Did I get a bad Bolt+ - terrible signal strength and SNR

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by jsessler, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. Oct 5, 2017 #1 of 13
    jsessler

    jsessler New Member

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    Dec 2, 2002
    Just got my 2nd Bolt+ in the house. Set is up and the signal strength and SNR across all the channels is low, and I notice the RS Uncorrected incrementing quickly, with pixelation on some channels. I have three other TiVO's (Bolt+, Roamio, and XL4), and no problems.

    The new bolt+ is next to my existing, and I've swapped the coax input between the two thinking it was cabling, but the bad signal strength and low SNR stay with the new Bolt+.

    For example:
    Existing Bolt+ tuned to channel 911. Signal Strength is 96, SNR is 38dB
    New Bolt+ tuned to channel 911. Signal Strength is 66, SNR is 26dB

    The XL4 and Roamio are lock-step with the existing Bolt+. The new Bolt+ is the clear outlier.

    Is the consensus that I've got a new Bolt+ that is defective?
     
  2. Oct 5, 2017 #2 of 13
    sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

    2,883
    484
    Jan 6, 2007
    Very likely defective Bolt+. Don't know what the deal is with the Bolt+ but recently have seen an up tick in bad tuners just on the Bolt+. There was another guy who couldn't get his CableCARD paired, also with low signals. Replacement Bolt+ fixed that.
     
  3. Oct 6, 2017 #3 of 13
    jsessler

    jsessler New Member

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    Dec 2, 2002
    Solved it. It's a manufacturing and/or assembly problem with the bolt. I took it apart to look at the RF Coax connection on the internal side. I found that the coax connector's center conductor was just sitting on it's electrical pad, probably flexed off of it when the coax connector was put into the frame and tightened down. Soldered it back to the board and the signal quality and SNR are now at the same levels as my other TiVo's.

    Bolt coax solder problem.jpg
    [​IMG]
     
    krkaufman, whwalton, JandS and 5 others like this.
  4. Oct 6, 2017 #4 of 13
    PooperScooper

    PooperScooper Member

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    Aug 22, 2007
    Leominster, MA
    Good job! Send a bill to Tivo. :)
     
  5. Oct 6, 2017 #5 of 13
    jwort93

    jwort93 Member

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    Dec 18, 2015
    Good find! I have an older bolt that started exhibiting these same issues, that I ended up replacing. I still have the older one though, so I may give it a shot and see if it has this same issue.
     
  6. Oct 6, 2017 #6 of 13
    jsessler

    jsessler New Member

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    Dec 2, 2002
    The area is under a RF cage, but the top pops right off. TiVo QC clearly not what it should be and/or they check the signal levels before inserting into the unit. I also found one of the WiFi antennas on the right-side rear not stuck to it's plastic mount.
     
  7. Oct 6, 2017 #7 of 13
    sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    If you already have photographs, for future reference, you might want to post a slightly more zoomed out one showing what the area looks like with the RF cage. I have no problems figuring out where that picture is from, but it might help others.
     
  8. Oct 6, 2017 #8 of 13
    GDogg

    GDogg New Member

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    Aug 23, 2005
    Interestingly, I had the exact same problem on one of my Premieres. I’d given it to my GF’s daughter to use and by the time she gave up on it, the warranty period was expired. So I opened it up and found the same thing. I soldered the pad down and it worked until I replaced it with a Bolt this week.
     
    jsessler likes this.
  9. Oct 6, 2017 #9 of 13
    jsessler

    jsessler New Member

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    Dec 2, 2002
    While not my photo, this is the area I'm talking about. tivo_24.jpg
     
    sfhub likes this.
  10. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

    2,883
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    Jan 6, 2007
    Curious, was there existing solder there or was it just sitting on the pad?
     
  11. jsessler

    jsessler New Member

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    Dec 2, 2002
    There was clearly a little solder (tinning) on the top, but I could move the conductor back and forth on the pad. When I soldered it, I was also able to push it further down on the pad. I'm guessing there was a gap, and just a whisper of solder connecting it. Maybe the conductor is being bent when inserted on the board, leaving a gap the solder can't close.

    Looking at the cage and the coax connector, I can also see how installing it through the frame and tightening it could lead to a lot of flexing. If it's barely connected to the pad, seems like an easy failure point.
     
    whwalton and sfhub like this.
  12. GDogg

    GDogg New Member

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    Aug 23, 2005
    I wonder if this is hand-soldered in manufacturing and it takes longer because the size of it makes it act like a big heat sink. If you’re doing hundreds (thousands) of these a day by hand it’s easy to see how you could not heat this up enough and basically get a cold solder joint compared to other smaller components you were doing.
     
  13. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

    2,883
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    Jan 6, 2007
    Probably a lot of the back panel and bracket stuff is hand soldered afterwards because you can't bake the plastic pieces in the oven/preheat like you can for the surface mount stuff.
     

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