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Is there a way to determine if you have a bad LNB?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by pocolocobob, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. pocolocobob

    pocolocobob Cool Member

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    Dec 30, 2011
    I've read through threads that were a few years old, just wondered if there's any new way to determine what could be wrong. My dish has been up for a few years now, and the wiring is older than the current dish/lnb as it was there from the old round dish. Last guy went up there fell off the roof but wasn't injured thank god... won't go back he said its too steep. So I have to address this myself or use a local guy willing to check everything out.

    Symptoms: Three HD receivers in the house, all are individually cabled from the slim dish which has the 5LNB thing with three white capped showing. Most times the picture is fabulous. But even on a clear day... I sometimes get intense pixillation and stuttering then searching for signal. Forget it when it rains or even gets cloudy and damp. Leads me to believe that maybe moisture is in LNB or cables? Do I need new end connectors or totally new cables? Can B-Band converters do this?

    I need to get this resolved before Winter as I think it'll be semi-useless. My dish is located in the only clear spot on the house with trees behind the house reaching up to 75'. In the Northeast in Western Mass, so which satellites do I need the strongest signals in?

    I have another complete new slim dish still in the box that I can swap the LNB with. I was wondering whether I have any alternative that could allow me to use a multiswitch? One line runs to 2nd floor bedroom right from dish/LNB. three lines run down to basement/foundation where they feed a 1st floor receiver and a basement receiver. All three are DVR units 1 HR20, 1 HR24, & 1 HR23.

    Thx
     
  2. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    Texas City, TX
    The first step would be to read all of the satellite signals when you are not having a problem and post them so we can evaluate them.
    Sounds like your dish could just need realigning.

    Question: are these " All three are DVR units 1 HR20, 1 HR24, & 1 HR23. " hooked up to the current dish with one cable each ?
     
  3. NR4P

    NR4P Dad

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    Go to menu/sat settings and go to the following Sats and give us readings

    99c
    101
    103ca
    103cb
    119 (if present)

    I suspect its dish alignment time but your readings will tell us.
     
  4. ZandarKoad

    ZandarKoad Mentor

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    Oct 25, 2009
    There are three methods to test whether an LNB is bad. Measure the following:

    Background Noise Floor
    Voltage / Current Draw
    LO Drift (aka frequency derivation)

    None of these can be tested accurately without removing the LNB and isolating it from other possible sources of interference (bad cabling). Also, it's easiest to test these three things with an adequate satellite meter.

    I also suspect it's an aiming issue rather than an LNB issue.
     
  5. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    I would also do a system test... Press and hold INFO on the white remote to get there.
     
  6. pocolocobob

    pocolocobob Cool Member

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    Dec 30, 2011
    OK... I did a signal strength check per your instructions, here's the results:

    99˚(c) Transponder 14 Peak Strength 51%
    99˚(s) Transponder 20 Peak Strength 76%
    101˚ Transponder 18 Peak Strength 95%
    110˚ Transponder 12 Peak Strength 80%
    119˚ Not Available
    103˚(s) Transponder 17 Peak Strength 76%
    103˚(ca) Transponder 9 Peak Strength 50%
    103˚(ch) Transponder 13 Peak Strength 54%

    Just to be sure, I'm guessing that once I've located the "best" strength for individual satellites and transponders, simply scrolling down to "DONE" saves all those settings? And of course, this was on the HR20, so I should go and check the other two setups as well? I apologize but I'm a 70 year old senior and I probably know just enough to get me in trouble LOL.

    Ran the diagnostic test and it said that the dish may need alignment, asked if trees with leaves are blocking anything, etc. and there was a code #43-76-192. We have no landline phones so none are connected to a phone.
     
  7. evan_s

    evan_s Hall Of Fame

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    Yeah, that looks like an alignment problem. 99c 103ca and 103cb are all your national HD channels and they are all way too low. You want those to be in the 80's or 90's on a clear day not 50's. With them in the 50's you'll loose signal with even minor rain like you are describing. I assume you probably don't want to do the alignment yourself so I'd recommend calling up DTV and getting them to send someone out.

    BTW, you are not setting or saving those. It's a real time reading of how good the signal is on that particular sat and transponder. It just cycles through them because it can only check one at a time.
     
  8. NR4P

    NR4P Dad

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    Sunny Florida
    yes call Directv and get a tech out there to get those signals back to 80's and 90's
     
  9. pocolocobob

    pocolocobob Cool Member

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    Dec 30, 2011
    Got a call in to the local authorized guy, have to see when he can get out here. Thinking about topping some of my trees, but I don't know when the tree guy will come. So you guys think the LNB is fine its just the alignment needs to be tweaked? No moisture in the LNB or cable ends?
     
  10. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    Texas City, TX
    Could just be the trees. From where I am in the country the 99 and 103 sats are about 4 degrees lower in the sky than the 101 and would be the first to get interference from tree leaves.
     
  11. evan_s

    evan_s Hall Of Fame

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    Alignment is the first issue. The signal levels are pretty typical for that.

    the 99s/103s are higher because they are spot beams aimed at specific area's and are stronger. 101 is higher because it is also a stronger signal and less sensitive to alignment issues. Realignment should fix those issues.

    119 might be a tree issue tho. You should have signal there and no signal there can cause guide data problems which can lead to frequent reboots of your receivers. This can be avoided by switching to a sl3 that only uses 99/101/103 but that would require a new LNB. 119 does happen to be the lowest on the horizon for someone out on the east coast so can be the most troublesome when you have line of sight issues.

    www.dishpointer.com can help give you an idea of where you might have tree problems.
     
  12. peds48

    peds48 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

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    NY
    while it looks more like an alignment issue, without seeing the entire signal strength numbers is very hard to predict what it really is. the transponder that you choose (18) for the 101 is a spotbeam transponder, so it is useless to use to determine your signal.
     
  13. pocolocobob

    pocolocobob Cool Member

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    Dec 30, 2011
    Actually you may have hit the nail on the head. A few times a day the screen goes blank with a FTV screensaver and the show instantaneously resumes by pushing the orange Select button. I'll have to find out what a SL3 is. I should note that I'm not interested in Spanish or local channels. I have Comcast cable because of the internet and have the bundle (phone, Internet, basic cable) and I get a bunch of local/regional channels via cable. My main concern is getting HD via DTV, and getting _ALL_ the channels.

    I'm going to try one or two of those iPhone apps and see what the tree situation is, but does one have to be sitting on the roof where the dish is to do this properly? Or can I just kind of line myself up with the East side of the house where the dish is mounted and sort of point in the same direction? I have also seen/heard of some people using two (2) dishes which I assume means they are optimizing something?

    Incidentally... as noted earlier, I have four (4) wires running from the current setup and because of that I can't have all the DVRs working. I guess I could run a 2nd line to the 2nd floor bedroom DVR, and could I run a single line down to some kind of splitter/multiswitch so the two "ground level" dvrs could get two (2) feeds each? Is that possible?

    Thanks for all the help BTW. Still haven't heard back from the local dish contractor, but I don't expect anything on a weekend.
     
  14. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    Hope this helps.
     
  15. pocolocobob

    pocolocobob Cool Member

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    Dec 30, 2011
    So what makes the SL3 better than the SL5 if they both chase the same basic satellites? I'm gathering that the only thing I should be concerned about is reception on 99c, 103ca, and 103cb to ensure good HD reception. Are the dishes the same or different, I assume the LNB is the one with three devices and no extra width in the bracket.

    Keep in mind I have a HR20, HR23, and a HR24 to deal with as "tuners".

    OK... you're saying I need to put 110v outlet on my roof to power the SWM version? Or I have to run a powered cable up to the roof? Seems to be a LOT simpler to have the SWM or whatever Multiswitch in my basement where the lower level wires come into the house and power it there. Forgive me for being such a dummy, but in laymans terms, whats the difference between a Multiswitch and a SWM?
     
  16. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    SWM LNB's use a power inserter in the coax where the coax enters the house, or where the receiver is, not on the roof.
     
  17. jimmie57

    jimmie57 Hall Of Fame

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    I can't explain the actual difference between the SWM LNB and the Multi switch.
     
  18. carl6

    carl6 Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    They don't "chase the same satellites". The SL3 can view 99, 101 and 103. The SL5 sees those three PLUS the 110 and 119.
    HD is on 99 and 103. Virtually all SD is on 101. 119 has some SD locals and some foreign language.

    The SWM LNB is powered through the coax that comes down from it. The power inserter is placed indoors, typically by one of the TV locations served.

    As to multiswitches, the actual answer is rather complex. The LNB assemblies (both conventional and SWM) have built in multiswitches. There are also external multiswitches available (the WB68 for non-SWM systems, the SWM8 or SWM16 for SWM systems). The WB68 is non-powered. Both the SWM8 and 16 are powered.

    The dish/multiswitch FAQ has more explanation on all of this: http://hr20.dbstalk.com/docs/Dish,%2...able FAQ.pdf
     
  19. evan_s

    evan_s Hall Of Fame

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    The dishes are the same so you can swap a SL3 in place of a SL5 with out changing anything else. Both types come in SWiM and non-SWiM. Your current system is the legacy Non-SWiM system. The reason it is better for you is that when you are getting an hd channel from 103ca or cb the receiver needs to get the guide data from 119. If you aren't getting anything on 119 then it has no guide data when on one of those channels and eventually reboots because of it. Since you have signal on 101 and 110 you should have signal on 119. It's possible that it is an alignment issue or a bad lnb but given your location it is most likely blocked by trees. A guide data issue should result in a complete reboot which actually takes a couple minutes usually. It may be happening with out you noticing when you aren't using the box.

    Just for reference a SL5 (this one happens to be swim hence only one output)

    http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.as...In-Multiswitch-(SL5SWM)&c=DIRECTV Dishes&sku=

    A SL3 (also swim)
    http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.as...itch-(SL3SWM)&c=DIRECTV Dishes&sku=8546300073

    The non-swim sl3 is
    http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.as...aKu-Slim-Line-LNB-(SL3)&c=DIRECTV Dishes&sku=
     
  20. pocolocobob

    pocolocobob Cool Member

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    Dec 30, 2011
    Being a novice to all this, I have to ask what are the benefits to ME by swapping out a 5 LNB SL5 setup to a 3 LNB SL3 setup? Just curious... does the SL5 _not_ get the same satellites as the SL3? Does the SL3 get satellites that the SL5 doesn't? Or are you suggesting that only if the LNB is shot? If I'm getting non-HD signals perfectly 24/7 (I am) but I want HD wherever its available (like ESPN, YES, MSNBC, CNN, HBO, SHO, etc.) do I need to receive 119 or not? One posts suggests I need it for the guide and thats why it reverts to a screen saver every once in a while... so if I don't have 119 as a selection, it will get guide information elsewhere? Sorry I'm just trying to figure this out.


    I'm guessing that my mix of HD DVR tuners (HR20, HR23, & HR24) precludes me from using a single cable setup, but I can probably figure out some way to get six (6) active lines out of the basic four that leave the roof... right?
     

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