# Coax cable carries electrical current? What is wrong?

No current where? - at the TV or out of the short coax coming out of the VCR? If the latter, it might be the current is coming in the cable from outside. Otherwise, you might have a problem inside your VCR.
Try grounding the cable at the splitter - the case of the splitter should be grounded so you just have to connect a line to a good ground. See if that draws off the current you feel. It could be that the outside cable is not at the same ground potential as your house. If you have wiring in the attic that is grounded at a junction box or box for a switch, you could attach to that - I don't know if that is acceptable as far as electrical codes go, but would be suitable for a test. The power in the cable should be pretty low, so codes might not be a problem - someone who knows will probably chime in.
BTW - the other stuff you mentioned suggests it isn't a problem with your electrical system and VCR/DVD/TV hardware having different polarities or that your electrical outlets are wired backwards.
Mike
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wrote:

That's almost certainly the problem.

And the solution.
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wrote:

directly,
Well that does not compute either. Because I have the cable feed coming in from the outside and into the splitter. If I hold onto the outside cable and splitter, I do not feel this mild voltage spike. Now this splitter splits into four cables which connects to four TVs. Let's say we have cable A, B, C, D.
I take cable A, and connect to splitter. Nothing, no voltage. Repeat for cable B, nothing. Repeat for cable C, nothing. Now I go grab the last cable, cable D, and I feel the voltage. I only feel it when I have outside cable + splitter in one hand and cable D in another. I let go of cable D, nothing. I let go of the splitter and only hold cable D, nothing either.
Does this mean it might not be the outside cable grounding since cable A, B, C do not have this problem?
Now I go to the other end of cable D which is connected to the VCR which then feeds to the TV. I disconnected that end. Go back to the attic. Touch both the splitter and cable D. Nothing. Then I went back down and connect cable D directly to the TV bypassing the VCR player, then back to the attic and try again, nothing. Then I wired it back to the VCR, repeat - yes I feel the voltage.
Does this experiment conclude the problem is VCR player?

could
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miamicuse wrote:

Sure sounds like it. Disconnect the VCR from everything else and measure the voltage between its chassis and ground (e.g. the safety ground of one of the receptacles you've tested).
But first STOP USING YOUR BODY AS A TESTER. You're gonna electrocute yourself. Harbor Freight has meters for 4 bucks +/-. That's pretty cheap if it saves your life.

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The only way that you'll feel something is if your body is grounded. Since A, B and C don't have the problem, they might not be grounded - are they connected to something that is plugged in for power?

If D is connected to the VCR and it's plugged in, then D is grounded and you feel something.

Is the TV plugged in?
It sounds to me like your cable isn't grounded properly as it enters your house. As w_tom suggested - do a visual inspection of the cable entry point and check the ground is in place. Around here, the cable companies are required to run their line from the telephone pole/underground feed/ etc to a single box outside the house. This box is grounded. The line in the box is then split (optionally) and that (those) cable(s) are run into the house. If you have such a box, that's the point to start with.
If nothing else, ground the splitter in the attic.
Mike
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It may be induced voltage from outside power lines or a powerful am antenna transmitter. Anything like that close to you?
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miamicuse wrote:

It concludes that the VCR is either the source of the problem, or is actually tying the cable to ground and the tv is not. Have you disconnected all other cables leaving the VCR and still experience this?
BTW, using yourself as a test device is a deathwish. Consider what voltages run 10-20 feet above the cable line on the poles. If one of those has been cut a few miles away and fallen on the cable line, you could be in serious danger.
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Respectfully,

CL Gilbert
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I don't have the original post, but one glaring fact is repeated in all responses read. First inspected is coax cable where it enter the building. As even required by National Electrical Code (NEC), that cable must connect to same earth ground used by telephone and AC electric breaker box. This hardwire connects cable ground block where cable enters the building. Even connection via a faucet or water pipe is not acceptable nor sufficient. It must be a dedicated and conductive ground connection - less than 20 feet per NEC.
All incoming utilities must make direct connections to a common ground. That means no utility will float to a different voltage. This grounding required so that humans don't get electrical shocks (human safety) AND so that household transistors are not damaged (transistor safety).
Every cable appliance should be galvanically isolated from cable. That means, even if power plug is reversed (what that three light tester tests), still, no significant current should exist on coax. Notice redundant layers of protection. AC power plug properly polarized. Coax cable connection galvanically isolated. Cable earthed before entering house. To be shocked, multiple problems may exist. This sentence is very important to your analysis. Multiple problems may exist to create shocks.
Curious that current does not occur when one appliance is connected through another. That suggests one appliance has an internal fault. A fault made irrelevant by galvanic isolation in the second (electrically closer) appliance.
Most of your previous responses are shotgunning - try this and try that. Nonsense. Start that the most important part and proceed in an organized manner. Does AC electric, telephone, and coax cable all connect to same earth ground before entering the building? This may or may not be a solution. But you cannot test for it. Visually inspect this requirement; correct as necessary. Then move on to other possible reasons for failure. Remember, to have a problem, you would have multiple failures. Find at least two. Maybe unfix the first located solution so that you can find the other failure.
Meanwhile, what does that six outlet protector do? Makes the typically destructive surge easier to damage transistors. It does protect from a type of surge that typically does not damage transistors. That being sufficient to claim it is a surge protector - and for you to 'assume' it protects from all kinds of surges. The best power strip is about \$3+ dollars from Walmart, Lowes, or Home Depot; has the all so critical 15 amp circuit breaker (for human protection); and has UL approval.
Review what some power strip protectors have done previously. Where is your's located - behind the furniture in a dust pile? http://www.westwhitelandfire.com/Articles/Surge%20Protectors.pdf http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/programs/gen_saf/surgeprotectorfire.htm http://www.ehs.washington.edu/LabSaf/surge.htm http://www.hanford.gov/rl/?pageU6&parentU4
Internal protection already inside electronics can be overwhelmed if destructive transients are not earth before entering the building. Effective protection makes a 'less than 10 foot' connection to that common earth ground inspected above. Effective 'whole house' protectors have responsible manufacturer names such as Square D, Leviton, Polyphaser, Intermatic (in Home Depot), Siemens, and GE and Cutler Hammer (Lowes). They also cost tens of times less money per protected appliance compared to the ineffective and highly touted plug-in protector names.
Don't make assumptions about that three light tester. It can detect failures BUT it cannot fully prove a receptacle is wired correctly. It can detect a wiring problem but cannot prove wiring as correct. What tester does report suggests receptacle polarity reversal is not a problem. It does not say, for example, that necessary safety ground from breaker box to earth is installed or exists. For that failure - one possible reason for the problem - you must visually inspect then entire connection from breaker box to earth ground.
miamicuse wrote:

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w_tom wrote:
a few points ... (there may be others)
<snip>The best power strip is about \$3+ dollars

... from fires, but which does nothing about electrocution).

... but it does indicate that the neutral and ground are at (approximately) the same potential, and that said potential is greater than about 65V away from the "hot." Unless the ground and neutral are connected together at the receptacle or upstream (but before the breaker box, where they _should_ be), that _does_ say something about the presence of a ground.
For that failure - one

<snip>
One would, of course, hope that an inspector had already done that before the circuit was energized, but humans are admittedly frail.
IMHO, your best point was that multiple protective measures should be in place (the inspector being one I think you missed).
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Hmm...sorry but I understood about 20% of the above post - got a bit too technical for me... I am the OP here is the original post:
I got a good quality one to four video splitter so tonight I got up to the attic and disconnected the old splitter. Nothing unusual.
Then I connect the new cable IN, then one by one I connect the cable OUT. When I get to the last one I felt a strong tinkling on my finger, you know when you rub your shoe on the carpet a few times and go touch a metal railing? Yes that feeling...I dropped the splitter. Is it static? I don't know. So I touched the splitter, which at that time has the one IN cable and three OUT cables connected, and nothing, it's OK. Then I let go of the splitter and touch the last coax cable connector - nothing...so I touched the splitter with my left hand and the remaining cable connector with my right hand, yes I feel it again. What is going on?
I then left the attic and when to the other end of that cable, which was at the time plugged into a VCR, which in turn was connected to the TV and they were running. I unplugged the connector on this end, went back to the attic and no more problem. So I hooked the last connector up.
Then I came back down and put the cable connector back to the VCR.
What caused this? Does this mean I have an electrical problem with that TV or VCR?
Here are some additional tests I did afterwards:
Well that does not compute either. Because I have the cable feed coming in from the outside and into the splitter. If I hold onto the outside cable and splitter, I do not feel this mild voltage spike. Now this splitter splits into four cables which connects to four TVs. Let's say we have cable A, B, C, D.
I take cable A, and connect to splitter. Nothing, no voltage. Repeat for cable B, nothing. Repeat for cable C, nothing. Now I go grab the last cable, cable D, and I feel the voltage. I only feel it when I have outside cable + splitter in one hand and cable D in another. I let go of cable D, nothing. I let go of the splitter and only hold cable D, nothing either.
Does this mean it might not be the outside cable grounding since cable A, B, C do not have this problem?
Now I go to the other end of cable D which is connected to the VCR which then feeds to the TV. I disconnected that end. Go back to the attic. Touch both the splitter and cable D. Nothing. Then I went back down and connect cable D directly to the TV bypassing the VCR player, then back to the attic and try again, nothing. Then I wired it back to the VCR, repeat - yes I feel the voltage.
Does this experiment conclude the problem is VCR player?
MC
MC
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Good god man, just find a source of ground in your attic. Hold the splitter -- with the input connected and no outputs, touch the ground source and see if you feel anything. If so, your incoming cable isn't grounded properly (common problem). Simply attach the splitter to the source of ground and you're done.

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How do I find a source of ground? Do I just attach a bare wire to any metallic conduits? Most of the piping in my attic are metal rigid conduits can I use them as ground?
Thanks,
MC

the
OUT.
know
don't
cable
the
touched
at
they
attic
TV
in
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cable
for
outside
D,
either.
A, B,

and
to
repeat -

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miamicuse wrote:

No, it's not static. It's (hopefully current limited) leakage from your house electricity. STOP USING YOUR BODY AS A TESTER. Especially if you have a pacemaker.
I don't

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miamicuse wrote:

Well typically the 'outside' cable is the only one tied to ground. That being the case, it does suggest some voltage created by the VCR could be going to the outside ground through you. If you feel it, its pretty high voltage. Try the same experiment but unplug the VCR from the 120VAC. And try using a circuit tester so as not to kill yourself.
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Respectfully,

CL Gilbert
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the
OUT.
know
don't
cable
the
touched
at
they
attic
TV
in
cable
cable
for
outside
D,
either.
A, B,

and
to
repeat -

I have one of the pen style tester - when you jam it into an outlet it will beep? When I hold it to within 4 inches of the coax cable it beeps. I don't have any other circult tester.
MC
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