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Troubleshooting Tips for 103°(b)

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by Doug Brott, Sep 18, 2007.

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  1. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Jul 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    DIRECTV has launched the new HD channels, fulfilling a promise of many years of hard work. This thread should help anyone having problems with receiving the test channels on 103°(b) and the new HD channels.

    HD Requirements

    When they launch, the only way to access the new HD channels is to have all of the following:
    • An advanced set top box: Models H20, H21, or HR20.
    • B-Band Converter (BBC) on each satellite input (HR DVRs require two BBC's) OR a Single Wire Multiswitch (SWM).
    • Slimline (AU9) or Sidecar (AT9) 5-LNB satellite dish.
    • If you have a multiswitch, it must be a Zinwell WB68 or Zinwell WB616.
    • B-Band Converter oriented with the pigtail screwed into the receiver, not the wall.
    • No diplexers between the the multiswitch and the BBC(s). (Better yet, no diplexers at all.)
    • No splitters on the satellite line, unless you have a SWM.

    Troubleshooting Tips

    So you have verified all the requirements: right receiver, dish, and optional switch; and preferably no diplexers but you still seem to be missing some of the test channels. What to do?

    That depends on what you do have and what you don't have. DIRECTV has given us three, sometimes 5, new channels to test our newest HD satellite. Channels 480, 481, and 498 as well as the occasional channels 9300 and 9301.

    Tip right off the bat: Make sure your receiver is set for the 5lnb dish... :) (It's always the simple things that can get overlooked.) To check go to MENU->Settings (or Help&Settings)->Setup->Satellite (Or Sat&Ant)->Repeat Satellite Setup. The 5lnb dish should be highlighted.

    Tip #2 right off the bat: If the only problem is a error x721 on the new channels, your account has not been authorized for the new HD channels yet OR the channel being tested is not available to your programming level. You have 2 options: 1) Call DIRECTV (more on this later), 2) try the DIRECTV.com website.

    But, if you want to call NOW, you can try a very polite: "Please drop the old HD Access and re-add the new HD Access Tier". Some CSRs will understand and be able to help. Remember, at this point in this cycle you likely know more than them on this topic and are putting them in an awkward position, so be extra patient and polite.

    Via the website you might be able to drop the HD Access package and add it right back. But! some important warnings. You must do this within 15 minutes and take care how you do this. Do not attempt to change your base package or you will lose any legacy grandfathering and might not get it back! Ask yourself if you really want to make these changes now.

    On to the other tests...
  2. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Channels 480 and 481 verify the Odd Transponders and Even Transponders respectively, along with the presence of the BBC. Success means you see the message: "103 B-Band Odd (13V). BBC confirmed working" or "103 B-Band Even (18V). BBC confirmed working." These are good signs that you will be in good shape.

    If you fail one or both tests on channels 480 or 481 you will see "Searching for Satellite Signal, x771", then it is time to check the signal strengths on satellite 103°(b)

    Go to MENU->Settings (or Help&Settings)->Setup->Satellite (Or Sat&Ant)->View Satellite Strength

    Change the Satellite to 103°(b) (using minus once or plus several times.) Do not use 103°(a), that is the other satellite at the 103° orbital slot.

    You might see one or two transponders low, below 65, or zero. Those are likely spotbeam transponders that are not aimed at your part of the country, so don't worry about them.

    But if you have many transponders low, make note of are all the transponders zero or below 65. Or if all the even or odd transponders are zero or below 65.
  3. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    If both test channels 480 and 481 fail or the signal is weak, your next step is based on the signal strengths for the 103°(b) transponders.

    All Transponders Zero
    If all the transponders are zero, then your BBCs or your switch (if you have one) are most likely bad and need to be replaced. If you have spare BBCs and repeat the tests. If not or the repeated test results are the same, call DIRECTV for replacement BBCs or a technician. Especially if you received the old HD channels without a problem.

    Transponders below 65
    If many of the transponders are very low but not zero, and you have a correct Zinwell WB68 or Zinwell WB616, then your dish most likely needs realignment. I suggest calling DIRECTV to have them come out and do the realignment.

    If you are handy with tools, have a TV and receiver you can see from the dish, and understand (and aren't frightened by) the Installation Videos, then go for it. Realigning is very doable. I do recommend following the procedure completely. That will give you the best alignment for all the satellite locations. Take your time and be careful, all should go well.

    Even Transponders or Odd Transponders Zero
    See the next post, Test Channel 480 or 481 Fails
  4. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    OK, so you've made it this far. We know that if you are getting some signal on some of the transponders or one of the two test channels works, your BBC(s) are probably good, your switch is good, and your dish is aligned well enough to pass the test.

    So now what could be wrong?

    Normally this means one of the coax wires from the switch to the dish is defective. The wire could be disconnected, bad wire, or bad connector(s). Sometimes, it can mean the dish itself has a problem internally.

    Check the dish
    The easiest way to eliminate the dish as the problem is to swap cables as they enter the switch from the dish. There are two cables going into ports labeled ~13v/22KHz and ~18V/22KHz. If you swap them the test channel failures should switch and the signal strengths on the evens/odds should reverse. If so, bad cable, good dish. Check the cable ends and look for a bad spot.

    If swapping the cables had no effect, bad dish. Call for replacement.

    Bad Cable
    But which one? If the even transponders on satellite 103°(b) are zero, the cable plugged into the switch port ~18V/KHz is bad. Check the connectors at both ends and perhaps replace the whole cable.

    If the odd transponders are zero, the cable plugged into ~13V/22KHz is bad.
  5. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    There are many ways to explain things. Many ways to help people understand. Since Stuart Sweet and Carl6 wrote the very fine posts that follow, I've included them as well.

    Good job, gentlemen!

  6. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    General troubleshooting for Channel 498 Problems:

    First tune to channel 498 and see if you see a Congratulation Screen (no audio), If you can, you are getting the new HD satellite! You are done!

    If you instead you have a black or gray screen, try this:
    Try tuning to channel 72, then 73, then back to 498.
    On an HR20, press PAUSE for 30 seconds, then Fast Forward.
    Toggle Native Mode ON and OFF: MENU>Setup>Display>Native Mode
    Try a Menu Reset: MENU>Setup>Reset>Restart Receiver then repeat steps above.

    If you still do not see the congratulations message...
    1. Verify that you have a 5-LNB dish (It is oval shaped with 3 heads in the dish and may say "Slimline")
    (If you've recently changed dishes, you might want to rerun Satellite Setup.)
    2. If you have a multiswitch, Verify it is WB68 or WB616.
    3. Check signal strengths on all satellites. Menu>Setup>Sat>View Signal Strengths. Should see good signals at least one good reading (at least over 60%) on or 103(b).If not, your dish is not aligned.
    4. Verify B-Band converters (the rectangular boxes on the tuner inputs)are properly installed.
    5. If you get HD locals, verify they are OK.
    6. If you are getting a searching for signal of 498, problem is most likely one of the above items. Re-verify. Swap BBCs with each other if you have two.
    7. Make sure all channels selected, not a custom list.
    8. Try a reset.
    9. Try resending authorizations by clicking her: Refresh Your Services
    10. If blank screen (black or grey), write down the following settings on your HR20:
    (a) Native ON or Native OFF
    (b) What output resolutions are checked in the TV resolutions tab?
    (c) How is receiver connected to TV (HDMI or component video).
    11. Try the following changes:
    (a) set native opposite what it was (on or off)
    (b) check all output resolutions your TV is capable of receiving

    If you are using an HR20, you may need to pause live TV for up to 30 seconds.

    Thanks to Milominderbinder2 and carl6 for compiling this list.
  7. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    I don't know all the possible problems, but can discuss some of them. Below I discuss three general problem areas. Each has to work properly before looking to the next. Any multiswitch reference assumes you have one. If not, simply ignore references to a multiswitch.

    This discussion assumes that you have a 5-LNB dish (AT9 "sidecar" or AU9 "Slimline"). The "Slimline" only has three visible LNB housings, but has the word "Slimline" written on the face of the dish. It also assumes you are using an HR20, H20 or H21 receiver, as those are the only ones that can receive the new HD signals. Lastly, it assumes your installation is otherwise correct and was working properly up to this point (including receiver satellite setup for 5-LNB dish).

    If you have a multiswitch, the Zinwell WB68 and WB616 are known to properly support the wideband operation needed. Other switches may work, but if you are using any other multiswitch, then bypassing the switch and running directly to the dish should be one of your diagnostic steps to verify the switch is not the problem. If you are using an SWM, again bypass it and go directly from dish to receiver (with BBC) as one of your diagnostic steps.

    If you have moved your B-Band converters away from the receiver, moving them back to the receiver should be one of your diagnostic steps. Ditto if you have diplexed ota or cable, removing the diplexers and diplexed signals should be part of your diagnostic process.

    If you are using a dual-tuner HR20, then work the problems with one tuner at a time. If you can get one tuner working properly, but not the other, then you need to pursue the following for each tuner (however if one tuner is working, you know signal strength and dish alignment are okay).

    First possible problem: You are not receiving adequate signal strength on 103(b). If this applies, then you should not expect to get 480/481 or 498. Fix this problem first.

    Most Likely Possible causes: 1. Dish alignment. 2. Incorrect multiswitch. 3. Defective, incorrectly installed, or missing B-Band converter. 4. Some other wiring problem.

    Second possible problem: 103(b) signal is good (per signal meters), but do not receive 480 and/or 481. If this is your symptom, then you should resolve this before worrying about 498.

    Most likely possible causes: 1. Defective, incorrectly installed, or missing B-Band converter. 2. Incorrect multiswitch. 3. Some other wiring problem. Note: If you get one, but not the other (480/481) then you may have a dish (electronics as opposed to alignment), multiswitch or wiring problem.

    Third possible problem: You do have good 103(b) signal, get 480 and 481, but do not get 498.

    Most Likely Possible Causes: This gets more difficult, and is one of the issues DirecTV appears to be working. It is with regard to this situation that many of the suggestions regarding DVR and TV settings (Native on/off, resolution settings, pausing then 1xFF) have been made. But before you attempt to troubleshoot this problem, make sure you have good signal, and get 480 and 481.

    Also, if everything is working except 498, then (1) don't panic and (2) please make sure you post all relavent information in the applicable threads Earl has started.

    In every case, a defective receiver or DVR is also a possibility, but you need to rule out the more likely causes before looking at the receiver as a likely source of your problem.

    If you post that you have a problem, please provide as much information as you can regarding all of these checks. The whole idea is to rule out the most likely causes for the problem first, one at a time, until you work your way through the entire process and have the system working properly.

  8. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Now that the new channels have officially launched (Woohoo!!!) don't forget some things you might want to do:
    • Favorites lists! We can't see what we don't favorite. :)
    • Series Links. Hey, we spent all this money on a fabulous HD experience, time to record the HD!
    • Autotunes for non-DVRs.
    • Oh, yeah and check out each of the new channels! :)

  9. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Jul 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Based on the feedback from a DBSTalk.com member, it appears that Business Accounts are not currently eligible to receive the new HD channels. The message he received is that Business Accounts will get access sometime next month.
  10. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Jul 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    This could be a problem .. If you have a surge protector (even a satellite surge protector), you are likely asking for trouble on the new D10 satellite. It is very unlikely that the surge protector will pass the low frequencies. So, in order to get the proper signal to your receiver, get those surge protectors off of the coax line(s) between the satellite and your receiver.
  11. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Jul 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    I just received an PM today from someone with a business account. It looks like business accounts are now eligible to receive the new HD channels as well.
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