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SWM16 problem

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by strikefast, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. strikefast

    strikefast New Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    [SIZE=10pt]My parents have an HR23, R15, and an old RCA SD receiver. All are connected to an SL5 SlimLine dish, with 4xRG6 running to a WB6x8 multiswitch. Two RG6 wires to each DVR, one to the RCA. It works with no problems whatsoever.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]They want to get a Genie for their main viewing room, and move the HR23 to another bedroom. They don’t really care to swap out the old SD receivers at this point, since they are comfortable with how they work and both units are old enough that they are owned anyway.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]So, as a first step to prepare them for Genie, I swapped the multiswitch for a SWM16 module. I chose the SWM16 mainly because of the legacy ports it provides in addition to the necessary SWM capability. A SWM8 module would have also worked, but I figured the SWM16 would provide some future protection in case they ever want another DVR (or even a second Genie if DirecTV allows it someday), any of which would put them over 8 tuners. Got it “new” on eBay, although it was a couple of months ago and has taken me that long to get around to installing it.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]I connected the four sat feeds to the bottom of the SWM16 and connected the three legacy runs to three of the legacy ports on the top left side of the SWM16 (2 to R15, 1 to RCA). I connected a PI-29 inline between the HR23’s SAT1 input and the SWM1 output of the SWM16, disconnecting the SAT2 input from the HR23 in the process. The PI-29 sits inside the house behind the TV. It is probably less than 40 feet from the TV to the SWM16 on the side of the house, and the RG6 is solid copper. (It is probably ~100 feet between the SWM16 and SlimLine dish due to trees near the house).[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]The SWM16 ran extremely warm within a few minutes after I powered it up. I would say pretty hot, actually. While it seemed hotter than it should be to me, it didn’t seem to be all that unusual based on what I read here on DBStalk, so I tried to temper my concern.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]Next, I booted the HR23. At first, it seemed to be doing fine, going automatically through startup, Step 1 of 2, Step 2 of 2, etc. It got subsequently stuck at the Acquiring Guide Data step (but no channel/picture yet). The More Info button just said to RBR or reboot (I forget which) if it took longer than two minutes, which it did. So I RBR’ed, and rebooted a few times, and nothing changed. I checked all the connections to the SWM16. Finally I just tried to hit the Menu button on the remote when it said Acquiring Guide Data, which to my surprise, allowed me access to a limited menu where I could step through the Satellite setup and it completed with no problem and a channel started playing immediately. In the settings it said it had detected the SWM and everything seemed ok.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]Later, there was a problem with channel 231, Food Network. I checked the signal strengths using the HR23. The 101 transponders looked fine (2 transponders show 0, everything else pretty strong). Similarly on all other satellites, everything looked normal to me except for the 103ca and 103cb, where all the odd transponders were 0 on both tuners (evens looked great—all in 90’s). Channel 230 looked fine. These are the HD versions. I think 231 HD comes over the 103 sat, although I’m not sure which transponder (I am betting one of the odd ones!)[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]After seeing this, I thought maybe something was wrong with the 103 input on the SWM16, or possibly the 103 part of the LNB (but the latter seemed unlikely, really, given that it was all working previously).[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]Then I booted the R15. It also seemed fine at first, but later there would be messages like Searching for signal on Satellite In 1 & 2 (771) flashes for a few seconds on the screen, then disappear. Some pixellation occurred as well. The R15 signal strengths showed a bunch of 0 strength transponders on 101 (10-12 of them). Tuner 2 showed a large number of zeroes on 101 as well, but on different transponders than Tuner1 !! This, combined with the good 101 readings from the HR23, implies to me that it is not an issue with the 101 signal getting to the SWM16 unit…[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]I didn’t bother to check the RCA at this point.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]BTW, I assume the SWM16’s SWM2 output doesn’t require that something be connected to it, receiver-wise, at all times. Not sure if that is a good assumption. Until they get the Genie, I had initially just moved one of the legacy port caps to cover it up. When I ran into problems later, I actually put a terminator on it that I got from an unused SWM splitter I have, but it didn’t seem to change anything.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]Questions for discussion (of course, feel free to add your own!):[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=10pt]1) Between the heat, the 103 odd transponder issues, and the different 101 readings, I think this SWM16 is defective. Does this sound like the right conclusion? Or, are these symptoms indicative of some other problem?[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]2) Is there anything about the way I did this that might have led to extra heat or problems (like driving three legacy outputs, or not connecting the SWM2 output, etc.).[/SIZE]

    [SIZE=10pt]3) Do the SWM8 modules run as hot as the SWM16? I guess I could “downgrade” to a SWM8 if there is an advantage to doing so, although I’m not sure what that would be.[/SIZE]
  2. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    First, yes SWM16's run pretty hot so I wouldn't look at that as a potential problem (could be I suppose).

    100 feet from SWM16 to dish shouldn't be a problem, but I would start by checking the coax between the dish and SWM16. Try swapping around the four coax at the inputs to the SWM16 and see if your symptoms change. That could help identify a bad coax or connector. Label them somehow and check all the possible combinations of connection, noting what you do or don't get on the HR23 and the R15. If they go through a ground block before connecting to the SWM16, check all those connections and connectors also.

    If that does not change your indications at all, then I would suspect the SWM16. If you got it new from a reputable dealer, I would work with them to swap it out. If you got it from an auction site or similar, that might be why it was being offered (presumably at a low cost).
  3. NR4P

    NR4P Dad

    Jan 15, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    Regarding SWM8 vs SWM16

    SWM8's run at room temp, SWM16's run very hot.
    Let me put it this way, you can put your hand on a SWM8 and keep it there for a while.
    With a SWM16, you can't keep it there more than few seconds.
    Hope that helps
  4. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2013
    Those are some mighty strange symptoms. I'd want to rule out the SWM16 not getting enough power. Do you have the PI29 plugged into a surge suppressor or UPS? If so, try plugging it directly into the wall just in case. I'd also try connecting the PI29 to the middle DC/PWR port on the SWM16 - either move the PI29 near to it or if the SWM16 is mounted where there are no outlets use that now-unused second HR23 cable to power it from the PI29's existing location.

    If that does nothing, try carl6's idea of swapping coax cables around. I don't think you need to try every option, I'd just try swapping the two 99/101 cables with the two 103/110/119 cables on the SWM16. If you still see the same 103 even problem on the HR23 and the same transponders are missing on tuners 1 & 2 of the R15, further experimentation isn't likely to get you anywhere.

    As a final test, try putting back the WB68. If everything goes back to 100%, then you've definitely got either a bum SWM16 or a bum PI29. I bought my SWM16s from the place with the lowest "buy it now" price on Ebay early this year and they work perfectly, so I don't think you should be concerned about the source unless you have reason to suspect you were sold one that wasn't new. You probably just got unlucky, and unfortunately waited long enough to try it that you can't ask the seller to replace it as DOA. If you bought from a so-called "reputable" source they may give you a warranty on it, but paying twice as much is a pretty expensive warranty!

    And I agree about SWM16s running hot. I can hold my finger on either one of mine, but it is uncomfortable enough I certainly don't want to.
  5. strikefast

    strikefast New Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    These are all good suggestions and make sense to me. It might be a couple of weekends before I get back there to try them out. The SWM16 sure did look new-in-box, as did the PI29, so I didn't have any immediate reason to doubt it. I'm not too worried about it if I have to get another one or a SWM8 somehow, but I sure would hate to have the same problem with a second unit and find out I had done something silly in the first place.

    I think swapping the 99/101 with the 103 cables makes sense. That, combined with replacing the WB68 to see if everything goes back to normal should paint a pretty clear picture.

    The PI29 is plugged into a power strip—not sure if it is a surge protector. The PI29 sure didn’t seem to get as hot as the SWM16 outside, and the green light came on so I figured all was well with it. The TV and HR23 are plugged into the same strip and seem to have plenty of power. I can try using the unused RG6 from the HR23 and go directly to the SWM16 power port, though, just in case.

    Sounds like having the SWM2 port unused isn't much of a concern, either.

    Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions and help!
  6. strikefast

    strikefast New Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Yes, it helps me a lot. I guess the internal DECA bridge in the SWM16's must really ramp up the heat generation vs. the SWM8 modules. Now I understand why so many people use coax compression connectors as standoffs when mounting SWM16’s ;-)

    100% agreed. Holding a finger more than a second or two on the radiator fins was pretty uncomfortable on this one. As much as this concerned me, it doesn't sound unusual...
  7. strikefast

    strikefast New Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Ok. Some updates. I measured the temperature of the SWM16 with my IR thermometer at 112 F. It sure felt hotter to my fingers, but I guess that illustrates how well the metal fins conduct heat to my skin! Ambient was 71 F.

    Odd transponders on the 103 satellites were all still 0 according to the HR23. I unplugged the PI29, and switched the 103/110/119 input cables on the bottom of the SWM16. After plugging the PI29 back in, the odd 103 transponders starting working! I was amazed and confused, because I didn't expect that to change anything. HD channels that were previously problematic started working again. Alas, it proved to be short-lived. About 10 minutes later, the odd 103 transponders went back to 0.

    I tried switching the 99/101 input lines with similar results. I didn't go through all the combinations of switching the input lines around. Also, it might have been better if I had swapped both 99/101 input cables with the 103 input cables as well, but I didn't.

    I also moved the PI29 to use the extra, unused coax line that was freed up when I went to SWM on the HR23. Connected the other end of the coax to the power port on the right side of the SWM16 (the middle one). Same results as before...

    In all of these cases, the R15 had trouble with nearly half of the 101 transponders reading 0, while being driven by 2 of the SWM16 legacy ports. I even tried the other legacy ports, but got the same result. The 101's showed all good on the HR23 via SWM.

    To me, this suggests a heat-related problem with the SWM functionality of the SWM16. My guess is that unplugging it for 5-10 minutes while I switch cables around allows it to cool down just enough to start working briefly again. It is not the LNB, that's for sure. The legacy ports had trouble regardless.

    As final confirmation, I reconnected the WB68 multiswitch as it was previously and removed the SWM16. All satellites, transponders, receivers, and channels worked normally for hours after that (I stopped checking at that point). The temperature of the WB68 multiswitch was 79 F. Quite a bit cooler indeed...

    I feel pretty confident the SWM16 is defective at this point.
  8. peds48

    peds48 Genius.

    Jan 10, 2008
    I agree as well....
  9. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2013
    The WB68 working for hours pretty much confirms it, but don't be surprised/concerned if the replacement SWM16 is as hot or even hotter.
  10. strikefast

    strikefast New Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    Yes, I definitely expect any SWM16 to be pretty hot after everyone's comments and my experience with this one. Thanks!

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