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How durable are slimline dishes?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by uscpsycho, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. uscpsycho

    uscpsycho Mentor

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    Oct 23, 2008
    I have a slimline dish that I use for tailgating. At the start of the season my HD reception was intermittent. It woul drop and come back over and over. Then I could only get SD and no HD channels. By the end of the season I couldn't get HD or SD.

    I hire a guy to transport all my tailgating gear from the tailgate to storage and back every week. I imagine it's not handled with white gloves but the dish doesn't show signs of damage (dents, etc.). I've always assumed the dishes were pretty durable since they have to endure 24/7/365 in extreme climates. But not sure how durable they are against physcial banging around.

    Note that I've been using this same dish for three or four years now and this is the first season that I've had any trouble with it. What do you guys think, is it time for a new dish or could there be some other explanation?

    Appreciate any insights...
     
  2. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    Sep 16, 2006
    Other than the reflector being warped, which should be noticeable, your symptoms are more representative of bad coax connector, either on/in the LNB, or the coax itself (especially if it gets walked on, or driven over).
     
  3. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Dec 9, 2006
    Not so fast...
    I know of a few good installers who only find a "bad dish" after not being able to get good levels.
    They can get "tweaked enough" to not work well, and yet show no signs of damage.
     
  4. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    Yea, I could agree for HD, but not for KU band. Ive been able to get 101 in, with a bent dish, its (they) are so strong. I would agree though, if everything else checked out. Ive just never seen a dish warped enough to fail 101 KU without it being noticeable.

    That being said, could one make a template from a known good dish, and use it to test the surface integrity of a questionable dish?

    Wonder if the LNB arm itself could have sagged where the focal point is missing the LNB?
     
  5. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Think this is where the installers have the advantage. the dishes come in five packs, so they do get to see "the odd one" stand out.
     
  6. uscpsycho

    uscpsycho Mentor

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    Oct 23, 2008
    I know this is a stupid questino but when you say on/in the LNB... What is the LNB? Is that the thing with the circles at the end of the arm? From the outside I don't see any physical damage. Could the damage be internal? Can I check? Can it be fixed?

    My arm looks good, there is no visual damage but not sure how precisely aligned the arm needs to be to work. I don't have it in front of me but I imagine it could possibly be a centimeter off without anything looking like it's out of whack. Is there a way to test the arm?

    If all else fails, what's the best way to get a replacement dish? Or get a loaner for testing to make sure the dish is the problem.

    I'll never run more than two receivers for tailgating, is there a smaller dish than the slimline that will do the job if I need a replacement?
     
  7. More_cowbell

    More_cowbell New Member

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    Nov 30, 2011
    Veryoldschool is correct. I had that very same problem on an install. Once I replaced the pan, I got a strong signal. I took the old pan back to the truck, placed it on top of the new ones and then I noticed it was slightly warped, about a 1/4" difference.
    That is why DTV tell a customer to leave their old dish when moving. The pan can easily get damaged during the move.
     
  8. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    LNB is the electronic device with the white round covers on the waveguide. If the coax connector on that can be moved or turned, its possible it has broken the solder joint on the inside where it connects the connector to the circuit board. It could be fixed, if you are handy with that type stuff. Of course, if its non-SWM, there are 4 outputs, so hopefully all 4 arent bad. If its internally shorted though, I dont know if one output would affect all 4.


    1 CM off on the arm would be bad. Only way I know to tell would be to take your LNB and install it on a pre-aimed known working dish, and see if it works. But for the price of a complete new dish and LNB ($65-$85), it probably would be easier just to replace it if you suspect its bad.
     
  9. uscpsycho

    uscpsycho Mentor

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    Oct 23, 2008
    Wow, didn't realize a replacement dish could be had for $65. Springing for a new one might be the way to go, especially if the seller accepts returns (in case a new dish doesn't resolve my problem). Are we allowed to recommend places to purchase from?

    For those of you who think the problem is physical damage to the actual dish, would the fact that at one point SD reception was solid but HD was intermittent lend to that type of damage? I don't recal the times but I'd have HD for 30 seconds or so then it would briefly drop out and then it would come back over and over like that. Of course the dish/cables were stationary while this was happening.

    Seems like with dish damage it would either work or not work. Not be intermittent.

    I have two coax cables connected to the dish, I don't recall if both were intermittent early on but right now neither cable gets SD or HD.
     
  10. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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  11. volkl

    volkl Legend

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    Jun 17, 2007
    Also check the receiver by connecting it to a known good working dish. Perhaps the power supply of the receiver is flaking out.

    Replace the coax next
     
  12. uscpsycho

    uscpsycho Mentor

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    Oct 23, 2008
    Wow, that's $95 with shipping. Too expensive just for the sake of testing.

    When the HD dropped out I don't recall exactly where the levels were, IIRC they were high and then dropped to 0 and then back to high.
    If the power supply was the issue wouldn't there be other problems besides not being able to get a signal from the dish? It seems to work fine otherwise.
     
  13. wallfishman

    wallfishman Icon

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    Dec 31, 2008
    if your hd levels were high then dropped to 0 then high then likely that is not a bent dish. a bent dish will be 60s 70s on hd and good on 101 and no matter what you do hd will not get high. something high then going to 0 sounds like bad fittings, water corroded somewhere. run a new temp line right from dish right to receiver bypassing your whole system and see what that does.
     
  14. uscpsycho

    uscpsycho Mentor

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    Oct 23, 2008
    That's how it's been from the start. This is a dish I use for tailgating so it's never been connected to anything but the receiver.
     
  15. volkl

    volkl Legend

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    Jun 17, 2007
    Perhaps.

    Best approach is to replace each component separately to identify each source of the problem(s). First replace the coax connecting the dish lnb all the way to the receiver (all pieces). Second, bring a known working receiver and replace the original receiver. Alternatively, take the original receiver to another dish. Also, isolate (replace) the lnb.

    At some point problem(s) should be apparent.
     
  16. wallfishman

    wallfishman Icon

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    Dec 31, 2008
    when in doubt swap it out.
    first i would try lnb and new cable. lnbs go flaky all the time
     

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