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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK I may sound a little postal please bear with me. :vs_mad:
I have been with Comcast for a number of years, both internet and cable TV service. For some reason three weeks ago something happened to the cable TV service. If I turned on the TV I can watch whatever channel that comes up all day long but if I try to change channels it will refuse with a "unable to connect to internet error" but my internet has no issue, working fine with no interruption. Called customer service and they said to check all connections and did a system refresh. After that they said the signal has noise which means it's either the cable X1 boxes or the wiring. They suggested that I upgrade my boxes at a store. So the next day I removed the two TV boxes, went to the stores and switched to two new boxes (identical boxes by the way so no "upgrade"). Went home and activated the boxes and everything worked fine, for about 48 hours then the issue returned.


Called customer service again they did another refresh and asked me to check my cables and connections being tight. Then said they will have a tech come to visit. I scheduled a visit last week, on Thursday between 12 to 2pm and no one showed. I went back to work. I called that evening to customer service again and asked why no one showed, they said they do show an appointment but no notes and all they could do is to reschedule. So rescheduled to Monday 10-12, I asked them to have the tech call me 30 minutes prior to coming out so I can come back the meet him. Monday no showed again and at 3pm I got a call saying "I am here no one is home" I said I am 20 minutes away but I thought you would call me before coming over so I can meet you...he left. So two missed appointments.

So yesterday I decided to do some digging myself. I swapped the cables around, had the one going to the cable modem (which works because I have no issue with the internet) go to the X1 boxes, and tried different combinations and doesn't matter, I have the issues on the TV changing channels.


I then looked at the lines outside, making sure nothing was nicked by a lawn mower, all looks good until I traced it to a green box in the back alley. In that green box there is only ONE cable connected (guess I am the only one haven't cut the cord) and there are like 5-6 other cables disconnected.








Upon close examination, the single connected cable has been pinched badly. May be a car bumped into it or whatever.











In order to make sure this is the cable feeding my home, I disconnected it and my TV and internet service was interrupted.


Next, I twisted and bent the cable where it pinched in the opposite direction and it seems to intermittently made things better. But a few hours later it went bad again.


I am reasonably sure this is the real issue here. So I called Comcast and said hey I think I identified the issue can you send someone out to remake the connection, I don't need to be home and you can come whenever. They said no, I have to be home, and they have to schedule it. I told them they already missed two appointments and I actually took time off work to wait for them only to be no showed. They wouldn't fix the cable unless I schedule a tech appointment and wait at home.


So my question is, I think this orange color cable is just a regular coaxial cable may be RG59, RG6 right? I haven't worked with these outdoor buried cables but I do have the tools to strip and crimp regular inside coaxial connectors. I know this is Comcast's equipment and technically I am not supposed to do anything to it but I am sick of waiting for them and it should only take me 3 minutes to fix this myself. Is there any reason I cannot just cut this off behind the pinched cable, strip and crimp it with a regular RG6 connector myself?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did that already. The customer service rep asked me if I want to schedule a third appointment with a tech. I said "No, the first two didn't work, there is no reason to believe the third one will, and I am not taking time off work to wait for nothing anymore". She then said that's the only way to get the issue fixed. I said perhaps, but I am really disappointed with the service and I may just cancel my service and not needing it fixed. She said "OK, whatever you decide, thank you for using Comcast".:vs_mad:
 

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adam
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That looks like RG6. If you make a quality cable strip and crimp with the correct tools, it might very well improve it. Your cable box is probably using a 'channel' that's just the right frequency to be affected. Try that other port, it might help. Or even take that connector off it's port and put it back on might help too. Beware, this could make it worse too though.



You did most of the troubleshooting yourself, they owe you a few months free :)
 

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You can get a crimp set from HD, Same type their service techs use...it’s a cinch to put a new connector on that yourself.

Send Comcast the bill. :wink2:

I replaced all of Xfinity’s cable from the demarcation into my home with RG6, a distribution amp, etc. That brought up my levels considerably. My last step was to put terminators on all of the unused ports on the Xfinity network interface / distribution amplifier in my yard.

All of this improved my signal to noise ration (SNR) greatly. I can easily achieve 300Mbps on just about any day, while paying for a “guaranteed” 250. Before this work I could only get about 50 reliably.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That looks like RG6. If you make a quality cable strip and crimp with the correct tools, it might very well improve it. Your cable box is probably using a 'channel' that's just the right frequency to be affected. Try that other port, it might help. Or even take that connector off it's port and put it back on might help too. Beware, this could make it worse too though.

You did most of the troubleshooting yourself, they owe you a few months free :)

I think it is RG6. The existing damaged cable connector has a label on it "PPC EX6" does this mean it is a RG6 connector?


 

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One guess:
Tech was there recently (the day your service became bad?) to disconnect another (former) customer. Looks like he typically cuts the cable with wire cutters, started to do yours by mistake, damaged it and stopped.

There are orange cable pieces on the ground as well.

Kids causing trouble?
 

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adam
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I think it is RG6. The existing damaged cable connector has a label on it "PPC EX6" does this mean it is a RG6 connector?

Yes, it's an RG6 compression fitting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are there different kinds of RG6 connectors?


I used a standard coax stripper to strip the orange cable. It seems to strip fine and I folded back the braided shield, there is some gel like coating smeared on it which I assume is for the exterior weather proofing.






Then I tried to use a standard RG6 F compression connector on it. The foam core (which is inside a thin layer of aluminum foil) will not insert into the smaller hole of the connector. I thought may be I didn't strip it right and strip it again at a lower portion of the cable, same result. I was able to compress the connector onto the cable, but the foam core wouldn't push in all the way so right now I have an extra long copper conductor.


The service seems to be back to normal after a system refresh myself. Hope that will last. If I can figure out what I am not doing right I would like to remake that connection.
 

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I feel your pain with Comcast! This is really something they should fix. Somebody has obviously "played" with this connection.

I used a standard coax stripper to strip the orange cable. It seems to strip fine and I folded back the braided shield, there is some gel like coating smeared on it which I assume is for the exterior weather proofing.
This is probably a flooded cable used in your area. The coax has in a copper conductor in the center, with a plastic insulator and two levels of braid and foil, which is surrounded by flooding compound and the outside cover.
Then I tried to use a standard RG6 F compression connector on it. The foam core (which is inside a thin layer of aluminum foil) will not insert into the smaller hole of the connector. I thought may be I didn't strip it right and strip it again at a lower portion of the cable, same result. I was able to compress the connector onto the cable, but the foam core wouldn't push in all the way so right now I have an extra long copper conductor
(assuming it is not RG11) You probably know this: This compression connector requires a “special” tool to compress the fitting, i.e., a standard “crimping” tool will not work.

Hope everything works out.



 

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adam
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The foam core is called the 'dielectric'.

There are slight differences in RG6 sizes so you might need specific size RG6 connector.

Here is an example that gives you the diameter of the dielectric, it's in the top portion: https://sedectro.com/wp-content/upl...7TSEF-XP-Orange-Underground-Coaxial-Cable.pdf


If you are certain that you are not using an RG59 connector and the dielectric is too big, try to find an RG6 compression fitting that is made for the diameter of the dielectric. Amazon carries the one that was on the cable, the PPC EX6, but you might need to purchase them in bulk. Walmart seemed to have PPC EX6 available in smaller quantities.
 

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One way to check this without leaving your house is to log onto the modem admin (not your router, but the cable modem). Motorola are generally 192.168.100.1. Then check your upstream and downstream signal to noise ratios and compare to specs. I don't recall the numbers right off hand but you can google that info up. Assuming your gear is working an out of whack signal is generally a good indication of a bad cable and if you have checked your indoor ones then it is Comcast's outside cable issue. I am not sure what the modem login if you have the Comcast gateway. You'd have to google that, too. This is a good way to troubleshoot these issues, especially when they are intermittent. A marginal signal might work sometimes but drop out others. I had one fail like this about 5 years ago... was crushed or pinched underground... and they had to run a whole new one about 150' to the box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I feel your pain with Comcast! This is really something they should fix. Somebody has obviously "played" with this connection.


This is probably a flooded cable used in your area. The coax has in a copper conductor in the center, with a plastic insulator and two levels of braid and foil, which is surrounded by flooding compound and the outside cover.

(assuming it is not RG11) You probably know this: This compression connector requires a “special” tool to compress the fitting, i.e., a standard “crimping” tool will not work.

Hope everything works out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQngGKrUqAo



It is not an RG11 cable and I do have a coaxial compression tool. The issue is not in compressing the actual connector which is the final step. The issue I have is the manual part where I peel back the braid after the cutting tool do it's rotations in cutting, and when I insert the cut end into the bottom of the RG6 connector, I cannot fully insert the foam core around the center copper conductor into the smaller hole. It almost seem like the aluminum foil on the outside of the foam core is the culprit. I will try another type of RG6 later to see if it makes a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The foam core is called the 'dielectric'.

There are slight differences in RG6 sizes so you might need specific size RG6 connector.

Here is an example that gives you the diameter of the dielectric, it's in the top portion: https://sedectro.com/wp-content/upl...7TSEF-XP-Orange-Underground-Coaxial-Cable.pdf


If you are certain that you are not using an RG59 connector and the dielectric is too big, try to find an RG6 compression fitting that is made for the diameter of the dielectric. Amazon carries the one that was on the cable, the PPC EX6, but you might need to purchase them in bulk. Walmart seemed to have PPC EX6 available in smaller quantities.

I will check into it. If I cannot make a good connection, I will take a picture of the stripped cable end to post here to get some input.


Just one more question, when the cutter makes it's cut to strip, is it supposed to strip the aluminum foil outside the white foam core away? In other words, am I supposed to see a small section of the dielectric with the white foam only, or white foam with aluminum? It seems the aluminum foil, as thin as it is, is what's stopping it from being fully inserted.
 

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Big Dog
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I strongly urge you not to try and repair the cable in that box yourself.

That utility box belongs to the cable company as does any equipment inside. If you attempt to make repairs within it yourself and something is damaged, regardless of if you did it or not they can try to bill you for the damages on the grounds you were not authorized to perform repairs on their equipment.

I understand your frustration with their lack of response to visits but the inconvenience of scheduling a third visit will likely be a lot less than the financial repercussions of potentially damaged cable company equipment.

I used to work telco and we had issues of customers accessing company equipment and causing damage in an attempt to fix their own phone. It cost the customer a pretty penny in they they had to pay the cost of a tech to fix the damage they caused.
 
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adam
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"It seems the aluminum foil, as thin as it is, is what's stopping it from being fully inserted."

When you look at the original photo of the connector in the previous post, you can see that the connector was inserted to the point where it "scrunched up' the aluminum foil and the braid which created a slight bulge when the connector was pushed down. You want to avoid doing that.


The foil and braid are the ground connection, 1 of the conductors basically. To answer your question, I think you can remove the foil because there is more foil inside the jacket that the connector will make contact with. But avoid the scrunching because it can create a bad ground connection. Scrunching is an indication of a connector mis-match or poor technique.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I strongly urge you not to try and repair the cable in that box yourself.

I really don't want to try and repair the cable in the box myself. However, it's abundantly clear to me that the rep on the phone are powerless and not skillful to diagnose my issue, and the techs are not good at keeping appointments. I have been running around in circles, if you read my original post I had multiple missed appointments already.


So what did I do? I end up cutting that cable where the crimp was, then I went and purchased three different kinds of RG6 connectors. I found one that worked and changed out that connector and remade the connection. I knew I am not supposed to mess with it but I was running out of options. Once I did that, rebooted everything and both my internet and TV has been working flawlessly for 2.5 months...until the first week of May when we had a major rainstorm here, and heavy flooding. Then I started to experience problems with intermittent losing internet connections throughout the day, every day.


I started to call Comcast again to try and figure this out. I was put through the restart, reboot, refresh, cycle of multiple calls again and after a few days I was able to connect to a live person.


They ran another diagnosis and said they did confirm there is an outside problem and will send someone to investigate. They gave me a CR number for the outside service. That was May 21, and they said it will be resolved by May 27.
Between May 21 and May 27 we had multiple daily internet outages. This is a real problem because my son is going to summer class online and we all working from home and suddenly in the middle of meetings and classes the connection failed, totally unpredictable, intermittent in nature.

So on May 27, I called Comcast again, this time the calls took one hour and 20 minutes of wait before someone live answers, continuously in a loop of asking you to go online for virtual help.

The Comcast rep told me from the records a tech did stop by and he found a problem outside, and they needed a new "adapter" but they didn't have one with them and it's a special part that needs to be ordered, they will return on May 30 to replace the adapter. OK so at least someone did come by the investigate and confirmed that there is an issue outside.

On May 30 Comcast knocked on my door in the morning and asked me about the problem I am having. I explained everything but asked if he was there to replace the adapter outside. He seemed puzzled so I told him someone came by on May 27 saying I need a new adapter outside and it's a special part that needs to be ordered and I assumed that's why he came. He said he came because there is a work order to my address. OK so he said he will trouble shoot and see what's going on.

He started with saying his meter to read the cable signal is out of battery because he left it on all night, so he will need to charge his meter on my outside receptacle. While waiting for that he tried to open my wall cable box outside. He couldn't find his key to open that box so he used a tool(as the correct word cannot be used in a post) to pry which eventually broke the box in half. He then said I needed a new cable from my wall box to the outside box and that most likely is my issue because many other customers had issues with their outside line being damaged by lawn mowers weed eaters etc... so he ran a new line from my now broken wall box to the outside box. He asked me to check if my cable is working and it was but it doesn't mean my issue is resolved because my issue is intermittent. He then said my issue should be resolved but he can't check the signal because his meter is still being charged. He said someone will come back to bury the cable in a week or so.

I then asked him about the adapter outside that is pending work. He laughed and said there is no adapter, that's probably the Comcast rep on the phone making up some BS story so he could get off the phone. "They will say anything to make you think they are solving your problem" he said. He said he is 100% sure my issue is resolved then he left.

Two hours later my issue returned. I lost internet for a full hour, again with no reported outage in my area.


He also left the cable hanging over a tree and a gate...so yesterday someone from Comcast came by the bury the cable, and the guy said there is no enough slack in the cable to bury it but he will try. I didn't know Comcast used basically what looks like a larger pizza cutter to cut through my lawn and bury the line about 1/2" at most. One rain storm and the cable will be fully exposed to be abused by the lawn mowers and weed eaters. While struggling to bury the line he used a fork to push the cable down into the dirt and in doing so the guy badly pierced the cable at one point. So yes, this is not a joke, the new cable is again, damaged, by them.


I am not sure what to do now or whether I need to call Comcast again. Is someone still coming to change an adapter that needed to be changed? Did Comcast closed my case by changing out a line that does not need to be changed in the first place?

Each time I get on the line I wait over an hour. Their automated answer required you to reboot your equipment before they let you continue. If I set up an appointment I don't know if they will show, and if they do show I don't know they really want to resolve my issue or just do something but continue to leave me hanging.



This is turning into a joke.
 
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