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Signal degredation


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17 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Calvin Carrigan

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 09:44 AM

I am having a new home being built wired for DISH. How long does a run need to be on a mirror before the signal starts to degrade to a point that you need a booster? This is on a SD signal.

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#2 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 12:17 PM

Specify that the RG6 used for the install is "solid copper center conductor" and not the cheaper copper-clad steel. That should be good for runs of at least 200'. For lines built-in to a house, I'd recommend quad shield with solid copper. I also recommend a *minimum* of 2 coax and 2 CAT6 to every room/outlet. 3 is better.

The coax should all come to a central box/location. 6 lines should be run from the outside of the house (usually south side; where the dish will be mounted) to the central location.

If this sounds like overkill; well, it isn't. You have an oppertunity that most people never have, so take full advantage of it while you have the chance.

NOTE: if you need to save some money, just have them run the lines, but skip having them terminate them. You can do that part down the road as-needed, but the lines need to go in during construction.

Even people who thought they went overboard end up wishing they installed more cable. I've never met anyone who wishes they installed less, ever.

#3 OFFLINE   Calvin Carrigan

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 08:27 AM

Thanks for the info. I am going to run 3 722's with a couple of mirrors and want to make sure it's right to start off. So when you say run the lines but not terminate where do the lines go to? Should I still have a disribution panel? Also I live in zip code 32259 and see that they now have a couple of locals in HD. I was going to have a line run from each box to the outside for an OTA HD antennae. Should I just use my rabbit ears for now and save the money? Is it really that hard to add after the house is built? I'm not sure how easy it would be for the first floor.

#4 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 11:55 AM

By "terminate", I mean putting connectors on the ends. Low voltage contractors normally charge one price for running the actual cable, plus an additional fee for installing connectors/jacks at each end (especially CAT6 cables and/or fiber). Getting the cable in the walls before they are closed up is vital; terminating the cables can be done as-needed.

The "central location" means a panel/box somewhere in the house. I just call it a "network box" as a generic name, but I've found that some techs call them by the brand name on the boxes they see most often.

Ideally, the network box will be somewhere where it will still be possible to add additional lines later on if necessary (we just don't know what will be important in 20 years), even though we're trying to avoid just that by doing a good pre-wire job.

As far as interior panels/modules, you *probably* don't need those, but IF you are running phone lines (which you should be using CAT6 for, so that the lines can be converted to network lines later on if need be), the modules make for a nice, neat installation. I personally use modules for my CAT6 runs too, but I tend to upgrade and reconfigure a lot more than most people do, as I end up testing a lot of gear, so the modules are helpful. For folks who rarely change their configuration, modules may be overkill.

For cable/satellite, I would pass on modules unless you aren't likely to change/expand on anything for a long time.

#5 OFFLINE   Calvin Carrigan

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 01:55 PM

Thanks. Brinks is the company doing the install but they have flat out told me they don't normally wire for sattelite and are confused. I'm kind of upset that I have no choice but to use them. They are used to wiring for cable to a central box only. Should I just have them do that and have dish do the mirrors etc.? What about wiring for an outside antenna?

#6 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 02:30 PM

Coax is VERY simple. The important thing is that they run ENOUGH.

Normally, they'll run a single coax line to the living room (in one location), master bedroom, and some or all of the bedrooms. And often, they'll run one coax line to one outlet, and then split it there to go to another room. If they do that, you're screwed.

What you want are HOMERUN lines; unbroken, unspliced, unsplit lines from the outlets you designate back to a central box. As I said before, insist on at least TWO coax's per outlet (I would get 3 myself; 2 for sat and 1 for OTA). You will also want them to pull 6 (SIX) coax lines from either the cable/power service entrance (usually a panel on the side of the garage), OR if you know where your dish is going, from that location, to the network box.

Why 6? Well, in many cases you might need 4 for satellite (to locate one or more switches in the network box), 1 for OTA, and 1 for cable, to feed a cable modem, perhaps.

Do you know how many times a week I have to tell a customer in a brand new house that we have to run cable around the outside of their home to get it where it needs to go? At least a dozen. Few ever get the chance to do it right, and as you have learned, even "professional" low-voltage installers are often totally clueless as to modern needs. Of the 4 dozen or so low-voltage contractors I've run into, only 2 had even the first clue how to wire a house for satellite, much less satellite AND OTA (and cable modem, etc.). The "standard" is still one coax per room, max, which would be akin to installing 40 MPH governers on every modern car; it's no where near enough for modern needs.

I would recommend going over the house plans and choosing the outlet locations yourself. In the living room, and in any room that is going to be "entertainment heavy", have them put in 2 full outlets. The wife/girlfriend/SO will want to rearrange the furnature and will always want the TV on the wall that doesn't have an outlet, so put one on each wall.

I really, really recommend at LEAST one CAT6 line to each outlet too. Wireless is popular, but it has very real problems and limits, and the amount of data that you're going to want to transfer around your home is already increasing at a massive rate. Hardwire is much, much faster, FAR more reliable, and much more secure than relying on radio. The alternative will be drilling holes in the wall and cables running on the floor. Do it right NOW, while you can!

#7 OFFLINE   Calvin Carrigan

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 04:54 PM

My plans do come with the Home Run package. I wasn't sure if that's what I should get. So if I do that and have 3 coax to each location I should be fine? Do I have them terminate only one of the lines and leave the rest free in the box? Should I get them to put in the distribution panel? The only offer 3 lines left free in the attic for the installer. Should I get 6?

#8 OFFLINE   satexplorer

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 11:33 PM

I wouldn't use the wire coming out of the house.

#9 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 11:50 PM

Thanks for the info. I am going to run 3 722's with a couple of mirrors and want to make sure it's right to start off.

What is a "mirror"?

People make up or use terms from other industries all the time and I want to be sure I understand what you're looking for.

#10 OFFLINE   Calvin Carrigan

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 07:25 AM

What is a "mirror"?

People make up or use terms from other industries all the time and I want to be sure I understand what you're looking for.



Dish calls it a Mirror. It's nothing more than a split off the original run. 2 TV's will recieve the same station at the same time.

#11 OFFLINE   Calvin Carrigan

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 07:25 AM

I wouldn't use the wire coming out of the house.


? Why?

#12 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 09:46 AM

Dish calls it a Mirror.

What you describe is what DISH Network calls "Home Distribution". If you search their website for the word "mirror", you'll find a explanation of DLP technology.

Mirroring is what DIRECTV calls having the same programming plan on more than one satellite receiver (described under Phone Connections in their Customer Agreement). DIRECTV is getting away from RF distribution where they can.


Now that I understand your terminology, I have one more question: are you planning to use OTA (or basic cable) in your setup?

Without OTA, you can use backfeeding to carry the Home Distribution signals back to your home run location. With OTA, I'd recommend a second dedicated cable coming back from each location than you want to distribute. Some have had success diplexing satellite, OTA and Home Distribution (and maybe even UHF remote) on a single cable, but the signal losses can be significant.

#13 OFFLINE   Calvin Carrigan

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 10:24 AM

I had planned originally to use OTA for my locals HD becasue Dish doesn't offer all of them currently. I'm not sure how long it will be before I can get all of them. I live in zip code 32259 if that helps. So it sounds like if I get the home runs to a panel then have lines from that panle to the outside I should be good? That's weird abou the mirroring. When the guy installed it that's what he said he was doing. This would allow me to have the same program on my bedroom and office at the same time on tuner 2 but watch something else on tuner 1.

#14 OFFLINE   Calvin Carrigan

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 08:27 PM

I had planned originally to use OTA for my locals HD becasue Dish doesn't offer all of them currently. I'm not sure how long it will be before I can get all of them. I live in zip code 32259 if that helps. So it sounds like if I get the home runs to a panel then have lines from that panle to the outside I should be good? That's weird abou the mirroring. When the guy installed it that's what he said he was doing. This would allow me to have the same program on my bedroom and office at the same time on tuner 2 but watch something else on tuner 1.


Is this what I am heraing at minimum?

#15 OFFLINE   Calvin Carrigan

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 12:30 PM

So I should ask them to run 3 homerun lines from each outlet to the distribution panel?

#16 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 12:37 PM

Yes, and 6 lines from the attic to the box to get signals from the dish and OTA antenna (and maybe even cable) into the distro panel.

#17 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 09:55 AM

I'd go for five from the roof and two to each room. In the grand scheme, you don't need more cables coming down from the roof than the number of receivers +1 for OTA for up to four receivers. Once you get beyond four, you need to cascade switches which is better done indoors.

#18 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 01:35 PM

Always have an extra. What if one goes bad? What if he needs 4 for sat, 1 for OTA, and 1 for cable modem? You should be planning to cover at least the next 20 years, based on "worst case scenario".




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