Timer for cable tv line

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  #1  
Old 02-20-04, 01:18 PM
jab110
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Timer for cable tv line

Hello All. I have a single cable tv feed going to my second floor that branches out to where my sons bedrooms are. Each of them has a small tv in their room. Recently, we've caught them watching tv too late at night, and while they were punished, i'd rather not have the tv available to them during certain hours.

What i was hoping to do was get a timer of some sort that i could splice into the feed line going to the second floor. Then i would just set it to turn the signal off at a certain time each nite, and come back on in the morning. (maybe turn off during homework time too..)

I have seen some similar devices that seem to work on the power cable, but they only handle one TV each, and cost about $100 each. That's more than the TVs cost!

Anyway, if anyone has seen such an item, or has thoughts on how to make one, i'd appreciate it. I've made my own COAX cable before, and i do my own in house electrical, so i don't mind tinkering a little, but i guess i'm a little worried that i don't truly know the signal characteristics here and don't want to create a fuzzy image just because i'm not shielding things properly or something.

Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 02-21-04, 08:39 AM
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If you're using a digital cable box, most of them have parental controls that will allow you to block access during certain hours.

If not, it wouldn't be to hard to make a cable timer, if a little cludgy.

All you need is the timer, a 120v relay and the connections. Run the relay off the timer and route the cable signal through the relay.

The only problem I forsee is that you might get a/c interference introduced to the cable signal.
 
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Old 02-21-04, 08:53 AM
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I have a cable booster that feeds the kids' tv's in my home. If the booster doesn't have power then for some reason the cable signal won't feed at all back there. I plan to put a switch on the outlet that handles powering the booster and switch that off at night when the kids are suppose to be sleeping!

I tried pulling the fuse for the walls up there (kids rooms) but it also knocks out clocks, etc so that didn't work well.

Kay
 
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Old 02-21-04, 09:21 PM
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Great idea Kay. I've been searching and looking everywhere for a device to disconnect cable - nothing. I didn't even think of boosters completely dropping the signal when there's no power.

Add an A/C timer or use X-10 devices and you could control it easily. Of course, you wouldn't want to put something like that outside (at the cable box), it should be inside - and preferrably in a locked closet or at least enclosure (like a security enclosure) to keep the sneaky ones from bypassing it

Good luck!
 
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Old 02-22-04, 07:16 AM
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What's a X-10 device? I've only noticed the timers that you can use on lamps when you're on vacation. It would be nice to have one a little more programmable - like on the weekends I do let them stay up later.

That sure would be a lot easier than trying to wire a switch. Especially since I would need to put the switch in my bedroom - across the house.

Kay
 
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Old 02-22-04, 05:56 PM
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Why mess with something in series with the cable TV signal. Just get a timer that will cut the 110vac power to the TV set itself and install it in a locked box so the TV can't be unplugged and moved to another socket by curious kids. That way you can change and/or disable the timer anytime you wish and your kids can't watch TV "after hours."
 
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Old 02-22-04, 07:36 PM
jab110
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Thanks for all the input.

I'm curious about X-10 too. Not sure what that's about. Is there a web site with some intro?

As far as just using the power to the TV, I have 3 sons, each with his only small TV. (Cost only $80 each, and there's no fighting over what's on...) As was mentioned above, cutting the power to all of them brings on other issues (clocks etc), so it would be alot easier to cut the single feed for the Cable TV.

As far as controlling it with Cable company, that only works if i want: a) all my TVs to go off at their bed time, or b) to get each of them a Cable company tuner. I don't see either of these as good choices for me.

I did consider putting a timer on the signal ampifier, but i guess my signal's pretty strong because even with it off, they still get some picture, it's just a little fuzzy.

Thanks again everyone.
 
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Old 02-22-04, 07:54 PM
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Try this:
1) Make a single line coming from the cable box go to a three line splitter.
2) Run the outputs from the splitter to each of your boy's individual TV.
3) Put a cheap VCR in series between the cable box and the input to the splitter.
4) Set up the VCR timer to turn on a good educational tape at the boy's bed time.

When the VCR is in standby the signal is just passed through. When the VCR starts the cable program will be replaced with what is on the VCR.

That way if the boys do stay up too late and watch TV you will at least know what they are watching and they will get an education at the same time. I'll bet they won't watch the show more than once, that is, unless they can sneek in a good porno flick.
 
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Old 02-22-04, 08:20 PM
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The way the cable runs into my house is from the main cable box it is split. The short line runs to my computer for my internet service and telephone. The other line feeds to the family tv, then to the the booster where it splits off into the kids' room. I had installed an outlet in the attic soley for the cable booster so that is where I'll plug the timer and then the booster into the timer from there. That way I can start/stop the feed at certain times without effecting the family tv or my internet/phone service.

I don't see why one of those timers that you use from the discount stores for lamps wouldn't work. The power would still be to the wall for the clocks and outlets there, but just not to the cable feed anymore.

The cable booster was only about $30 and the timer shouldn't be expensive. The only reason we got the booster last year was because of how long the leads were from the second split to reach the kid's rooms. We don't have digital cable here, so parental controls that way aren't an option, and the tv's were inexpensive as well with no V-chips installed.

I know this will be the less expensive, less time consuming way for me to handle the situation in my home.

Kay
 
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Old 02-22-04, 09:14 PM
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Find out more about X-10 <a href="http://www.x-10.com">here</a> - however, if you want an education on it, and not all the pop-ups and hype, take a look at <a href="http://www.diyautomation.com/index.asp?dealer=3825">DIYAutomation.Com</a> or <a href="http://www.smarthome.com">SmartHome.Com</a>

Basically, X-10 is just Home Automation at it's simplest (and cheapest.) Lots of cool products to choose from.

As Kay mentioned, using a regular timer for her situation (as a power control device) would work just fine. However, the nice thing about X-10 is that not only can be scheduled (on a daily and weekly schedule), you can control it with remote devices also (like keychains or X-10 transmitter devices - desktop controls.)

Mini controllers can be purchased for as little as $20/each and appliance modules can be purchased for about the same or less. X-10 is also good for lighting control - however, instead of the plug-in modules (Lamp Modules), I like the X-10 switches or the X-10 Outlets. Very cool!

Good luck!
 
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Old 04-16-04, 02:17 AM
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If your amp completly kills your signal, your service provider needs to fix your system (or it's to your neighborhood).

Anyway, since you have internet services (or digital) through your cable system there are a few things to know that most people don't.

The sheiding outiside the central core is the return path for any addressable service you may be using. This is how they accomplish bi-directional communiation and this is also the reason why upload speeds from most cable provider are poor.

With this in mind, if there was a timer on the market it would have to include a transmission path for both the sheilding and the cable core. Making your own would be tricky and a solution would need to be create. (One comes to mind but I digress, unless I made a picture I doubt my words would do it justice).

I have had a lot of parents ask me about how to shut it off. And, based on what's on T.V. today, I'd want to kill the tube when I'm not supervising my kid too. The simplest non-inventive solution that I would buy an A/B switch, put source signal on A and nothing on B and the outgoing switch connection i would connect the jumper to the splitter. Only problem with this is, you still have to get up and push the button. Other than that, I do not know of any products that would automatically turn off the signal.

Assuming your kids are as most, putting the thing on a vcr timer is a little bit arbitrary considering (depending on age) they probably understand electronics better than you and could easily thwart your efforts without you know it (i.e. resetting the timer to whenever they want when you aren't around, you think it is still on, they get to watch tv. win win for them).
If you would use a mechanical device that wouldn't be so obvious (such as a lone VCR serving no aparent purpose) they wouln't be any the wiser (unless you allow them to watch you turn it off).

Well. Thats all I can offer at the moment. Hope it helps.
 
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Old 04-27-04, 06:44 PM
jab110
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That's all great info Skyking. Thanks. Think i'll just go low-tech with an a/b switch as you suggested. Still surprises me there isn't a device out there, but this will do. If i forget sometimes, well, it's no worse than now... Thanks again.
 
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Old 05-13-04, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyKing
The sheiding outiside the central core is the return path for any addressable service you may be using. This is how they accomplish bi-directional communiation and this is also the reason why upload speeds from most cable provider are poor.
I don't think this is true. The upload speeds are slow because the cable company caps them there. The cable equipment would allow upload speeds just as fast as the download if they wanted to pay for the bandwidth. My shielding on my cable is connected to my housing's ground wire, by the way. The return signal is sent back over the same copper wire, however it is modulated at a different frequency than the downstream signal.

Also, some powered amplifiers have better pass-through than others when they are unplugged. If mine is unplugged, there is NO signal passed through. You may try another brand if yours had too much passthrough. I like that idea with the A/C power timer.

I also like the VCR idea, I would have never thought of that. The VCR would at least be a little more difficult to circumvent than the A/B switch. However, on my VCR, it only blocks the channels on the lower range. About ch 8 and above still pass through with the VCR on. They are a little more fuzzy, but very watch-able. That may not be effective enough.
 

Last edited by kuhurdler; 05-13-04 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 05-13-04, 01:24 PM
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jab110,

I finally fixed my problem with my kids. I took their tv's out of their rooms.

Did you ever find a way to stop the cable tv watching? I never got a chance to put a switch or even a timer on the booster in the attic. Wouldn't have solved the 13yo's tv watching, she has a vcr in her tv.

My children are older and should exercise some self control. It just dawned on me that if they can't control themselves then I would be the meanest mom on this earth and remove the source of the problem - the tvs.

I did feel awful about it too. They were Christmas gifts to the kids. I've stored them until summer.

Can I tell you guys the good news? Ian is passing school now and Meagan is now back on honor roll. Yes, I have to deal with arguing over what we're going to watch. Okay, that's when the tv goes off and they have to read a book or go clean their rooms. I've caught them lately in the family room with the volume down, whispering to each other as they watch the onscreen tv guide. They are quietly arguing over what they will watch LOL.

This is what worked my family. I hope that you found a solution for yours.

Have a great day everyone!

Kay
 
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Old 11-19-04, 07:31 AM
SkyKing
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Kuhurlder, You are correct. The braided wire is not used for that. My apologizes. The reason why I say it does is to give people the idea of why it is important.

The braiding is actually connected to ground. It makes a complete loop for the cable company. If this braiding is broken or shorted to the copper core, then you're cable modem won't get upstream signal.

Downstream (on this cable market) is actually sent at a frequency very close to the frequency of channel 115. Upstream is sent very near channel 22.

Sorry. I should stop saying that it does but I want to stress the gavitas of the braiding.

Anywho. Reading back on this post, sorry for misleading y'all.
 
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