I'm in the process of running aerial wires around the house.
I'm using WF100 cable and terminating with F sockets in each room, and will fit F plugs direct onto the end of the cables at the loft end so it can connect straight to my amplifier.
In the past I've only used cheapo twist on plugs however I've never been particularly confident with the twist on plugs as it's difficult to fold all the strands back and twist the plug on without damaging any of the strands, and wondered if compression plugs are much better.
First question I guess is whether compression plugs are much better and if so, what type are the best and what type of crimp tool is best for fitting them?
There are different qualities of each plug type, so as much as compression is the best, it's not always the most appropriate solution if the alternatives are decent quality plugs in their own right.
I use compression-fit plugs outside, and for underfloor joints where there's likely to be moisture, and if possible in lofts for cable splices where the cable may be buried insulation and I need a very strong joint in case someone tugs on the coax. It doesn't always work out that neat though. Sometimes I'm extending the in-wall coax cables up in the loft of new builds and it's obvious that the QA has spec'd the cheapest coax they could, so there's a chance that in the heat of summer the outer sheath might stretch and cause a signal disconnect. A cable loop might be enough to offset the problem, but that might not be possible if all I have is a couple of inches of coax sticking up. Each job is assessed on its individual circumstances. Have a look at the S.A.C. Snap-Seal plugs.
For fitting tools, the Snap-Seal
hand tools that look a bit like a chrome stapler with red grips are okay for someone doing their own one-off DIY installation. There's also something along the lines of the Arlec Antsig compression tool which would probably be okay for DIYers. With all of this stuff you have to remember that it's being knocked out fast and cheap from Far East production lines so the quality and lifespan of the products reflect that. In particular, it's the quality of the joints and hinges and the hardness of the metal: Not so good for day-in-day-out use as a pro installer, but okay for DIY.
Crimp-fit is something I don't use so much, but I do have some nice ones for WF65 twin.
Twist-on F plugs I use indoors (back of satellite receivers, joints for power supplies and aerial amps etc. I come across cheap and nasty ones where I'm upgrading existing installations. Those get tossed. The ones I use are made by S.A.C. and have a little rubber O ring inside the screw cap. They're quality. You can see it in the build and feel it in use. They're perfectly matched for CAI approved RG6-size cables such as the WF100 that I install. I've never had an issue with them either being loose or too tight.
Virgin uses compression only for a simple reason. It makes their job simpler. They're only dealing with one size of cable, so from a business point-of-view they can reduce inventory stock holding down to a single SKU for the plug type they use. There are benefits in supply chain streamlining, inventory costs, stock costs and of course the installers need to carry less gear.
For aerial installers such as me, we don't have the luxury of dealing with just one size of cable. We have to be prepared for whatever might pop up during the course of a job.
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