Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to Run TV Coax

One thing you have to do when you buy an old boat is pull wire.   I've  been pulling wires on Drift Away for two years, and yesterday was yet another day to pull wire.  We bought a small television for the middle stateroom and I needed to run coaxial cable to it.  I decided to put the splitter in our aft master stateroom since I'd already run coax from the main saloon down there, and it would be a fairly short run from there through the stairwell to the engine room and then to the middle stateroom. 

The first job was to cut the "F" connector off one end off the 50 feet of coax so it would fit through a smaller drilled hole than if I left the connector attached.   I then drilled down from the top of the cabinet where our TV rested into a clothes closet below, promptly snapping my 1/4" drill in half.  I then used a 3/8" drill bit, the next size up that I had.   This was probably a better thing anyway since the coax pulled through it easily.  I went from the clothes closet through a wall into a storage cabinet in the stairwell. 

Now, through the storage cabinet into the engine room.  I found an existing hole in the cabinet that had a bunch of electrical wires running through it. Existing holes are better than drilling new ones.  Now, I only needed to go through the engine room bulkhead and into the middle stateroom and I'd be done.

The engine room posed several challenges.  First, it's not air conditioned, and on a sunny Georgia afternoon easily reached 100 degrees.  The A/C compressors were running and heated the engine room up real good.  It was oppressive.  The second challenge was getting through the bulkhead and into the middle stateroom.  I tried to push through existing holes with no success.  I then drilled a new hole from a cabinet in the stateroom to the engine room, but then couldn't find the hole on the engine room side.  Finally, I used a hole saw on the stateroom side to open things up.   What I found was that the bulkhead was about six inches thick and filled with foam insulation.  The larger hole, though, allowed the drill to go in further and I was able to get through to the engine room.

The pic above is the inside of the stateroom cabinet.  The large duct is for the boat's vacuuming system.  Although it looks like I should have been able to get the coax through that hole, there was no way.   I drilled just above and to the left of it.

Putting a new end on coaxial cable is easy. 

First, cut the black cover back about 3/4".

Then peel back the foil and cut the white plastic cover, leaving the copper wire exposed.

Screw on the "F" connector and I was finished.   So I thought.  I forgot a minor detail, like actually getting the cable up to the TV.  Next, I unscrewed the "F" connector, drilled a hole through the top of the cabinet, inserted the wire through the hole, and screwed the "F" connector back on.  

I attached the cable to the TV, turned it on, and selected "auto program" from the menu.

While it was doing its thing, I got a well deserved victory beer.

Actually, several victory beers.  Only one thing tastes better than an ice cold beer on a hot day, and that's an ice cold victory beer on a hot day.

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