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RichInCT

@comcast.net

Can cold weather affect digital cable?

My digital channels get all tiled and the sounds breaks up when the temperature drops into the 20's. Also, my cable internet starts acting up when the temp drops into the 20's. When the temperature drops below 20, most digital channels are unwatchable and the cable internet goes out. Does anyone have an explanation for this? I've scheduled appointments, but unfortunately when they come out during the day, the temp is above freezing and the cable is working fine. They claim they can't identify the problem if it isn't happening when they arrive. In case this helps - we have underground wiring in our neighborhood.

Thanks in advance, -Rich


joe40

join:2005-11-26
Danbury, CT
yes
cold shrink metal
a connection on a grounding block or on a splitter shrinks and signals started to get bad.
where there is cold weather they should be in a weather box

RouterRooter

join:2001-11-22
Rockville, MD
reply to RichInCT
Rich,

You might (or might not) enjoy reading my long saga of temperature-related signal problems.

»SNR correlates with temperature. Cool day -> bad signal.

Unfortunately, the net is: It took three months of calls, hours of my time, and it was finally fixed by, near as I can tell, a 2 minute repair/adjustment to the pedestal 100 ft from my home. No explanation, no follow-up.

The only saving grace is that I called in and got 100% credit for 3 full months CATV and Internet fees even though we had service about 60% of the time. Comcast was polite and quick about this. (They were just following our local county rules, but I half expected an argument anyway.)

Good luck. Getting intermittent problems fixed can be a real PITA.

One other thing. Some folks have suggested that when your service fails that you call in and say you were trying to order a PPV movie. Theory is that the loss of revenue is direct and definite so CC responds to these calls more rapidly.

Routerrooter


RichInCT

@comcast.net
Thanks for that info RouterRooter. It was very helpful. I have an appointment scheduled for Thursday evening - hopefully it's cold enough to be failing when he gets here. Last night I tried warming up the splitter, then inside the pedistal with a hair dryer, but to no avail.

This morning as the temp rose above 25 my internet got better and the tiling went away on the tv. I think I might go out and buy a cable long enough to reach from my ped to my house - then when the cable goes out again try to swap over to my new cable.

I'm thinking that if it is a problem leading up to my pedistal, then my next door neighbor should be having problems too - but they aren't.


haamster
Premium
join:2002-12-02
Monroe Township, NJ
reply to RichInCT
Could be suckout (metal shrink causing the center conductor to pull out of a connector) or a stuck gain control on a line extender. Problem is, if it doesn't happen when the tech arrives, they won't be able to tell where the suckout is happening or which LE is faulty.

Cross your fingers for a cold day.


not logged in

@comcast.net
reply to joe40
said by joe40:

yes
cold shrink metal
a connection on a grounding block or on a splitter shrinks and signals started to get bad.
where there is cold weather they should be in a weather box
A "weather box" does nothing to keep your connections "Warm"
Cold has been known to cause suck out if there was a poor connection already.
As Hammy stated, the active gave AGC automatic Gain control, which will regulate teh signal strength. Signal will run a little lower in the cold then it will in the summer. AGC keeps the signal constant regardless of temp. If your plant employs them you could have a bad one somewhere.

Check your modem and box diagnostics and look at the SNR, note that number and see if it drops when your ocnnections crap out. If so then you have ingress at some point wich could be suck out or any break in the cabling.
If your SNR stays constant then it is most likely signal related and you could be looking at an issue with the AGC.. or lack of one.


cypherstream
Premium,MVM
join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
kudos:3
reply to RichInCT
My signal level is actually a few dB better in the winter months than the summer. So like others have said, yes temperature does affect your levels. Good luck, hope they can get it resolved for you!

bowlingjet

join:2006-05-25
Baltimore, MD
reply to RichInCT
I had a similar problem a few weeks ago. Tiling on all TV with digital STBs and my HSI cutting in and out. When I had a tech out (only took 2 visits, 1 in-house and 1 maintainence call), the problem was fixed.

To avoid being stuck in the same boat as you with multiple service calls, I tracked down the problem myself. My SNR dropped like a rock anytime it got really cold. So I took signal reading from my modem for 3 or 4 days and logged my levels when the problem was happening and when everything was fine.

I'm glad I went through that trouble, because when I tech came everything was perfect. But I showed him my readings and described in detail of what happens and a few days later it was fixed. Now my SNR is a consistant 35db.

So my advice is the next time you see the problem come up, try to get her levels from your cable modem and have it documented for when the tech arrives. Also try requesting a lead tech.


RichInCT

@comcast.net
My modem is an old Toshiba PCX1100U, which I don't think has a diagnostics page for me to get the levels. On my STB, I go into d03 OOB STATUS and SNR is 19.8 db "FAIR" and AGC is 18% "GOOD. When I go into d04 "INBAND STATUS", SNR is 31.5db "FAIR". Which should I be monitoring and what is the difference between the 2 SNR measures? At the moment, with these settings, my tv and internet service is working fine - but it's 36 degrees out.

BengalFan00

join:2006-11-28
Hebron, KY
Signal is better in cold weather than in warm weather. It's possible that if the AGC is malfunctioning, you could be experiencing over-drive. I'm guessing suckout or something of the type though.


CableTool
Poorly Representing MYSELF.
Premium
join:2004-11-12

1 edit
n/m


Cable Honcho

@rogers.com
If the AGC or ALC is not setup or working in Line Extenders or Trunk Stations, signal levels can literally fly through the roof, causing QAM SNR levels to drop below 30 and causing pixelation to occur. This is more common on aerial plant than it is with buried plant. This problem does indeed occur in colder weather, especially with sudden extreme temperature drops. Proper functioning AGC or ALC should compensate for this. For the most part though, cable plants function well in cold weather.


steelhead78
Premium,MVM
join:2005-08-23
Carrolltown, PA
reply to RichInCT
It seems that many here missed this point:

"I'm thinking that if it is a problem leading up to my pedistal, then my next door neighbor should be having problems too - but they aren't."

If your neighbor is definitely not experiencing any issues, then the problem most likely is somewhere between the tap port you are fed from in the ped to the splitter or ground block where your cable hits your house.
--
Black and Gold all the way.


MadMANN3
Premium
join:2005-08-19
kudos:2
reply to joe40
said by joe40:

yes
cold shrink metal
a connection on a grounding block or on a splitter shrinks and signals started to get bad.
where there is cold weather they should be in a weather box
Someone touched on this already and I have to second their response. The only reason signal would actually get bad during cold weather is if there was water in the coax at the connector, it freezes, and expands to the point where the center conductor is sucked out of the splitter/GB/tap port. Otherwise, signal levels actually have the tendency to increase during the winter months because there is less attenuation in the coax as it gets colder.


joe40

join:2005-11-26
Danbury, CT
so the weather box keep water away?.
it freezes on the box instead on splitter

i knew there was something but thought it was just the cold
air
anyway since having a weather box put in
i do not loose tv on cold days


MadMANN3
Premium
join:2005-08-19
kudos:2
Yeah, a weather box gives the outside service point added protection from the water. Although, a lot of house boxes can still let water in from behind the box itself, but of course it still isn't as much as being out in the open. If the ground block is installed horizontally and is weather proofed with weather boots, silicone grease, or grommets, you shouldn't have water entering the connector with or without a box. But the older crimp fittings aren't as weather resistant as compression or snap n seal fittings.

Personally, no matter what connector I am using, I am still a big fan of weather-proofing as much as I can.


steelhead78
Premium,MVM
join:2005-08-23
Carrolltown, PA
I wish I could convince the other techs at my office of that.
--
Black and Gold all the way.


RichInCT

@comcast.net
reply to steelhead78
I bought a 100 ft cable to test things out. One cold morning when the cable was out I connected it directly from my pedestal to my cable box. The problem didn't go away. I guess this eliminates my underground cable, splitters, house wiring, etc.

Also, I believe that my next door neighbor is also having problems - but not with the channels that they watch. They said that they are having intermittent problems with their internet service. The problem is that they don't bother to call to report it, so as far as Comcast is concerned they aren't having any problems.

It appears that it's only my 256 QAM channels that experience the problems when the SNR drops below 31db. This morning at 23 degrees I was getting 29.5db and 807/238958 uncorrectable/correctable errors. All 256 QAM channels and my internet were both out. Also, the cable box gets really unresponsive under these conditions.

I'll show the tech the readings that I've recorded when he arrives tomorrow evening. The problem is that the weather is forecasting a very warm evening - which means my SNR will probably be around 32-33db. What would be a reasonable level that I should try to demand as "acceptable"? The cable box considers 34db or higher as "GOOD".

I don't think it can be water or ice, since the signal steadily degrades as the temp drops below 35 and immediately gets better as it rises above 25. If it were freezing ice, I would think there would be a lag of time after the temp dropped below 32 (for the ice to form) and in the morning when it went above 32 (for the ice to melt).

brianct1972

join:2004-06-17
Bethany, CT

1 edit
reply to RichInCT
Well here we go again. Now that we have cold again here in CT, my HD channels are gone again. I called Adelphia probably 25 times about this, but it was never resolved. The tech would call me the day of the appt and it would be too warm and the channels would be just fine. Now Comcast scheduled a truck roll for the 16th (long time away!) but I am sure it will be too warm then too. I am sure its an SNR problem somewhere, but getting someone to fix it is terrible.
Any advice?

ctggzg
Premium
join:2005-02-11
USA
kudos:2

1 edit
reply to RichInCT
I'm in South Florida where the temperature is relatively consistent and warm, but I'm also seeing a large variation in SNR. It peaks around 38 dB at the high around 80 degrees and drops to around 30 dB when it's 62 - 68 degrees outside. It's 75 now and the SNR is 35 dB. Correspondingly, On Demand and HD channels are decent in the middle of the day and sporadic or don't work at all late at night. It wasn't this bad before, but there was a local or regional HSI and TV outage for a couple days recently, and after everything came back online the signals were worse.