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Do you Remember Using a Pressure Tap in a Cable TV System?

Pressure Tap with the Stinger Installed

Followup to Toner Cable Blog dated July 2013

The pressure tap was introduced by Jerrold Electronics in 1951. It is a metal block that is clamped on the distribution cable (often RG-11 or .412 cable).

The pressure tap had a hole on the bottom that was threaded; this is where the stinger was inserted. After installing the pressure tap on the cable, a tool was used to cut the cable at the hole down to the center of the conductor. Then the stinger was inserted in the hole and tightened with a wrench. The center of the stinger was a sharp metal point that contacted the center conductor. Stingers were available in different values so they could "tap" some signal off the distribution cable.

In the 1970's the use of pressure taps was discontinued for several reasons:

  • Corrosion - The tap was not water tight
  • Leakage - Cutting a hole in cable jacket allowed radiation and ingress
  • Size - The pressure tap was not available for .500 and .625 cables
  • Quality - Often signal issues developed due to inconsistent quality of installations
  • Service - The pressure tap could only serve one drop
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