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AM21/HR24-500 is bad news

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by sstv, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Dec 9, 2006
    While working with some test firmware, I had some instances keep/delete "recordings". The NR didn't seem to give me these last weekend.
    In my case, OTA always recorded, but only one SAT tuner would and the other always gave the keep/delete. This tuner also had problems with live buffer, where if I skipped back into it everything would freeze until a channel change to dump the buffer.
    Using double play, I was able to quickly check/test the tuners and their live buffer. If the buffer was hosed, so would be a recording off that tuner.
    Since this was a SAT tuner, I needed to get it working so at first the work a round was to reset the OTA settings [disable the AM-21] which got both SAT tuners working again. I repeated this several times. With AM-21 activated both OTA tuners worked fine, but only one SAT did. Disable OTA and both SAT tuners worked fine.
    I tried another version of test firmware and basically had the same thing, but couldn't get both SAT tuners working by disabling the AM-21 through the menu.
    Since two SAT tuners was more important than the AM-21, I moved back to the NR and had all four tuners function. Then I read posts about others that weren't having this problem, and being a sucker for abuse, I downloaded the test firmware again.
    Again it had one bad SAT tuner and three good tuners.
    No matter what I seemed to do/try, this always seemed to be the case.

    Then I pulled the USB cable. Both SAT tuners worked!!!!
    Then I pulled the USB cable back in, checked the SAT tuners before setting up the AM-21, and the tuners still worked.
    Next I setup the AM-21, and to my surprise, all four tuners worked.

    In a bug free world, this doesn't make sense, so there is a bug, but this was with test firmware and "for me" the NR didn't do this.

    I wonder how close your problems are to this and if any of the steps I went through would affect yours?
  2. sstv

    sstv Legend

    Jul 30, 2006
    Hi Vos
    I never had a problem with recording 2 sat programs at the same time. It has always been a OTA problem.
    It looks like I will have to dig a little deeper.
    Thanks everyone for the discussion in the care and feeding of the HR24-500.

  3. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Dec 9, 2006
    I'd look at the live buffers off the AM-21 tuners.
    Another thing might be to pull the power cord for a good 15 mins and see if things change when it boots up.
    If you're on the NR, the code "should be good", but there may be a glitch in the hardware, as my experience showed.
  4. usnret

    usnret Icon

    Jan 16, 2009
    Well, I was getting ready to purchase an AM-21 to hook up to my 24-500 (I have a 22-200 MVR'd to it), so that I can dump my TIVO HD that I use for OOA recording. But now maybe I should wait? Just wondering how safe the hook up would be now. It appears that its a problem with the 500 tuners right? Am running the newest FW on both the 24 and 22.
  5. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Dec 9, 2006
    "yes & no", which would make this hard to determine what your experience would be. "mine works" :shrug:
  6. NR4P

    NR4P Dad

    Jan 15, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Just to amuse myself, I did set up two OTA recordings simultaneously on my HR24-500/AM21.

    All was good. Don't know why it isn't for sstv.

    Too bad it wouldn't be practical or permitted to swap hardware across the country. But it would be an interesting test to eliminate either equipment or location. Might learn something but we can't do it. Thats up to Directv to figure out.
  7. dmricke

    dmricke DBSTalk Club Member

    Dec 15, 2006
    Grand Forks, ND
    I also haven't had very good luck recording OTA. I have an AM-21/HR24-500 and an HR2-700 fed by an antenna system that consistently delivers 90 - 100% signal levels.

    Live viewing of the OTA stations is almost always good.

    Programs recorded from the CBS station become heavily pixellated and unwatchable about 50% of the time. One theory from another thread was that since this station doesn't have any sub-channels the bit rate might be too high for the receiver.

    Recordings from the ABC station usually look good but often will not have any trickplay functionality. Attempting to FF or skip will cause playback to jump back to the start of the program. This behavior sometimes shows up in the live buffer too.

    I haven't identified any reproducible patterns yet since SWMBO quickly reaches her tolerance level when her favorite shows fail and I have to find them on the internet.

    For now we've gone back to the SD LIL versions until the schedule lightens up enough that I can make some OTA test recordings.
  8. Maruuk

    Maruuk Hall Of Fame

    Dec 4, 2007
    My AM21/HR24-500 had at least one prominent missing OTA channel when first installed, but within an hour or so a new forced D/L rebooted my rig and after that the channels returned and have been fine since.
  9. cover

    cover Icon

    Feb 11, 2007
    I had some pretty bad issues with HR24-500s and AM21s when I first got them several months ago - immediate keep or delete on about 1/3 of OTA recordings.

    I also had issues with -100s. They couldn't seem to handle 2 simultaneous OTA streams.

    I haven't tried the 100s with OTA for a while, but my 500s are working well now. Once in a great while, I'll have a blank (immediate keep or delete) OTA recording but it's now rare enough that I can chalk it up to a momentary signal loss or other oddities. It doesn't happen often enough any more to really be much of a problem. Nothing in my setup has really changed, so I assume that an NR software version did a lot to help at some point.

    Just wanted to throw in another data point.
  10. sstv

    sstv Legend

    Jul 30, 2006
    Hi All
    After reading the in depth check out by Vos, I could see that my problem was not tuner related. The end result was the same, NO RECORD, but getting to that result was different. So I said ,what the hell, pull the USB cable, give it short pause and plug it back in.
    Shazam, everything has worked as it should for the last week. Only time will tell if this is a solution or if I might have to pull the cable again.

    And for those that dont know what a SHAZAM is, you have to go back to the late 1940's and early 1950's. This the word that Billy Batson would say when he became CAPTAIN MARVEL in the comic books
  11. sstv

    sstv Legend

    Jul 30, 2006
    Hi all
    I got a couple of "KEEP/DELETE" the last few days, so the problem is still there.
    DTV is sending out a Tech to check things out.
    I have no idea how you check out a random problem so it should be interesting.

  12. sstv

    sstv Legend

    Jul 30, 2006
    Hi All
    No real solution but I found out that my AM21 does not like the signal to be in the low
    80's. This is when the record problem shows up.
    I used an ATTENUATOR to drop signals down to 80% and got lots of recrding failures on all channels. 80% is the drop dead signal level for my AM21 as far as recording goes, viewing still works fine. Go figure.

    In an unrelated problem, I was seeing very brief pixilation and audio breakup at random times. Not a big problem but it was there.
    Since my system is a WHV hr24/h23 non supported and I did'nt have anything better to do, I put a BAND STOP filter between the splitter and the non green LNB and the problem went away. I bet the HR24 is putting some noise on the coax even though the internal DECA is turned OFF or the U-Verse router I am using for WHV is doing it.

    Since 94
  13. hasan

    hasan Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    Ogden, IA
    Your situation has me completely mystified. I've never observed a difference between viewing/recording threshold. Mine measured out at 40% or so for both viewing and recording. (I never found an instance where the signal was viewable with no breakups, and it wouldn't record, no matter what the level was. Very strange. Keep in mind, you aren't looking at signal strength with those percentage numbers, rather you are seeing the inverse of the bit-error-rate (BER), or some approximation thereof. (which is a measure of QUALITY, not quantity)

    If your signal is stable at 70% (no bounce), you should be able to record just fine, unless there is something really hinky about the 24 series. I don't have one...all of mine are 20's or 21's. The 21-100 and H21-200 both have AM21's on them, and I've not been able to duplicate your problem on them. (I have a variable attenuator that I can insert to drop signal levels). On the other hand, if I introduce multi-path (as shown by percentage bounce), I can kill viewing much more quickly than simply reducing signal amplitude.

    I'm wondering if your attenuator is introducing phase-shift (if it is poorly designed, for example), and you are seeing a combo of reduced strength and increased ghosting (as in multi-path).

    There just isn't a great explanation for what you are experiencing, unless there is something particularly hinky with the 24 series. Let us know how it all turns out, as it is quite a mystery!
  14. houskamp

    houskamp Active Member

    Sep 14, 2006
    makes me wonder about signal issues too.. maybe mutipath?
    I have 2 hr24-500/am21 combos and can't remember a missed ota in a long time..
    my ant was carefully tuned for them tho..
  15. finaldiet

    finaldiet Hall Of Fame

    Jun 13, 2006
    Sorry to hear about your problems. Was worried when I first got my AM21 months ago, but it has worked flawlessly on my 500.
  16. sstv

    sstv Legend

    Jul 30, 2006
    Hi All
    Just a follow up.
    A recording from the AM21 was made last night. The recording is OK but FAST FORWARD from the remote locks the recording. Holding down the fast forward button will jump about 15 minutes and the recording will play OK. Try another fast formard and the recording locks up again.
    Recordings from the SAT in the same time frame work OK.
    Now the tricky part. The AM21 recording works OK on my H23. No lock ups, good fast forward, works normally. HR24 seems to be the problem so a "PULL THE PLUG" was tried and results are still bad. Called DTV and they are looking into it. Also the dimming of the front panel using the LEFT/RIGHT buttons only works on a random basis. It might dim after many button hits but never in 2 or 3.
    I am doomed.

  17. bap427

    bap427 New Member

    May 6, 2011
    Hi, I am new to Direct from Dish. With my Dish Vip 622 I could record 2 programs while watching another. Will adding an AM-21 allow me to do that with an HR24 receiver?
  18. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006

    I could be wrong, but I think adding OTA to a DISH DVR allows you to simultaneously record a third stream (and watch a fourth).

    The HR's are designed to record 2 streams and watch a third. Adding the AM21 allows one or two of those streams to be OTA, but doesn't increase the number of streams you can record.
  19. sstv

    sstv Legend

    Jul 30, 2006
    Adding an AM21 will allow you to record two "Over the air" or one "Over the air" and one "Sat" plus view a recording at the same time.

  20. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

    Jul 19, 2005
    The important thing to remember here is only 2 live streams. 2 OTA, or 2 SAT, or one of each. While the live streams are happening, you could watch a previously recorded program, and potentially watch something previously recorded on a remote system if you had Whole Home setup as well.

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