Weird HDVR2 tuner/sat. setup problem

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by Lord Vader, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Dark Lord ofthe Sith

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    Here's the situation...

    I'm helping my brother out (long distance--he's in another state) with his Hughes HDVR2 DirecTV/TIVO receiver. He installed a Phase III dish and has two RG6 cables running from it to the HDVR2 (hereafter I'll just call it the TIVO).

    He gets a strong signal strength when going through the guided sat. setup on all three birds and both ln1 and ln2--that is, both ln1 and ln2's bar graphs show a strong signal (he properly chose the oval dish, 2 cables. He contines with the guided setup to finish it, but when the guided sat. setup is near completion, it tells him this:

    Now, when he presses "live TV" on the remote to watch something, he can get a picture on most channels. In fact, he was able to get ch. 206 on one tuner and ch. 514 on the other tuner. However, if he turned to channel 212, 231, 307, 309, 604, 380, 382, 386, 388, or several other specific channels, for example, he got the message "searching for satellite signal on sat. ln2" and no subsequent picture.

    If one of the tuners were bad, I'm assuming that he wouldn't be able to get ANY picture on one, and thus would not have been able to view ch. 514 and ch. 206 separately.

    Note: When he goes to his setup menu and chooses a simple "test signal" request, he can get in the mid-90's on ALL three satellites--101, 119, and 110--and on both ln1 and ln2.

    Neither he nor I have ever experienced this problem before, so we're baffled as to what the cause of this can be.

    Can anyone hazard a guess as to what to do here?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Dark Lord ofthe Sith

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    An update...

    We just went through all the transponders on all three birds. Here's what we have (Note: only average, consistent strength is shown, not peak):

    Sat. 101 (A):

    Transponder Signal Strength

    1................................................upper 70's
    2................................................low 90's
    3................................................mid 70's
    4................................................0
    5................................................40's to mid 50's
    6................................................mid 90's
    7................................................single digits
    8................................................mid 90's
    9................................................0
    10..............................................mid 90's
    11..............................................0
    12..............................................100
    13..............................................0
    14..............................................mid 90's
    15..............................................0
    16..............................................mid 90's
    17, 18, & 19................................0
    20..............................................100
    21..............................................0
    22..............................................mid 90s
    23..............................................0
    24..............................................mid 90s
    25..............................................0
    26..............................................mid 40s
    27..............................................0
    28..............................................100
    29..............................................0
    30..............................................mid 90s
    31..............................................0
    32..............................................mid 90s

    Sat. 119 (B)

    22..............................................98
    22..............................................0
    24..............................................mid 90's
    25..............................................mid 80's
    26..............................................mid 90's
    27..............................................mid 90's
    28..............................................mid 90's
    29..............................................0
    30..............................................mid 90's
    31..............................................mid 70's
    32..............................................mid 90's

    Sat. 110 (C)

    8................................................near 90
    10..............................................upper 80's
    12..............................................low 90's


    The above information leads me to believe that this may be a simple dish alignment problem, which would be the easiest to fix if it weren't for his very steep and dangerous roof (he fell off it two months ago and broke his left elbow and wrist, nearly missing hitting his head on the patio and killing himself). I conclude this because if I'm not mistaken, on an oval, 3-sat dish--I have one as well--in order to really get a signal from all three birds, the overall signal strength is somewhat of a compromise of all three sats' locations. A signal strength too consistently high on sats. B and C usually indicates the dish is pointed too much toward them, toward the west a tad too much, and not enough toward the A or 101 sat.

    The irritating part of this is that he spend a lot of time on the roof twice this afternoon trying to align the dish to first hit the 101 bird, and his wife was in the living room using their phone/intercom to relay signal strength indicators back and forth. However, from what my brother told me, he believes that she didn't focus on all the transponders; rather, she saw a high signal on the first couple transponders and figured that was that. She then reported very high signals on birds B and C.

    Also, when he chooses either of the other two satellite setup combos--round dish one cable or round dish two cables--and directly tunes to a main channel (the 200's or 300's, for example), he gets no signal. Again, this tells me it really seems to be a dish alignment issue.

    Any thoughts?
     
  3. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

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    Is there another multiswitch being used?

    Those signal strengths look fine, except for the missing ones. :)

    I would check all connections for corrosion, etc.

    Also, run the other two lines from the dish for future upgrades.
    You'll need them to add another receiver.

    The problem could be with the built-in LNB/multiswitch assembly.

    BTW, chs 490-494 can be used to verify reception from the three sats.
    490, 491 for 101; 492, 493 for 119; and 494 for 110.
     
  4. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Dark Lord ofthe Sith

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    Jim,

    No, the only multiswitch he has is the one that's internally built in to the Phase III dish's LNB assembly. He COULD easily purchase a standalone one and attach that to his cables running to his DTIVO. That way he'd be able to see if it was, indeed, the switch. If that didn't work, I'd bet it was the LNB's themselves.
     
  5. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

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    I'd run the other two lines to see if the other outputs on the LNB work.

    Have him check those verification channels and rerun signal strengths to see if they change.
    Also, swap the lines in the back of the TiVo and rerun signal tests.

    And, since the majority of the missing TPs are the odd ones, it could be the receiver (it's usually the evens that are missing). Do the signal strengths show the same on both inputs (tuners)?
     
  6. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Dark Lord ofthe Sith

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    The signal strengths do appear to be pretty much the same on both tuners. Also, he's able to actually watch channels on both tuners simultaneously. As I mentioned earlier, he tuned to one channel on one tuner and another channel on the other tuner and changed channels on each tuner. When I mentioned this to a DirecTV tech, he explained that a bad tuner almost always will show nothing on it. Of course, he might be mistaken.

    I'm sure HOPING it's the multiswitch, because his roof is so high and steep, and he has to rent an extended ladder to reach the peak directly (he can't access the dish otherwise). Considering that he fell off the roof and broke his left elbow and wrist in November, just missing killing himself (seriously), he is very leery of going on the roof again. He did so twice yesterday then had to return the ladder.

    I've called him to suggest he go the multiswitch route first. If that doesn't do it, he could at least return it to the store for a refund. BTW, if I'm not mistaken, any typical multiswitch will do, correct? I've recommended an active one, but I didn't think there was much of a problem as to what active one he gets.
     
  7. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Dark Lord ofthe Sith

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    Well isn't THIS interesting: my brother calls me a few minutes ago and tells me that he now can get ALL the channels (see first post in this thread) except for 212. That is the only one that has the "searching for satellite signal on ln1."

    He did NOTHING today to try and fix this, so what could have happened we have NO idea.
     
  8. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

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    I'd still check all connections, the problem may re-occur.
     
  9. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Dark Lord ofthe Sith

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    He's going to buy an active multiswitch anyway. We're both hoping that it isn't the LNB at all, because that requires him to once again scale that dangerous roof. Even if it's the dish's integrated multiswitch, he can at least get around this with a separate active one inside.
     
  10. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Dark Lord ofthe Sith

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    Jim, as expected, the problem did reoccur. All the odd transponders on 101 are out, as indicated on test channel 490 as well.

    He's looked everywhere to try and find an active multiswitch to buy so he can see if that solves his problem. That would be the easy way to correct the trouble, because it doesn't require another trip onto the roof. His new problem now is that no one but no one around where he lives has ANY powered multiswitches. They're all cheap passive ones.

    Here's a related question maybe you can answer: If he connects an active multiswitch, does he need to connect RG6 cables to all four female connectors on the dish? Presently, he has the obvious two cables going from the dish to his HDVR2. If the two he has now are fine, the next question would be into which inputs on a 4x8 or 5x8 multiswitch would the RG6 cables go?
     
  11. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

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    In order for another multiswitch to work for all three sats it has to have all four lines run from dish to the 4x8 switch.

    What happens when you swap the cables on the unit? Both tuners still show no signal for odd TPs?

    I'm afraid that the problem is in the LNB/multiswitch integrated assembly.
     
  12. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Dark Lord ofthe Sith

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    Jim, but if the original integrated multiswitch is, indeed, defective, a separate active one (this would technically replace the defective integrated one) need not have all four cables from the Phase III dish connected, am I right? I could have sworn that's what a DirecTV technician told me.
     
  13. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Dark Lord ofthe Sith

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    Jim, FYI...yesterday all the channels came back. Today they're gone. This is kinda fun! :D

    He's still waiting for delivery of his LNB/multiswitch assembly. Once he does that, he'll replace it. We just HOPE it's not the receiver in any way.

    BTW, have you ever heard of this--a friend of mine told me this:

    On Big Dishes "Polarotors" exist on the dish. This is the unit that switches polarity between odd and even transponders. This function in a small dish is handled by the receiver itself. If the mechanism that performs this function fails, it can have the symptoms you describe.... Especially the "flakyness" of it.
     
  14. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

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    There is no way to separately replace the integrated multiswitch on a Phase III dish.

    And yes, if the receiver doesn't output the correct switching voltage the LNB won't use the correct polarity.
     
  15. Lord Vader

    Lord Vader Dark Lord ofthe Sith

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    I understand that the LNB/multiswitch assembly is one unit on the Phase III--I've got that dish myself. I was talking about using a separate, independent multiswitch in place of the integrated one. In other words, there'd still be a multiswitch involved, just not at the LNB point.

    Again, I just HOPE it's not the receiver polarity. I don't even know if that could be fixed without replacing the entire receiver.
     
  16. JimSpence

    JimSpence Just hangin'

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    As I said, you can't replace just the integrated multiswitch on the dish. The one on the dish LNB is an all-in-one assembly. You can't get to the outputs of the individual LNBs.
     

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