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CatWhiskers

join:2014-03-26

1 recommendation

[Connectivity] Coax cable on street box keeps MELTING

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Been a subscriber of Comcast HSI in San Jose, CA for 5 years now. Started out renting a Motorola SBV5220, then 4 years ago ditched the voice and bought a SB6120. Long story short, the cable inside the box on the street has melted a forth time. It melted twice in 2010, then again in 2011. Was noticing loss of sync the past two months and then lost it all last night.

Opened the box this morning and saw the coax had melted again. Was able to wiggle it to get my internet back but I know it won't last. You can see by the pic it's really super heated up. I have a call into Comcast for them to come out tomorrow morning but dreading the experience. They really don't know why the coax is melting. They replaced the main tap last time thinking it was the problem, but they also admitted they just don't know why the cable keeps melting.

I checked all the grounds in my house and everything is rock solid tight, every check I make between the service panel ground, every ground wire, every outlet ground, the exterior coax attachment, it's all grounded.

Is there anything else to look for or suggest to the Comcast tech?


tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Voltage!!! grounding problem!!!
Call for a tech NOW! tell them it's a life safety issue. (your house could be in jeopardy)


tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5

1 recommendation

could be a hot/neutral reverse on your power or the other homes on your tap and your good ground is making a circuit

Only micro voltage should be on the cable, nothing as hot as that looks.


DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:20
reply to CatWhiskers
Watch out, there's some high amperage flowing where there shouldn't be. Don't become the fuse between it and the ground.

Last time I saw that, a tree on the property was grown into the aerial electrical lines and another branch around the aerial coax strand below, making a connection between them. The customer's house was connected to the pole 50' away and then down a 40' drop was the closest ground connection. There was no copper ground at the pole.

Then every time it rained or there was heavy fog, the drop melted. When it was dry, not enough current could flow through the tree to the coax strand. I was the 4th guy and figured out what was happening.

Are the electric utilities underground? Was there any digging or post hole work done around your or your neighbors property in the last few years? Is the tap grounded?
--
I'll make it work.... hand me that BFR.

CatWhiskers

join:2014-03-26
All the utilities are underground. and in fact the PG&E vault is less than 6" away from the Comcast box. I asked my neighbor if they had Comcast HSI, they said no. But they may get Comcast cable television.

The last time a tech came out he burned his hand when he touched the cable. The box itself is grounded because it actually sits on the ground. But whether things inside are grounded I don't know.


tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

7 recommendations

said by CatWhiskers:

The box itself is grounded because it actually sits on the ground.

That's NOT an adequate ground.

said by CatWhiskers:

The last time a tech came out he burned his hand when he touched the cable.

He's a dumbass for not IMEDIETELY calling the power company out. If it burned him it could kill you. there is some short/grounding problem between the 2 boxes. VERY DANGEROUS
Do Not Touch
call for help


DrDrew
That others may surf
Premium
join:2009-01-28
SoCal
kudos:20

1 edit
reply to CatWhiskers
said by CatWhiskers:

All the utilities are underground. and in fact the PG&E vault is less than 6" away from the Comcast box.

So your house is the closest to the tap and PG&E box, isn't it?

Something is using your drop, tap, and hardline into the tap (and anything that touches it) as a ground path. Probably inbound to your coax ground block. Don't let anyone disconnect the coax ground block at your house! Electric and coax is crossed up somewhere and being drained out on your house ground connection.

--
I'll make it work.... hand me that BFR.

saratoga66

join:2002-08-22
Saratoga, CA
kudos:1

7 recommendations

reply to CatWhiskers
You need to call PG&E immediately!! 1(800)PGE-5000. Don't wait until tomorrow, call now. They need to investigate for an open neutral. I would highly recommend against a Comcast tech touching this until the issue is investigated.


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:13
Reviews:
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·voip.ms

4 recommendations

reply to CatWhiskers
You need to call the power company *immediately* to check your service for an open neutral.
Hopefully, the Comcast tech is smart enough not to touch that. You should warn them anyway.
It appears the neutral current from your house power is returning on the cable sheath. This is highly indicative of a major problem with your electrical service.
You are fortunate #1) you were not killed or injured, and #2) none of your household electrical items have burned up.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


OldCableGuy2

@communications.net
reply to CatWhiskers
Saw this twice while working for Mediacom. You have what is called an open neutral, which is causing your CATV line to be used as neutral. This is extremely dangerous and it is only a matter of time until your entire house burns to the ground!!!!! Call Mid American or whoever your local POWER company is, they should have an emergency 24 hour line, and get them out! Not tomorrow, not in an hour... NOW! You are running on borrowed time here!!!!!!!

CatWhiskers

join:2014-03-26
reply to CatWhiskers
The wire opened up again yesterday afternoon. Didn't want to mess with that burned wire again so now using a cell connection until Comcast shows up this morning. I checked every outlet in my house with one of those 3-light testers. Every outlet is grounded and is wired correctly, no reversed hot or neutral.

A few years ago Comcast swept through the neighborhood and moved the bonding strap in every house from the internal conduit where the phone company obtains the ground bonding, and installed some funky clamp that attaches to the exterior electrical service panel. Then they ran a ground wire back into the house and attached it to the ground block - see picture. Everything is totally well grounded, all exposed metal surfaces are at the same potential - ground.

I'll call PG&E this morning. Will post back any developments.

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

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1 recommendation

You need to call the power company. Its not a matter of your outlets being wired wrong. Its more than likely a damaged neutral to your house. DONT LET COMCAST DISCONNECT IT. You need the power company out there and this isnt a wait situation. You needed them out there yesterday. You most likely have a damaged underground neutral wire feeding your house. Houses burn down because of this.

If all your outlets are wired properly unplug evrything you dont want to lose because that is getting ready to let go and when it does its going to fry everything in your house. When that lets go, 220 volts is going somewhere.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to CatWhiskers
My boss had this happen to him a few years ago (he uses Dish so he didn't have a tell-tale melted coax to warn him, but the end result is the same). He had an open neutral at his house and it ended up destroying nearly every major appliance in the house (pretty much anything that was on at the time: central AC unit, computers, and many other things that I don't remember). Seriously, if left un-checked, this will lead to dead appliances at best or a burned down house at worse.

Outlet testers only tell you if you have a problem inside the house from the outlet to your panel. An open neutral condition such as this is a problem between the panel and the power company transformer. When you call them, tell them you believe you have an open neutral, that should get them motivated.

And do not let anyone disconnect the drop or the ground block. Some of the neutral current is likely flowing out the ground block you pictured but that alone isn't enough to handle the load, the rest is going down the coax. Neither one is honestly large enough and is why the coax keeps melting. Eventually the ground block or that 12/10 going to it will melt too.

FWIW, with my bosses situation, the fault was found to be on Georgia Power's end and they ended up paying to replace everything he lost because of it.


OldCableGuy2

@ncs.com
reply to CatWhiskers
DId we tell you to check the outlets? NO. It's not an outlet problem. It's an open neutral line feeding your house. If your wife and kids are staying there they are at grave risk. It's OK to do silly things and put yourself at risk, but if you have kids you are carelessly putting their lives at risk too!

GET YOUR POWER COMPANY OUT THERE IMMEDIATELY!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!THIS IS NOT A COMCAST PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:13

2 recommendations

reply to CatWhiskers
You don't seem to get it.

neufuse

join:2006-12-06
James Creek, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to CatWhiskers
oh heck get the power company out there AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

The open neutral might not even be at your house! believe it or not, you can have a neighbor having a problem and the current end up back at your house and cause the same problems! You absolutely need the power company to trace it, they have the tools to do it, Comcast does not.

EDIT: And if you call Comcast out first, you are putting them at risk! Even if they are trained to spot the danger, they are still being put into a risky situation


OldCableGuy2

@communications.net
OP will reply in a few hours that Comcast came out, replaced the fitting, and that his internet is working again. He screwed in a light bulb to a socket and it came on correctly, so must not have any electrical trouble.

SARCASM OFF

SERIOUSLY, GET THE POCO OUT NOW!


BK

join:2001-09-10
Chicago, IL

1 recommendation

reply to CatWhiskers
Ahhh so this guy is why my home owners insurance costs so much.
--


CatWhiskers

join:2014-03-26

7 recommendations

reply to CatWhiskers
Good news. Everything is fixed. Called PG&E this morning. They sent somebody out, looked inside the vault, he yanked out a bundle of wires, and the neutral wire feeding my house and the neighbors totally crumbled in his hand. It was some old nasty copper to aluminum connection that was probably done to code in 1968 but hadn't stood the test of time. Another repair crew had to be called to do the repair, that took another hour. Now the power is fine.

Then the Comcast crew arrived. They replaced the burned wire. Cleaned up some other things. The internet connection is good.

I'm glad I posted here about this problem. Really didn't know what to do. PG&E initially didn't take my call seriously. But kept telling them something was really wrong, my new friends at DSL Reports kept saying they need to come out

Thanks again!


tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to CatWhiskers
Give the guy a break, He did once warned say he would call PG&E today.
hopefully he'll comeback and report what the found (and hopefully fixed)
It's just hard to believe the cable guys (who are supposed to hear the electrical safety lecture at least once a year in OSHA required safety meetings) had such a casual attitude.
Even if they didn't care about the company liability, or their own life, they must/should know the NEXT cable guy on a damp day will be at risk.

Never walk past an unsafe act. has become the mantra in the construction business because the cost of even a small injury is too big.
The service industry across the board needs to step it up a notch.

Ryback

join:2013-07-10
Boynton Beach, FL
kudos:1
reply to CatWhiskers
Good to hear you got the right people out and the problem resolved.

Some of the responses here were a bit extreme, like the "this guy is my home owners insurance costs so much, but you did well. Congrats

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to CatWhiskers
Glad everything worked out. When neutrals go bad thats some scarey shit. To be honest i came home wondering if you even had a house left as i truly believe you were one good surge of electric away from major problems. Congrats on not becoming a statistic today.

63475675

join:2014-01-06
reply to CatWhiskers

This is a VERY important thread!

I'm very happy that the OP has things corrected and made safe once again.

The side benefit is that someone like myself (I consider myself technically savvy) had NO idea how serious this situation could be, not a clue about that open neutral could cause a fire or electrocution on what appear to be unrelated items.

I wish Karl would post a story about this kind of situation and put it in his headlines on the main page! I know he usually does provider stories but this
scary situation is something that most households have little or no clue about.

Thanks to all who clued me in on this, quite a useful learning experience.


pflog
Bueller? Bueller?
Premium,MVM
join:2001-09-01
El Dorado Hills, CA
kudos:3
reply to CatWhiskers

Re: [Connectivity] Coax cable on street box keeps MELTING

Since this thread is resolved, I had a question since it's semi-related.

Does anyone know if this is indicative of an issue either in my internal wiring or with the power/wiring feeding my house?

If my TV is on and thus my AMP with sound coming from the in-wall surround sound speakers (there when we bought the house) and I turn the fan on in that room, I hear a brief click/pop on the speakers. I'm hoping it's just some cross talk or something and nothing serious, but now this thread has me paranoid! hahah
--
"I drank what?" -Socrates

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5

1 recommendation

Clicking/popping over speakers is normal if the speakers/amp aren't shielded. It's usually EMI doing it, not a power issue. My old Nextel phones would cause the clicking/popping you describe anytime I was about to get a call. Cute "early warning" of sorts lol.


cypherstream
Premium,MVM
join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
kudos:3
Reviews:
·ProLog
reply to CatWhiskers
Did you have to pay the PoCo for that repair? Here they keep trying to push a $14 a month worry free line maintenance program. Basically if they have to replace anything to your panel you wouldn't have to pay a dime. I have underground service and to me $14 a month is too much to pay.

Water company tries the same thing. That I could see sewer or water line pipes degrading but I didn't buy into it at this time.

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
You dont have to pay to repair or replace that line in PA. Its a one time fee when its connected and on them after that. The power company is responsible for up to the power meter but not including the box the meter is installed in. The only time you can be on the hook is if you upgrade your electric service. Lets say from 100 amp to two hundred amp service. Than they can charge for that line.


tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to cypherstream
if it's at the cross connect (sounds like what he described) it's on them though I doubt they get check much other then this sort of thing.
One advantage of aerial service is this stuff gets a visual drive by all the time.
But there are many millions of those CU-AL connections that will eventually do this no matter what "paste" the used, and quite a few with bad anti-oxidizing paste that will do it much sooner.
Most places you are not responsible outside the meter or weatherhead once it's installed

CatWhiskers

join:2014-03-26

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to cypherstream
Attaching a picture of the bad neutral which caused all the problems. It totally came apart when the guy reached down and pulled the wire out of the vault. He said it was a really bad copper aluminum splice that's no longer done. The new way is to use long pins and clamps. He also said it's unfortunately a very common failure.


tshirt
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Snohomish, WA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

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reply to pflog
fan motors are incredibly noisy but the pop is probably switch bounce (fairly big start up draw) particularly if it's variable speed. (Good motor "dimmers" are expensive, many people end up with cheap light dimmers--- a small hazard (if the switch gets warm, replace it)