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How to install your connector with a a Coaxial Cable

Published:2019/10/19 12:02:47 Visits:

Coaxial Cable Connector

If you are like most people, then at one time or another you had a bad experience with a cable technician. Let's be frank; half of these guys are contractors who get paid by the job, so the only way for them to make more money is to use shortcuts on each job. More times than not, that results in an incomplete job or a cable signal that is worse than the one you called about. You may find yourself saying, "If I knew all they were going to do was replace the cable connector, I would have done it myself!" Well, now you can! Here is how to replace a coaxial cable connector.

Things You'll Need

• Coaxial cable stripper
• Replacement "F" connector
• Coaxial cable crimper

• Razor knife

•Coaxial cable strippers and crimpers can be found at any hardware store and come in a variety of styles and price ranges. For the thrifty do-it-yourselfer, you can use a good old fashioned razor knife to strip the coaxial cable as long as you have a steady hand and a keen eye.

•The first thing you will want to do is remove the old, existing connector. Make sure that the cable is disconnected on both ends before making any cuts.

If you have the cable strippers you can just use the cutting tool on it to cut the connector off. If you are doing this job without the cable strippers, regular wire strippers will work or a pair of "junk" scissors. You do not want to use your wife's good sewing scissors for this!

•With the old connector lopped off, take a look at the cable so you have an idea of what you are working with. There are a number of layers to a coaxial cable. The outer plastic jacket is a thin layer of PVC plastic sheathing. Next is a wire mesh screen that is typically made from copper. The next layer is the dielectric insulator. It is usually made from either solid plastic, foam plastic or solid polyethylene. Lastly, the copper core is the path along which the cable signal actually runs. In higher grade coaxial cable, this wire may be silver plated for a better connection.

•Ok, now that you have an idea of what makes up coaxial cable, it's important to know that stripping it properly is key to getting the best connectivity possible. A coaxial cable stripper is easily marked for making the proper cuts, but if you choose to go the frugal route, here is how to do it.

•Open the razor knife and place the edge of the blade, not the tip, about an inch from the cut end. Hold the blade perpendicular to the cable and not along it. Press the blade into the cable and begin rotating it around the cable. The key here is to cut through the outer sheath, the wire mesh and the dielectric insulator while avoiding coming in contact with the copper core. This is tough to do and may take a few tries, but the best practice is to cut near to the center without going too far and then twisting the cut portion off. Inspect the copper core for any nicks. Remember--nicks in the copper core will decrease picture quality, so be careful.

•If any dielectric insulation or wire mesh is sticking out from the cut area, use the knife to remove it and smooth the cut. Now it is time to cut the outer sheath back a little farther. Most "F" connectors require about a 5/16 inch of sheath to be removed for a proper installation. Hold the knife edge against the cable as you did earler and lightly cut around the cable so that the outer sheath can be removed, keeping the mesh, insulation and core intact.

•Peel the wire mesh screening back over the outer sheath. Inspect the copper core and insulation for any debris. Make sure that everything looks clean.

•Insert the coaxial cable into the "F" connector so that the dielectric insulator is flush with the inner core of the connector. In the inner chamber of the connector (looking at it straight on), only the copper core should be evident. Additionally, you want to ensure that the copper core is in no way coming into physical contact with the connector.

•If your inspection proves that everything looks good, use the coaxial crimper to crimp the neck of the "F" connector to the cable, securing it in place. Check it to make sure the crimp is strong enough to keep the connector on.

•Reconnect the coaxial cable, and hopefully, your picture will be improved. If it is not, then you may have a larger issue with your cable company. But hey, at least you saved the cable guy from taking the easy way out. Now maybe he can concentrate on finding the REAL problem!

Cutting the cable and attaching connectors is much easier than one would think. You just need the right tool. Simply pick up a coaxial tool and some  male connectors as seen in the picture below.

Be sure to check the type of cable you are using. In the U.S. most cable and antenna installations are done with either RG-59 or RG-6. You should be able to find it printed on the cable. If you are purchasing cable to do the install, get the RG-6. It’s a less noisy cable, which translates into receiving more TV channels.

To install the coaxial connectors, just follow the following steps.

1. Cut the cable (literally this time).

Figure out where you want to install the connections and cut the cable. I like to leave about 6 inches of “mistake room” on each side. Your coaxial tool should have a cable cutter to cut the cable.

Below is a photo of the inside of the coaxial cable. It’s hard to see in the photo, but there is a tiny copper wire in the center with a foil shielding around it. Around the foil is the white (can be other colors as well) cable sheath.

2. Remove Outer Cable Sheath

On your coaxial tool there should be an outer cable stripper. Be mindful of the size of the cable you are working with. As you can see, I’m working with RG-6. Tightly clamp the cable stripper around the cable and rotate the tool completely around the cable.

After one or two rotations, pull the piece you just cut from the cable. If you have trouble, you may need to do another rotation. When the outer sheath is removed, you should see the inner foil shielding around the inner copper wire. It should see something like this. . .

3. Remove Foil Shielding

Line up the inner wire stripper with the copper wire in the middle of the foil shielding and slowly clamp the tool around the inner copper wire. Ensure that the copper wire ends up in the wire stripper when you close the tool. Otherwise, you will cut the copper wire along with the shield, forcing you to start over.

Just like when you removed the outer sheath, rotate the tool and remove the foil shielding. You should now have a coaxial cable that looks like this.

4. Install the connector

This part can be a struggle sometimes. Push the connector onto the end of the cable. You goal is to have the inner copper wire come through the connector. When looking into the connector the inner foil shield should be flush with the base of the connector.  Here is a photo of what it should look like.

Once the connection is seated, simply crimp the connection with the crimping tool as shown below.

Crimp the connector onto the cable as tight as you can so it down’t come off.  If you are installing this outside, I recommend using compression fittings.

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