Cisco Cable TV Optical Node and RF Amplifier Teardown

Teardown of Cisco / Scientific Atlanta Cable TV optical node and drop amplifier. These are modern versions running on fiber networks. These small amplifiers are used in houses where it is not practical to use a receiving antenna to get the signal from the broadcast headend transmitter. They are also called a “service drop”.

Back in 2016, I also did two teardown videos on other brands of Cable TV drop amplifiers. Teleste AC2000, teardown of a 862 MHz cable TV amplifier and Astro HVO-Vario G 38, teardown of a 862 MHz cable TV amplifier.

Community Antenna TV

Historically CATV is short for Community Antenna TV. A large receiving antenna was used and a cable connection ran out to every house in the neighborhood. Each house had one of these amplifiers. The return path amplifier can also send some of the signal back into the line to keep the signal good enough for the next house. In Denmark, the large receiving antennas has mostly been substituted with fiber connections.

Service drop / RF Amplifier drop box

The drop amplifier is the last active part of the cable TV network. This amplifier drop box services only a single house hold and was most likely the last on the coaxial line from the optical node.

Optical Node

The optical node is connected back to the head end via fiber optical cables. Head end dates back to when it literally was a satellite antenna with a receiving head in the parabolic antenna. It is worth noting that all parts are labelled Scientific Atlanta, a company that Cisco acquired in 2006. The optical transmitter module sports a pretty funny volume setting and status LEDs.

Cisco Cable TV IC datasheets

ACA1205, ACA1206 and ACA2407 IC datasheets.

Cable TV network illustration used with permission according to: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HFC_Network_Diagram.svg

Mads Barnkob

Electrician, programmer, experimenter and amateur scientist with experience in industry automation, programming and all kinds of high voltage generating electronics. Administrator of https://kaizerpowerelectronics.dk and the high voltage community forum https://highvoltageforum.net

View all posts by Mads Barnkob →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *