Spectrum could not get my tuning adapters to work

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by tivoknucklehead, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. Aug 12, 2018 #61 of 104
    HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    Well that's interesting! Which channels are failing that are MPEG4 (and interesting that your local broadcast channels are MPEG4 - with Comcast those are the ones that have stayed MPEG2 so far except some around Chicago I believe based on what someone posted here).

    Scott
     
  2. Aug 12, 2018 #62 of 104
    Skye

    Skye Member

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    All local broadcast channels fail. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW, PBS
     
  3. Aug 13, 2018 #63 of 104
    Skye

    Skye Member

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    Today’s update: it’s working! Spectrum came today and replaced 4 way splitter with a unity gain 2 way amp. This brought the levels to/from the TA up a few dB and it’s been stable since this afternoon. Still does not explain mpeg2 /mpeg4 issue. That’s for another day. Funny thing is according to the Cisco tech sheet for the TA, my levels were well within specification before the amp was added, but Spectrum says their system likes to see levels on RDC that are on the lower end of the scale.

    Fingers crossed it stays up, I have seen it work for a day before and then fail.

    Kudos to all at Spectrum, their supervisors, head end techs and others who worked on this for days and days. They spent at least 12 hours in my home alone over the past week.
     
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  4. Aug 13, 2018 #64 of 104
    tim_m

    tim_m Active Member

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    Glad you finally got it fixed.
     
  5. Aug 14, 2018 #65 of 104
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    The RDC level (in dBmV) is the strength of the signal your TA is sending back into the cable system. The TA adjusts this level when it connects. The specs for the TA must assume a certain minimum sensitivity of the system receiving the signal and it sounds like your system is deficient in that regard, so the amp is required.

    Your RDC previously was 57 dBmV which is very high, which is consistent with what they said -- your TA was adjusting its level high to compensate for the low sensitivity and apparently this was still not high enough.

    There might be a problem with excessive attenuation at the low frequency end of the cable tap to your location. The RDC signals are at the extreme low end of the frequency band, at least on my system, e.g., 16.5 MHz.

    What is your RDC level now?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  6. Aug 14, 2018 #66 of 104
    Skye

    Skye Member

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    Even when they replaced a bad splitter and the RDC dropped to 45 it would not connect. Only after adding the amp and dropping the RDC to 41 did it finally connect and stay stable.
     
  7. Aug 30, 2018 #67 of 104
    JonMcL

    JonMcL New Member

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    I am having almost the exact same issue with my Spectrum TV service in NYC (Brooklyn) and my Roamio TiVo.

    Everything worked great up until sometime around beginning of December 2017. I don't know for sure, but I suspect my troubles started when Spectrum left a robocall message that all services would be unavailable for 8 hours overnight. Shortly after that equipment upgrade, I started having problems.

    Everything is fine for a day, or sometimes as long as a week. Suddenly, and without warning, some channels cannot be received. Typically the problem shows up with HBO, Showtime, etc. Sometimes, the problem results in a single-blink on the TA and all recording are stopped; it appears that all tuners are re-tuned and TiVo drops recordings, even on good times. From my tests, it appears that this happens when the TiVo is trying to tune in a channel repeatedly and failing. It seems to me that after a certain number of retries, the TA is reset (the single-blink) and it tries tuning everything over and over again.

    My solution is always:
    Power down TiVo.
    Remove power to TA, wait 10 seconds or so, start up TA.
    Wait for TA light to become solid.
    Power up TiVo.

    When I do these things, especially waiting for the TA light to become solid, about 90% of the time is solves the issue for a few days. It used to solve the issue for more than a week, which is partially why I have let this issue remain. I just restart everything once a week -- usually Sunday afternoons since Sunday nights I typically have all 6 tuners recording something and it seemed more likely that the single-blink issue would happen and all recording would stop. I sometimes noticed the issue happening right near the end of watching Game of Thrones because it would often run over 10PM and at 10PM, recording schedule seemed to change channels on other tuners. The TA would fail, TiVo would keep trying and eventually the single-blink would kick in and I would lose all channels for a few seconds

    Spectrum has replaced Tuning Adapter and CableCard multiple times. Everything always works for a little while after initial activation, but then some channels start failing after a few days. I have only had one tech come, mainly because I know they rarely understand how CableCards and TAs work.

    Your comments at the reverse data channel (RDC) make perfect sense to me. From my investigations, it seems like the TA is unable to lock to fetch the currently frequency for a channel. A channel that worked the day before, now no longer works because the hub. is unable to update it with the new frequency. Probably because the request for the channel is never reaching the upstream hub.

    What I never thought to consider is that the rebooting of the TA causes the TA to increase/decrease RDC signal depending on the current conditions. However, if the line conditions change, adjustments are not being made? So the overly picky upstream hub is no longer receiving or responding to requests from my TA. That's my current thinking.

    I am going to keep an eye on the RDC values when things are working and when they are not.

    Thank you for this information!
     
  8. Aug 30, 2018 #68 of 104
    JonMcL

    JonMcL New Member

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    So I was experiencing the problem and RDC was 31 dBmV. I restarted everything and can now tune all HBO and Showtime channels. RDC is still 31, so it appears to be same when working and not working.

    Sorry to hijack this thread. I should make one for myself :)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. Aug 30, 2018 #69 of 104
    UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    Have you tried just rebooting the TA rather than both the TA and the tivo? If that works you can buy a timer for the TA. I have mine on a timer to stop and start weekly. You might have to sent it at a shorter frequency. Btw, is you TA a Cisco?
     
  10. Aug 30, 2018 #70 of 104
    JonMcL

    JonMcL New Member

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    Yes, I have rebooted Cisco TA alone, but it seems to fix things more reliably when I reboot the TiVo too.
     
  11. Aug 30, 2018 #71 of 104
    Skye

    Skye Member

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    The problem came back for me. Not as bad but at least once a day I get the unable to tune channel error. Spectrum seems to have given up, I let them know the problem was back and never heard from them again. I wonder if this is actually planned degradation of service to force people back into renting their boxes. I would go to Directv before I went to the awful Spectrum boxes.
     
  12. Aug 30, 2018 #72 of 104
    LYKUNO

    LYKUNO Member

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    Great thread with lots of good info here. I'm still on the legacy TWC service here in NE Ohio and have been contemplating switching over to Spectrum after my plan's promos run out next March. Cost will be nearly the same though the internet speed will go to 100/10 from its current 30/5.

    That said, I've also been experiencing the symptoms described in this thread with my 2 Roamios on cable cards and TA's. For a year or more I've been getting V52 errors when attempting to tune in Showtime channels as well as FBN. I've checked signal and SNR levels using the diagnostic menu and everything seems fine. Rebooting the TiVo and TA has been my usual recovery tactic. I had a Motorola 4 port amp in the basement left over from the days before TiVo and have replaced that with a single two output 2Ghz splitter. Since I was occasionally seeing RNC errors, I ran a brand new RG6 quad shield cable with compression fittings from the outside demarc with TWC to the splitter input, and also new RG6 between the splitter and the TA's, and from the TA's to the TiVos. That cleaned up the signal and got rid of some questionable hex-crimped coax connectors.

    Today though, after encountering a few more V52 errors and failing to tune SDV channels after reboots, I contacted TWC/Spectrum support. The tech walked me through looking at the TA's Status Summary Screen where I saw a Tuner value of 1dBmV, FDC of 2dBmV and the RDC of 33dBmV. Since I still couldn't tune to one of the Showtime channels after a reboot of the TA (temporarily disconnecting the USB cable), he suggested that the signal levels looked good and he said he was going to send a new (refurb?) TA to me. So I'll see where things go when I get the new TA here and connected.

    Meanwhile, my other TiVo occasionally fails to connect to some SDV channels as well (though not always the same ones as other TiVo has problems with. Anyway, I'm glad I found this thread and appreciate the effort and thought others have chimed in with. TA's are the devil incarnate!
     
  13. Aug 30, 2018 #73 of 104
    JonMcL

    JonMcL New Member

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    Skye, that is some bad news.

    I feel like the hardest part of this issue is that there is no clear way to reproduce the issue.

    One other interesting tidbit: I used to have my TiVo go into standby whenever I turned my TV off or switched to another device. I have a Logitech remote and programmed it to do that. I also had TiVo set to energy saver mode so that it would go into standby automatically after a few hours (6?).

    I decided to stop putting it into standby and because of another issue, possibly related to a history of TA issues, my TiVo is not recording many suggestions and my onepass schedule is a little light at the moment.

    What I have been noticing now is that when I switch back to TiVo from another device, the 6 tuners all have signal on the channels they had previously been left on. I make a point of tuning at least 4 of the 6 tuners to problematic channels after I reboot everything.

    If I try and change to new HBO or Showtime channels after a number of hours of not using the TiVo, there is high probability that the new channel does not come in (V52 or other error). The channel that I left the tuner on a few hours before continues to work on that tuner when I switch back. Going up one or down one channel causes the error. Going back to the original channel brings it back in fine.

    So when the problem requiring reboots start, a typically problematic channel is fine only if it is still switched on for a particular tuner.

    Previously when I had the TiVo set to go to standby, waking it back up would almost always result in all problematic channels resulting in errors. My assumption is that the waking TiVo sends a new request to the TA for the same channel and the issue reveals itself. When not sleeping, the TiVo is able to hold the channel indefinitely, but channel changes result in the issue revealing itself.

    Of course, there was sometimes days or weeks where there would be no problem at all even after the TiVo wakes up after a long period of being in standby.

    So, for example, if I reboot everything and verify channel 512 works (HBO west), then I go away for a few hours, then return to watching TV, channel 512 is still on that same tuner. If I change that tuner to 513, there is a possibility I get the V52 error. Switching back to 512 results in a successful lock.

    With TiVo in standby, there was a possibility that 512 would not work when it woke and 513 would not work either.

    This leads me to think that when the TiVo is in standby for many hours, the hub stops transmitting 512 on the frequency it used to be on and then the new request fails when it wakes up again. With the TiVo not in standby, and assuming the tuner is not changed to another channel because of a scheduled recording, 512 always seems to be fine even if 513 fails.

    When the issue reveals itself, changes to the tuner as a result of many shows scheduled to record would result in error channels. Multiple error channels, or multiple retries to tune in error channels, ends up resulting with the single blink and a reset on all 6 tuners (and stopped recordings). I have actually witnessed this happen when I am watching HBO on one tuner and the top of the hour results in multiple changes to other tuners. All 6 tuners blank out for 1 to 2 seconds and all recordings stop. This single blink repeats approx every 70 seconds until I reboot everything. Usually all channels can be tuned in successfully after the reboot. Strangely, the scheduled recordings do not start themselves automatically after the reboot.

    So to a certain extent, I think I am not noticing the issue as much (without looking for it) because I am not recording much lately and because I am not putting the TiVo into standby anymore. Lots of scheduled recordings or suggestions may cause the issue to reveal itself more frequently.

    It used to be something I only saw once every week or so, even with standby and with lots of recordings. More recently it seems to be daily, but I have to check for the issue by changing tuners and trying problematic channels.

    My suspicion is that upgrades to upstream equipment is just not working well with the old Cisco TA. I suspect software conflicts rather than signal or hardware issues. I obviously don’t have the technical knowledge, or the means, to actually figure this out for them. I wish we didn’t have to.
     
  14. Sep 1, 2018 #74 of 104
    tim1724

    tim1724 Active Member TCF Club

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    In my experience with a Cisco STA1520 the TA refuses to work if it's connected to the TiVo while booting. When I reboot the TA I have to disconnect the USB cable until it reaches the fast blinking stage. Otherwise it won't talk to the TiVo after it boots. (Or I can reboot the TiVo at the same time as the TA. That works too, I suppose because the TiVo's USB controller isn't active yet while it's in the early stage of booting.)
     
  15. Sep 2, 2018 #75 of 104
    Chuck_IV

    Chuck_IV Active Member

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    A few of us here in CT had issues when then converted a bunch of channels to be SDV. We lost over 20 channels for a few weeks. The TA wouldn't recognize them as SDV channels. Someone got the name at the local head end and was working with them and 2 of the 3 of us got all their channels back after several weeks but I continue to have a channel that hasn't come back since MAY.

    Unfortunately for me, I dont have a name at the local head end person so I continue to try and go through the call in support which just sends me around in circles.

    As of now I just live with the one missing channel(AHC which we actually like).

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
     
  16. Sep 2, 2018 #76 of 104
    LYKUNO

    LYKUNO Member

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    9-2-18 Update ...

    So Fedex showed up yesterday to deliver a replacement Tuning Adaptor for my 4-Tuner Roamio. I had high hopes when I opened the box and saw a shrink-wrapped package containing the replacement, that is until I removed the wrap to find a "recycled" TA with a manufactured date of Feb 2009. It had some scratches on the plastic, and the metal portion on the back where the connections are made was a shade of goldish-brown reminiscent of the kind you might find in the home of a chain smoker. I tried to clean it up a little but making it look like my existing unit (manufactured May 2013) was just not going to happen. Oh well

    So I removed the old TA, plugged in the new one and then spend some time on the phone with the cable card/tuning adapter support center. After the new TA booted up and connected, I still could not succesfully tune SHO channel 1642. The tech offered to send a tech tomorrow (Monday - Labor Day) morning. Okay, we'll see what if anything the on-site tech finds. Meanwhile, I rechecked all the connections one more time and then accessed the Tuning Adapter diagnostics screen. Here are the numbers for my original TA: Tuner Value = 1dBmV, FDC Value = 2dBmV, RDC Value = 33 dBmV. Here are the numbers for the replacement/refurbished TA: Tuner Value = 4dBmV, FDC Value = 5dBmV, RDC Value = 31 dBmV.

    I just checked my 6-Tuner Roamio, and the values the TA on that one shows: Tuner Value = 1dBmV, FDC Value = 2dBmV, RDC Value = 33 dBmV. I also looked at the TA diagnostics for 6 channels, including receive signal percentage and SNR. Here are those values:
    Channel Signal % SNR
    SHO 1642 varies 87-91 35dB
    SHO 1643 100 40dB
    SHO 1644 100 40dB
    SHO 1645 100 40dB
    TWC 1370 100 41dB

    Here are the levels for my 4-Tuner Roamio:
    SHO 1642 - (Null?) 26dB
    SHO 1643 90 36dB
    SHO 1644 92 37dB
    SHO 1645 92 37dB


    After installing the replacement TA and booting up, and attempting to connect with SHO 1642, there was a brief moment (10 seconds or so) where the channel connected but was very pixelated and then dropped off to a searching for signal and or a V52 message. I could only reproduce that a couple times, and can no longer get 1642 at all on my 4-Tuner Roamio.

    Since the issue is only really happening on the 4-tuner Roamio, I made an effort to change the coax from the splitter to the TA (about 12' in length) with a new one supplied with the refurbed TA, along with the coax output of the TA to the Roamio (about 6' in length). No difference in signal quality. Also switched the splitter output positions (output 1 with output 2 and vice-versa. No change. Finally, I removed and reseated the cable card in the 4-tuner Roamio and that made no difference.

    Bottom line seems to be that the my older 4-tuner Roamio is not seeing a 100% signal on any of the channels I tune to. In addition, SHO 1642 is not coming in at all on the 4-tuner Roamio, though I can successfully tune it in on the 6-tuner Roamio (albeit with a lower signal % than all other channels tuned on it.

    I suspect there is a TWC issue on SHO 1642 that prevents my from being able to tune it on my 4-tuner Roamio. I should note that even my 6-tuner Roamio has had occasional V52/V53 errors on SHO 1642 in the past year. Repeated attempts to lock in the channel by going up/down a channel or two seems to help. But I am hoping the TWC tech can actually measure and test the channel's signal outside and at the TA outputs.

    I do wonder if I also have an issue with my 4-tuner Roamio and it's apparent inability to tune in channels at 100% signal strength. It's a lifetime unit so I'm concerned that it may be costly to replace. I can live with sub-100% signals, but not complete failure to complete to premium TWC channels.

    Will update after the tech visit tomorrow, 9-3-18.
     
  17. Sep 2, 2018 #77 of 104
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    @LYKUNO,

    Actually, except for 1642, the signal and SNR numbers for your 4-tuner are ideal, while those for your 6-tuner are stronger than ideal, perhaps too hot which could possibly lead to long term damage to the tuners.

    Your problem appears to be simply a too-weak signal on 1642. What are the frequencies for the 4 or 6 channels? Frequencies typically range from 70 to 600 MHz and sometimes there is too much variation between low and high ends of the band. That balance varies along neighborhood cable lines because high frequencies attenuate with distance at a higher rate than low frequencies. If the neighborhood node isn't set up properly, subscribers at the far end will have signals too weak at the high frequencies. Of course a poor cable connection or defective splitter can give similar effects. I was having weak signal issues on a few channels at one time and it was finally fixed by redoing the cable outlet connection at the wall (the "drop").
     
  18. Sep 2, 2018 #78 of 104
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    There should be no coax from the TA to the TiVo. Your incoming cable should go to a splitter with one leg going to the TiVo and the other to the TA. This will result in a much stronger signal to the TiVo. The TA doesn’t need a very strong signal as it sends/receives very little data.
     
  19. Sep 3, 2018 #79 of 104
    JonMcL

    JonMcL New Member

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    I have actually tried this. I purchased my own 4 way splitter to replace a two way splitter that then has another two way splitter on one side to handle cable modem and ridiculously large (and hot) Arris modem I keep around for phone service. So each device got a feed directly from the new 4-way splitter.

    Same results — everything is fine for a day, or sometimes a week, and then suddenly some channels can no longer be locked into by the TA.

    I’m also fairly certain that if a tech showed up and saw my setup, he/she would immediately undo it and put the TA and TiVo back into a serial chain instead of parallel. It might technically work, but it’s not how they (Spectrum) want it to be hooked up.
     
  20. Sep 3, 2018 #80 of 104
    mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Maybe. But there are Spectrum documents that show parallel. And that’s how I ran my Spectrum/Charter setup for about 7 years. I measured the dB loss through my TA once and it was about 4x higher than splitting. But since it makes no difference in your setup, I don’t know what else to try except maybe an amp.
     

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