Split Cable for Distributed Access

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Once you’ve gotten the premium cable package from your local provider, with high-speed Internet upgrade of course, your life may very well feel complete. Undoubtedly though, you’ll find yourself in the kitchen one day, perhaps reheating those nachos from last night, and you may wonder “Why not have a TV in here?” Why not, indeed. If you know how to extend and/or split cable, making this idea a reality should be no problem at all.

Coaxial Basics

Coaxial cable comes in a variety of types, and is used for any number of jobs. Perhaps the most popular type is RG-6 “coax,” the cable used for satellite and cable TV.

RG-6 replaced the smaller and less durable RG-59 about a decade ago, primarily because of the RG-6′s heavier dielectric aluminum insulation and aluminum weave shielding. Whatever cable you decide to use for this job, just be sure that it is quad shielded with at least a 100 percent foil/40 percent woven-braid shield combination.

Extending cable

This is a relatively simple procedure. Take your existing cable end (the male F-connector) and attach it to the female lead of a coaxial cable extender.

With the female lead of the extender now exposed, take another length of coaxial cable and attach its male F-connector to the exposed lead. Use your newly lengthened cable to feed the television of your choice.

SkilToolsSplitting cable

While still easy, this process has to be done properly or you’ll end up with a degraded signal. For this project you’ll need an RG-6 coaxial cable, an (x)-way coaxial cable splitter (x represents the number of lines leading from your main cable), a coaxial stripper, a cable crimper, male F-connectors, crimping rings, a screwdriver, wall plates/outlet boxes, a drywall saw, utility knife, pencil, level, measuring tape, and drill with a 1/2″ spade bit.

You could split the cable from its current termination point, but it’s best to maintain the integrity of the signal as much as possible. In order to do that, you’ll need to head to your home’s network distribution panel.

Most new homes have a network distribution box either in the garage or laundry room. This is done to ensure ease of access to networking cables that must be “snaked” through the basement or attic of your home. Once you determine where your main RG-6 cable is feeding from, try to split it as close to that source as possible. Again, this is done to prevent degradation of picture quality.

Using your utility knife, cut the male F-connector from the main line just below the crimping ring. Take a coaxial stripper and strip away about a 1/4″ of the cable’s outer plastic sheath. This will expose the aluminum foil insulation and weave.

Peel back the foil and weave to reveal the copper center conductor wire. Place a crimping ring over the wire, followed by a male F-connector. Ensure that the end of the connector is covered by the crimping ring.

Apply a slight amount of pressure to the crimping ring with the cable crimper—just enough to secure the connector, but not enough to pinch the cable.

Once this is done, attach the female end of a splitter to the cable. Connect the number of cables desired to the splitter.

You’ll need to measure, mark, and cut out the locations of new outlet boxes in your existing walls.

Depending on your home’s wiring setup, you will have to run the split cable either up through the basement or down from the attic. Most likely you’ll have to feed the cable through a 2×4 behind your floor’s baseboard or the two behind the ceiling’s crown molding.

In order to do that, you’ll have to make a 1/2″ hole with your drill gun and spade bit in those pieces of lumber. After that’s complete, fish the cable through the hole. Feed the cable to your outlet boxes, cover the boxes with wall plates and hook up your TV!

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