How to tell if coax cable is bad will be one of the questions that will go through your mind.
This is because, you might be experiencing issues with your cable or internet, and you suspect that it might be your cables.
If these start to occur frequently, these could be symptoms of bad coax cables in your home.
The easiest way to tell if your coax cable is bad is to do a visual inspection. Coaxial or coax cables are thick, and you will instantly know if there are signs of damage. If you see frayed wires near the connector or if the connector is chipped, you can be sure that your cables are damaged.
Most of the causes of coax cable issues can be easily avoided. All it takes is proper planning and installation.
You can prolong the life of your cables so they can offer optimum performance for years.
Keep your furniture away from coax connectors and sockets. This will prevent them from hitting the connectors and breaking them, causing more problems.
If the cables are in your walls, it’s essential that you keep an eye out for them when you are drilling, so you do not accidentally break them.
When you are in the process of installing your coax cables, make sure that you put in additional cable length.
Too much tension on your cables can cause cracks in its shielding, making it prone to interference, which can slow down your internet.
The extra length will prevent the added tension keeping your cables in tip-top shape.
If the cable is already installed in the walls of your home, make sure that you do not unnecessarily pull on it to avoid tensioning the cables.
Coaxial cables are well insulated and shielded. However, this does not make them free from interference.
You must keep them away from electrical wires, so they do not mess up with your signal.
All you need is 6 inches between the coax and electrical wires, and you should be all set.
How to Tell If Coax Cable is Bad
If you are asking how to tell if your coax cable is bad, our guide will help you determine the steps to take.
It’s easy to know if your cables are bad. However, nailing down the actual cause of your problems can take a while, especially if your cables are inside your walls.
The first thing you need to do is look for the signs of cable damage. Coax cables are used in various ways, but they are commonly found in cable TV and internet connections.
If you are experiencing problems with these services in your home, you can start looking at your coax cables.
Here are some of the signs to look out for to know that your coax cable is bad:
- Your internet connection is significantly lower than your plan.
- Your internet connection keeps dropping.
- Your cable does not display pictures.
- Your cable shows blurry or ghosted pictures.
If you start experiencing these problems consistently, your coax cables are likely going bad.
They may not be completely damaged yet, but they can progress if you leave it this way for a few more months or years.
Now that you are seeing signs of coax cable damage, you want to make sure to find out where it is exactly.
Don’t worry if your cables are in your walls since the likely places that your cables can get damaged are in exposed areas.
Especially those near the connectors or sockets where your furniture can overbend the cables and break the shielding.
Here are the types of damage that your coax cable can have:
- Physical cable damage
- Shielding damage
- Insulation damage
- Connector damage
One of the things to look out for here is the shielding, insulation, and connector damage.
Note: The insulation for coax cables can tolerate heat up to 300 degrees F or 150 degrees C.
Anything more than that can damage both the insulation and shielding. It’s essential that you keep the cables away from your oven and other sources of heat.
Connectors can easily get damaged too. A hard hit by one of your furniture can break the connector and cause issues as you move them around.
You also want to avoid crushing the cables unnecessarily as this can compromise the structure and make it prone to interference.
Once you determine that there is a potential that your coax cables are bad, you want to test them, especially if you could not see any form of physical damage.
There is a good chance that the damage could be on the wires inside your walls. If this happens, you will need some equipment to test your cables.
Testing your coax cables is not hard. In fact, you do not need any special equipment to see if they are working properly.
All you need is a multimeter, a tool that’s in most homes. You can check for resistance, capacitance, and impedance of the cable to make sure that it’s working properly.
Here are the steps to check your coax cables using a multimeter:
- Disconnect both ends of the coax cable from their respective devices.
- Touch one of the multimeter leads to the plug and connect the other to the center pin.
- If it makes a sound the cable is shorted and needs to be replaced.
Check for continuity:
- Set the multimeter to Continuity or CONT.
- Connect the negative end of the multimeter to the center pin of the coax.
- Then connect the positive end of the multimeter to the other pin.
- Make sure that the probes do not touch the sleeve of the connector.
- If your multimeter makes a sound, it means the cable is working.
Note: You can also test for a shielding leak by placing one end of the multimeter to the center pin of the cable and the other end on the outer layer.
There should be no sound coming from your multimeter. If there is, it means your shielding has a leak and could not offer proper insulation to the center pin.
After you determine if your coax cables are working properly and are not bad, you want to check how your cables are located inside your house.
This test would come in handy if you moved into a house with cabling installed. You want to do this to ensure that you do not drill in the wrong places when installing new equipment.
To perform this test, you will need a cable explorer. It’s a tool that can help you detect which cables match up.
It acts like a multitester but can check multiple lines to pair up the ends.
This is helpful if your home comes with numerous coax connections for your TV and internet.
Thus, to tell if your coax cable is bad, the easiest way to do it would be to use a multitester. Connect both tester probes to the opposite ends of the coax cable. If your tester makes a sound or beep, it means that your cables are good. If it doesn’t, your cables need replacing.
Read Next: Do You Need a Coax Cable for Internet?
If you want to know how to tell if coax cable is bad, we hope that this guide has helped you identify the issues.
A bad coax can affect your cable TV and internet, so if you rely on these two services, you want to make sure that they are in optimum condition.
At least, if you can confirm that your cables are bad, you can take the necessary steps to replace them to improve your viewing and internet connectivity.
Kevin has over five years of experience working in various Tech startups and providing Technical solutions. He has contributed to many Tech publications and websites.