My installation & my troubles

Discussion in 'DIRECTV - SWMLine Discussion (private)' started by Sharkie_Fan, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. Sharkie_Fan

    Sharkie_Fan Hall Of Fame

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    Did my install today and had a little bit of a snag with it. All is up and running now, but it wasn't without it's hiccups.

    When I first had DirecTV installed, years ago, I just let the installer do what installers do. I had 2 receivers, 1 in the LR, 1 in the bedroom, and he just ran wires from the dish to those 2 locations (only 1 wire to the BR since it wasn't a DVR at the time).

    When I added a DVR to the bedroom and a 2nd to the living room, I bought a little sprinkler timer box and ran my multiswitch there, since there was no central wiring of any sort.

    With this upgrade, I decided to create my own little central wiring space in the laundry room. We've just got a little 2 bedroom place, and this seemed like the best place to run everything, so my SWMline upgrade was also a bit of a pet project for myself.

    I took a page out of smiddy's book and, instead of reinventing the wheel for my SWMline installation, I reused the AZ/EL mount. And, stealing from Canis Lupis, I went ahead and hooked up the regular slimline LNB first to make sure that I had the dish aligned properly. As it turned out, it needed a little bit of fine tuning after I had the slimline up. Once that was squared away, I replaced the regular LNB with the SWM LNB and got down to the business of hooking the rest of the system up.

    I wanted to be extra careful connecting my wires, so in my little enclosure, I had the PI, and I preconnected a short jumper to the IRD side so that I wouldn't earn myself a nickname! I had my splitter in there with my runs out to my 3 DVRs. My antenna runs in there to and I'll diplex that in when my diplexers arrive sometime this week.

    I ran my single wire from the dish to a grounding block and then into my new central enclosure. Hooked that up to the PI and tested the jumper cable, and I got no LF on the test. I went ahead and hooked that up to my splitter and turned on one of the Hr20s. It started up it's boot sequence and when it tried to find the satellite it sat there searching for signal. I disconnected the box and checked the line, and again tested out as having no LF. Back to the jumper placed after the PI, and same thing there, no LF.

    Basically, I ran into the same problem that Miami1683 ran into in this post: http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?t=123544. I also solved it the same way he did (thanks for the troublshooting, Miami! I only spent about 20 minutes on this problem. After a couple of tests I realized I was running into the same problem you'd had, and solved it the same way.

    I had a 3 way splitter with 1 leg power passing. I actually only wanted a 2 way but the Home Depot here was out of them, so I had a 3 way. So, to solve the problem, I ran the line from the dish into my 3 way splitter. The power passing leg goes to my PI, which has nothing connected to the IRD output. The other 2 lines go to my 2 locations (BR/LR), and everything is working perfectly (except, of course, my dear old Tivo box which will have to come out of my cabinet in the LR and be retired to the shed with it's brother! I have an R16 on it's way to take that spot in my cabinet).

    I'm not sure what the deal is with the PI, but putting it on it's own leg of the splitter works fine, and because I'm now got a central location for all my wiring, it wasn't a big deal to change. Had I not taken the time to create a home run, this would have been a huge drag. Had I gone the easy route with my install, I would have put a splitter where my multiswitch was, with one line going to the LR, and one to the bedroom, with the PI going in one of those places just before the receivers. Whichever location had the PI would have needed an extra splitter there to function properly, since nothing after the PI is seeing the SWM properly.

    With my current setup, the tester shows good at my 2 locations and no LF after the PI. I'll try hooking up after the PI next weekend and see if there's something I was missing today while I was trying to get this all buttoned up... But I really don't think I missed anything. It was only 3:00 or so, and I had plenty of daylight, so I wasn't rushing to get things finished, I took my time and checked (and double and triple checked) all my connections, and everything was in order. I tried unplugging the PI and letting it sit to reset the brains of whatever needed resetting, but still no go... So I'll give it a week and see if anything jumps out at me next week.
     
  2. smiddy

    smiddy Tain't ogre til its ogre

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    No LF? It's not clear to me from your post, so I should ask. Did you get a 8 Ch light and not a LF light (or 5 Ch)?
     
  3. Sharkie_Fan

    Sharkie_Fan Hall Of Fame

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    Yes. I got:
    PWR LIGHT - ON
    Voltage OK - ON
    LF - OFF
    5 CH - ON
    8 CH - ON

    According to the little instruction sheet, it means that the drop will not support SWM. They say that the 5ch and 8ch lights can be on OR off. The LF light being off means that the SWM signal isn't reaching that location in the line.

    The lines which I'm now using to run (legs 2 and 3 of the 3 way splitter, non power passing), get all 5 lights lit up when I test. It's just the LF after the PI that fails the test. And it fails with regularity - I tried a half dozen times.. then connected the HR20 and turned it on, and it sits there searching for signal. I tested that drop at that moment in time (connected after the PI) and get no LF.

    The only time I get all 5 lights lit is when I'm "bypassing" the PI, by running my receivers on 2 legs of the 3 way splitter, and running the PI all by it's lonesome on that 3rd, power passing leg.
     
  4. smiddy

    smiddy Tain't ogre til its ogre

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    Wow! Ok, its clear now. It sounds like you know how to fix it though...
     
  5. Sharkie_Fan

    Sharkie_Fan Hall Of Fame

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    Yeah. I'm all good to go.

    I'm just thinking that for future installs of this thing, if somebody is wired for cable and expecting to just plug this thing inline, if there's something hokey going on with the PIs that is preventing receivers downline from functioning, that's gonna be a PITA.

    I'm guessing it has to be something going on with the PI, because the only thing before the PI in that scenario was a line from the PI to a grounding block and from the grounding block to the dish.

    I'm using those same lines into the splitter, which is now running before the PI, and everything works as it should... so I can't see anything in MY setup which would cause the tests to fail after the PI. Of course I've been at this a good portion of the day, along with taking care of some of the "honey do" list, so there could be something I'm overlooking. I'll think about it some more when my mind is clearer.
     
  6. smiddy

    smiddy Tain't ogre til its ogre

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    It is always a good thing to step back and reassess your position then plan a strategy and press forward! ;)

    I am tired, but I think I get the issue and will relook at it and announce a suggestion in the morning.

    Good night.
     
  7. MIAMI1683

    MIAMI1683 New Member

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    Hmm sorry I could have explained it better in my post. Also Glad to see sharkie got it up and running.
     
  8. Canis Lupus

    Canis Lupus You make it, We break it

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    I had the LF error in every situation before I switched back to the Slimline LNB to align. After that, LF passed no problem. But I'm SWM>PI>Splitter so don't quite see a connection to your issues.

    Has anyone else had "LF" during their installs, and if so, what did it end up pointing to as the problem, if known?
     
  9. Stormtrader

    Stormtrader AllStar

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    I Was experiencing LF failure on the line from PI to Hr20, and had to reconnect to Slimline Dish for last friday evenings CE. Next day Il ran a new RG6 cable to HR20-100 that had LF failure, and now everything is working great.

    Strange the two old RG6 line would work with the Slimline Dish but not with the SWMLine Dish.
     
  10. Sharkie_Fan

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    I *WAS* SWM>PI>Splitter when I was getting the LF errors. When I went SWM>Splitter>PI, the LF errors stopped.

    After sleeping on it, I had a thought:

    The instructions for the tester, IIRC (I don't have it here at work) said to unplug for 30 seconds to reset the SWM in order to make it ready for testing. In another post here, I believe, Earl suggesting connecting the IRD in order to reset the SWM to make it ready for testing.

    I tried both ways, but didn't have any luck. BUT... when I connected the IRD, it was always AFTER the PI.

    When I got things to work, and finally started getting my drops to pass the test, it was by running straight from the dish to the splitter, and sending one leg to the IRD and one to the PI.... creating a direct line from an IRD to the dish.

    I'm wondering now if the SWM wanted that direct connection to the IRD to reset, and if the downline PI line would pass now. I can't remember if I tested that line after I "bypassed" it. I"ll try checking tonight if my line out of the PI will pass the test now, and if it does, I'll try hooking up SWM>PI>Splitter again and see if my drops will pass the test now. It makes my setup a little cleaner if I can go that way since I'm going to diplex in the antenna to get OTA in the bedroom where I only have a single wire.
     
  11. Canis Lupus

    Canis Lupus You make it, We break it

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    Oct 16, 2006
    Sorry for the confusion. I misread your post :)

    That's actually an interesting thought. Maybe you can track it down as you've mentioned.

    EDIT: Thinking back on my install, when LF did pass, I might have had an HR20 connected to the setup, however it was fully unplugged. Dunno if this would make a difference or not.

    IIRC, when LF did fail, not only was this in a state where the dish was not aligned, but it's possible I had not connected any cabling whatsoever beyond the PI.
     
  12. Sharkie_Fan

    Sharkie_Fan Hall Of Fame

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    When I first got the LF fail, I know for certain that I had not connected any cabling beyond the PI. I wanted to test to that point FIRST, then connect the cabling and test at the drops. I had all my receivers unplugged from power and from my wall drops. I wanted to be certain that I wouldn't earn myself a nickname, so I wanted NOTHING connected, and then I started connecting only when I was sure that things were OK.

    I did try plugging the bedroom HR20 in while I was still setup SWM>PI>Splitter, and it just sat there looking for satellite signal. I let it sit for 5 minutes or so before I turned it off and switched my setup to "bypass" the PI.
     
  13. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    I 'assume" the LF is the 2.5 MHz signal to/from the SWM?
    Voltage = [duh] none lights the LED.
    LF = 2.5 MHz
    Ch 5 = enough signal for the first 5/6 channels.
    Ch 8 = the last three highest channels.
    I've got two 1 GHz cable splitters [same model] one passed the 5 Ch and the other passes 8 Ch too. [see here http://www.dbstalk.com/showpost.php?p=1515588&postcount=5].
     
  14. Sharkie_Fan

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    I haven't had the chance yet to play with the PI and the IRD output to follow up on the LF failures on the tester.

    My R16, however, arrived today. It took me 2 resets to get it to finally boot up and run through the setup.

    After the second reset, I went through the setup screens. All 3 satellites returned an "OK", as did both tuners.

    However, when it booted to live TV, a message popped up that said "You only have one tuner connected. If you want to record two programs at once, you need to connect the second tuner". That may not be the 'exact' wording of the message, but the basic idea is that it only thought 1 tuner was connected, even though the setup had already confirmed two working tuners.

    When I activated, my locals weren't showing up and the CSR had to refresh programming. Before doing that she had me go through the setup/info, and again, both tuners show up as working properly...

    It seems a minor glitch, perhaps stemming from the fact that with the SWM connected, only 1 wire is connected, combined with the fact that this was the initial boot after running through setup for the first time (neither of my HR20s gave me any sort of similar message, nor have i seen any reports of this message before seeing it tonight)
     
  15. Canis Lupus

    Canis Lupus You make it, We break it

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    Good post Sharkie - because at least in Round 2 Testers, I haven't seen an R-16 post, which would affect potentially a number of us, including me, who would update legacy SD-DVRs or SD receivers to SWMLine.
     
  16. Sharkie_Fan

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    That's exactly the reason I now have an R-16. I had an old tivo that was mostly kids shows, or, a 3rd tuner if I happened to be recording 2 programs on the HR20 in the living room and wanted to watch something else....

    I've been wanting to replace it for quite some time, but, since it was just a backup, I didn't really have the motivation to do so.

    THe SWMline gave me the motivation to finally retire my last tivo! So, now I have no tivos, and 3 DVR+ boxes to run CEs on!

    Truthfully, my biggest problem getting the R16 up and running was to figure out how to get the remote to control it in AV1 mode, so that I didn't change the channel on the R16 everytime I change the channel on the HR20! :) Thank goodness for the search function in this forum!
     
  17. Sharkie_Fan

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    I've finally had a chance to do some MORE troublshooting with my system, and I have an update.

    VOS and I went back and forth a few times several weekends ago as to what my problems might be. As I told him - this not being my profession - I was skeptical of his thinking that cabling might be the problem. Using the same cabling, the system worked fine when split BEFORE the PI, but, my one R16 would fail when the same cable was split AFTER the PI...

    However, knowing that there are wiser people than I when it comes to these matters, I finally had a chance this weekend to swap cables as VOS had suggested (I was fortunate that in the failing location I had SAT & OTA lines run, so it was a matter of switching the feeds in my wiring cabinet and seeing what happened).

    Much to my surprise, the R16 and the HR20 both work now, and both show the same signal strengths as my second HR20 in the bedroom. Prior to switching the cables, when I would split after the PI, the HR20 in the LR would read 3-5 points lower on all my signal strengths than the one in my bedroom. I chalked it up to the fact that I was splitting the LR line once more than the BR line so that I could feed 2 boxes in the LR....

    With the other cable, though, I get virtually the same signal readings on all 3 boxes.

    Now I'm starting to play with diplexing the OTA signal onto the line. I've got Skywalker SKY23502 diplexers,. I put one at the wiring cabinet, fed to the SAT side from the IRD output of the PI. The ANT side is fed from my incoming OTA line. A short (6") jumper from the IN/OUT side of the Diplexer goes into a skywalker splitter, with one line to the BR and one to the LR.

    If I stop there, the IRDS are all functioning. Unfortunately, When I put another Diplexer behind the IRD, with my line from the splitter feeding the IN/OUT side, and then the SAT side to the SWM Input on the HR20 and the ANT side to the ANT input on the HR20... I get the OTA channels just fine, but I get no satellite signals...

    Guess I'll have to do some homework on how the diplexing is all supposed to function and see what I'm doing wrong here.... If I've got some glaring error in my setup... go gentle on me.. it's been a long few weeks here, and my 5 month old is giving us far too many sleepless nights!
     
  18. Sharkie_Fan

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    And.... yet another update...

    The lines running into my living room is an old RG6 Siamese line which was provided by the original DirecTV installer when we moved into this house. I don't know anything more about it than that!

    It's been running from my outside point of entry to the living room for 3 years since we moved in. When I installed the SWMline and brought everything inside to a central wiring closet, I reused those lines, pulling the end that was outside into my wiring closet.

    It would seem, to me, that wire is the culprit in all of my installation woes. Obviously, one half of this combo is the wire which originally would not run the Hr20/R16 combination. I'm now on the other side of this pair, but it doesn't want to diplex the antenna signal in...

    I can diplex just fine on my other cable run into the bedroom. This was actually the only place that I NEEDED to diplex - I had 5 lines running into the living room for my 2 DVRs, and 1 OTA feed. I'm now using 2 of those - 1 for the SWM feed to my 2 DVRs, and 1 to feed the HR20 OTA.

    It's sort of a convoluted setup in my little cabinet, but, it all works. I now have everything running AFTER the PI, which I was never able to do before this weekend. My old Ideal splitter is splitting my OTA signal, but it is not handling any of the SWM duties - that falls to the skywalker 2 way splitters that I bought.

    I have some network cabling that I still need to clean up, so I may run a new RG6 line into the living room and see if it makes the setup happier....

    IN the meantime, things are working as advertised, and in the "optimal" configuration with everything running after the PI (no nicknames for me!)
     

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