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Basic Troubleshooting

If after installing your new amplifier the picture isn't any better or is possibly worse, read on....

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I installed my new amplifier, but I have a couple of unused ports. Do I need to cap them?
Unused connections should be terminated with 75 ohm f-terminators, which need to be purchased separately. cableTVamps sells terminators in our accessories section. Terminators prevent signal "leakage" which can lead to ghosting and interference in the TV picture. 

I installed my new amplifier, but now the picture looks worse. What did I do wrong?
There are a couple of things that could be wrong:

1. Check to make sure that you have power to the amplifier.
The green light on the front of the amplifier should be lit. If not, check your power supply and power cable. Make sure you have the power cable securely connected to the PWR connection on the amplifier. The cable from the power supply to the amplifier must be less than 100' in length.

2. Check the other connections into and out of the amplifier.
Take a look at each connector attached to the cable (see picture below). If the center wire of the cable does not extend 1/16" beyond the end of the connector, it may not be making good contact with the amplifier ports. If necessary, install a new connector and make sure the center wire extends a bit beyond the end of the connector.

3. If the above steps do not resolve the problem, re-connect everything as it was before you installed the amplifier.
If everything works OK, you may have a defective amplifier. This is very rare, but it does happen occasionally.

I installed my new amplifier. The picture looks better, but I still see ghosts and/or snow. It is not as good as I expected. What's going on?
There are many reasons that an amplifier may not fix your cable problems. Usually these reasons are related to existing cabling problems in your home. Here are the most common areas to check to resolve your cabling problems.

1. Bad Connectors
Bad connectors are at the top of the list for problems. Check all of your connections to make sure the connectors are in good condition. Always use good quality crimp-on style connectors, not the screw-on style. Screw-on connectors are always subject to unscrewing, coming loose, and in general not providing a strong connection. When inspecting the connectors, be sure that they are clean, that there is no loose wire or insulation inside the connector, and that the center wire extends approximately 1/16" beyond the end of the connector. If the center wire is not long enough it may not make a good connection and cause a snowy picture. If a connector looks questionable it is better to replace it.

2. Cheap Splitters
The splitters you use in your cable connections can make a big difference in the quality of your cable signal. If you buy the cheap $2.99 splitters at the local electronics or home improvement store you are likely to add to the problems with your cable signal. Cheap splitters are made from wires and ferrite cores, sealed in what appears to be a sturdy metal housing. Because they are constructed so cheaply, they will actually add ghosts and snow to your picture especially if your signal is not very strong at the splitter input. They are also very susceptible to interference from outside sources like electrical equipment. 
High quality splitters are constructed from circuit boards and high quality components, which makes them less susceptible to interference, ghosting, and other problems. You can generally tell the difference between splitters by their frequency rating. If a splitter is rated only to 900MHz, STAY AWAY! High quality splitters are rated for 1000 MHz. The splitter should have this information stamped or printed right on the splitter itself.

3. Too many splitters - poor layout
Even good quality splitters can't keep you from making mistakes. Connecting one splitter to another splitter, to a third splitter is a bad idea. Each time you use a splitter you cut your cable signal by more than half - even if it is only a 2-way splitter. If you have a single cable line that you keep splitting throughout your house, the TVs at the end of the line are always going to suffer. When setting up the cabling for your TVs, be sure to run as many connections as you can directly back to the first splitter or amplifier. The more connections you have the more important this becomes. Do not use multiple splitters unless it is absolutely necessary. Another rule for good cabling - keep your cables split as evenly as possible. Every time you use a splitter, you should make sure that the number of TVs or other equipment connected to each port is the same. one port should not supply 5 TVs while the other port supplies only one TV. Keep those devices split as evenly as possible across your splitter ports.




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