Which plug to use for Sky, Freesat or Freeview?
I am planning to buy a Global 2-way distribution amplifier, but do not know whether I need 'F connectors' or 'IEC connectors', or exactly what sort of cables to go with it. I am confused by the terminology used for different connectors. This confusion also affects my consideration of cables, which will be required to connect this very distribution amplifier to two different TVs. The technical specs of the TVs only say that they have a 'RF in'. Is this an 'F connector'? An 'IEC connector'? Something else?
If questions at this level of ignorance are answered by your eBook on piping TV around the house, I'll buy it. But I have the feeling that you may not descend to this level of ignorance.
My apologies for this question. You DO encourage women to boldly go into the unfamiliar arena of electronics, so you must expect this level of idiocy.
Hahaha, that's me told. But, according to the Internet test, my wife has an IQ of 136 and mine's 135, so I generally accept that women are as intelligent (or more so) than most men. :-)
Let me explain the terms, with pictures.
One "F" connector that we sell is designed to twist onto the (prepared) cable, leaving the centre copper wire sticking out as the connecting "pin".
Please note that we stock FIVE different sizes of "F" plug to suit various cables. If you order the wrong one, it may be too loose or too tight.
We do not stock gold-plated "F" plugs. If the gold plating is thick enough to be useful then it makes the nut section difficult to tighten. And there's no way to gold-plate the copper centre core of the cable, so a gold-plated "F" connector is just a waste of money. Nickel plating works just fine.
You can see how to fit it here:
An "F" connector "plug" is always male but it can be converted to "female" by fitting a screw-in adapter. This is really needed only for joining two pieces of cable.
Another "F" connector has a compression fitting and is fixed to the cable with a special hand tool. DON'T order this type if you plan to remove a plug to pass the cable through a hole!
The IEC connector is an ordinary "TV aerial plug" and can be male or female. The problem with the female plug is that the centre core wire can not usually be soldered or crimped. This doesn't matter for ordinary TV aerial use but it does matter for output connections which have to carry power to a device such as a remote extender "tvLINK". So I prefer converting a male plug to female by fitting a "COLCM adapter" to it.
Remote extender "magic eyes" and masthead amplifiers need to be powered via the coaxial cable. If the "TV" plugs aren't fitted correctly, the connection will be intermittent and you'll have problems. See a short movie of how to fit a plug correctly by clicking HERE.
Ordinary "TV aerial plugs" (Belling-Lee TV plugs) were originally designed for Medium Wave radio. They are barely adequate for UHF TV, which is why satellite uses 'F' connectors instead. Use TV plugs for LNb connections at your peril. You'll probably find channels missing or intermittent.
Other plugs and adapters are available.
So which plugs to use?
Well, we stock amplified splitters with either "F" connectors (which need male "F" plugs) or "IEC connectors" (which need male TV plugs of the type that can be soldered or have a screw). My personal choice is for "F" connectors because I think they give less problems and are easy to fit, with a little practice. See instructions.
TV aerial sockets are invariably female and require a male IEC plug.
RF output sockets are invariably male so I recommend a male plug with a "COLCM adapter" to convert it to female. (Female TV plugs can not be soldered so the DC connection is not guaranteed).
You can see the three types of socket here:
The top two are female "F" sockets.
Bottom left is a male IEC and bottom right is female IEC.
Fitting a TV Plug (IEC connector)
We have devoted a whole page to this subject. Please click HERE to see how to fit a TV plug to coaxial cable.
"This looks too difficult!"
Hey, no problem. We have an expert who makes these leads every day. Here's an example -->
He can also put "F" plugs on them.
This is WF100 cable, not cheap, thin RG59.
And we can supply them in different colours. You can colour-code your connections so it's easy to see which fly-lead goes where.
To order yours go to our order page by clicking HERE.
But, if you prefer DIY, there's more photos and a movie you can watch. Click HERE.
Sturdy but flexible. Minimum recommended bend radius 50 mm (2").
Note: Some people advocate the use of gold-plated plugs. Our advice is that this is an utterly pointless waste of money unless the mating sockets are also gold-plated. As I have yet to see a TV set with a gold-plated aerial socket, I'm standing my ground on this point! Gold plated plugs offer no advantage. Don't waste your money.
Q. "For the UHF links I replace, am I better off directly terminating with UHF connectors, or F type then using the F to UHF adapters? i.e. assuming the extra length is not an issue, which will give me the better connection (less loss)?"
A. The less connectors the better. Terminate direct. Send this page address - CLICK HERE - to a friend !