municipal TV franchise authority. By the same token, you can also file a complaint with the FCC or the BBB.
Another point of contact if your state has such a body is the Public Service Commission.
Dont be so quick to blame the cable co for your low signals.. Way too many factors that could cause signal loss to where your levels at the tap are not where they are supposed to be. If your in an area with squirrels they love to chew up those nice lines going into your home causing ingress and egress . But if there is nothing cosmetic and you have no noise in your system. Depending on where you are you can lower your tap value and increase your levels ..Just next time you see a guy with a bucket truck they are usually cool and laid back just ask them if they can come by and check the plant prints and see if you can get a lower tap value and imporve your signal.
THIS MESSAGE before reading the information below or it may not make sense.
Some people have cable modems, but no video service.
For those of you in this situation, I wanted to point out something. Did you know that you are probably paying an extra $10 a month just because you aren't subscribing to video services? Did you know that most cable companies also have "limited" or "basic" cable for around $10 a month? Think about it. ;)
If you want to determine if your cable modem problem is an internal wiring issue or an outside problem, and you do not have video service, I hope you have a laptop or can rig something.
Instead of taking a small TV out to, why not just take your cable modem? If you have a laptop (or a really long network cable), you can hook up your cable modem at the ground block and get signal levels there using DOCDIAG, or, if your cable company doesn't mind giving you your signal levels, you can just call them and get the numbers.
If your cable modem problem or signal issue goes away at the ground block, then you know that you have an internal wiring problem.
When was this written? because (responding to the sentence in italic) in Los Angeles, the cheapest "limited" or "basic" bable TV is at least $52.99, and according to the ala carte pricing sheet, just Broadcast by itself is $20! (why someone would pay for broadcast when you can get it free over the air is beyond me) If cable was $10 a month, or even $20, I would get it immediately.
Or you can just ping "localhost" and then a random ip and see if it can get out of your own network. saves fucking around with cables :P
1.) One tiny strand of shielding gets wrapped around the stinger by Raydr:
This one causes nightmares for digital cable and cable modems. Remember, the shielding is supposed to keep stray signal from leaking into the cable. HOWEVER, if one little strand gets wrapped around the stinger, you've just created a huge "noise antenna" that projects all of that noise onto the cable line. If you look at your connectors and see this, don't try and fix it. Just cut the connector off and put a new one on.
2.) CALAN Sweep Transmitters by Engineer88:
Acterna (Calan) low-level sweep transmitters will cause downstream errors if the guardbands aren't set properly. This will cause packet loss to many customers on any plant fed by the sweep. Some modems are more sensitive to this than others.
Sweep must be at least 14 dB below video levels and guardbands must be at least 3.2 MHz wide to avoid interference.
3.) by zedsdead: Here's one i see a lot, the plastic insulation in around the center pin is not completely stripped off when stripping the cable (caused by dull blades), causing significant signal reduction.
Editor's Note: I see this a bit too! It's annoying, but pull that little bit of dielectric off. It can really hurt stuff!
4.) Cable tech's who's answer to every problem in your house is to put an amp there. Most of the time its like putting a bandaid on a 4 inch deep gash. If you aren't going to change old fittings, splitters, defective wires, then you might as well find a new profession. Don't let them put amps on your system unless theres no other choice.
You should add VHF splitters in this also, I've ran into allot of old houses with copper braided RG-59 and supper old VHF splitters that cut out half the channels from my plant. Often times just changing out the splitter with out rewiring the outlets will work ok and let all the QAM channels through enough for no noticible video errors. Most of the time though you'll find those spliters in an attic hidden under the insulation, and if the cable was stapled to the studs in the wall there is really no way for me to replace it since I don't have a see snake and don't get payed for wall fishing anyway.
A few things which cause grounding problems:
1. Grounding cheater plugs. (Those handy little 3 to 2 prong electrical outlet adapters) Used on equipment connected to the cable system , this will almost guarantee the appliance will use the cable as a ground.
2. Improperly wired outlets. (i.e.: Hot-Neutral wires reversed) Will cause hot chassis (current on ground) condition on A/V and computer equipment.
3. Polarized plugs, inserted backwards. These plugs are designed to be plugged in one-way for a reason, don't force them or modify them to fit in backwards.
4. Replacing 2-prong outlets with 3-prong outlets and not connecting a ground wire. Occurs mostly in older homes with handyman electricians around, causes a false sense of security and a very dangerous electrical problem.
5. Disconnecting or not having the coax cable ground. Illegal situation per the National Electric Code. Severe damage can occur to both cable company equipment and customer equipment if electrical surges occur. (Lightening, electrical line crossing cable lines, dropping a TV in a bathtub, etc...) Coax cable systems are grounded to prevent excess current from the customers home reaching the cable plant and to prevent excess current from the cable plant reaching the customer's home.
There shouldn't be more than 1 volt measurable between the coax cable and a known good ground.
How to check for grounding problems:
1. Check for the problems listed above. 90% of the time the reasons listed above are the causes for excess voltage on the coax cable system.
2. Use a electrical outlet tester.
3. Use a volt-meter or multi-meter, if you have proper instruction.
How to fix grounding problems:
1. Call you cable company to verify your house coax cable system is properly grounded. This should be done at no cost as it is required by law.
2. Call a certified electrician to verify proper grounding of your home electrical wiring and repair any problems found.
3. Remove any offending electrical equipment which is causing grounding problems.
Grounding problems, at their least, will cause intermittent or no connection on cable modems and poor or no picture on televisions. At their worst, grounding problems can lead to destruction of property and loss of life.
See the following link for interesting information on grounding issues and the problems they cause:
Thanks to MacLeech for this submission.
Note by habu187 : Improper grounding can also cause "humbars" in pix.
Here is some good information on ground loop interference that would compliment this page - http://www.2mcctv.com/blog/2011_10_20-video-ground-loop-interference-for-cctv/