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HR20 Searching for Satellite?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by susanandmark, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Aug 4, 2013 #1 of 11
    susanandmark

    susanandmark Godfather

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    Up until last week we had three HR20s (HR20-700) still going strong on our system (6 total DVRs). Then one of the HR20s lost its satellite signal--constant "searching for signal on satellite 2" 771 error. Could still play from list, but no live TV. (Though it said "sat 2" nothing worked.) I confirmed all cables were good and connected/disconnected/reconnected, tried red button reboot and pulling plug and restarting to no avail. Took non-working box to site of other HR20, which was and is still working, and confirmed it was the box, not the cables/signal at that locale. (Didn't work on those functioning sat hook-ups either.)

    I wrote it off as simply a receiver that went bad and replaced it with an HR24 last week, which worked perfectly fine right off the bat, using the same cables/hook-ups as the failed HR20.

    Well, this evening, another HR20 has the same symptoms. Getting no signal. 771 "searching" message and reboots, etc. are no use. Again, existing recordings from the list play fine. Tests come up with a diagnostic code 40. The signal strength meters on our other, working systems, are all very high (mid 90s or better).

    Both units were on less frequently used TVs and I'm not sure when either was watched last prior to the discovery of the non-working sat. I know the last thing recorded was 7/28, which would have also been close to the fail date of the other HR20.

    I think we may have recently had a guide update, as the menu looks a bit different. Not sure if that is potentially connected.

    Seems weird and funky that two same-model units would fail the same way, at the same time. Final HR20 is still working, at least as of this post.

    Any ideas for recovery? Is this potentially fixable? Or guesses on why this has occurred?

    Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.

    EDIT: See update in post #4.
     
  2. Aug 5, 2013 #2 of 11
    susanandmark

    susanandmark Godfather

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    Nobody has any ideas? Is this situation actually totally unique? (Unusual since usually the experts here have seen it all a million times. Did I stump you?)

    Still just feel like I'm missing something based on the timing and the boxes failing in the EXACT SAME WAY, at the exact same time.

    I have confirmed I can take a working box and put it in the position (same sat cables, electric, HDMI, etc.) and it works without a hitch ... Sees the sat right away. So it's definitely something in the receiver. Just wondering if it's something fixable or even just identifiable (i.e. such-and-such failed or this type of failure is usually due to X).

    Thanks again to all who read through and tried to help.
     
  3. Aug 5, 2013 #3 of 11
    jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    This is the error code:
    40 | 13/18V test. | Satellite Dish Alignment or Distribution problem.

    You have already done the swapping cables and good receiver for bad, etc. and nothing changes. The problem stays with the receiver.
    They show to be in Tuner 2. Does this setup use 2 cables to the receiver or just one ?

    Have you tried going thru the satellite setup and change it to say that it just has 1 tuner to see if the message goes away?
    Then you can go thru it again and change it back to 2 tuners like it is supposed to be.
     
  4. Aug 5, 2013 #4 of 11
    susanandmark

    susanandmark Godfather

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    Thanks I had done a search and found the error code explanation ... Not that it provided me too much insight? (I know just enough about this stuff to be dangerous; not enough to actually be helpful to anything beyond the basics.)

    Yeah, I was curious about the tuner 2 specificity, too, especially since it was the same error as on the other box. Yes, there are two cables, but it was clearly not getting any signal on either one, and hadn't been for a while, since it wouldn't let me tune to anything except the set-up menu or list. (No guide, etc.)

    But, big update, and making me happy, but definitely down the curious and curiouser path ...

    I'd done a "leave it unplugged for 15 minutes and reboot" test last night, with no results but had left it unlugged overnight after the swap the receivers test and, just for the heck of it, after posting above, decided to try and boot it one more time. Guess what? It works. Perfectly. Signal strengths on both tuners in the high to mid 90s, and equal on sat 1 and 2.

    I was also able to see, via history, that it failed some time between the afternoon of 7/28, when it last recorded anything, and the morning of 7/29, when it was scheduled to record something that went to cancelled due to sat signal loss. Which would likely have been the same day the other unit failed. Making me feel like SOMETHING must have happened in the stream (is that possible?) to trigger this.

    Wondering now if my now dis-used other HR20-700 would boot right up given that its been unplugged now for almost a week.

    Anyone got any guesses on what may have caused it?
     
  5. Aug 5, 2013 #5 of 11
    jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    Part of the error says distribution.
    It is possible that the HR20 is a little bit more sensitive to voltage than the HR24 and the switch that you are going thru is having / had a minor problem.
    I would hook up the one you took out of service and see if it also worked now.

    I am not a tech, just read the forums a lot.
     
  6. Aug 5, 2013 #6 of 11
    litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

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    It's likely just a coincidence. Those HR20's are getting pretty old now.
     
  7. Aug 5, 2013 #7 of 11
    susanandmark

    susanandmark Godfather

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    I certainly don't mean to question your knowledge, as I have no doubt what-so-ever it is vastly superior to my own (and I say that with no sarcasm intended), but I just just can't fathom how two identical model units, of differing ages/install dates, both fail in the same way--a way I've never had a receiver fail in, by the by--ON THE SAME DAY and it legitimately be, "just a coincidence."

    Though the second unit is now back up and running, at least for now I really would try to figure out and identify what may have caused/triggered this, be it either a problem in the HR20 architecture or something in my larger set-up, in hopes of fixing it, should it be something that needs fixing. If it's just the aging out of these units, there isn't much I can do, obviously, but if my system as a whole is potentially in trouble, I'd rather be on top of that issue, if at all possible.
     
  8. Aug 5, 2013 #8 of 11
    Diana C

    Diana C Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    It is possible for a guide data glitch to have this effect (if it corrupted the transponder map for example). That fact that it came back after an overnight period of being unplugged may or may not support this. While being unplugged all night would likely make it re-download the entire guide I would think that the same would have happened during the previous troubleshooting since 2 restarts within a short time period will also trigger a full guide download.

    Keep an eye on this unit...it could also be a failing capacitor (there have been several reports of bulging capacitors in HR20s) which would have discharged overnight. The purpose of electrolytic capacitors in most applications is to smooth out voltage fluctuations. Since the two units were of identical design and similar age, it is possible a line voltage fluctuation pushed capacitors on both DVRs out of tolerance at the same time.
     
  9. Aug 5, 2013 #9 of 11
    susanandmark

    susanandmark Godfather

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    Thank you. What would a "bulging capacitor" look like, assuming it can be seen easily? Just wanting to check and see if that might be it so I can be prepared this unit is in its end times. :) (And that it IS the unit, not the set-up.)

    By the way, I did go and check it again just a few minutes ago and it is running smoothly, including recording.
     
  10. Diana C

    Diana C Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Electrolytic capacitors are small cans, mounted on the circuit board. They are usually black or blue but with a metallic "end cap" visible. If the capacitor is failing the top of the can will be domed instead of perfectly flat (i.e. it will "bulge" slightly). A capacitor has a tolerance range (eg. 20%) and if the capacitance moves outside this range due to age the circuit may start to malfunction. Capacitors can fail without bulging as well, but a bulging capacitor is a sure sign you are on borrowed time.
     
  11. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    I had something similar happen once several years ago and found the overnight unplug was the only fix. I suspect guide data issues because it worked fine for several years after that before I retired it. It never did die. You may seethe same thing.

    With that said after retiring all the hr20s and a few other receivers I have had and only having genes now those dang hr20s are by far the hottest receivers and I'd retire them ASAP to cool off the room anymore. :)
     

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