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View Full Version : Old cable modems (Motorola SB4200) - What to do with them?



mbbrutman
March 24th, 2013, 10:37 AM
Two or three years ago Charter mailed a replacement cable modem, and the old trusty Motorola Surfboard SB4200 got put on a shelf ...

What does one do with an out of date cable modem? This is a DOCSIS 1.x unit, so it's quite out of date. I don't think I could use it as a backup modem even if I wanted too, which is why Charter replaced it in the first place ...

Stone
March 24th, 2013, 10:50 AM
I've got a stack of Westell modems (from Verizon). I always see these (cable and DSL) modems advertised around but I don't have any idea (like you) what someone would want one for. :-)

Chuck(G)
March 24th, 2013, 11:32 AM
It depends on how the modem's configured. For example, I grabbed a junk Actiontec FIOS modem. It's got WiFi, and 4 10BaseT connectors on it as well as a WAN connection. I use it as a hub and Wifi access point. I suppose you could put Linux on the 4200 (people have done it), but I haven't the faintest idea what you'd use it for after that.

mbbrutman
March 24th, 2013, 11:53 AM
It depends on how the modem's configured. For example, I grabbed a junk Actiontec FIOS modem. It's got WiFi, and 4 10BaseT connectors on it as well as a WAN connection. I use it as a hub and Wifi access point. I suppose you could put Linux on the 4200 (people have done it), but I haven't the faintest idea what you'd use it for after that.

I looked at trying to run Linux on it years ago. There is the one person who claims to have done it in 2010, but he did not post instructions and the link he posted to the firmware image was on megaupload. I almost doubt it happened.

This modem has an Ethernet port, a USB port, and a cable connection. It can not be a hub or a WiFi access point.

If I ever have to start renting a cable modem I could (in theory) use this one instead. But I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Unknown_K
March 24th, 2013, 12:18 PM
Recycle it.

Maverick1978
March 24th, 2013, 05:19 PM
Mike, I can tell you first hand that the electrolytic caps in the SB4xxx Series Motorola cable modems are going bad at this point. I'm phasing them out of my systems both because I'm upgrading to DOCSIS 3.0 and because of intermittent failure. For those interested, what seems to happen as the caps go bad is that the modem continues to function... but with bad signals. Particularly on the modem's downstream and downstream SNR. It will randomly drop connection with the ISP, and when the caps are degraded severely enough, you'll also see a rise in the upstream signals, almost as if one had introduced additional padding of the signal to artificially raise it. Replace these with a newer model, and WHAM! You're about 10dB higher on each DS signal while changing nothing else. It's not worth going in and replacing caps, as these can be had on the wholesale used market for about $5/unit, and it's not even worth buying them as they might work now, but they'll fail soon.

Right now, we're just recycling them. I've probably recycled close to a thousand of these things in the last year....

njroadfan
March 24th, 2013, 08:31 PM
Junk it. All DOCSIS 1.x equipment is obsolete at this point and cable providers are phasing it out to increase bandwidth. I came in here expecting something even older.... like the pre-DOCSIS Motorola CyberSurfr that I had from 1997-2001 on Comcast@Home. They eventually turned off that system and forced everyone to DOCSIS in 2002.