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BYO SWM Power Inserter


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35 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Desert Goat

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:47 AM

First, a warning: if you are a seasoned, knowledgeable DBS person, this is probably going to be one of those posts that enrage you because there is a 99% chance I have no idea what I am talking about.

 

OK, if you are still reading...

 

I am in a condo where the association provides basic D* service with the ability to add on.  I have added on, and in fact I have multiple sports subs and my bill lately has been running about $185.  There are a few dishes per building in a SWM configuration.  I know this because I have been here for 6 months and my service has gone completely out for days at a time at least 3 times because the SWM power inserter needed to be reset. 

 

Unfortunately, the power inserter is in a location inaccessible to me (certainly it is not in my unit) and so I cannot do anything about the outage until the HOA system operator comes out and resets the thing, wherever it is.  Currently I am working on 3 days without service, have made multiple calls to the system operator, and am looking at the very real possibility of missing 1/17 of my NFL:ST sub this weekend.

 

So here is my question.  I have a SWM power inserter in a box from setup I had before I moved here.  If I hook it up, will any of the following possibly occur:

 

1.  Resolution of my 775 error.

2.  Destruction of receivers, dishes, LNB, etc.

3.  Fire.

 

I wouldn't even be considering this except that dammit, football.  Any help you can provide would be very much appreciated.



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#2 OFFLINE   jimmie57

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:59 AM

I would doubt seriously if your coax would allow the power to pass to the SWM. It would have to be on a power passing port of a splitter.

 

I am not an installer but I do not think it would damage anything to plug it in and try it. After all, you have no TV now anyway.

 

There are 2 Power Inserters. One is 21 volt and is for the SWM LNB setup and the other is the 29 volt for the Multi Switch set ups. If you have the 21 volt I would not think that would work even if you were lucky with the connection.

 

Maybe you could talk to the person in charge of this and tell them you would be glad to reset this yourself if they would just show you where it is located.


Edited by jimmie57, 05 September 2013 - 08:15 AM.

DirecTV customer since 1996 - Current :Slimline 3 SWM,   HR24-100 HDMI to 32" Sharp LED,
HR24-100 Component cables to 46" Samsung LCD & Optical Cable to Yamaha AVR, H21-200 HDMI to Yamaha AVR & HDMI to 52" Mitsubishi LCD


#3 OFFLINE   Laxguy

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:18 AM

Can you find out where the PI is so you can fix if next time it goes South? 


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#4 OFFLINE   gov

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:47 AM

Every multi-port SWM splitter I've seen has one (sorry) clearly marked port for the power inserter and the rest are power passive.  So adding another PI won't fix it.

 

 

Any idea why the SWM  PI keeps kicking out?  



#5 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:21 AM

If they're using a SWM16 and have it powered via the PWR port located between the SWM1 and SWM2 ports, it would still be possible for whoever is plugged into the red port on the SWM splitter connected to the SWM1 port to power it. If it is a SWM8, it can be powered via the red splitter port or the legacy 3 port. So there is a way for two power sources to be used if one keeps going down (I assume because a breaker is being tripped where it is located?)

 

Have you tried calling Directv to complain? Tell them you're going to cancel if this problem isn't resolved. Maybe they can put pressure on your HOA if they won't help you out. Can't hurt to try.


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#6 OFFLINE   Desert Goat

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:32 AM

Thanks for the info, everyone.

 

When I first had the system hooked up, the installer mentioned that the PI was in another unit.  I did mention I would be glad to have it in my unit since I have no problem resetting it if needed.  Heck, I will even put it on a UPS if that means having reliable service.

 

The only thing I can figure as far as reasoning is that we are in South Florida and we get storms ALL the time.  I am guessing the power supply to the PI is not backed up.  

 

I know we have switched system operators since I have lived here, so maybe I can talk the newest one into either putting the thing in my unit or showing me where it is.  



#7 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 09:38 AM

Or putting it on a UPS...

 

- Merg


Today's problems don't worry me, I haven't solved yesterday's yet.

SlimLine-3 Dish w/ SWM16 (HD Service / WHDVR) / Full Setup
HR34-700 / Panasonic TC-P50G25 HDTV / HDMI / Networked - DECA / Family Room
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#8 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 05 September 2013 - 02:44 PM

I say you need to see whats going on, service out for three days and it happening often is not acceptable, and id think others in the building would be having the same issues.  I like your idea of getting it into your apartment and putting it on a ups myself.  Id become chummy with the installer and see what needed to be done to get things changed immediately...



#9 OFFLINE   JBv

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 08:01 PM

Since you're in an MDU there's a very very very nearly 100% good chance that the power inserter is in a wiring closet with a bunch of SWM-8s or SWM-16s (or SWM-32s etc) and MSTs.

 

It would be quite odd for them to install an actual power inserter in someone else's condo (they did not do this).


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#10 OFFLINE   Desert Goat

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 10:05 PM

So this is an old thread but I wanted to update it quickly to say that the power inserter was, in fact, in someone else's condo.  After yet another outage, I convinced our system operator to move it to my unit, and then I put it on a UPS. 

 

Unfortunately, I have a new problem now.  About 2-3 weeks ago I started noticing that my DVR would freeze up from time to time, pause for a few seconds, then continue playing, almost like you'd experience when trying to play a scratched DVD..  I quickly ruled out weather as a factor, and so I thought the hard drive might be going bad on the thing.  DirecTV wouldn't replace it without a service call, so I asked if I had any upgrades available and ended up getting an HR-44.  Installed that today and started getting 776 errors.  DirecTV tells me this means I need a bigger SWM, so I put in a call to the system operator to see if they can accommodate.  However, now that I think about it, I am in an 8-unit building and I am taking up 7 SWM slots now (5 for the HR44 and 2 for my H24).  I hate to be a bandwidth hog.  Are they even going to have something that can allow me the slots I need and still leave room for other units?

 

I guess the positive in this is that I did get permission from the HOA to have the system operator put a dish up for my sole use back when I have having the power inserter related outages.  I haven't asked them to do it, but this might end up being the catalyst.



#11 OFFLINE   texasbrit

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 10:25 PM

You are almost certainly correct about the problem. Most shared systems like this limit the number of tuners per user, and won't let you install new equipment without permission.  Doesn't your condo have this rule?

If people install too many tuners, the only solution is adding more SWM capacity into the system (such as giving your apartment its own SWM8). And someone has to pay for this.



#12 OFFLINE   Desert Goat

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 09:48 AM

 

 

Doesn't your condo have this rule?

 

It might, but if it does it has never been communicated to me.  

 

 

 

adding more SWM capacity into the system (such as giving your apartment its own SWM8). And someone has to pay for this.

 

I don't know what the cost for this kind of thing is, but I know that when I had my own dish in Phoenix, I didn't pay for any of the equipment.  I figured that was probably covered by the roughly $150 a month I shell out to DirecTV.  Realistically, I don't need 7 tuners, but I would like to have a Genie and the ability to watch TV without freeze ups, and sit down to watch a recorded program without getting a message that "all or part of the program did not record."  If that means I need my own dish with my own SWM, so be it.  If the HoA is going to offer DirecTV, it ought to offer all of it given that I am paying full price for it, and not just the parts it deems cost-effective.



#13 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 10:31 AM

First of all I don't really like passing judgment without knowing all the facts but this really sounds like an MDU installer that doesn't know what he's talking about. Putting the power inserter in an apartment is strongly frowned upon in an MDU install. It should be in one of the equipment closets.

In fact, the preferred way to do an MDU install is to install a SWM32 which has the option for dual redundant power supplies, and also to use appropriate protection like UPS's. If the property owner doesn't want to spend the money for that, the least they can do is provide power to the closet so the PI can be there.

As for your ideas about being a hog or what have you, I wouldn't worry about it. Some apartment complexes have a fixed limit of 4 or 8 tuners per residence (more recently, it's going to be 8 because of Genies.) However if your complex is willing to give you a SWM16 all to yourself, you're not depriving someone else of anything. They can just add another SWM and an amplifier if that's needed. You shouldn't have to go to the trouble of adding a dish yourself if they're willing to do that.

At any rate I would go to the condo board and let them know that the tech they are using just isn't taking care of business. Unless there is a contract in place, you should be free to move to another operator who can promise you same-day or next-day service in most cases. The board may choose to add additional equipment to fix some of the problems brought by the current operator such as putting the PI in a common area like a closet, and at the same time they can inspect the install for violations.

Violations? What a word. What I mean is that, for example, the installer is supposed to make it impossible for one condo to see another condo's DVRs. Even though this takes a $3 part per unit, a lot of installers don't bother. Then you know what? Someone connects his receiver to the internet and boom, DIRECTV sees that receivers on different accounts can see each other and the fraud squad comes out. This does really happen and it's the condo board or whomever pays the bill that's responsible, not the installer.

I know this is a long post but it makes me upset when I see people living with these subpar installs.
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#14 OFFLINE   Desert Goat

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 10:44 AM

Thanks very much for the reply.  I've had my HR24 connected to the internet via the DirecTV Cinema Connection Kit for almost a year, so I am guessing that the part you refer to for keeping the DVRs from seeing each other is installed.  Your points about not taking "bandwidth" away from anyone else are reassuring.  I have a call in to the operator and am waiting to hear back from them.  I may give them a call this afternoon to follow up (they have an after hours line where I left a message, but they seem to take their time returning calls).  If I cannot get movement from them, I will definitely go to the HoA and explain the situation to them.

 

It's good to hear that having a Genie seems like a realistic goal even with the MDU setup I am in.  Thanks again for all the information and advice.



#15 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 12:34 PM

In fact, the preferred way to do an MDU install is to install a SWM32 which has the option for dual redundant power supplies, and also to use appropriate protection like UPS's. If the property owner doesn't want to spend the money for that, the least they can do is provide power to the closet so the PI can be there.

 

What happens if you power a SWM16 via the PWR port and SWM1 port at the same time? Does it draw half the power from each, does one override the other? Anyone tried it?


Edited by slice1900, 03 December 2013 - 12:36 PM.

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#16 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 12:41 PM

Other than, you're not supposed to do that, I'm not 100% sure. I regret to say that I'm not going to risk blowing up a SWM to find out :lol:

I do know someone who might know and I'll be seeing him Friday. I'll ask.
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#17 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:41 PM

It doesn't really sound like this is a true MDU installation, otherwise Desert Goat should not have been able to get an HR44 from DirecTV (they should have referred him to the system operator).  So what is probably the situation is there is a community dish and somebody did install and is maintaining that for the HOA, but it isn't a true MDU account. Just speculating, but it could easily be the situation.  In that case, it shouldn't be that big of a deal to get a separate SWM8 or SWM16, but it may require Desert Goat having to pay for the parts and work.



#18 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:53 PM

Other than, you're not supposed to do that, I'm not 100% sure. I regret to say that I'm not going to risk blowing up a SWM to find out :lol:

I do know someone who might know and I'll be seeing him Friday. I'll ask.

 

I can't see how it would hurt the SWM, but it may well blow one or both power supplies.

 

It is reasonable to assume the PWR and SWM1 are connected at a DC level, so that either can supply power. If you've been told you're "not supposed to do that", the SWM16 probably wasn't designed to be able to accept power from both ports simultaneously. So it wouldn't have diodes on these DC lines to protect against this. If you connected a power supply to both, each power supply be electrically connected to the other. I don't know exactly what happens when you do that, but I'm pretty sure it is not a good idea :)

 

If the power supplies were designed for redundant power they'd include the diode. PI29s obviously wouldn't, and nothing I can see at Sonora's site regarding the PS242000A mentions it either. Any chance you could check with Sonora and see if it has a diode on the DC output? I doubt it does, but it would be worth suggesting as an enhancement. Beyond enabling it to support redundant power (which they probably wouldn't care about) it would be an added safety measure in case an installer accidentally connects one to the wrong port of a splitter already powered by another (i.e. like a PS2x8)

 

You could add your own diode quite easily, by putting a diode steered splitter inline with each power supply. Or, for that matter, you could connect two power supplies to the PWR port through a single diode steered splitter, in cases where both power supplies would located in the same place. That is, when you're concerned about failure of the power supply, rather than loss of power on the circuit they're plugged into.

 

I wonder if anyone makes a one way DC blocking coupler? i.e. a F81 barrel with a diode, so it would pass power in only one direction.


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#19 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 02:03 PM

Other than, you're not supposed to do that, I'm not 100% sure. I regret to say that I'm not going to risk blowing up a SWM to find out :lol:

I do know someone who might know and I'll be seeing him Friday. I'll ask.

 

Come to think of it, how could you avoid this in a MDU? Let's say they use SWM16s, and power them via the PWR port. If you provide a unit with all 8 tuners directly from a SWM16's SWM1 port, or from the red port of a splitter connected to SWM1, what stops someone in that unit from plugging in a power inserter? You have some guy who moved and saved some of the stuff from his Directv install, including the PI21. The MDU installer sets him up, and then at some point something isn't working right, 771 error or whatever, and he thinks "hey, I remember I had that power inserter when I lived in my old place, maybe that's what's wrong" and finds it in his closet and tries to "fix" it himself.

 

There's no way that doesn't happen now and then in MDUs. Maybe whenever it does it blows the power supply and the MDU tech has no idea why that happened. He shrugs his shoulders and replaces it. The customer's PI21 probably blows too, but I doubt he's going to go out of his way to tell anyone what happened :) If Sonora's power supply included a diode on the output, it would be protected from damage and only the customer's power supply would blow.


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#20 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 08:28 AM

I would fully expect a blocking diode in the SWM1 input to the SWM to prevent dc voltage/current being fed out of that port when the power supply is connected to the dedicated power input. It would not surprise me to find one in the dedicated power input also.

 

Connecting power supplies (of the same voltage) in parallel would normally not harm anything. But unless they are carefully balanced in output voltage, the supply with the higher voltage (typically more than 100 millivolts greater) will tend to supply all of the current demand. Equipment designed for this purpose will have external circuitry to manage this and balance the demand.  If they are not diode isolated, and one power supply fails, it could present a short circuit to the other power supply resulting it its failure also.






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