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My Experience...whew.

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by js12278, Feb 1, 2008.

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  1. Feb 1, 2008 #1 of 14
    js12278

    js12278 Cool Member

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    Jan 13, 2008
    This is my first post in these forums. I have been reading and learning some great information.


    I have been a satisfied customer of DirecTV since 1995. I have moved four times and taken my equipment with me, setting it up myself in each new location without issues. In 2000 my receiver took a hit from a storm and was damaged badly enough to require a replacement. DirecTV sent me out a new receiver for ten dollars within one day, but it was very different from my first receiver. They informed me that it was the newer model. Despite being a little disappointed, I installed it and familiarized myself with the new settings.



    Eventually I needed local news channels. I called DirecTV to order an additional receiver and A TIVO R10 with local channels. The installer showed up, installed a second dish, the TIVO, and a 4x8 multi-switch. I ran the wires prior to his arrival and helped him install the second receiver. No problems.


    This fall I replaced a Sony 32” television with a Vizio 37." After a night or two of watching SD on my Vizio, I suggested to my wife that we consider upgrading to HD. I basically told her something I read in the forum..." All these years we have been watching crappy images and we needed a better quality of TV to make it obviously clear." She was sold as long as I could guarantee there would be no loss of her TIVO operations. I began to search for information regarding the TIVO.


    This was how I found DBStalk forum; this has to be one of the most informative tech forums I have visited. The fact that the installers in the forums here handle criticism in the posts professionally is impressive. I wish I would have been lucky enough to get one of them as my install tech the day I made the plunge, although I did have the information I needed from reading the posts to know what to expect. I called DirecTV and negotiated an upgrade.


    When the installer arrived he showed me a work order stating that he was here to install HD-DVR and do a "customer swap". He explained, "I will be installing an HD-DVR and taking one SD receiver from the location." I informed him he wouldn't be removing ANY receivers. My negotiation with DirecTV stated that he would be taking the TIVO R10 to the Master Bedroom, installing the HD-DVR in the living room, and deactivating one SD receiver. After a short argument, he went out to call someone because the work order only listed the HD-DVR installation and the “swap.” While he did that, I called DirecTV to confirm the work order information. I got my assurance from DirecTV with no problem. He returned to state that he had called his place of business and, in his words, "made sure it would be done at no charge." This was only the beginning of our problems. First he remarked that he was "amazed I had a signal at all" and that he would be installing the new dish on the roof. That wasn't happening since I just replaced the roof and wasn't using the new shingles as a base for anything. He said that the pipe I had my current dish on wasn't in a good spot to get a LOS for the HD satellites. I went out to see what he meant, as I never had any loss of signal unless there was heavy rain, snow, or ice; even at those times it was temporary. I walked to the second dish which is 15' from the other and he says, "Oh, I didn't even see that one. I was going to use the clothesline pipe." All of the pipes were perfect for satellite dish mounting and installed perfectly as well. The pipe he wanted to use was out in the open and would be exposing the dish to too much wind, so he had been worried that he couldn’t “guarantee his work.” Assuming that the job would be done to my satisfaction, he began his work.


    He had to run a new TIVO wire to the new multi-switch and remove the original 4x8 multi-switch. The new switch is wire tied to the pole closest to the house with the original dish, which he informed me was no longer necessary. He passed the cables through the original holes, drilled into the brick house facing, and I pulled them through the exposed basement wall and ceiling. By this time it was 12:15. We retained the original 2-wire for the living room, retained the quadshield for the second room, and I ran another length of quadshield for the relocated TIVO. I drilled the hole in the Master Bedroom floor myself, so if any damage was done it was my doing. Afterwards, we went to the living room to begin installing the other receiver. As he removed the TIVO from the entertainment center I asked again, "Nothing will change right?" He assured me it would not.


    He proceeded to turn the fitting with a 7/16” wrench. I watched my TIVO literally be destroyed. With ONE wrench he turned the connection and actually twisted the whole fitting inside the unit. At the same time he was mumbling, " Who the hell tightened these so tight?" I got a 7/16" wrench and showed him that using 2 wrenches is the proper way to remove a fitting of this type. At this point I knew he had broken the solder inside the unit. I asked him if he thought it was broken, even though I knew. He said, "No, it should be fine." I watched him make one complete turn. After I got the fitting loose he fingered the fitting off and unboxed the new unit. I removed all unused cables and helped fish the wires behind the wall unit. As I was reaching for cables, I heard the new DVR smash against my entertainment center. This fall left a dent in the edge of one door and two scuff marks in the finish. He was looking for a small piece that had broken off the retainer for the card covering door on my new HD DVR. My wife found it on the floor as he gave up and continued the install as if I would keep a broken DVR and like it. I glued the piece back on the cover. After that was finally installed, we moved to the Master Bedroom where he installed the cables to the TIVO. This is where he camped for the next 3-1/2 hours. Had he just admitted his earlier mistake when unhooking the TIVO (turning the solder joint free on the inside of the unit with brute force and a single wrench), he would have been in and out of there in a half hour. Instead he called tech support when the TIVO failed to make a connection . He was telling them about a signal of over 90 and I saw it was in the low 80's. He proceeded to tell the tech support person that the TIVO was just working in the living room and he wasn’t going to tell the customer it was a "bad" receiver. I could hear the whole conversation. The tech person was adamant that he had a problem with the receiver. He was adamant there was an issue with software incompatibility and his phone calls to his boss and other techs was reassuring him of this. Between all of this, he’s fielding calls from his boss telling him he needed to leave and go to his second job and making remarks about how he wasn't even supposed to work today. I assured him he wasn't going anywhere until the TIVO was working or he could backtrack and remove everything he did up to now and I would let DirecTV know how unsatisfied I was with the installation. A second installer who needed to pick up a dish from our installer showed up and took a look at the problem. His solution was to replace my TIVO with another SD DVR, which was not going to happen. That tech left, leaving his partner to flounder. Since I had heard tech support telling him I had a bad receiver I decided to open the unit and point out what changes had happened since his “skills” had damaged my equipment. He was amazed how I had the right tools to open it up and my lack of concern for his opinions. I disconnected the cables, switched them and told him to see if the signal switched on the meter, which knew it would, but I wanted him to see for himself what he had done. I explained it all to him. Seeing it made a difference I went to get my soldering iron and magnifying glasses. He asked if I knew what I was doing. I looked at him and didn't say a word. I repaired the solder joint and reinstalled the cables. He was on the phone with ISS, I don't know what that is but they were telling him to go out and reinstall the original switch and download software to “possibly” fix the problem. Basically, the installer figured to hell with that if I get a signal with the old 4x8 switch; if the picture showed up on the TIVO, he was out of here. After my repair, the picture appeared on the TV and he was ready to go. It was now 4:30 p.m. He left (with a tip that I gave him to get something to eat), I boxed up the old SD receiver and put it in the basement with 2 additional 4x8 switches in the box which he informed me I might need in the future if my original fails.


    I apologize for the lengthy post, but I am now convinced had I just had DirecTV mail me the equipment I would have had my install done by myself in less time and with less issues. I don't know if I could have done the dish install, since I don't own a proper signal strength meter, but I wouldn’t have had the TIVO issues because it would never have been broken. I have since called DirecTV and requested a supervisor to come and inspect my install, including proper grounding (which at this point I see NO grounding wires or blocks, unless he is using the pipe as the ground). The install company has already called after contacting a supervisor. He has also called, telling me he remembers this exact install because "had the installer just replaced the TIVO with a newer SD-DVR there would have been "no problems at all." I’ll wait until he comes out to discuss that with him.
     
  2. Feb 1, 2008 #2 of 14
    K4SMX

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    You can ask them to install the proper multi-switch for your new HD installation, which is the 6 x 8 Zinwell WB68, if that's not what he brought.

    I would ask for a replacement HD-DVR as well. That fall could have cracked the MB or may otherwise cause problems in the future, not to mention the cosmetic damage.

    He should have replaced all lines used for your HD receiver and from the multi-switch to the dish with new, solid-copper center conductor RG-6. Depending on the length, old copper-clad (CCL) cable may work if the lengths are fairly short, but this has been an issue when combined with the WB68, and solid-copper is spec'd to be in accordance with DirecTV HD installation standards.

    So how'd he do on alignment of the new dish re: the new HD channels? All signals on 103(b)/(c) (as applicable) should be mostly all in the 90's.

    Edit: Almost forgot - How'd he mount the 5 LNB dish with it's 2" O.D. mounting bracket to your existing pole, which is smaller?
     
  3. Feb 1, 2008 #3 of 14
    MONSTERMAN

    MONSTERMAN Godfather

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    Aug 18, 2007
    Crystal Bay...
    Wow. Another lesson in; "If you want it done right, do it yourself". Most, if not all, of these installers are basically high school dropouts. I have had many dealings with these installers and the vast majority of them are scroungy looking kids. I would never entrust any of them to touch my electronics.

    I've had many come out for replacement or upgrades and always tell them that I will be doing the install myself. Many independent installers are more than happy to leave equipment, but I've had a few from IRONWOOD COMMUNICATIONS say that they actually had to do it themselves (hourly paid). I said BS and told them to leave the equipment with me and go have an early or late lunch or snack.

    BTW: I'm sure nothing is grounded as well. Get a good grounding block and do it yourself.

    :nono:
     
  4. Feb 1, 2008 #4 of 14
    js12278

    js12278 Cool Member

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    Jan 13, 2008
    K4SMX-
    I believe there is a 6x8 WB68 in the mix already. I went out and removed the snow from it.

    I am postin gthis way so I can accrue my required 5 posts...I got pics of this wonderful deal.
     
  5. Feb 1, 2008 #5 of 14
    js12278

    js12278 Cool Member

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    Jan 13, 2008
    K4SMX-
    I will be asking, wait, getting the dvr replaced when the supervisor gets out here after the snow clears some. Safety first, ya know.
     
  6. Feb 1, 2008 #6 of 14
    js12278

    js12278 Cool Member

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    Jan 13, 2008
    K4SMX-
    The dvr doesn't have any cosmetic damage. after wiping the fingerprints off it's finish, you couldn't tell it was dropped. But I do understand what you mean about a damaged motherboard. I have seen what a broken solder joint can do, firsthand, just recently even!
     
  7. Feb 1, 2008 #7 of 14
    js12278

    js12278 Cool Member

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    Jan 13, 2008
    K4SMX-
    I suppose replaceing the older 2-wire would have been nice, I don't think it even entered his thought process as he didn't do much else with any regard to a "professional" install.
     
  8. Feb 1, 2008 #8 of 14
    CJTE

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    Sounds to me like you were setup with a Swap/Replace IRD work order.
    Which means that, no matter what you THINK you negotiated, the techs work order stated he had the right to take the unit he was swapping, having you refuse to let him take the unit thereby justifies him to close the work order, and charge you, without installing the new equipment.

    So, even though you had a bad experience, had the Tivo not've been broken, you still had a pretty nice guy.
     
  9. Feb 1, 2008 #9 of 14
    js12278

    js12278 Cool Member

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    Jan 13, 2008
    Here's a few pics I snapped off:

    http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg309/js12278/Disharray.jpg
    http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg309/js12278/Dish008.jpg
    http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg309/js12278/Dish007.jpg
    http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg309/js12278/Dish006.jpg
    http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg309/js12278/Dish002.jpg

    If I sound a little disappointed, it's all with the install/installer. I have no issues with DirecTv or their CSRs, I have not received anything less than professional satisfaction from them, never, since 1995. :biggthump
     
  10. Capt'n

    Capt'n Legend

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    Aug 23, 2007
    Did the installer leave your multi-switch laying on the ground like that?
     
  11. js12278

    js12278 Cool Member

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    Jan 13, 2008
    First- I KNOW what I negotiated. What the tech THINKS his work order gives him a right to do stopped at my front door.

    Second- His work order was incorrect if that's what you are saying to me. He may have been justified in closing the work order and leaving my home, but the installer wasn't getting paid by me, so there would be NO charge, to me, for anything he did.

    Third- He tried to have me billed for a relocate. While he was doing the move of the Tivo, I called to reverse that. The CSR informed me he had a new work order issued. and in his words, "I called and took care of everything, you won't even get charged, you didn't need to call earlier."

    You know he was a "pretty nice guy", but definitely lacking in the professional installer frame of mind :rolleyes:

    Considering he damaged items at my house and I gave him a tip to boot, I think I was a pretty nice guy too. I don't want his job, I just want a correct install so I can get what I pay for month to month is all. Maybe he was having an off day?
     
  12. js12278

    js12278 Cool Member

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    Jan 13, 2008
    He sure did, what you see is what I got...left. As a mtter of fact he was in such a rush to go, he left a handful of wire ties on the ground under the switch and one through the mounting hole. Maybe he intended to do it and forgot?? doubtful.
     
  13. Capt'n

    Capt'n Legend

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    Aug 23, 2007
    That's pretty bad. You need to get that off the ground. Once the snow melts it'll be sitting in a puddle. The switch is weather resistant, but it's not water proof. When that supervisor comes I would raise hell. All I can tell you is the last installer I had out went out of his way to make my cables NOT look like yours.
     
  14. K4SMX

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    The attachment of the flat mounting plate to a round pole with two screws is, er huh, unacceptable.
     
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