Nov 8, 2011

How to Install CATV Wiring

Derived from the term "cable antenna television," CATV is now popularly referred to as cable television. CATV provides television to millions of consumers through coaxial cables running from the cable television company to the cable TV box inside your home. Installing cable TV inside your home is not a difficult task and doing it yourself can save you some cash. 

Things You'll Need

Cable TV subscription
Cable staples
Coaxial cable patch cord
Cable box

Step 1

Hold the coaxial cable installed by the cable TV provider and run it neatly along walls, baseboards or across ceilings to your television. Fasten the cable onto surfaces using cable staples every 12 inches along the route.

Step 2

Place the cable TV box supplied by your cable TV provider on top, or beside your TV set.

Step 3

Hold the coaxial cable, then plug the coaxial cable connector at its end to the jack marked "Video In" at the back of your cable TV box. Screw the connector clockwise to tighten and secure the connection.

Step 4

Plug one end of the coaxial patch cable supplied with the cable TV box into its corresponding port marked "Antenna" on the rear of your TV set. Screw the connector clockwise to tighten and secure the connection.

Step 5

Plug the other end of the patch cable into the jack marked marked "Video Out" on the back of the cable TV box. Screw the connector clockwise to tighten and secure the connection.

Step 6

Turn on the television and the cable TV box and tune the channels following the instructions in your cable TV provider's instruction manual.


Diagnosing Noise From the Back of Your Car

The interior of your car is typically sound-proofed to a certain degree, but sometimes annoying noises can be heard while traveling. Noise can be caused by something as minor as loose baggage or as major as a worn-out shock absorber. Some people simply ignore the noise, but neglecting the problem can lead to more damage and might put your life in danger.

Step 1

Park your vehicle in a safe spot to check the noise. Turn off the engine and engage the vehicle's handbrake. Open the trunk of your car and look for loose baggage, or items that might be generating the noise. Transfer the baggage to your rear seats, drive your car, and listen for any more noise.

Step 2

Look at the spare tire at the base of the trunk and check if its holding bolt is loose. Check to see if there are any loose tools. Look at  each compartment inside the trunk and see if there are objects that might be bumping against each other.

Step 3

Look at the strip of rubber insulation attached around the edge of the trunk lead and look for any damage. A damaged or misaligned rubber strip can cause the lead to hit the trunk from time to time and create noise.

Step 4

Have your car elevated with a hydraulic lift in a gasoline station, then look at the muffler under its chassis. Inspect the muffler and look for any damage or missing flanges and bolts. Check for any missing rubber o-rings or rubber brackets that support the muffler in place.

Step 5

Park the car in a safe spot, switch off the engine, and pull the car's handbrake. Repeatedly push down the bumper on one corner of the car and allow the body to rise back up. Listen for any noise while the rear portion of the car is moving up and down. A worn-out shock absorber generates noise while moving. Repeat the same procedure on the other end of the bumper to check the other shock absorber.

Step 6

Lower the rear windows, then listen to determine if the noise is generated each time you step on the brake. Problems in the rear brakes of your car can generate noise each time you step on the brake pedal. A distorted brake shoe, broken brake shoe return springs, or worn-out pads can produce odd sounds coming from the rear portion of your car.

Step 7

Check each rear tire for any damage such as cuts, bumps, sidewall damage, bead damage, or tread damage. Damaged tires cause various sounds that increase in pitch as your vehicle speed increases.

Step 8

Park your car in a safe spot and place tire stoppers in both front wheels to prevent the car from moving. Shift  lift its wheel from the ground. Hold the tire on each side with each hand, then wiggle the tire back and forth to sense bearing looseness. Spin the tire slowly by hand and feel it for bearing roughness. Repeat the same procedure on the other rear tire. A worn out or loose wheel bearing can create noise.

Nov 6, 2011

Hairline Crack in Plastic Radiator - How to Repair It

A radiator is a vital part of every engine that runs on fossil fuel because it prevents the engine from overheating. Water is used as a cooling fluid in radiators which is why most vehicle manufacturers use plastic to make radiators and prevent corrosion. Water inside the radiator absorbs heat and carries the heat through the radiator's cooling fins where it is dissipated by air passing through the fins. Radiators are durable devices, but hairline cracks can form on its plastic due to the high pressure inside. Know how you can repair hairline cracks and avoid an expensive radiator repair.

Materials Needed: 

Cold-weld patching compound
Drain pan
Disposal container 
Shop rag
Blow dryer
Utility knife
Plastic knife

Step 1

Locate the radiator leak and mark its location with a marker.Go to your local auto parts store and buy a tube of cold-weld compound that is used by mechanics to repair radiators. Ask the clerk to recommend a product that can withstand engine temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, have the strength of steel, and possess the ability to be impervious to water, gasoline, chemicals and acids.

Step 2

Locate the leak and mark the spot with a pencil, then turn off the engine and let the engine cool. Remove the radiator cap and locate the drain plug under the radiator. Sit a container below the plug and unscrew the plug counterclockwise with a wrench to allow the water to completely drain into the container. Wipe the leak down with a shop rag and acetone, then dry the area completely using a blow dryer. Push down on the crack lightly to get in between the edges of the cracked plastic and dry.

Step 3

Rough the area around 1 inch from the crack using very rough sandpaper, then score the area around the crack using the sharp edge of a utility knife to make a few deep scratches in the plastic. Take care not to puncture the plastic or make the crack bigger. Apply enough pressure to make some gouges on the plastic. Clean the area again with acetone, then blow dry the area to remove moisture along the cracks.

Step 4

Read the manufacturer's instructions on how to use the cold-weld compound. Apply an equal amount of chemical from each tube of the compound on a piece of cardboard, then mix both materials together thoroughly.

Step 5

Apply the mixture with plastic knife and cover the entire crack up to an area approximately an 1 inch around the crack. Squeeze some compound into space along the crack and build up the compound to about 1/8 inch thick. Blow dry the compound about two minutes to help it harden. Neatly wipe off any excess mixture using a shop rag.

Step 6

Allow the mixture to cure overnight. Replace the radiator plug and fill the radiator with a mixture of 50 percent water and 50 percent radiator fluid. Replace the radiator cap, then run the engine on idle for 40 minutes. Watch for any leaks in the patch area, but expect some steam from residual water.

Resources (Further Reading)

Nov 5, 2011

Speed Up Your PC

Your personal computer is a technological masterpiece of the twentieth century. It is a very accurate piece of machinery designed by engineers and technicians to practically run on its own and even repair itself. But, no matter how much technological advancements are built into your PC, it still needs to be maintained like other machines. Without maintenance, your PC will run slower and slower as time goes by. Here are some basic maintenance procedures that you need to perform to keep your PC running in top speed.
Step 1
Remove programs that you don’t need. Programs use up vital resources that cause delay once your computer starts which is why the more programs you have in your computer, the more time it takes to start your computer. Click on “Start,” click on “Control Panel,” then click on “Add or Remove Programs.” From the resulting list of programs, choose the program you do not use and click on “Uninstall” to remove the program. 
Step 2
Erase your browsing history by clicking on “Control Panel,” “Internet Options,” then “Delete” under the “Browsing History” section if your browser is Firefox. If you are using Internet Explorer, open your browser and click on the “Tools” menu at the far right hand side of your browser's Tab Bar. Select the “Delete Browsing History” in the resulting drop-down menu. Click on “Delete Files” in the “Delete Browsing History” window.
Step 3
Defragment the hard drive of your laptop to compresses the data and files in your personal computer for a larger space in your hard drive. Click "Start,"  "All Programs,"  "Accessories,"  "System Tools," then click on "Disk Defragmenter."
Step 4
Perform a disk clean up. This utility searches and analyzes your computer hard drive for files that are no longer used, and then deletes the unnecessary files. Click on "Start," "All Programs,"  "Accessories,"  "System Tools," then "Disk Cleanup".
Step 5
Repair invalid shortcuts, or links to files stored in different folders and drives in your PC. Windows Start Menu is made of shortcuts linking to various files in your hard drive. Once the target files of these shortcuts are moved or deleted, the shortcut will not function. If you are not familiar with this procedure, I would suggest that you download a registry cleaner to perform this procedure. A registry cleaner program would save you a lot of time and headaches since these programs have been designed to do the job efficiently. Download freeware registry cleaners from the Internet by searching for "free registry cleaner downloads" using your favorite search engine.
Step 6
Programs installed in your computer are typically designed to run as soon as you start your computer. These programs normally try to communicate with the companies that distribute them, or try to execute a program without your knowledge. The resources used by these programs will considerably increase the boot time of your computer. Stopping unwanted and unnecessary programs from running during start-up will decrease the boot time of your computer. Again, I would recommend getting a free or paid version of a registry cleaner to do this job and avoid all the technical hassles. 
Step 7
Windows registry is a system database used by the Windows operating system to store configuration information. Most Windows programs write data to the registry upon installation. Over time, program installation and uninstallation can corrupt your computer registry and cause your computer to become slow during start ups. Repairing a registry is a complicated process especially to a person who is not well-versed with a computer. Once again, I would suggest that you use the registry cleaner software to perform this procedure.
Step 8
Install an effective anti-malware and anti-virus program. Scan your computer often, especially if you notice something strange or out of the ordinary. It is also advisable to scan your computer under the following circumstances:
  • When your computer performance is slowing down.
  • When you encounter any unknown error from your Operating System.
  • If you observe 100% of CPU usage during idle mode.
  • When you experience a blue screen several times in a single day.
  • When your applications suddenly malfunction.

Sep 30, 2011

How to Troubleshoot Your Phone

A telephone is one of the most important gadgets inside your home which is why some people find it difficult to live without one. Telephones are typically manufactured to give you many years of uninterrupted service, but the phone and the wiring inside your home can sometimes become faulty. Calling a repair man to fix your phone is expensive, but learning how to troubleshoot it will save you some cash. 
  1. Look at each phone to make sure none of the phones was accidentally left off the hook, then unplug and replug each phone into its jack. 
  2. Check the ringer volume adjustment switch and see it has been set to minimum level, or if the phone is on mute. Increase the volume setting if it is muted or set to minimum. 
  3. Bring the telephone over to a friend's or neighbor's house, then plug each into a working phone jack to check if there is a dial tone. No dial tone is indicative of a faulty telephone. Replace the phone if it is defective.
  4. Open the network interface device (NID) mounted on an exterior wall of your house. Find the short cable (about two inches long) that is plugged into a telephone jack inside the NID and unplug the cable from the jack. Plug a working phone into the jack and listen for a dial tone. No dial tone is indicative of a problem in the telephone company's wiring. Call the telephone company to report the problem.
  5. Unplug each phone one by one, but listen for a dial tone in the other phones a couple of minutes after unplugging a phone. The phone you last unplugged is defective if you hear a dial tone in any of the phones.
  6. Unplug any other device plugged into your telephone lines such as a fax or computer. Listen for a dial tone after about two minutes each time you unplug a device. The device you last unplugged is faulty if you hear a dial tone.

Public Service Commission of Wisconsin: The Network Interface Device
Symantec: How to Troubleshoot Telephone Line Problems
Home Tips: Telephones--Troubleshooting Problems and Repairs
Qwest: Phone Service Troubleshooting Guide 

Sep 16, 2011

Telephone Jack Replacement - 7 Easy Steps

A lot of people often ask me how to fix a phone jack. Telephone jacks, or phone jacks can last many years without giving you any problems, but when they break down, I usually recommend that the jack be replaced. The following are the procedures I suggest to replace a wall jack:
  1. Find the network interface device (NID) which is a small plastic box mounted by the telephone company on a wall just outside your home. 
  2. Open the NID cover, find the short telephone cable (about 2 inches long) inside and unplug the cable from its jack.
  3. Go to the telephone jack that you need to replace, unscrew its cover plate (for flush type jacks) or pry its cover open (for surface mount jacks). Unscrew (counterclockwise) each wire and remove the wires from the jack.
  4. Remove the jack by unscrewing the surface mount jack from the wall, or by prying out the jack from behind the cover plate of a flush mount jack.
  5. Connect the wires to the new jack by wrapping each colored wire clockwise around its matching color-coded terminal screw and tighten each screw firmly.
  6. Screw the new surface mount phone jack back onto the wall, or  snap the jack onto its slot behind the cover plate of a flush type phone jack. 
  7. Plug the short telephone cord inside the NID back into its jack to resume power and signals from the telephone company.  Plug a telephone into the new wall jack and call your friend to test the connection.

           The Family Handyman: Replace a Phone Jack


Sep 11, 2011

U.S. Government References About Telephone Wiring

During the many years that I have been dealing with telephone wiring, I have always tried to improve my knowledge by reading materials published by Uncle Sam. I spent hours and hours researching these topics looking for credible references. I decided that my efforts could benefit others as well. Here are a few articles about telephones published by various U.S. government agencies:

useful sites

Sep 10, 2011

Telephone Junction Box

This type of junction box can accommodate up to four telephones per line.

Today, I posted several facts about the junction box and made an illustration of a common type that is readily available in most hardware stores.The illustration shows how the wires inside the box are connected. 

The following are some basic facts that can help you wire your telephone:
  • The telephone junction box is the hub where all telephone wires inside your home converge.
  • Its main function is to act as a hub that will distribute telephone power and signals to telephone jacks inside your home.
  • The junction box is used if you want to install more than one telephone jack in a single telephone line. 
  • You do not have to install the box if you only need one telephone inside your home. You can simply connect the wire running from the NID directly to the telephone jack.
  • The telephone cable from the NID runs into the junction box where telephone wires are screwed onto similar colored terminals.
  • To connect a telephone jack to the junction box, run the cable from the jack into the box, then screw the wires at the end of the cable to terminals with the same color inside the junction box.  

Sep 9, 2011

Telephone Jack - How to Wire It

A surface mount telephone jack can be wired in ten minutes by connecting all similar color wires together.
  1. Open the Network Interface Device (NID), or small grey box mounted on a wall just outside your home. 
  2. Unplug the short telephone cable from its jack inside the NID. Unplugging the jack will disconnect the telephone company wires from your household wires and make it safe for you to touch the wires.
  3. Remove the telephone jack cover.
  4. Loosen the terminal screws on the jack counterclockwise, then connect each wire coming from the telephone cable onto each terminal by wrapping the wire clockwise onto a terminal having same color.
  5. Tighten each screw and replace the jack cover.
       A single line (Line 1) telephone uses a green and a red wire.
       The second line (Line 2) uses a black and a yellow wire.
Things Needed:
  • Screwdriver

ReferenceDanny Lipford: How to Install a Phone Jack
                   Top Bits: How to Install Telephone Wiring

Sep 8, 2011

How to Know If the Line Coming from the Telephone Company is Working.

  1. Find the Network Interface Device (NID) mounted on a wall just outside your home. The NID is a small grey or tan plastic box where the cable coming from the utility pole runs into. 
  2. Open the device and look inside the NID for the short telephone cable (about two inches long) plugged into a telephone jack. 
  3. Unplug the short cable from its jack. 
  4. Get a working telephone and plug the telephone into the jack.
  5. Listen for a dial tone. No dial tone is indicative of a problem with the telephone company line. Call the telephone company and report the problem if there is no dial tone.
   Check the telephone you’re using to make sure it is working. You can plug the telephone to a neighbors jack to make sure it is working.