Signal Strength Anomaly

Discussion in 'DIRECTV - Special Request Legacy Items (private)' started by mikeinthekeys, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. mikeinthekeys

    mikeinthekeys Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2007
    OK, this is the first problem I have encountered: I am seeing signal strength differences of 20 points between tuners on one HR20-700. This receiver is the most remote, about 70 feet of cable from 4-way splitter near the power injector. On all sats the signal strength is consistently lower on tuner 2 by 18-20 points. Closer H20 and HR20-100 have strengths pretty close to what they showed before setting up the SWM8 and show same readings on both tuners.

    I have done several RBRs on the remote unit and also unplugged the PI, but this has not changed anything. I don't know what the SWM readings mean, but they do show the same readings on tuner 1 and 2 (and are only a point or two below SWM readings on the closer receivers. The signal variances only show up on the individual satellites on the remote receiver.

    If this is showing a real reduction, 20 points is going to put me closer to rain fade on this unit... but maybe it isn't real. Any thoughts on this?
     
  2. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Have you tried reversing the outputs from the SWM8 to see if the problem moves over to tuner 1 instead. If so, the problem resets with the SWM8 itself or else something with the line (coax/connectors?) that shows the lower signal level. If not, there's something negative going on with the DVRs.

     
  3. mikeinthekeys

    mikeinthekeys Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2007
    Not sure what you mean... there is only one output on the SWM8 in use... the one on the PI line. There is a 4-way splitter and I could swap those connections, but I don't see what that would do to affect only one tuner.
     
  4. mikeinthekeys

    mikeinthekeys Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2007
    Just to clarify... comparing the local HR20 to the remote one... SWM readings as shown on the Test Signal Strength screen (the one with both tuner readings showing) show the following: signals on all 9 transponders are about 96 on the local and 91 on the remote. Also on the remote the SWM readings on tuner 2 are about 3 points less than tuner one. Testing various satellites show identical readings on the local receiver on both tuners, but on the remote one about a 20 point lower reading on tuner 2. In other words, there is a consistenty lower reading on tuner 2 which seems to say that a few point reduction in SWM level makes a sizable difference in satellite strength.

    I just reduced the length of the cable run from the PI to the SWM8. Result was a couple points higher on the SWM test screen readings, but still 2 or 3 points less between tuner one and two. I am beginning to suspect this is a variation of the remote receiver. I could swap the receivers (major hassle with all the connections!), but at least that would isolate the problem to the receiver itself.
     
  5. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    I assumed you had more than one DVR connected....if the splitter's bad somehow...then checking an alternative port ont he splitter may/may not help.
     
  6. mikeinthekeys

    mikeinthekeys Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2007
    Thanks for your help. I'm sure you have a better handle on this than I do.

    My setup is like this: SWM8 to PI to splitter which combines OTA antenna with IRD connection. Then a 4-way splitter which feeds local TV, two local receivers (H20 and HR20) and one long run to another HR20 (about 70 feet of cable run away). Before putting in the SWM8 signal strengths on the remote sites were roughly the same between tuner one and two. Now, as I have said, I have the 20 point drop between tuner one and two (two is always the lower one).

    I have changed the connections on the 4-way, and even completely removed it and connected the remote line directly. In that case overall SWM points were higher (up to where they were before - 96). The individual satellites still show lower in tuner two, but by only 12-14 points, less drop than when the 4-way splitter is installed.

    So, again, it seems reasonable to assume that there may be something going on within the remote HR20 which is not delivering the signal equally to both tuners. Or maybe this is a result of lower overall signal strength which somehow affects tuner two differently.

    In the meantime, I will try to get some more efficient splitters. Currently using the Radio Shack 2- and 4-way splitters rated 40 - 2150MHZ. And if I get ambitious, I may swap the two HR20s to see if the same symptom appears.

    I am grateful for any further thoughts on this. If the splitters are critical it would be good to let everyone know. The RS ones are shown as viable options on one installation guide I looked at during setup (forget where that was, but it showed many option and listed them as Pass/Fail).
     
  7. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    It would seem that either there is something at issue with tuner 2 in the HR20 (which has happened to some folks, not alot, but some)...or...something in the general lines, connectors, or coax runs to the HR20.
    Since there was an improvement, the 4-way splitter seemed to result in a 6-8 point drop alone....which is alot. In comparison, with my 2-wat Skywalker splitters, I see almost nothing in lowered transponder levels at all.

    That said, it still does not account for the lower tuner 2 result that is still consistently lower, even without the 4-way splitter...

    Here's one last disgnostic thing you might try (somewhat of a pain), but it will help narrow down the source(s) of your problem.

    Move the HR20 to a location other than the connection where it is now - such as temporarily trying it where the H20 is now. If there is still a disparity in signal levels between Tuner 1 and 2, then Tuner 2 may very well be defective in some way. If signal levels even out...then there is somethng wrong with your cable run, connectors, or something else in the environment there at the location where the HR20 currently resides.

    That test will at least narrow down the possibilties for you.
     
  8. mikeinthekeys

    mikeinthekeys Godfather

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    Moving just the one remote HR20 will be much easier than swapping them... I'll try that first... thanks.
     
  9. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    That's actually was I was proposing....to just move the HR20 to the alternate location and see if Tuner 1 and Tuner 2 levels were close together at the new location......looking forward to hearing the results.
     
  10. Grentz

    Grentz New Member

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    Jan 10, 2007
    Moving the receiver is definitely the easiest way to confirm it is not a few other possible things, before spending money on new splitters, etc.

    Report back and let us know how what happens when you do so.
     
  11. mikeinthekeys

    mikeinthekeys Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2007
    Finally got back to it... moved the remote HR20 to front room where SWM8 comes in. SWM signal strengths are around 96 on tuner one, and 94 on tuner two. So a bit less, but closer. Satellite strength showed a difference of 5 to 6 with tuner two consistently being lower. Bypassing the 4-way splitter to the moved box and the difference goes down to 3-4 points on satellite signals. Checking the original local HR20, same hookup, SWM signals are identical and satellites show difference of 1 to 2 with tuner two sometimes having the slightly higher reading.

    Conclusion 1: variation is in the box, not as a result of the SWM arrangement.
    Conclusion 2: get better splitters and try to maximize the signal

    Don't know if this helps anyone with the SWM module. Other than to say minimize the runs, use the best splitters. For now, I have new ones on order and Radio Shack will be glad to give me my money back (once the new ones arrive!)

    Thanks for your ideas and support and to all the good folks on this site.
     
  12. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Good job on the tests....at least this way you know its not the HR20. Your conclusions make sense, as does your solution.
     
  13. mikeinthekeys

    mikeinthekeys Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2007
    Postscript: got the Skywalker splitters today and installed them. Result: remote receiver shows only 2 point difference with local receiver on SWM signal meter and identical readings between tuners... Great! Remote receiver now has only 3 to 7 point difference between satellite signals, down from 20! Also Great! So I would say the problem was definitely related to splitters not up to the task (Radio Shack gave me a refund today). So all is well for the moment, we will see what happens when it rains!
     
  14. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    As was posted in the original SWM series thread....quality splitters make a difference!

    I swear by the Skyway splitters.

    Its good to hear more and more folks having these positive results.
     
  15. Grentz

    Grentz New Member

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    Jan 10, 2007
    I assume you mean skywalker? The great thing about them is that they are not that pricey and seem to work really well!
     
  16. HDTVsportsfan

    HDTVsportsfan Active Member

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    Nov 29, 2005
    I'm using hilips form Lowes. I didn't have the patience last year to wait for them, so I went locally. IIRC I only lost 3-4 points.
     

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