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DVR in an RV?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by mikhu, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. mikhu

    mikhu Beer Aficionado

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    Seeing this thread reminded me of a question I've been meaning to ask.

    My folks currently use a D11 in their RV. They travel all over the place not staying anywhere very long and therefore they are hit and miss whether they have sat service or not. Sometimes they will be on DIRECTV for a week, sometimes they'll be off for a week due to tree cover at a campground or if they are camping without power, etc.

    They currently use a VCR to record shows and are growing increasingly frustrated with that due to having to figure out what locals to record from if they record from the antenna or having to remember to record channel 3 if they record from the satellite, etc. Therefore I want to recommend they get a DVR.

    First off, I wanted to recommend to them to get an HR2x as they already have an HDTV, but they have an older dish that doesn't grab the HD sats.

    Assuming that's going to be too costly to upgrade the dish to HD I am thinking of recommending an SD DVR, but I'm also wondering how the DVR's in general deal with the power on/power off and warm/cold extremes of RV life? Anyone have any experience?
     
  2. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    I would definitely stick to SD given those conditions; the HD dish is large, heavy, and much harder to aim. The main environmental problems with the DVR in an RV are going to be:

    - Heat - RV owners have limited space, and try to cram them in to tiny shelves with no airflow. That will kill a DVR faster than anything; they need to be able to get rid of the heat.

    - Vibration - Anytime the DVR is powered up, the hard drive is reading and writing. If they are trying to watch TV on the road, it wouldn't be unusual to have a hard drive failure much sooner than is typical. If they only power it up when stopped, then it probably won't be an issue.
     
  3. boba

    boba Hall Of Fame

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    You can do it but motion is not good for hard drives temperature extremes is not good for them either. And your parents may not have much better luck with a DVR instead of VCR with power available and not available depending on campsites.
     
  4. davring

    davring Hall Of Fame

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    I have probably 80,000 miles on an R15 with no hard drive problems. I leave it running, prevents LOS issues when stopped for the night. I do use extra care regarding heat as the overhead cabinets can get warm.
     
  5. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    If the parents are travelling between DMAs, there's a pretty good chance that they'll be in and out of spotbeams and will often not have DIRECTV access to their "home" locals so the outboard recorder is probably still a better idea.
     
  6. mikhu

    mikhu Beer Aficionado

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    You leave what running? You mean you don't put the R15 in standby?

    Should have clarified they have DNS due to not having a LIL to call home.
     
  7. mikhu

    mikhu Beer Aficionado

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    The HD dish I referred to would be the Winegard Trav'ler for HD. It would be an expensive upgrade I imagine though.

    Edit: I guess! $1500??? For a dish??? WOW! :eek:

    They have a fifth wheel, so they don't watch while traveling and are powered down while in motion.
     
  8. StonecoldDTV

    StonecoldDTV New Member

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    Now this is not the most logical thing but it is a good solution. SD Dtivos are still floating around for free are near free. I found like a IDE SSD harddrive. No risk of vibration and pretty heat resistant . But personally my radio in my jeep from jeep (mygig) has a 30 gig drive ( regular not ssd) and it bounced around like nuts when I offroad with out issues and I use it while I offroad.
     
  9. kniles

    kniles AllStar

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    I just bought a SK-3005 for my Rv and plan to use a DVR because after seeing all the HD at home, I could not stand SD on my Flat screens in My RV. Even if some times I'm under trees, 80% of the time I have a fully automatic Sat. Dish and all the HD I want. If you plan on travling a lot and this is your mobile home and have spent 25 to a 100K on a RV $1500 is not a huge leap. The locals can be on a Rv account and come out of LA or New York.
     
  10. ThomasM

    ThomasM RF Engineer

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    Milwaukee, WI
    Here's just the thing for them!!

    Get an R22 (standard definition) DVR AND a clever $50 accessory for it called an AM-21 tuner!!

    You can pick up an R22 at Sam's Club, Costco, and lots of other dealers. BE CAREFUL, though if you try to get a standard-definition DVR through DirecTV. You might get an R15 or R16 which WON'T WORK with the AM-21.

    The AM-21 is a tuner that connects to an ordinary TV antenna and picks up the local channels. When they stop their RV all they have to do is set up the dish and then figure out the ZIP CODE for where they are parked. They enter this into a menu and the AM-21 automatically KNOWS what all the local TV stations are, their schedules appear in the program guide, and you can RECORD THEM!!

    Meanwhile, if they park somewhere without a clear signal from the dish, they can just power up the R22 and press EXIT when it is looking for a satellite signal. Then they can watch the shows they recorded on the hard disk earlier. Or, if they have a satellite signal at their previous location, they can figure out the ZIP CODE of their next stop and set up the AM-21 before they lose the satellite signal. Then, at their next stop they can watch the local stations over the air or watch recordings. Slick, eh?
     
  11. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    A caveat that may not be of consequence, but is everyone sure that a modern DVR will work completely (or even partially) without a proper satellite signal (in the event that one cannot be obtained). Remember that this DVR will be powered down when in transit.
     
  12. Matt9876

    Matt9876 Hall Of Fame

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    HD in a RV is really not that big of a problem once the equipment has been activated. This mainly has to do with installer verification on the HR-XX units.

    I have been setting up RV units with the slimline 3 LNB on the smaller phase 3 dish,It only takes a few more minuets to fine tune the 99 & 103 HD signals,The SD signal from 101 is exactly the same and is the key to finding the HD signals.

    I have been running mobile computers 40 GB hard drives and above for quite a number of years and not once have the hard drives failed.


    Also note not one person has ever complained about their HD setup most just call back wanting it to work on more TVs like the bed room area.
     
  13. bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

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    Good point. I had enough snow accumulation to block the satellite signals a few months ago. Fine I figured, I'll watch OTA. This worked until my HR21 rebooted following a power glitch. Since it couldn't acquire the satellite, the AM21 wouldn't work either (after waiting for things to time out, I could watch recordings, at least). The next day I bought a UPS for it, although that probably wouldn't be practical with a RV.
     
  14. kniles

    kniles AllStar

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    I have an older HR-20-100 with OTA. If it goes on the road in my RV, I know I will not receive my locals. If I Edit the OTA setup at each location, I could have OTA locals and regular programing and recorder programs.
     
  15. djrobx

    djrobx Godfather

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    If you've got the cash for a SSD, great, but you could probably do just as well with a 200GB mobile hard drive. Cheaper, more storage, and still designed to withstand some shock.
     
  16. mikhu

    mikhu Beer Aficionado

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    They have a Winegard automatic system today (non-HD) but I'm not sure what model it is. Are you saying if we set up their dish (assuming for this example it is a phase 3) with a slimline LNB they would be set? Or does it have to be a remote tripod type mount and the automatic dish won't work?

    To everyone else - thanks for the input, all good stuff. :)
     
  17. Flugelman

    Flugelman Legend

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    Nov 20, 2007
    I have a Winegard crank-up dish on the roof of my motorhome. I use it when we're just stopped overnite or for a couple of days. I have an RF A-B switch with BBC attached for it's use (side A - Non HD Sat 101 only). For the Slimline SWM3 dish set up on a tripod I use the cable TV input located in the electrical bay (Side-B). I can setup the Slimline on the tripod in about 30 minutes and have full DVR capabilities (Dual tuner - HD DNS channels from East coast.) I purchased the SWM3 lnb and replaced the 5 lnb provided by D*. I haven't experienced any heat related problems so far (internal temp on the HR22 runs around 115 deg).
     
  18. Matt9876

    Matt9876 Hall Of Fame

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    I don't think you could convert an automatic system to HD but I will give you an example of the last call I did for a nice doctor lady in an RV park.


    She had a low tri-pod assembly that was held to the ground with metal tent stakes with an 18 inch round dish and single LNB assembly. she already had the 101 signal but wanted to upgrade to HD with a bought H21-100.

    I simply told her to go online and order the slimline3 LNB from SolidSignal for $35 and give me a call when it had arrived.

    When I got the call from her I picked up a good looking phase III dish from the junk pile behind the place I work and met her at the RV park.

    I removed her 18 inch round dish from the tri-pod mount and replaced it with the phase III dish and attached the new slimline 3 LNB with the two screws used to hold the old phase 3 LNB in place.

    I used the set up numbers for a phase III dish and aligned the dish for the 101 signal (Max out numbers for 101 signal on the receiver unit).

    Next I adjust the tilt slightly till the numbers for 99(c) & 103(c) sat were the same on the graphic bar display,Next I tightened down the adjustment bolts set the unit for slimline 3 and activated the service on the HD unit.

    The entire service call took less than an hour and she was delighted with the results.:)
     
  19. ThomasM

    ThomasM RF Engineer

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    Jul 20, 2007
    Milwaukee, WI
    The R15/R16 will let you play recordings for a LONG LONG time without a satellite signal. The HD (and R22) units have a built-in timer of some sort that requires a "refresh" from the satellite after so many hours of being powered on without the satellite signal. But apparently this is quite a long time since others with RV's and "cabins up north with no dish" have reported good luck watching existing recordings while their unit was without a satellite signal.

    NOTE: If you OWN your DVR and disconnect your DirecTV service, BE SURE it is disconnected from the dish BEFORE you call to cancel your service because DirecTV sends a disconnect signal over the satellite that disables instantly the ability to play existing recordings.
     
  20. StonecoldDTV

    StonecoldDTV New Member

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    Apr 27, 2009
    Surpisingly there is a 160gig SSD that I used in a DTivo unit that was only 170 dollars. Which is cheap for an ssd I did have to buy a ide 2.5 to ide 3.5 adpater as it was ment for laptops but it works quite well.

    Though I would like to point out that I also mentioned that I dont feel SSD is necessary since my "mygig" radio in my jeep has a standard laptop hardrive and never had any problems , even with all the offroading and rock climbing I do. So if my Radio can survive the great outdoors then a HD in a dvr box should survive an RV on the smooth asphalt .
     

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