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Advice on upgrading my aerial cable and amplifier/booster

Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by DIYNotIan, 26 Jun 2013.

  1. DIYNotIan

    DIYNotIan

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    Hi all

    I'm going to be installing a new aerial point in my front room, and that's got me onto thinking about and reviewing the current set up (which we inherited when we bought the house).

    The set up is:

    - Roof aerial
    - Feeds Wolsey WFAV 425 4-way amp/booster (in loft)
    - Wolsey WPS100/1 power supplier (also in loft, connected to the amp with a small run of cable).
    - White unmarked cable feeds the current aerial point in front room
    - Other cables feed other points around the house but we do not use any of these....


    The thoughts whirring around my head at the mo are:

    - Would we be better of buying a new amp/booster seeing as we only need the one feed? Is the four way reducing quality? I remember reading once that you can buy 75ohm terminators (or something) for the unused outputs???

    - I'm going to use Webro WF100 cable from the amp to the new aerial socket. Can I also use this from the socket to the TV? And can I use it for the amp/booster to the power supply?

    - Should I try to replace the cable running from the aerial itself to the amp/booster with WF100? I don't have a ladder tall enough so would need to pay an installer to do this.... So only want to do that if it would be worth it....

    - Any recommendations on a decent quality socket for the front room, and decent make of connectors?


    Many thanks in advance for any help

    Max
     
  2. plugwash

    plugwash

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    Why are you doing this work? are you having problems with the current setup? do you just want the aerial point in a different place.

    While I'd use WF100 or similar for all new runs to minimise the risk of interference problems I don't see any point in replacing existing stuff unless you are actually having problems.
     
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  4. ChrisFrost

    ChrisFrost

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    I'd echo some of what plugwash has said. Unless you're having particular issues, or there are some other improvements you want to make to the system then there's little reason to change what you have. However, because this is an inherited system, and you might not know whether it was professionally installed or done by an enthusiastic amateur you've obviously got some questions in mind about the efficacy of the install.

    Speaking as someone who installs TV aerial distribution systems as part of my custom install business, there are a couple of observations and comments I'll make that could help you.

    Unterminated outputs / cable runs: You're right that this can be a source of signal degradation. Without something on the end of a cable or on an unused output to provide a 75 Ohm load then the signal bounces back to the source. Disconnecting unused cables and terminating at the amp might not make a night and day difference, especially where you just have Freeview's "digital only" signal, but it certainly won't harm things either.

    New amp vs old: Unless you need new features such as multiplexing DAB/FM with the TV signal then there's not much point in changing.

    Do I need this amp/splitter at all?: For a new install where the aerial feed goes to just one TV then the answer is probably no. A direct feed off the aerial is a cleaner signal than going via a multi-way splitter. If the signal isn't strong enough at install then an aerial installer will add a masthead amp rather than a splitter in the loft. The loft mounted splitter has a little gain but they aren't designed to solve reception issues so much as just compensate a little for the additional connections and a bit of loss in the the cables.

    In your case though you have what you have. Removing the Wolsey amp/splitter might actually cause you more problems than its worth in potential quality savings because of the cable joints.

    Is the existing amp installed correctly: The amp/splitter - Yes. The power supply - No. It is designed to live behind one the the TVs and send its low voltage power back up the same cable that provides the TV signal. The reason is so that there isn't a mains powered device left running 24/7 unattended in the loft. If you have the opportunity to move the PSU then that would be a good idea.

    Changing the existing cable: If it is poor quality coax without a foil shield and with sparse braid cover then yes.

    As for connections and wall plates; look for shielded wall plates. Plugs; go for all-alloy plugs rather than those that are part plastic.
     
  5. DIYNotIan

    DIYNotIan

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    The latter.... But seeing as I am going to move the point, I thought it worth checking out what I currently have and upgrading where possible for decent cable and connectors.

    But tbh, as things stand now with the current set up (going through distribution amp, cheap cable, etc), I'm getting 10/10 for both Signal Strength and Signal Quality. No bit errors (well, not today when I checked). And it does look good. So I don't know if using better quality cable, changing things etc. can actually improve anything? Not sure if those readings on the TV menu give the full story or not....

    However, WF100 and a few connectors would be so cheap for the amounts I'll need, I don't suppose it can hurt - even if it does not improve anything.

    As above, I've checked the TV's reading for signal strength, signal quality and bit errors and all looks good there. Does that tell the full story? Any other tests I should be doing?

    RE: Unterminated outputs / cable runs. OK, I've unplugged the unused cables and I will install the 75ohm terminators if it won't cause harm and may potentially help. Is that what they are called?

    OK, out of curiosity I'll try going direct from the aerial to the TV then and see if/how it changes things.

    Thanks for the other tips. And thanks to you both for the very helpful replies. Much appreciated.
     
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  7. Sam Gangee

    Sam Gangee

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    I've seen a couple of installations where a booster had been installed to compensate for high signal losses in the crappy cable. Replacing the cable caused problems because the signal was now too high for some of the TVs. Equally, I've seen many cases where replacing the cable with WF100 or similar has solved weird problems with interference or intermittent operation caused by poor screening of the original cable.

    The seemingly innocent "fly-lead", from wall socket to TV, is the cable most likely to cause problems because it's closest to sources of interference (e.g. the TV itself and mains power cables), because it's exposed to mechanical abuse (tripping, pulling) and because people will happily spend £999 on a new TV and only 99p on a fly-lead. That's not to say that you have to pay a lot, but do use double-screened cable near the TV.

    75 Ohm terminators:
    http://www.satcure.co.uk/accs/page7.htm#term
     
  8. DIYnot Local

    DIYnot Local

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