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Cable to DirecTV install questions

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by Finleyville, May 15, 2010.

  1. Finleyville

    Finleyville New Member

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    May 15, 2010
    Hello all...

    I have an installation appointment later this week and need some q's answered beforehand please. We have ordered one HD/DVR, one HD, and one standard receiver. We plan on using DirecTV for our TV and Comcast for our internet. I understand that the cable and sat signals cannot share the same run of wire. We have no phone line connection.

    The install is in a 20yr old condo pre-wired for cable. There is NO central splitter location. Instead, each of the 5 outlets are "daisy-chained" together by splitters located right behind each wall jack. Creating a central distribution point is not possible.

    My installation should warrant a SWM line I figure. Which means that I should be able to use my existing wiring. But I have had an installer already tell me that NO splitters can be used at all.



    Below is a crude pic of our current situation and a proposed install. Will this work?


    Does there have to be an electrical outlet where the dish line connects into the pre-existing wiring?


    Does it matter where the HD receivers are along the chain?


    Since we do not order PPV programming, no phone line is not a problem, right?


    I am trying to avoid drilling into the sides of the condo for direct feeds. Plus, we are part of an (evil) condo association whom may prohibit certain ways of running cable from the roof dish location into our place.


    I appreciate all your answers in advance. Thank you for your help!


    [​IMG]
     
  2. docchaos

    docchaos New Member

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    Apr 29, 2010
    I just had a SWM install in my house.
    One line in from a SWM-3 LNB, into a 4-way splitter, to 3 HD-DVR receivers, all with one wire a piece.
    You cannot use the same wire for cable and DirecTV, they overlap on frequencies on the cable.

    SWM does seem to apply to this case, but it would need to all come from one SWM 4-way splitter, as long as you all have new equipment, and no more than 8 tuners, which applies in your case. I am sure some installers will have more details than I.

    This shows some good SWM diagrams. On page 3, figure 10 is how it was installed for me.
    http://hr20.dbstalk.com/Slimline SWM ODU LNB First Look.pdf
     
  3. NR4P

    NR4P Dad

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    Sunny Florida
    :welcome_s

    Now that Directv has rolled out MRV, you can't diplex anything on the SWM system. Check out the Connected Home area in the Directv forums.
     
  4. Finleyville

    Finleyville New Member

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    May 15, 2010
    Alright...

    Maybe my diagram is not as clear as I wish it to be. By "diplex" I am assuming you mean two discrete signals sharing the same line. My proposed setup would not allow this. The second half of pic shows the cable input separated from the rest of house. The only input to most of house would be from the roof mounted dish. I have edited the pic to hopefully clear up any more confusion.
     
  5. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

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    Finman,

    In a word, no!
    The other word you need to know is "homerun."

    Your series cable will not work as it is. You can open each wall plate and replace splitters with barrel (they look like little barrels) connectors to produce ONE line to one tuner.

    The guiding idea is that there needs to be a continuous line without splits from the LNB (part of the dish antenna) to the IRD (receiver).

    I would suggest that you continue to use your cable as is for the cable internet.

    The Directv installation should be kept independent. I know diplexing cable internet & DTV does not work. The signals interfere with each other +, in your case those splitters cannot be used with the DTV system.

    You could use your existing system to back feed the Directv output from one receiver to all the others you choose to install along the line.

    You may want to go to dishpointer.com and get a sense of where the dish MUST point. Then you need to see where the cables from that dish will enter your building.
    Then you need to plan a WACR (Wife Acceptable Cable Route.)

    AND HERE ARE SOME SPECIFIC ANSWERS

    Does there have to be an electrical outlet where the dish line connects into the pre-existing wiring?

    Probably not. Each receiver will need an outlet as will each TV, VCR, DVD, clock, stereo, lamp and computer. Plan to provide a surge strip at each TV / receiver location. IF the installer uses a "powered multiswitch" a transformer will need to plugged in but the power is delivered to the multiswitch through the coaxial cable.. The dish itself gets power from the receivers along a two way system within the coax cable. That is why the splitters have to go or you will loose half your transponders.


    Does it matter where the HD receivers are along the chain?

    No daisy chain...home run only for SD or HD.


    Since we do not order PPV programming, no phone line is not a problem, right?
    The lack of a phone line is no issue. You are part of the 25% who don't now have one. The installation company my try to penalize the installer for not connecting it anyway. You can order PPV over the internet should you want to.


    I am trying to avoid drilling into the sides of the condo for direct feeds. Plus, we are part of an (evil) condo association whom may prohibit certain ways of running cable from the roof dish location into our place.

    Running cable down an additional downspout from roof to ground level or such tricks can work. Hiding cable is not part of the FREE basic installation. There is an FCC law about dish placement. (OTARD)
    Condo & apartment installations can be tricky or impossible. Remember the WACR and it's evil twin the Condo Associoaton Acceptable Cable Run (CAACR)


    Report success & good luck,

    Joe
     
  6. Finleyville

    Finleyville New Member

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    May 15, 2010
    Thank you for all your replies!

    Mr. Diamond, could you clear up a few things for me? I have been told by another installer on the DirecTV forums that there exists a new two-way splitter that correlates with the rollout of the DECA systems. Couldn't I just replace the current series splitters with those?

    In fact, I could totally disregard the lowest sat wall plate (isn't used), and use a DirecTV 4 way splitter for the roof location. That way I would only need just ONE two-way splitter in the whole install. Would that work?

    Although it doesn't seem like it will...... :(
     
  7. jdspencer

    jdspencer Hall Of Fame

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    I suspect that you could use a SWM system and replace all of the current splitters with SWM compatible ones. But, you may lose signal at the end. It would be better to be able to use a 4 way splitter, but it seems you don't have access to all lines individually.

    Is there any place where you could create a central location or possibly two places? One for the SWM module and the power inserter or 4 way splitter and then another where a 2 way splitter could be located.
     
  8. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    First of all, with SWM, this absolutely CAN work. Is it ideal? No. Could there potentially be problems with having not enough signal by the time you get to the end of the chain? Yes, possibly, but not likely.

    You are strongly advised to use SWM-rated splitters to replace all the existing ones, and to place the power inserter as close as possible to the dish end of the chain, using only RG6 between the PI and the dish.

    SWM does NOT require home-runs, though homeruns are ideal for any setup and required for legacy systems.

    BTW, any contractor/builder/low voltage person who installs a "looped" cable system like this needs to be beaten with his own cable until bloody.
     
  9. Finleyville

    Finleyville New Member

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    May 15, 2010

    Then what do I tell the techs that arrive and INSIST that all cables be homeruns?





    I am hoping the PI does not need to be plugged in so I can co-locate the PI and the DirecTV splitter in attic.


    Below is a revised plan of attack.


    What can I say to customer service to make sure the assigned tech to do the install has the right equipment to do the work?



    [​IMG]
     
  10. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Salem, OR
    It seems like you shouldn't use a 4-way if all you need is a 2-way. Sending half of your signal into dummy loads doesn't make sense. As drawn, the basement HD DVR and main floor SD receiver get just 1/8th of a share (less non-negligible insertion losses from all of the connections).

    Note that in your model, there should be two "not used" nodes on the 1x4 splitter.

    Chances also get increasingly smaller that DECA will work reliably as you compound splitters.
     
  11. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    I said it would work, not that it would be easy to get a tech (who is trained to believe it won't work) to do it. :)

    IMO, the best thing to do is order enough 1x2 SWM splitters and install them yourself to start, as the tech won't have enough/any with him, as he is supposed to do homeruns to a larger splitter.

    By doing some of the work and supplying some of the necessary but unavailable gear, you'll make his job easier and greatly reduce his likelyhood of refusing the job. If it won't take him a lot of time or effort to try it, he'll be more likely to do so. Maybe even offer to tip him to give it a try. Remember: he gets paid by the job, so wasting time not only screws up his schedule and stats, but also costs him money. Compensate him, and his attitude towards experimentation will improve.

    Of course the power inserter needs to be plugged in; how else would it supply power? It can go almost anywhere indoors, but the closer to the dish, the better.

    There is nothing you can say to CS. Most wouldn't understand you, and those few who did would go with their training that tells them it wouldn't work, even though it does. And besides, all the CSRs can do is add MRV service; they've never been able to specify equipment. Account notes don't reliably make it to the installers (try anyway; it won't hurt and could help), and are always taken cautiously by installers, because most customers don't know what they need, and even if they do, can't always make the CSRs understand what they're talking about.

    In the end, this is going to be between you and the installer. Officially, the installer can walk away, because of the looped pre-wire and your refusal to let him run new lines for homeruns. So... you need to sweeten the deal for the installer, with your general attitude (be willing to help him do the work, connecting receivers, etc.), your supplying and installing of the needed splitters, and a tip ($40?) for him taking the time to work with you getting it all set up.

    On an "iffy" install situation, the customer's attitude plays a BIG role in whether an installer makes an attempt or walks away.
     
  12. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

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    Finlyman,

    I defer to brother Battlezone on this one. I ask him questions.

    What has been presented is the possibility that replacing your splitters with power passing SWM compatible splitters will allow the Single Wire Multiswitch to do it's magic.

    Part of this system depends on the SWM assigning a signal to each tuner in a group of eight. Battlezone thinks it will work and I think he could be right.

    However, IF your prewire is rg59 or any fitting is incorrectly cut or the length of the wire run exceeds about one hundred feet or there is a defective wall plate...or something I have not thought of happens and the installation doesn't work....Some installer will be back charged for the defective installation. So they will not attempt this technically correct but failure-possible application.

    Directv has managed to paralyze their installation forces by using the whip instead of the carrot. Besides the guy who shows up may not even know what a Single Wire Multiswitch looks like or know how to use it.

    So I didn't mention it. Considering your plan to continue to use the cable run for internet my instinct was and still is...to keep it simple. Plan to home run the Directv installation or at least expect that from the FREE basic installation. Try to improve and adjust on your own.

    Regarding the four way splitter....not sure what you mean...but the dish has four ports that can serve up to four tuners...to serve five you add a multiswitch by connecting the four ports and getting eight usable ports.
    You can't just split one line.

    You will still have to address the issue of an acceptable cable route...IF you can get the existing wire to run both the cable application and Directv installation that would be great.

    Tricky job!

    Joe
     
  13. jdspencer

    jdspencer Hall Of Fame

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    In other words. Inspect every piece of coax, connections and wall plates to check their integrity. Also, be absolutely sure of how the cables are run. Are the splitters accessible to be swapped out? Any possibility that the existing coax could be used to pull new if necessary?

    Leave the wall plates open so that the installer can see what's available.
     
  14. ndole

    ndole Problem Solver

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    Regardless of whether "It'll work". You want the BEST installation that you can get. The fact is that the more loss you have in a line, the sooner you'll be exposed to rain fade, and the more likely it is that small imperfections (cable bends, wall plates, RG59 etc) will cause YOUR system to have more problems than Mr. Jones' down the street. There is a definite amount of loss that your system will tolerate before your receivers won't pass Installation Verification [Activate at installation]. And your installer might very well not take the time to tailor your system to your specs just to be unable to activate and complete his job. He might not risk wasting the time. I wouldn't.
    He's going to install it the way that it's meant to work [hopefully anyhow]. And save folks like myself from showing him photo's of his work with a WTH? subject line in the email.
    If anything is worth taking the time to do, it's worth taking the time to do it right.
    Home run.
     
  15. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    For the record:

    I was told by an HSP trainer that you couldn't cascade splitters because "it wouldn't work". Now, this guy had worked for DirecTV for about 2 years, had only ever done DirecTV, and everything he knew about satellite or RF came from what DirecTV taught him. And, yes, that's what DirecTV teaches their techs.

    But the reality of the situation is that SWM was specifically designed to allow installs in MDU situations that previously were impossible with the existing cable. That includes using RG59 AFTER the power inserter and cascading splitters.

    To prove this, I set up 2 HD-DVRs and 4 D12s in my shop on a SWM LNB, using 6 cascaded 1x2 SWM splitters and 6 40' lengths of RG59. It worked flawlessly, and signal strengths (which are really signal QUALITY readings) were fine even on the last receiver. Yes, actual gain on the last receiver was down by about 18 db, but there was still plenty enough signal for the receiver to function. An ideal configuration? Of course not, but the SWM architecture was very well thought-out and enough signal was budgeted to handle installations such as my example.

    None of what I wrote, though, should be taken the wrong way: DirecTV still trains techs that home runs to the single splitter are required, and in some areas, may fail an installer's QC if they don't run it to the local standard specs, even if the system works. Remember that even supervisors and FSMs (field service managers) often only know what DirecTV tells them, and many have no experience with RF distribution outside of DirecTV and barely understand how the systems work beyond the basics they are taught.

    I've been dealing with audio, video, and computer networking issues for over 25 years. I know a lot about RF distribution, and I know how SWM systems work (not that I'm unique, many folks here know as much or more about SWMs as I do) and what they were designed to do. Most installers don't really care all that much and only learn the bare minimum they need to know to get the average job done. Most aren't willing to work 12+ hours a day and then come home and read more about satellite installs on a website. And, honestly, DirecTV doesn't really encourage techs to think outside the box much anyway. So don't expect an average tech to know what to do, or you'll be disappointed.

    This is really the realm of an independent installer. Yes, you actually have to pay them what they're worth, but the trade-off is that they know what they're doing and how to solve problems that your average installer will run away from (and that's often best for everyone involved).
     
  16. Finleyville

    Finleyville New Member

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    May 15, 2010
    Thank you for all of your knowledgeable replies!

    I understand, in theory, that my intended install could work. However, there seems to be too many variables considering the circumstances. (Age/condition of wire, tech knowledge, townhouse with CMS, etc.) So I think I will pass on DirecTV for now. It's too bad really. I hope that this post can educate some others that have similar install needs as myself and help them with a successful install.
     
  17. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

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    Finly,
    I think you made a good choice for now. The history of the small dish system was to fill a gap where cable could not (profitably) go. IF your cable is filling your internet need something else ...maybe the CATV guys will even fix their system....something else will come along.

    Joe
     

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