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SL3 (non-SWM) Alignment Help - Why am I so bad at this?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by byrd, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. Oct 1, 2010 #1 of 57
    byrd

    byrd Legend

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    Apr 29, 2009
    I’ve been working on updating my home sat system to HD for a while now. I’ve already posted a few threads asking various questions. Today, I thought was going to be the big day to finally get everything up and running. Unfortunately, I was mistaken…

    At first I got everything installed so that my wife and I could to an alignment via cell phone. Upon attempting that, all we ever saw was ZEROs on the 101 sat. I then lugged everything out to the dish to try and alignment there and still got all ZEROSs on the 101. I’m at a loss for what I might be doing wrong. Here are the 2 configurations that I’ve tried:

    SWM Setup:
    SL3 LNB (Non-SWM) ->
    24” Solid Copper RG6 Quad Sheilded ->
    F81 Barrel Connector (white insert, non-3GHz; blue insert coupler on order) ->
    150ft Solid Copper RG11 ->
    SWM8 ->
    10” Solid Copper RG6 Quad Sheilded ->
    SWS4 (PI inserterd on 1 output, 2nd output to receiver, other outputs terminated)->
    50ft Solid Copper Shielded RG?? (installed by tech 8 years ago; said it was RG11, but it’s not. Copper is larger than RG6, but smaller than RG1. No markings)->
    Non-3GHz ground block (3GHz rated block on order) ->
    12” Solid Copper RG6 Quad Sheilded ->
    Non-3GHz Wall Plate (3GHz rated wall plate on order) ->
    6ft Solid Copper RG6 Quad Sheilded ->
    HR24-500
    Set up receiver for Slimline 3 -> SWM -> Dual Tuner

    I did verify that 2 of the lines from the SM8 have 18.3V and the other 2 lines have 13.3V (at the dish). This should be correct (right?). Since we could never get ANY signal, we decided to head out to the dish and try the following:

    Strait to LNB Setup:
    SL3 LNB (Non-SWM) ->
    24” Solid Copper RG6 Quad Sheilded ->
    F81 Barrel Connector (non-3GHz) ->
    12ft Solid Copper Shielded RG?? ->
    B-Band Converter ->
    HR24-500
    Set up receiver for Slimline 3 -> Multiswitch -> Single Tuner

    I’ve adjusted the settings on the dish based on Dishpointer.com (very close to those specified by the receiver). The sat pole is plumb and level. I’ve tried numerous times to slowly adjust the azimuth back and forth with no luck. I’ve also tried to slowly adjust the elevation up and down.

    I’ve thought that the questionable cable and barrel connector might be causing and issue, but I thought that I should at least get SOME signal. The non-3GHz barrels, ground blocks, and wall plates should not affect the 101 signal, correct?

    After a few hours of trying, I gave up. Is there anything here that I’m missing?!?! From my reading here, it seems like I must just have the dish aligned poorly, but I didn’t think it should be so darn hard to find the 101. From all my reading, adjusting the dish to the specified receiver settings should be close enough to see something to start with.

    At this point, I’m searching Craigslist to see if I can find someone to come out and get things running. What do techs make per day? $100-$150? At this point I’ll pay at least that much to finally get this over with! HOWEVER, I’d still like to know what the heck I’m doing wrong!
     
  2. Oct 1, 2010 #2 of 57
    veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    What might be happening is with this "12ft Solid Copper Shielded RG?? ->" cable is if it isn't RG6, but RG59, then the center conductor may not be making good contact. I had this happen with a similar cable while trying to do the alignment with the receiver out at the dish. If the DC doesn't get to the LNB, then you won't get anything out of it.
     
  3. Oct 2, 2010 #3 of 57
    byrd

    byrd Legend

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    Apr 29, 2009
    I think the center conductor is making good contact. It's a big conductor. In fact, I tried to plug it directly into the LNB to remove the barrel and short RG6 cable, but the center conductor diameter was too big for the LNB. I think it may be 16awg. Isn't RG59 smaller?

    I should be able to put a volt meter on the connector at the LNB to verify voltage right? If I have 18V from the IRD it should power the LNB right?
     
  4. Oct 2, 2010 #4 of 57
    veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    You should get either 13 or 18 volts [odd/even transponders].
    RG6 has a 18 ga. center conductor.
     
  5. Oct 2, 2010 #5 of 57
    PokerJoker

    PokerJoker Godfather

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    Could this be the old issue of using the wrong reference mark to set the elevation on the dish?

    The proper reference point is the end of the metal piece, visible in the slot. It may be marked in color.

    You do not use the center of the bolt as a reference.

    Keith
     
  6. Oct 2, 2010 #6 of 57
    whoray85

    whoray85 Cool Member

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    Aug 8, 2009
    whereabouts in VA are you? General area will do.
     
  7. Oct 2, 2010 #7 of 57
    byrd

    byrd Legend

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    Apr 29, 2009
    The unmarked wire that I have is definitely larger that 18awg. I'm pretty sure it's 16awg. I believe that RG11 is 14awg. RG59 is usually 22awg, and this is certainly a LOT larger that that. So, I just don't know what this stuff is. Maybe it's RG8. I know that exists, but I don't know what it's typically used for.

    Yeah, my dish has the marks painted red, so it's pretty clear that the marks should be used for the measurement. The tilt has the little pointer, so it too is pretty clear. Oddly, the elevation numbers are upside down on the bracket. There's not other way that the dish can possibly be assembled, so I figured that, that's just the way it was manufactured.

    My zip code is 23149. Based on dishpointer.com, these are the angles that I was using:

    Elevation: 39.6°
    Azimuth (true): 216.6°
    Azimuth (magn.): 227.3°
    Dish Skew : 61.8

    The IRD showed these angles in the setup:

    Elevation: 40°
    Azimuth (magn.): 225°
    Dish Skew : 62°

    I used a standard map compass for my azimuth (away from the pole since that totally screws up the compass). I used 227° to start, but in the end, I probably swept the dish (slowly) from about 215° to about 235°.
     
  8. Oct 2, 2010 #8 of 57
    byrd

    byrd Legend

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    Apr 29, 2009
    So far, I've only found 3 people on craigslist posting sat install services in my area. I meant to send an email to one today, but it was removed by the time I looked back this morning. That left 2 adds. One looks to be a larger company called SatHookUp. Anyone heard of this company??? The other is an individual. I've emailed them. No response yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
     
  9. Oct 2, 2010 #9 of 57
    whoray85

    whoray85 Cool Member

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    You're about 200 miles from me.....

    And your values are nearly identical to what I'm using here - - 42/224/61
     
  10. rickai

    rickai New Member

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    Jun 26, 2010
    did you change the dish type in the receiver?
     
  11. byrd

    byrd Legend

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    Apr 29, 2009
    Yup. When I was in my house (behind the SWM8) I had it set up as Slimline 3 -> SWM -> Dual Tuner. When I was in standing at the dish (no SWM) I had it set up as Slimline 3 -> Multiswitch -> Single Tuner. I should also note that when I was at the dish, with the receiver set up as "Single Tuner", I tried both tuner inputs with similar results.

    I think I'm going to check out ebay for an Acutrac22 signal meter. There were a few great deals on the Acutrac22 Pro MKII the other day (when I didn't think I'd need it), but they seem to be gone now. I know that Acutrac22 (non-pro version) doesn't have an internal battery and needs to be powered from the IRD. If I'm standing at the dish with the Acutrac22, does it matter if it's powered from an IRD or can it be powered from the SWM8? I think it's all the same, right?
     
  12. Richierich

    Richierich Hall Of Fame

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    Strait to LNB Setup:
    SL3 LNB (Non-SWM) ->
    24” Solid Copper RG6 Quad Sheilded ->
    F81 Barrel Connector (non-3GHz) ->
    12ft Solid Copper Shielded RG?? ->
    B-Band Converter ->
    HR24-500
    Set up receiver for Slimline 3 -> Multiswitch -> Single Tuner

    You Do Not need a B-Band Converter if you are using an HR24-500 as it has a Wideband Tuner built into it internally.

    Also, don't you need a SWM LNB if you are using SWM?

    Also, try switching out the 12ft Solid Copper Shielded RG with RG6 to eliminate that as a problem.
     
  13. byrd

    byrd Legend

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    Apr 29, 2009
    I don't have SWM LNB. It's a non-SWM SL3 (with 4 outputs). When I had the IRD out at the dish, I was just using a single one of the outputs. The others were disconnected.

    I could have sworn that I read a BBC was needed on the HR24 without SWM. Do some of the other versions of the HR24 NOT have a wideband tuner built in? I was actually planning to purchase a new short bit of RG6 to try between the LNB and receiver. This afternoon, my wife and I are heading out of town for a couple days for out 10th anniversary, so these two tests will have to wait until Wednesday evening.

    One other question... I placed a volt meter directly on both outputs of my HR24s this morning. Should I see the output voltage alternate between 13V and 18V as I step through the transponders on the signal level screen?? My output voltages were rock solid no mater what transponder or satellite I had the IRD set to. I'm not sure if this is expected or not:

    First HR24 Even AND Odd Transponders:
    Output #1: 13.6V
    Output #2: 13.6V

    Second HR24 Even AND Odd Transponders:
    Output #1: 18.9V
    Output #2: 13.6V
     
  14. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    NO, IT DOESN'T.
    Only the 23s have them and they were removed from the 24s because they'd interfere with the internal DECA.
     
  15. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Not sure exactly how you were doing this, but I would expect 13 volts on a odd TP and 18 volts on an even TP.
    Even with the first HR24, you should be able to "see" the odd TPs to align the dish.
     
  16. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Unless you're planning on doing a lot of dish alignments, I see no reason to get a meter.
    I've used a receiver to align my dishes for the past 10 years.
    If you can't find a signal, then there is something else going on, be it a bad LNB, or some other thing that is escaping you about the process.
    My neighbor was having some problems a long time back with a dish he got. I went over to help and pointed out the pine tree that was in the way.
     
  17. byrd

    byrd Legend

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    Apr 29, 2009
    I didn't have the IRD connected to the dish, SWM8 or anything else at time. I just had it sitting on a table top with a small TV. I brought up the signal meter screen from the setup menu, and began stepping through the transponders for the 101 Sat. As I was doing that, I measured the output voltages on each of the coax ports on the back of the IRD. The voltages listed above never changed regardless of what transponder I was setting. I'm not sure how the communications work with the LNB, so I don't know if I should expect to see any voltages change if I'm not connected to a SWM or LNB.
     
  18. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

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    It is sometimes difficult to switch from SWM to non-SWM configuration in a receiver. I've had to do resets after doing the sat config change.

    As to the voltages you are reading, you should see 18V on any/all even transponders and 13V on any/all odd transponders. You can use test channels 9501 through 9514 to be sure you are setting up for the correct voltage/tone.
     
  19. byrd

    byrd Legend

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    Apr 29, 2009
    Nope, not planning to do a lot of alignments. That's why I held off when I saw the deals on eBay last week. From all my reading, it sounded like this should be a relatively easy process. :rolleyes: I guess I'll hold off for now until I figure out just what's going on.

    I DID purchase the Android Dishpointer App for my Android phone. That too was a bit expensive for a single dish alignment, but I would have been upset if I concreted in a new pole in my yard only to find out that I had a tree in the way. According to the Dishpointer App, I've got PLENTY of space around the 99, 101, and 103. The 119 is right on the edge of some tree growth. Before taking my old Phase III dish down, we would get rain fade pretty easily on the 119 channels, but NEVER had any LOS issues with 101 channels. In 8 years, the 101 only had issues during really, really, REALLY bad rain storms.
     
  20. byrd

    byrd Legend

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    So based on this, it sounds like I should be seeing the voltages alternate as I change transponders on the IRD. Does this indicate an IRD issue?

    I thought the 9501 through 9514 channels only worked if I had a good signal from the satellite? I don't think I can use those since all I ever see is a searching for signal message.
     

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