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Do You Need to Unplug Amplifier Before Making Any Changes to System?

Posted by on Dec 19, 2015

Yes. Unplug the signal booster from its power source any time you make a change to the system, to prevent possible damage to the signal booster. For example, disconnecting the signal booster from its power is crucial to preventing damage, when disconnecting an antenna from the booster.

How a Signal Booster Works

A signal booster's purpose is to take in the signal from outside antenna and amplify it so that a stronger signal goes towards interior antenna. To amplify the signal, the signal booster takes power from where it is plugged in, and sends that power out as heat. That heat is called gain (from our blog, "What is gain?") and is the power added to the signal that makes the signal stronger. Hence the mentions in names of signal booster kits such as "XX dB Gain" where "XX" is a numerical figure which indicates how much signal more boost an existing signal will will receive.

The Consequence of Disconnecting the Antenna

Without anything connected to the signal booster, the heat has nowhere to go. Since the heat cannot escape the signal booster, it stays in the booster and overheats it. This overheating causes the signal booster to malfunction, which leads to a dysfunctional signal booster and a failing signal booster system.

The Severity of the Damage

Though it is important to be aware of the problem that can occur from not unplugging the signal booster, your signal booster will not malfunction and overheat that quickly. If the signal booster is on and not connected to the antennas, your device will become warm and gradually get hotter over time (just like a laptop can when placed on a soft surface which blocks the vents at the bottom or on the back). However, we advise that you do not leave your antennas disconnected for long (if done by accident), and unplug your signal booster to prevent overheating to avoid damage. Long term damage can lead to having to replace the signal booster which will not be covered under the manufacturers warranty due to mismanagement and misuse clause within the manufacturer's warranty.

Other Changes to an Antenna

Moving either inside or outside antennas can also cause problems with the signal booster. When everything is connected and working properly, your signal booster will have a solid green light. This green light means that the outside antenna is receiving a signal from the closest cell phone tower and that the inside antenna is placed far enough away from the outside antenna.

When you move one of these antennas while the signal booster is plugged in, the signal booster has to reconfirm that outside antenna is getting enough signal and that the interior antenna is not too close to the outside antenna. Therefore, it has to automatically reset. However, since it is powered on, the signal booster may take a few extra minutes to reset. Until it has reset, you will not be able to tell if the signal booster system is working properly.

What to Do

To avoid the wait, we recommend unplugging the signal booster before moving either of the antennas. Once you have unplugged the signal booster, you can move the outside or inside antenna where you need it. After you're satisfied with the placement of the antennas, plug the signal booster back into its power source. When the signal booster powers on, it will have automatically reset and will re-read the placement of antennas. In install mode, a blinking green light will come on, and indicate that everything is set up and working properly.

Problems that Can Occur

While unplugging the signal booster will prevent damage to the device, you may run into some errors when moving or replacing antennas. Two errors that can occur on your signal booster are feedback loop and overload loop.

Feedback Loop

Feedback loop occurs when the inside and outside antennas are too close together. Since the outside antenna sucks up signals, having inside antenna too close can lead to the inside signal being sucked up as well. This occurrence will cause feedback oscillation (an interference that causes a loud noise and results in poor reception). To prevent feedback oscillation, your signal booster will shut down and a solid red light will come on. If this occurs, you can find out how to fix it by looking at our previous entry "What Do the Green, Orange, and Red Lights Indicate on Signal Amplifiers?".

Overload Loop

Overload loop occurs when a nearby cell phone tower is sending out too strong of a signal. Too strong of a signal (sent from outside booster antenna to the signal amplifier) overpowers it by giving it more power than it can handle. To prevent being overpowered, your signal booster will shut down and a blinking orange light will come on. If this occurs, you can also find out how to fix it from our previous entry (https://cellphonesignalbooster.us/blog/what-do-the-green-orange-and-red-lights-indicate-on-signal-amplifiers/).


By following the directions in our earlier entry and making sure you unplug your signal booster before making changes, you will avoid causing damage and be able to keep your signal booster and signal booster system working properly.

Questions? Call us for a FREE product recommendation or try our automated Cell Phone Signal Booster Selector Tool. Need a cell phone booster installer? We offer installation services by a certified installing team that installs boosters nationwide across USA and Canada. Submit location details for cell phone signal booster system design & installation quote to have your amplifier kit installed by professionals.

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