The Total Tap
BJ Toner provides a comprehensive walkthrough on the Total Tap system by Toner Cable Equipment.
This is the Total Tap System by Toner Cable. As you can see it’s manufactured or made up of several different components, being, the total tap housing, 3 cavity housing, 6 cavity housing as well as multiple different tap plates. We’ve got 8 port tap plates, we’ve got 4 port tap plates, and we’ve got two port tap plates. We’ve also got tap plates that are white and they’re painted white to show that they’re a terminating plate. That means there is not output out of this plate going down to the next tap. Additionally, we have a blank plate to fill up any unused tap plate cavities.
When you’re putting the system together, the first thing you have to do is you have to put a pin type, or an adapter connector, at the entry port. That would be the CH port or the KS port as it is commonly referred to. There is a cut line indicated right on the PC board so you know how long to cut that center pin. This is important because we don’t want the center pin sticking out into the housing and causing problems or radiating.
So now you install the adapter, or pin type connector, tighten it up with a wrench. And then most importantly you actually have to tighten up the set screw here in the housing and we conveniently supply an Allen Wrench with every single housing. Typically, it’s taped to the back along with some A-Z stickers. So once the adapter is in there and tightened up, you go ahead and need to snug that down with the Allen Wrench. Not too tight but you want to make sure it’s snug so it doesn’t vibrate loose. Set your Allen Wrench aside for future use.
Now when you’re putting the tap plate assembly together, you pretty much have any freedom to put plates together the way you want. You can go with any value in any location, you just have to remember that the insertion loss of the tap has to be accounted for when you’re going tap to tap. For instance here, we can go put an 8-17 plate in the first position. We can put a 4-23 plate in the second position. And then, we can put a 4-8 plate in the third position. And the reason why we chose the 4-8T plate is because it’s a terminating plate. That means there’s no signal on the output.
Now one of the unique features of the total tap is the fact that we have what’s called a make before break switch inside the tap housing. This means that if the tap is completely occupied with tap plates, and we take one of the tap plates out, the signal continues through down to the next set of tap plates and so on. This prevents any service interruptions to customers should you have to replace a tap plate. The way that works is on the back of the tap plate there’s this plastic cover that protects the contents. There are two little plastic pins. Those plastic pins insert through holes in the housing and push open the contacts on the switch, which is why it’s called a make before break because as you remove the plate, the switch closes before the contact pins disengage.
When you are putting the tap plate together, or the tap housing together, you need to make sure you do a good job of putting the plates in and you have to make sure that the pins are properly aligned with the holes. Just takes a little bit of finesse to make sure that they’re seated in there. Then you have to go ahead and tighten down the four screws, snugly, with a spin tight or a nut driver. We recommend that you alternate screws from side to side so the plate goes in nice and square and it seals properly. Once you get them snugged up, then it’s a good idea to go back and actually tighten them down. One of the most common problems we have found with customers is they failed to actually tighten these screws down and when that happens, the pins don’t always make really good contact. And, sometimes, they can get intermittent signals.
So once you put the housing together and tighten up all our tap plates, we are then ready to go install this. Our feed cable is going to get fed into the input connector, in this case an F-625CH adapter and the first tap plate it’s going to hit is a 108-17. That means we’ve got 8 ports, tap ports, that are going to be 17 dB below whatever the input level is. The next tap plate is a 4-23, meaning, those outputs are going to be 23 dB below what it's getting from the previous tap plate. We’ve got a simple, little excel spreadsheet that we can plug the tap plate values in that will tell you what the value is going to the next plate, what the signal level will be coming out of those ports depending on what your input is, and we actually tell you how much cable you can run if you use an rg6, rg59 or rg11 based on the RF signal level coming out of each tap plate.
6 way housing works exactly the same way as the 3 way housing. You can put in any tap plate configuration that you want. You can start with a 2 way then go to an 8 way. You can put a blank plate in there if necessary. And then you can put another 8 way in there, turn around, and put a 4 way in there. And then you should always finish up with a terminating plate.
Now every tap plate we have, whether it’s an 8-14 or 8-26, is available terminating and you’ll be able to identify it right away because it’s been painted white. It makes it easy to identify. In other words, if you had a tap configured like this, with the 23 dB plate after the 4-8T, there would be no signal coming out of this plate because it gets terminated at this point.
You’re pretty much free to go ahead and set the tap up anyway you want depending upon what signal levels you want. We’ve even had customers turn around and put a terminating plate in here. Then they turn around and run a second input to the bottom of the tap and maybe they just put a 4 port plate in there for maybe some real high level runs. Maybe some long-distance applications 300-400 feet. So then you'd have another white plate here but turned around the other direction much like we would do this one.
Our blank plates they go in, they don’t open the switches so the signal passes past the blank plate. You can tell there is no electronic circuitry on that. They fit into the housing pretty much anywhere you want to put them. And it really makes no difference which way they go whether the arrow points away or down because there’s no signal being passed through the plate.