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Bad LNB, Switch, or Receiver?
Posted 09 June 2008 - 03:18 PM
Here’s the history.
Had E* for 8+ years running with a couple simple receivers and a 500 style dish and aside from the occasional summer downpours, had no signal loss problems. Last February I bit the bullet and upgraded to a 722. The tech came and swapped out the LNB with a DPP and added a second dish for 61.5.
System worked fine for a month or two and then started having infrequent losses. I checked the signal strength and found that the signal strength for all even transponders on 119 were in the teens. Everything else on all sats was 50 or above – the 119 odds were around 70. I did the basic troubleshooting, soft resets, hard resets, switch tests, cable swaps. No change. At that point I figured that the switch/LNB might be bad. The installer had left his cell number, he had been a very nice guy, so I called to get some suggestions before calling E*. As I was leaving a message, I checked the signal strength again and the 119 evens were magically back up – after being down for several days and no system changes on the day they came back. So I let it go (and the installer never called back).
After a few weeks I checked again and the 119 evens were back down – but not causing reception problems.
Fast forward a few months and the 119 evens had drifted down to around 10 and a few channels started to drop out on a regular basis. The problem was repeatable and more troubleshooting didn’t help so I called dish and found out this relatively new install was no longer covered under warranty. So – before setting up an appointment on a sometimes-intermittent problem. I wanted to double-check everything. I went on the roof and tweaked the alignment and got a few more points on both the 119 odds and evens but the even and odd discrepancy was still around 60 points – on the 119 sat only - so I still thought the LNB may be bad. In any event there was little else that I could do so I called it a day.
Now for the weird stuff. Everything was running as before – maybe a little better on the bad stations but not quite viewable. One day later and the system had trouble finding a bunch of stations. I tried to check the signal strength but was getting wrong sat messages – 119 on 110 and 100 on 119 - 61.5 seemed OK. I did a switch test and instead of the doing the typical 1 of 3 test it starts doing a 1 of 38. It looked like the receiver was confused so I did the restart, test, no connection to clear the switch memory and then a normal restart. Bingo – everything is back including the 119 evens. They had been around 10 for a few months are now in the 70s – what the heck? Good news right – not quite. One day later, the receiver gets confused again. This time the meter shows wrong sat with 110 on 119 and 110 on 61.5. A switch test showed only 110 on tuners 1 and 2 but on 1 it showed up as a bad connection (missing port 1b on sat 110). A soft reset didn't help but after a power reset it’s back – 119 evens and all.
Now I’m thrilled things are working but not if it’s going to take a hard reset every day.
I welcome any thoughts on next steps to isolate the issue.
(Even though the last part happened over the last couple days I’m still on L4.49 so this is not tied to the latest update.)
On a related topic, is it possible to test an LNB by repositioning it – or the whole dish - so that it sees another satellite. I have one ever growing evergreen in the 119 direction that I thought may be effecting the signal of 119, especially since the signals degraded over the last couple months, and wanted to try that LNB with the 110 sat to see if the low evens were due to the LNB or location. I didn’t want to swing the dish for a couple reasons but I did try disconnecting the end of the LNB arm and manually holding the 119 LNB in the 110 position. I had assumed it would have lit up the 110 signal meter but I’m now wondering if it would have shown up on 119 with the 110 wrong sat message. I’m not sure if I tried that combination but still curious if that's a valid LNB test and if so how would the signal show up during a real-time repositioning?
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Posted 09 June 2008 - 08:03 PM
Posted 09 June 2008 - 10:12 PM
I would left the exercise with dish(es) to an installer.
I tried. My first reaction was to call the installer who said, “any problems, call me” as he wrote his number in the manual. So I did. Three polite calls in the last four months asking for advice – even if the advice was to call E* directly. No replies. And because the channel loss was rare, it was not a pressing issue at the time. (But as a result of not calling E* in the first place, there’s no record of this problem while the system was in warranty and so they want to charge for support of a five month old system that has had intermittent problems for four of them. My mistake, lesson learned.) I was also hesitant to call without knowing what the problem might be because in my experience, intermittent problems are rarely fixed with one service call. A couple days ago, the switch reset that I did worked – for a day – and it’s possible that’s what the tech would have tried - and he’d be back a few days later if I was lucky. Even if I eventually turn this over to an installer, after a letter explaining why I think they should cover it, I would still like to have a better understanding of this condition – in case it comes up again.
For a quick recap, I was having signal strength problems on the even transponders on 119 with a DPP twin LNB/Switch. I now have occasional check switch and wrong sat errors. Any thoughts?
If the next suggestion is to swap the LNB/switch, are there any source suggestions or anything to watch for in the ebay replacements?