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Questions about dish heaters

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by joannel, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. joannel

    joannel AllStar

    Sep 18, 2007
    Does anyone out there have information about dish heaters. I have a Directv Slimline-5 dish, and it seems to be happening with more regularity that my dish gets caked with snow during snowstorms and I lose my signal. This happens anytime I get a wet, heavy, snow. I have seen some info on line, but would like to know if anyone has any experience with them. I would love one where I could just throw a switch when I need to.
  2. EdJ

    EdJ Legend

    Jan 9, 2007
    Can't help you myself since I have not installed a dish heater.... But, if you enter 'dish heater' in the search function of the forum, you will find a lot of info about the heaters.
  3. gov

    gov Legend

    Jan 11, 2013
    Years ago had an oversize DirecTV 101 only dish with a heater. Heater didn't see much use, and when 3 LNB models came out took down the 101. The dish was heavy, and the power pack was almost as big as a loaf of bread and quite heavy. It did work, but winters have been milder, and I had the 3 LNB mounted closer to edge of roof for brooming it.

    My current KaKu is near edge of roof and it gets broomed maybe 1 or 2 times a winter.

    Seems like someone in another thread suggested mounting a SWiM16 on the back of the dish to use as a heater LOL.

    I WANT MORE CowboySooner

    Oct 3, 2006
    Northern plains
    Mine is now plugged for the third time this winter. Had not happened one time for the previous 15 years.
  5. Diana C

    Diana C Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

    Mar 30, 2007
    New Jersey
    As you can see by my signature we have had satellite TV for over 14 years. In the first 10 we never had signal outage due to snow, despite having several winters when we had storms that dropped a couple of feet of snow. Then we had a winter were we lost signal 4 times. Each time it was wet snow that accumulated on the dish surface itself. That summer we installed a Hot Shot heater (attached to the face of the dish). Since then we have not had another problem. Is it because of the heater, or was that one winter an anomaly? Beats me.

    Mechanically, the heater coil is a peel and stick affair (make sure you clean the dish first) and a thin low voltage cable runs to the power supply. In our case, we have our SWM-16 positioned near a double outlet in the attic and so we put the heater power supply there as well. It has a thermostat in the connector at the dish, but we still unplug it in the spring and plug it back in when we get the Christmas decorations down (we rarely get much snow before January here).

    Hope this helps.
  6. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

    Jul 9, 2007
    I live in Minnesota and have an ICE Zapper on mine. I have the original thermostat model but I have it on an X10 switch because I don't want to pay for electricity to run it all winter. I turn it on when I have a problem which in a typical MN winter is once a season. Just used it a few weeks ago - only had to run it for about 4 hours.

    Very rarely my LNBs are coated and these heaters do nothing for that. Just have to wait for sunshine.
  7. bpratt

    bpratt Godfather

    Nov 24, 2005
    Salt Lake...
    I have been using the Hot Shot dish heater for 4 or 5 years now. The Hot Shot can be installed on either the front or back of the dish. I installed mine on the back of the dish because I didn't want to block the satellite signal in any way. I turn mine on around the first of December and turn it off around the first of March. Since installing the heater, I have never lost my signal due to snow.

  8. ThomasM

    ThomasM RF Engineer

    Jul 20, 2007
    Milwaukee, WI
    While I don't have a slimline dish, my Phase III dish does get a goodly amount of snow on it here in Wisconsin. Snow doesn't seem to affect the Ku band reception nearly as much as a heavy rain does. I can only remember once or twice that the snow was so bad that it resulted in a "searching for satellite" message.

    I think a lot of people get "searching for satellite" when just a moderate rain storm occurs or a little snow gets on their dish because the installer didn't aim it properly even though it may have passed their tests.

    For those with HD, when the Ka signal (HD) dies do the non-HD channels (from the 101) also die?
  9. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    Ka goes away sooner than Ku, and it is possible to hang at that threshold where you get SD but not HD. As to snow, it all depends on how wet it is. A dry powder has little negative effect. A wet slushy snow will take out my Ka and Ku signals very rapidly (1/8" to 1/4" accumulation on the dish). My dish is properly aligned, with 101 all in the mid to high 90's and 99/103 mostly in the low to mid 90's (a few in the high 80's).
  10. Phil T

    Phil T Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    Mar 25, 2002
    I am in year 3 of the Hot Shot heater. Best purchase I ever made. I installed it myself on the back of the dish and I have not had a snow related outage since I got it. It has a thermostat that seems to kick on around 40 degrees. I turn mine on in November and off in April.
  11. Ancient1

    Ancient1 Mentor

    Feb 13, 2010
    I installed a Hot Shot in October of 2010. Have not lost a signal since. Prior to that, I regularly had outages, even in a light snowfall. The unit is thermostatically controlled, and I leave it on all year around. I have a large solar panel system, so I'm not worried about what little current it may use when it isn't actually heating the dish. Even though I am in a "light" snow area, I consider this a very worthwhile purchase - highly recommended!
  12. GregAmy

    GregAmy AllStar

    Jan 7, 2008
    Up here in New England, even with that last big snow I've not had any snowstorms that a couple strategically-targeted snowballs weren't able to resolve.

    If we lived somewhere it snowed all the time and never thawed in between, maybe a heater would be useful. But here it's kinda a waste.

    - GA, 31" snow that last go-round...surely we're done for the year...?
  13. pjschwartz

    pjschwartz AllStar

    Jul 13, 2007
    Ditto. I'm also in MN and have the Ice Zapper. I only plug it in when needed. Used it twice this year.
  14. EdJ

    EdJ Legend

    Jan 9, 2007
    Great idea.... The times I had problems with snow on the dish I dragged out the extension ladder from the garage to the back yard to get close enough to knock the snow off the dish. I never though about tossing a snowball at the dish to knock off the accumulation. Just have to 'calibrate' the force the snowball is thrown so that the snow gets knocked off, but not hard enough to do some damage or knock it out of alignment.

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