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Thread: CATV / Bleed-off

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    Default CATV / Bleed-off

    Those of us that locate CATV know that it's a closed-loop system. Theoretically, if you were to connect at a pedestal on one street, you would be able to tone the feeder/trunk/whatever on another street, right? That's not always the case though, as the signal sometimes tends to deteriorate quickly in some areas (grounds at pedestals, etc).

    At the house, the cable drop is typically bonded to the electric meter, as electric has the best ground of any utility. Therefore, when you're going to locate a cable drop from the house, you will unbond it from the meter, clip to the metal F-terminator, and be able to run it to the ped in a low frequency, and if it's buried shallow (as it most normally is) it will scream at you. If you're lucky, the pedestal won't be grounded and the signal will keep going through feeders rather than going into the ground and returning to your ground rod.

    So what's the deal with the odd case where you can't get separation from the electric? As a rule of thumb, I always tone the electric out first, because if I then get any other tone running the same path I know I'm probably bleeding off. I had two instances last week where I could NOT get separation from the electric. I changed my batteries, moved my ground rod numerous times, made sure I had a good ground (not sandy, dry soil), attempted to run the drop in 512, 8, and even the frequency I reserve as a troubleshooter...33. All three of these frequencies got me nothing...so I went to the pedestal. I unbonded the ped, and re-bonded at the house, and had the same issue, it wanted to run with the electric. I don't have a working coupler, so that option is out. I had no other techs within a 15 mile radius of me and an unavailable supervisor (he was about 1 1/2 hours out). What do I do? H.O. wasn't around, so I pierced the sheath. That's my last-ditch effort...and needless to say, got the same tone.

    Ok, by now I'm spewing profanities, so I get my shovel out. I start carefully digging over two of the spots I got tone, dug down to 10" (it was reading 6" deep) and found nothing.

    What gives? What would you do? I emailed my supervisor, documented my attempt to locate it with numerous photos (including my potholes and open pedestal) and left. This ticket was for a basketball goal, should have taken 10 minutes (locate services to house on that side of driveway only) and I was out there for an hour with 5 tickets due within 2 hours, and another 19 due the next day...10 of those being AM tickets.

    Typically the cable company we locate for doesn't charge if a drop gets cut, regardless of fault, but dammit...I'm a locator and if I can't get my job done, I'm not happy! Anyone else had this problem?

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    Senior Member Dave72's Avatar
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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    If i was guessing, Id say that either one of two situations..
    1) The coax was sheath faulted close to where you clipped on (just under the soil near the house), so no signal was going through the yard, but some was flowing in the hydro (better ground at the transformer than at the house rod).
    2) The coax was ok, but ran some crazy path thru the yard, like along the foundation to a fence then out etc.. instead of roughly parallel to the hydro.. and you didnt look far and wide enough to find it ?
    (May you live in interesting times)

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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    This is unusual that a deeper buried electric service has a signal so strong it masks the shallow TV.

    In some areas new construction is put in with a tv drop buried joint with the phone and electric.

    It is also common with some of the subcontractors that install tv drops to dig parallel over an existing electric, phone or gas service. They ask why I complain to them as they do not intend to dig as deep as the other utility. The problem is it creates the problem you just ran into.

    IF there is a break in the sheath of the tv cable you could lose the signal as mentioned in another reply.

    And of course widen your sweep as maybe it took off at an odd angle.

    When faced with signals that cannot be separated by different connection points induce the signal.
    Find a point where you have two distinct signals with some separation. Lets suppose you are facing a building and there is signal A to your left and signal B to your right. Start by placing your transmitter over signal B. Okay, they still merge later and you cannot find two different signals.
    What you want to do now is induce a signal on B strong enough for you to read but weak enough that you cannot read A.
    So now move your transmitter a couple of feet to the left of B and try again. Keep repeating the process until you can read A but the bleed over on A is too weak to interfere.

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    Senior Member Turk182's Avatar
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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    I always mark the CATV first, as it is the easiest to bleed off on, and the contractor that buries cable drops here usually perimeter buries them as opposed to making a straight shot from the house to the ped, so it is not unusual to have the drop initially tone going away from the path to the ped instead of towards it, what you really need is a working ring clamp.

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    Moderator Goldenboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    I agree with Turk.

    I always do the CATV. If possible I always couple the CATV. This seems to eliminate alot of the bleed-off. Playing with the depth/current buttons can help. Alot of times the CATV was trenched in directly over the electric which can make it very confusing when you know that they are separate and you only get one signal. In most cases if you use the depth feature often you can figure these out.

    From what I've seen it is the electric that is the tricky one to get to tone if everything else is separate and bonded jointly. Normally I tone the shallow tv/tel drops when connected to the electric. I do have quite a few tricks to get the electric located correctly but most companies would not like how I do it.

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    Senior Member Paint'n & Flag'n's Avatar
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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    catv drops that will not get a good run...disconnect from house and clamp onto the copper strand thats sticks out from the connector. 99% of the time it'll run like a champ. This will also do away with bleed over to other utilities.

    When trying to run the power and the catv drop is causing the signal to pull its way or when the drop is right on top disconnecting the drop will prevent any bleed over and you'll get a super signal for the power.

    Better to disconnect the line and get a good signal rather than mark incorrectly and risk a damage!!! If the homeowner says something I always tell them that the catv line interferes with marking power and its better they be out for just a few minutes rather than taking the risk of burning down the house if the power is damaged.

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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    A lot of good advice here...disconnecting the service is what I'm going to have to start doing if I run across this again. I hate the idea of it, but it's true, better to go three minutes without service than a day if it gets cut. I'd say 98% of the time it locates like a dream, it's those other 2% that I'm referring to.

    I've been trying to get a working ring clamp for the longest time, and I keep getting used junk. I had one a while back that worked great and then...kaput. There is one guy in our group that has a fiber clamp (2" diameter I'd guess) that I'd love to get my hands on, and an 8" clamp that gets passed around between me and another locator as needed (love that thing).

    Around here, it's rare that catv contractors will call in for a locate to bury a drop, so if it gets buried on top of the electric it's simply a coincidence, so it's easy to tell when you're bleeding off. Another thing is that the service doesn't get buried until someone subscribes, the only thing they bury together to the house around here is gas and electric, usually no more than a foot apart.

    I did a big sweep with my RD in "search" mode (gain cranked up) while hooked onto the house and ped and got nothing more than where I picked it up originally. Locating electric around my area is typically easy, it's all fairly new, and if for some reason I can't clip to the meter base, I can then try it through the transformer, and as a last option induce. Also if there's a street light nearby it will usually run through that.

    Another thing I failed to mention is that while hooked onto the catv, I held my receiver pointed at the riser to the meter base for the electric, and had amazing tone in peak and null, and it showed 2" deep which would be correct if the tip of my machine was pressed against the pipe. Makes no sense sometimes...

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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    i was too going to suggest to disconnect at the house and clip onto the copper wire. If homeowner wasn't home they would not know it was you that caused their cable box to reset. Coupling the cable tv feeders and trucks is required here in IL. I have seen the whole side of a street get located from one ped using 8 and 33khz. high enough freq will blow through peds and if 33 or 65 lights up drops. Also try in radio mode turned up high also will pick up drops. A lot of tri-trenched in IL and they use subcontractors that call in 20-100 tickets in one area to bury drops if not tri-trenched or tech to lazy to use buried drop

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    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    paint every signal you get ............J/J......do the best you can dude ,,,,bleed off is a part of our lives!
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    I locate TimeWarner and Comcast TV in my territory. I use my cable TV tools on virtually every locate I perform in order to isolate the drops from my CATV feeders and trunks.

    My list of CATV tools I carry in my pockets and use every day:


    CATV Security Shield RG59 - $4.00 each

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    LTT-7 Locking Terminator Tool 7 Inch - $4.99 each

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    3/8" - 7/16" Open-End Wrench - +/- $5.00 each

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    #3 X 6 Phillips Screwdriver - $1.00 and up

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    My tools/inventory I keep in my work truck for fixing unmarked/mismarked cut CATV drops and use a couple times a year:


    RG-6 Compression Connectors - CHEAP!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    RG-11 Compression Connectors - $2.00 each

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Compression Assembly Tool RG6/RG11 Connectors in One Tool - $69.49

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    RG-6 Cable Connectors - CHEAP!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Reams of Electricians Tape - FREE! Courtesy of my utility repair-tech buddies.........

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    I always have a minimum of 10 feet of RG-6 coax cable with me. - CHEAP!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  11. #11
    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    I forgot about my coax cable strippers:


    Rotary Coaxial Cable Stripper tool for RG-6 coax cable - $8.00

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    Consider adding to the tool kit double sided rubber electrical tape.

    The tape has adhesive on both sides so it comes with a backing tape on one side. Pull the backing tape off to expose the second side of adhesive.

    The rubber tape is stretchy so you stretch it as you wrap it around the conductor. As it sets the stretchy tape contracts and in about 24 hours the adhesive combined with the pressure of contraction turns the separate layers of tape into a single mass. This is highly water resistant, waterproof when done right, and is used on electrical cable from 120 volt service wires to primary voltages. Properly installed will last 20 to 30 years.

    Vinyl electric tape cannot compare to the double sided rubber tape.

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    Member animal's Avatar
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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    are you sure you are looking in the right spot for the drop i have seen them dumb a$$ installers run it down the main line then straight up to the house or they will go up on of the lot lines with 1 or 2 then split to feed 1 or 2 houses or just take one & follow most of the property lines then go to the house
    i would always find the tv first then the phone then the power because everthing is grounded to the power
    there was alot of times when i did power i would have to find the othe 2 before i could find mine the other locators always liked that they would just walk up spay my dots then leave after they caught on to what i was doing

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    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    Quote Originally Posted by animal View Post
    I always find the tv first, then the phone [and] then the power; because everthing is grounded to the power.
    Hey animal - That's great advice! I am in complete agreement with you. I believe every locator that wants to be successful needs to develop a sequence habit. It's been my experience, what ever distraction(s) occur during my locate, I always know where I'm at during it's completion. My sequence habit is similar to animal's:

    1.) TV
    2.) Telephone
    3.) Electricity
    4.) Gas
    5.) Independent Entity Fiber Lines (other than AT&T, CenturyLink, Time Warner, Comcast, etc)
    6.) Water
    7.) Sewer
    8.) Street Lights

    I start with the most shallow utilities and work out to the deepest. Street lights are always my last utility because it's out there with my truck and has been the easiest to remember during my very last visual scan.

    I developed my sequence habit very early into my locating career 13 years ago and, as a result, I am not plagued with damages.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  15. #15
    Mke
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    Default Re: CATV / Bleed-off

    No mention of Irrigation?

    My Sequence is a bit different, but similar. I grab the easy stuff first, wich includes anything with an easily accessible tracer wire, and/or a shallow utility. Then I'll hook up to the utilities that can be a pain in the Arse. I follow this with scanning for any abnormalities. weird stuff that I can get a signal on, but may not be able to Identify. Then I'll give approximate locations on the utilities that are not locateable (Storm, Sanitary, PVC water, and Unlocateable conduits).

    I finish this up with a walk through that I look at, and make sure my paint is easy to follow and legible.

    mke

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