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Old 01-25-2013, 02:50 PM   #1
T-Halen
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Hughes GXCEBOT tuner problems

Disclaimer: This will be lengthy, my apologies

I've got a Hughes GXCEBOT DirecTiVo box with two tuners, purchased over a decade ago, and it's been in constant use since then. The only changes I've made to it from stock was to put a bigger HD in it way back just after purchase.

Back in the day, I had an oval dish with a dual-LNB output connected to the unit. But a couple of years ago, I got an HD set for one room, and DTV put an H24 in for it. They changed out the dish at that time and installed an oval dish. It's got a single LNB device on it, with four cables coming from it into the house. Three of those cables are used. One to the HD box, and two to the Hughes DirecTiVo.

About two weeks ago, I started having problems with the Hughes box. I'd wake up in the morning and find the system "searching for Satellite signal" on both tuners. I was able to "fix" the issue the first time with a reboot. It happened again a couple of days later, and that time it took two reboots to fix. Another day or so passed and the problem returned. This time no amount of reboots fixed the problem, so I set about to seeing if my cables were good.

In the course of troubleshooting, I found that if I switched around the cables at the grounding block, I could get a signal on one of the tuners. As it was getting late, I left the unit running overnight with just one tuner. The following day, I swapped the cables around on the grounding block some more, and was able to get both tuners up and running, with the HD system unaffected. However, I noted that if I pulled the power from the HD box, or disconnected the Sat cable running to it, I'd lose signal on both tuners of the Hughes SD box.

Very odd, so I thought I was having an LNB problem. I called DTV and for $50 bucks, they sent out a tech who swapped out the LNB. Well, since I'm posting here, you all already know that the problem wasn't fixed. In fact, I haven't been able to get both tuners back up and running. I can get one tuner going at a time (doesn't matter which), but as soon as the other one is connected, both are dead in the water. The HD set remains unaffected, but still has the oddity that if I power it down, or disconnect it, I won't get anything on either tuner of the Hughes.

As for signal strength, it's fine by all measurements, and all cables test fine, so that's not the issue. However, if I look at the signal strength via the Hughes box, I'll see one of two things happening. Either the signal is there, and then it's not (alternating about once a second), or the signal is just plain missing from a set of transponders. Currently, I can get good signal on all the odd transponders, but zero signal (as seen by the Hughes box) on all the even transponders.

As part of the troubleshooting, the tech installed a multi-switch (unpowered) to see if that would help. It didn't. The multi-switch was removed.

As a last resort, the tech brought in an R16 box (which I was told was the equiv box, but DTV software, not TiVo), and hooked it up in place of the Hughes. The signal seen by the R16 looked right on the various transponders. (didn't seen real TV, because that would have required an activated card).

So, it seems that the problem is with my Hughes box. But what could it be?

Bother tuners work just fine on their own, and I was able to get the both working together up until the DTV tech replaced the LNB (although I haven't yet gone through all the combinations of switching cables around).

At the moment, I've set the Hughes box to use just one tuner, and it's working fine as-is, but I'd like to get the 2nd tuner back up and running. Remember, both tuners work fine on their own, just can't get them working together.

So, any ideas? I know there had been problems with caps in the past, but this doesn't seem to be the same problem. (or is it?)

Any ideas are appreciated. ...and thanks for reading this far. I know it was long-winded.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:13 PM   #2
litzdog911
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Nice troubleshooting. I suspect your Hughes box has a defective tuner that's not properly providing 13/18V switching signals to the dish LNB and causing problems with the multiswitch in the LNB.
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Old 01-25-2013, 04:39 PM   #3
T-Halen
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Is there a way for me to measure the 13/18V signals with a multimeter?

Additionally, my H24 has a B-Band Converter dongle hanging off it. For testing purposes, I took that out of the loop, but the trouble with the Hughes SD box remained. I put it back the way it was so I could continue watching HD stations on the H24 as needed.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:49 PM   #4
T-Halen
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Well, things went downhill further today. I decided to pull the lid on the box and see if I could visually see anything wrong. I could not. I also took the opportunity to blow the dust out of the unit. Once reassembled, I couldn't get a signal on any of the even transponders any longer. Thus couldn't get past the part where it communicates with the satellite and allows me to watch live TV.

So the unit is basically dead in the water. I can still watch previously recorded shows, but no live TV, no future recorded TV, it's just of no real use going forward.

I called DTV and they are shipping out an HD DVR as a replacement. So long TiVo, it was a pleasure knowing you all these years.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:28 PM   #5
T-Halen
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Even more crummy is that I can't access any Season Pass information, or anything related to recordings. Thus I'll just have to try and rebuild stuff from memory.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:54 PM   #6
T-Halen
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The "new" HD DVR arrived today. It's an HR21 with a mfg date of 12/26/2007 !!! The thing is over 5 year old already. That's not good. Color me disappointed.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:56 PM   #7
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I'm running an HR21-700. It's fine if sometimes a bit sluggish. Has all the necessary capabilities. The only way to guarantee a specific model is to order it from a retailer.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Halen View Post
The "new" HD DVR arrived today. It's an HR21 with a mfg date of 12/26/2007 !!! The thing is over 5 year old already. That's not good. Color me disappointed.
DirecTV considers all of the HR2x HD DVRs as "functionally equivalent", so they won't guarantee a specific model. As pointed out, you must order from a dealer if you want a specific model.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:37 PM   #9
T-Halen
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Yeah, it is what it is. As long as it works, who am I to complain (too much). I just need to figure out how to use it. After more than a decade with a TiVo and "peanut" remote this is a big change. :-)
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:24 PM   #10
T-Halen
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So, getting back to the original problem. Since it similarly affected both tuners, I would doubt that the "tuner" went bad. So I kind of lean towards the power supply being the problem. I see where I can get a replacement PS from a 3rd party vendor (not sure if I'm allowed to name them here). Anyone think it'd be worth trying? The replacement PS is around $50 I think.

Do these units (assuming it gets fixed) have any re-sale value? (since I own the box outright)

Thanks.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:34 AM   #11
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Not for $30. I have several older Series2s I am trying to get rid of as I have Stage IV lung cancer and I am trying to clean things up for my wife.

I had problems with a 2nd tuner and 2 or 3 times not sure which one of the tuners blew and the only way I knew was where it connected with the directv cable in from wall to series 2 connection was black where it blew.

So I had a few series2s for backups so I would not have to switch to nonTivo models since I got my first tivo in 1999.

Don't know how to remove power supply but if you can tell me how I be willing to try and mail it to you at cheapest shipping cost plus maybe 5 or 10 dollars but only after you have received it and tested it.

Let me know and pm a message in my box here.

Since I have had a wonderful experience here on the forum and doing business with others an finding out about freebies I try to do the same.

Patrick in SF, CA
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