Motorola Serial Control Malfunction

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by gijoecam, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. gijoecam

    gijoecam GIJoeCam

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    Sep 18, 2006
    Near the...
    I've got two tv's in the house with an 80 hour S2 TiVo connected and controlling a Motorola DCT2224 cable box via the serial connection. The cable company is Charter Communications. The software version on both TiVos is 9.3.2b-01-2-649, and both systems' last service connections were from the wee hours of this morning. Both systems have worked flawlessly for the last several years with zero problems. However, a few weeks ago, both systems simultaneously seemed to develop an odd issue.

    Anytime either system tries to tune in to channel 100 thru 124, the TiVo signals the cable box to tune in to the channel, and which the cable box does at first, but then the box just keeps tuning up or down until it gets to either channel 99 or 134 (note there are no channels between 124 and 134). If I manually select the channel using the cable boxes' remotes, the box appears to function fine. This leads me to believe there may be a problem of some sort with the signal coming from the TiVo. The only thing I can see happening that *might* be noteworthy is that when the channel change first occurs and the picture comes up, it may flash or flicker one time before the channel changes. This sometimes happens on other channels as well, so I'm not sure that's causing the problem... And the flashing or flickering when tuning to the new channel used to happen occasionally before the problem started as well.

    I don't even know where to start... any ideas? Search didn't turn up anything much on the matter.... Is this just coincidence, or is this a firmware glitch?

    Thanks, gang!!

    edit: As luck would have it, as soon as I clicked submit, it did the same thing to me on channels between 306 and 309 as well... they're not channels I frequent, so I never noticed it before... Just happened to be a movie I like and there's nothing else on tonight....
     
  2. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

    5,680
    701
    May 30, 2008
    It's likely that Charter sent a firmware upgrade to your Motorolas, and it screwed up serial control. Switching to IR is the only real solution.
     
  3. gijoecam

    gijoecam GIJoeCam

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    Sep 18, 2006
    Near the...
    I hope not... I had lots of issues with the IR blaster years ago when I first set it up. The response of the cable box to the signals resulted in a LOT of misfires...

    I was kind of hoping someone else may have had the same problem and found a solution... My only other option would be to ditch the TiVo for Charter's DVR, but I would lose too much functionality. I love me some TiVo, but this is getting annoying...
     
  4. heinzk

    heinzk New Member

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    Apr 19, 2011
    This is virtually the same experience I have had.
    Motorola DCT2224 cable box, Pioneer 57H Tivo box, on Charter.
    Serial cable channel change has worked for years then all of a sudden the behavior you describe. And it is not limited to the remote control only. If I have a Season Pass saved and it tries to switch channels the behavior is the same.

    another thread a few years back stated (in this case Comcast not Charter):confused::
    Well, no sooner did I report the problem but it seems to have been fixed - it was definitely Comcast's problem. My SNR numbers for my cable boxes just went back to normal (19 -20dbs) and my Tivo changing problems have gone away and my menus are back. It appears that signal strength DOES affect the box in such a way that the Tivo is unable to correctly get the box to respond - whether using the serial cable or IR blasters. I contacted Comcast, explained what happened, and they did indeed admit that there was a problem in my area (why they didn't say this before is beyond me) and that fixing it more than likely fixed my problem too!

    I hope this helps anyone else who may experience similar problems - if the signal is weak to the digital box the TiVo will not get it to change channels correctly - it drops numbers. Strange but true. Now that my signal strength is back to normal, my TiVo changes channels perfectly. Since my channel changing problem started BEFORE my menus and clock stopped it appears that this can happen even if the signal is just starting to degrade; no other symptoms (like menu loss) may show up. Hopefully my experience may help others who have channel changing problems - check your signal strength!

    Sounds like a call to Charter is the solution but getting them to admit this is a problem and not just blaming the Tivo will be another task.
     
  5. gijoecam

    gijoecam GIJoeCam

    57
    0
    Sep 18, 2006
    Near the...
    You know, it's interesting that you mentioned the signal strength issue... Now that you mention it, there could be more to the story that I hadn't considered before... I never put 2 & 2 together before now...

    Shortly before the issue started, we had a problem: No channels at all on the cable box. Being kind of out in the boonies, I've had issues over the last 7 years with low signal strength any time it storms or was extremely humid. Usually I'd lose all the movie channels first, then the premium channels, then eventually all the cable box channels. basic cable direct through the TV's tuner would get more and more fuzzy, and often fade out. And thus began the routine: Call tech support, cable is out, I reset the box, nothing, they reset the box, nothing, we'll schedule a tech for tomorrow sometime between noon and next Thursday, tech shows up two or three days later, signal's fine, cable works fine, premium channels are fine...

    Oh, wait, that's how it usually works. This time was different. It wasn't rainy and crappy out, tech was able to be scheduled the next day, and when he got here, it was still out, and the signal was weak. He rearranged the splitters in my basement (of course, leaving me with spaghetti dangling from the joists), but got the signals up high enough that both cable boxes worked again, and the signal to the cable modem was strong enough that it didn't drop out. He also reported the line problem to Charter so that the line crew could come out and make some adjustments to the overall signal strength at the pole. The next working day, on my way home, I saw two crews within a mile of my house working on the cable lines that head down the country road towards my sub, and just figured one of them had to be dealing with my area's line issues... Could they have made things worse instead of better?

    In my case, it's definitely the interface between the TiVo and the box that's causing the problem. The cable remote tunes the channels manually just fine. It's like the TiVo doesn't see the channel signal come through, so it scrolls up until it sees a solid signal... Very odd.

    Is there a way to view the signal strength at the cable box without one of their fanch-schmancy meters? I would think the cable box has a way as I thought I saw him checking it before he left, but didn't see how he entered that screen.

    I might have to rearrange the splitters again... I hate having to follow up on the cable guy's questionable workmanship...
     
  6. heinzk

    heinzk New Member

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    Apr 19, 2011
    Here is a link to the DCT2000 Installation Guide.

    It gives instructions for entering the Diagnostics screen

    One of the items in the Diagnostics screen is supposed to be signal strength

    www
    cableone.net
    SiteCollectionDocuments
    DCT2000_User_Guide.pdf

    forum won't let me post link, so piece the above four sections together for url
     

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