Static on cable line?


Old 11-12-12, 08:55 AM
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Static on cable line?

Figured this would be the best place, since it affected my Internet but not my TV.

Ok...The other day we had pretty strong winds on a cold dry day. Several times in the morning our cable internet went out for a few minutes at a time...then would come back for 20-30 min. It's happened before in strong winds but normally takes the TV with it...not this time. Finally it went out completely and didn't come back.

I did all the typical stuff, re-starting modem and router, disconnect, reconnect cable, checked connections for tightness, etc, no help. Called cust service and they had me do the same basic stuff as well as sending a "signal" to my modem. It did everything as expected but my "send" light always kept flashing and the "online" never came on. The tech person finally had me disconn cable from modem again saying sometimes they get "static" buildup. No effect, so she recommended I go borrow a modem from the office to test if it was my equipment before putting in a service call. Decided I would connect modem to outside main line to help eliminate in-house wiring.

As I was pulling wires from behind desk, decided to just see if possibly the splitter (wall to office TV and modem) had failed...connections were tight so pulled line in off splitter to go direct to modem. Here's where the weird stuff a slight quick tingle from line in from wall as I disconnected it. Nothing strong...just sorta like if you pinched a bit of arm hair? Don't think I was grounded since pc monitor and TV that I may have been touching are both plastic cases. Anyway, connected line back to splitter and everything worked fine.

Main splitter in outside box is grounded to main house ground, shouldn't that carry through the rest of the system? Why would I get any sort of static charge? Matter of fact...HOW would I get any static charge? Just from the wind swinging the wires? And why was it on the line in to the splitter, but not on the line out to the modem?

Also wondering if I should ground the splitter. Easily done to a screw on the PC case (only 3 wire cord of all the stuff in there) if so.
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Old 11-12-12, 10:32 AM
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Static on the line is load of crap.

If anything's going on, the tingle you felt was you being the pathway for current flow. You should not feel tingling. On the other hand, I've been shocked when touching the plastic housings on electrical devices, albeit very mildly.

At my house, the demark (demarcation point where the cable company's lines end and my premises cabling begins, sometimes also called a NID or Network Interface Device) has a junction box that is grounded to the conduit pipe that my electrical service is provided through. I honestly don't know if this is the right way to ground it or not, but it's what they did.

What I would do, in your shoes, is to hook the cablemodem up at the demark, run an extension cord to the nearest outlet if you have to. If the device doesn't connect then call them and tell them that you've bypassed the premises wiring and connected it straight up at the NID and it's still not working. If they question you, ask to speak to their supervisor. If he has no idea what you're talking about after repeating, ask to speak to the manager.

If it does connect up properly at the demark, then there could be something amiss in your in-house cabling. It's generally recommended to use RG-6 coax but some houses were cabled with RG-59 because it's less expensive, and if you're trying to use an RG-59 for the last 30' or so then that could be an issue if the signal that comes to your house is already a little on the weak side.
Old 11-12-12, 10:51 AM
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Static buildup......I like that one. The cable companies are sometimes a little slow to get info to their customer service operators. It is very possible to lose internet and still keep TV. That's how you know it's not your problem. If one of your services is working then the cable connection is basically ok. If you lose everything then it could be at your end.
Old 11-12-12, 11:50 AM
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This is something I've dealt with- definite electrical tingle when touching the cable line.

In my case, it was not static, but current flowing through the sheath of the cable TV line.

Cable TV line passed through a blue spruce tree.
Blue spruce was also touching both the local distribution and local transmission power lines.
In dry weather, nothing happened.

But, when it was damp, voltage was being carried from POCO lines to tree, then to cable TV sheathing then to ground.

Caused a clear 60 cycle hum, also a tingling.

Grounding lines often get disconnected,
I'd grab a volt-ohm meeter, first check for voltage, then check for continuity, then check for milli-amp range current.

Old 11-12-12, 01:09 PM
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Main splitter in outside box is grounded to main house ground, shouldn't that carry through the rest of the system?
Is it well grounded? I've seen some pretty shoddy grounds from cable installers. From a copper wire wrapped around a water pipe (one of the better ones) to a grounding clamp securely attached to a painted electrical conduit.

I'm not really sure where that static shock came from, it should have been grounded. Could you have a break in the cable between the outside and your desk? (probably unlikely)
Old 11-12-12, 03:43 PM
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I have never had that problem with my FIOS internet but remember back to when my uncle used to install antennas and also back to advice our electrician gave us about grounds and that is to always have a ground buried outside. Water pipes are fine as grounds but may not do the whole job especially in poor weather in allowing static electricity to escape to the ground or electricity from any source for that matter. So I definitely would see about trees being too close to electric lines and if you see that maybe the electric company in your area will send someone out for free to safely trim the tree. If not then I would hire a licensed and bonded tree trimmer as I have heard of too many people being electrocuted while trimming a tree near wires. The professionals though have all kinds of safety gear to keep them safe.
Old 11-12-12, 04:03 PM
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Well...lets see if this gets seems to be wonky. Or maybe it's me again.

Just to be clear, the tingle was momentary...but will check for voltages later. 'Net worked fine after that brief discharge.

Ground from outside splitter is clamped to main ground for breaker panel. I think I may have a ufer ground (slab home) but there is sidewalk just underneath box, can't tell if theres a rod. No trees anywhere close. RG-6 for all runs except for a couple to TVs that are slide on RG-59 type pre-made cables.

Like I said, have lost Internet before when TV was unaffected...normally that was a problem at their end and a "reset" would fix it. Sometimes both went down...normally during storms or line prob.

It's working fine and I went ahead and grounded the splitter to the PC case. Guess we'll see. Had just never heard of a "static" issue...thought it sounded kinda like BS.

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