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Signal loss on certain channels when it's hot

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by Marcus Welby, May 1, 2013.

  1. May 1, 2013 #1 of 25
    Marcus Welby

    Marcus Welby Cool Member

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    Apr 8, 2007
    I've had an issue with certain channels going out whenever it's warm outside. Last summer, some channels would go in and out in the afternoons when it got warm (80 degrees or more). It also happens at night when it's really hot, so it's not just an issue of the sun blaring down on the dish. Once it cools off outside, there are no problems. For example, I have no issues at all in the winter.

    It's hard to track down all the channels affected because it comes and goes. But I can name these three:

    356 MSNBC
    359 FOX Business HD
    360 FOX News HD

    It's only the HD channels, as the SD channels between them are fine.

    My assumption is that I have a bad LNB. Is there a way to determine if the channels above have a common LNB? I have a Slimline 6 dish.

    I've looked at the signal meters, but I have no clue what transponder I should look at, as some show zero signal.

    I really don't want to pay for a tech to come out. I'd rather just replace the LNB or whatever. Any sugestions on troubleshooting? Thanks.
     
  2. May 1, 2013 #2 of 25
    Marcus Welby

    Marcus Welby Cool Member

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    Apr 8, 2007
    I may have narrowed it down. I ran through the signal strength again and it seems that 99(s) is the culprit. I'm getting 80s and 90s on most transponders, but a couple are fluctuating wildly.

    Transponders:

    2 - 0
    4 - 0 to 30's (fluctuating)
    23 - 66 to 71
    24 - 48 to 51

    Like I said, the rest are all 80s and 90s except for the "N/As", and it's basically the same on both tuners (HR20-700).

    103(s) is also goofy:

    1 - 0
    2 - 0
    3 - 10
    4 - 0
    16 - 99
    17 - 89
    18 - 91
    19 - 94
    20 - 99
    21 - 63
    22 - 65
    23 - 0
    24 - 0
     
  3. May 1, 2013 #3 of 25
    peds48

    peds48 DIRECTV A-Team DBSTalk Club

    18,453
    918
    Jan 10, 2008
    NY
    Those signals are very poor, looks like your dish has moved out of alignment. call DirecTV for a service visit to realign the dish, free if you have the protection plan $50 otherwise.
     
  4. May 1, 2013 #4 of 25
    Marcus Welby

    Marcus Welby Cool Member

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    Apr 8, 2007
    Thanks but I jumped the gun and ordered a new LNB. Why would I have 90s on most transponders on those same satellites if it was an alignment issue? That's what's confusing me. All the other sats are above 87 on all transponders. Also, the fact that it only happenes when it's warm outside made me think it was a hardware problem. Can a bad LNB have problems with random transponders or would it be all even or all odd?
     
  5. May 1, 2013 #5 of 25
    jdspencer

    jdspencer Hall Of Fame

    6,629
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    Nov 7, 2003
    99s is a spot beam sat. For those channels you lusted you need to check 99c and 103c.
     
  6. May 1, 2013 #6 of 25
    Volatility

    Volatility Legend

    436
    10
    May 22, 2010
    My assumption is you have a bad LNB as you stated. If you can try out these test channels
    9501
    9502
    9507
    9514
    9513

    And post back the OSD you recieve.
     
  7. May 1, 2013 #7 of 25
    Marcus Welby

    Marcus Welby Cool Member

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    Apr 8, 2007
    Hmm, 99c is showing mostly mid and upper 80s on everything, with a couple of 90s.
    103ca and 103cb are all upper 80s to low 90s.
     
  8. May 1, 2013 #8 of 25
    Marcus Welby

    Marcus Welby Cool Member

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    Apr 8, 2007
    Not sure what is pertinent, so here's everything:

    9501 SAT A (101) Odd Txp 13V
    9502 SAT A (101) Even Txp 18V
    9507 Correct HD Dish setup. 99 B-Band Even
    9514 SAT B (119) Even Txp 18V
    9513 SAT B (119) Odd Txp 13V

    So if I'm reading this right, it is indeed an alignment issue after all?
     
  9. May 1, 2013 #9 of 25
    Go Beavs

    Go Beavs Hall Of Fame

    3,635
    58
    Nov 18, 2008
    Portland,...
    Check the signal levels on 99c when you see a problem on those stations. You can find the transponder maps in the Tips & Resources section here at DBSTalk.

    356 is on 99c tpn 9
    359 is on 99c tpn 5
    360 is on 99c tpn 8

    You look to have an intermittant problem. Your reported signal levels look ok.
     
  10. Marcus Welby

    Marcus Welby Cool Member

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    Apr 8, 2007
    They're all mid 80s to mid 90s on 99c. And those channels are currently out. By "out" I mean the screen is filled with digital garbage. Occasionally I'l get a little blip of audio. I'm not actually getting an error message.
     
  11. davring

    davring Hall Of Fame

    6,417
    1
    Jan 13, 2007
    Heat sensitive LNB's are more common than I thought, I've had two replaced in the last six years. My brother had one fail as well just as summer temperatures started returning in the past few weeks.

    I found an easy way to confirm the suspected failure, soak it down with a water hose, once it cools the picture should return.
     
  12. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

    6,569
    604
    Feb 14, 2013
    Iowa
    Try going to the signal meters for 99c on transponders 5, 8 and 9 when you have problems on those channels again. I'll bet that even though you see 80s and 90s on them on the signal strength screen, you'll see the numbers jumping around a lot on the signal meter. Try it again late at night when things have cooled down and your signal is fine, and you'll those numbers should stay very steady, changing only by a point or two over time. If that's what you observe, it is definitely the LNB. A bad LNB can have trouble maintaining a steady signal, and cause the symptoms you're reporting.

    If you look only at the signal strength screen, you can't see this at all. As far as I can tell, it only reports the peak number on each transponder. I went through this recently, randomly channels on the 103ca sat would break up or lose signal entirely for a few hours. It slowly became more frequent, happening a couple times a week in the end. I didn't know how to diagnose it - when it happened my signal strength was in the mid to upper 90s across the board on 103ca but I couldn't get a picture! Someone here suggested I check the signal meters when it was happening, and I saw the numbers jumping all over the place, sometimes all the way to 0!

    The signal strength screen would be much more useful if it also showed the lowest signal reading on each transponder, or maybe highlighted the number it does show in some way when it is varying a lot. Something so you know the difference between a steady 97 and a 97 that might be a 52 two seconds later and a 0 two seconds after that before going back to 97 for a moment. It would be a lot easier to diagnose bad LNBs if they did this. I don't suppose anyone knows of some way to recommend improvements to the software? The "cutting edge" stuff seems to be more focused on getting feedback after changes are made, rather than getting suggestions about what changes to make.
     
  13. Volatility

    Volatility Legend

    436
    10
    May 22, 2010
    All of those are the correct readings so this seems to be an intermittent issue meaning it is not hot enough now which is why it wasnt out when you posted that. I am willing to bet dollars your lnb needs replacement. That is the only thing that makes sense as hot weather would not mean your dish needs to be aligned.
     
  14. Volatility

    Volatility Legend

    436
    10
    May 22, 2010
    good idea but on some houses the dishes are mounted to high up to spray with a water hose. Thats how mine is without having a ladder. So if you can safely do so give it a shot.
     
  15. Marcus Welby

    Marcus Welby Cool Member

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    0
    Apr 8, 2007
    Actually it WAS out when I checked them. I'll try the individual signal meters, as slice1900 suggested, tomorrow, assuming they act up again. Weather is supposed to be cooler tomorrow. Of course the channels are all fine now that the sun has gone down and it's cooled off outside. I live in an apartment with the dish mounted on my balcony so access is super easy for the "cold water" test. In any case, it seems to be a consensus that the LNB is bad. I've got a new one on the way, so I'll post results once it's been swapped out.

    Thanks for the help everyone!
     
  16. Marcus Welby

    Marcus Welby Cool Member

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    Apr 8, 2007
    As for the test channel messages, I guess I misinterpreted the "Correct HD Dish setup" as a request, as opposed to a statement. As in "please correct HD setup". lol
     
  17. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    Feb 14, 2013
    Iowa
    Yeah, the test channels are stupid. There's that, there's some that show some text on the screen so you know you're set up right, and there are others that are just a black screen. I guess you rely on the "searching for signal" message to let you know things are wrong on those channels?

    How hard would it be for Directv to have consistency across all the test channels, so they all show a similar message that is clearly worded to say something like "if you can read this, you are set up correctly for satellite 99* 13v/odd"?

    Incidentally, the test channels are really not a good test of if an LNB is bad, unless it has completely failed, in which case you'd know it by the 0s for signal strength. When I had LNB problems, all the test channels came in perfectly even while my picture was breaking up and freezing on channels on the 103 sat. I guess that's because they require so little bandwidth that even having my signal strength bouncing around all the way to 0 doesn't cause any problems.
     
  18. Sward81333

    Sward81333 New Member

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    Mar 29, 2011
    My from experience, it looks like your dish needs realignment. When it got hot, I lost almost all of my channels. They returned when it cooled down.
     
  19. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

    6,569
    604
    Feb 14, 2013
    Iowa
    How does that make sense? If it is hot, it knocked your dish out of alignment, and when it cooled down your dish went back into alignment? Sorry, but if his signal strength is mid 80s to low 90s, aligning his dish better is not going to help his problem one bit. Yes, those numbers are not as high as they possibly could be, but they are more than high enough aside from a heavy rainstorm.

    If you had these symptoms and had your dish realigned, I'll bet you also had your LNB replaced but the installer didn't tell you.
     
  20. Marcus Welby

    Marcus Welby Cool Member

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    0
    Apr 8, 2007
    Just a minor update on this... My original order from two weeks ago didn't go through for some reason, so I had to order again. The new LNB just arrived late yesterday, and I just got around to swapping it out a few minutes ago. It was fairly hot today (80 degrees) and the usual channels had been breaking up. After swapping, it's been working fine, but I'm holding off calling this fixed until it get another few hot days under its belt. Unfortunately I have to leave tomorrow morning and won't be back until the end of the week. So any more updates will be a while.

    One thing I did find was that one of the cables going into the LNB was loose. Not falling off or anything, but it gave no resistance when I unscrewed it with my fingers. How important is it that the cables are really tight? I don't have a wrench that'll fit between them to tighten that way, but I can go and buy one if someone has suggestions. In any case, they're all finger tight for now.

    Thanks all.
     

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