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Winegard Trav'ler SK-SWM3 Dish Problem

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by jlane, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. jlane

    jlane New Member

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    Dec 10, 2017
    Kerrville, TX
    Hoping to find a simple way to fix an issue with my dish. I've done a lot of testing and here is what I've discovered. When I deploy the dish, with all cabling connected as designed, the dish finds 99, 101, and 103 perfectly, however once it has found the birds and stopped, it would appear that the box in the turret used by Winegard to find the birds either doesn't pass the found signals or opens the circuit stopping the power insertion to the LNB thus killing the signals from the satellites on down to my HR44 Genie after the signals were found and 99, 101, 103 are displayed.

    At this point, I can get up on top of the motorhome and simply bypass the box in the base of the turret and run the cable from the HR44 Genie directly to the SWM LNB (a splitter is involved here that inserts the power on the line below) and everything starts playing just fine inside. (I'm presuming the box in the turret electrically kills the signals from passing through to the Genie while it's on the hunt for the satellites and tweaking the signals so that the signals don't appear and then disappear on the TV until it has finished the seeking and tweaking process.) It just never sends the signals down after it finds them. (Possibly because it opens the circuit and kills power insertion to the LNB at the end of the hunt and tweaking.)

    I put a two port SWM3 splitter on the feed line to the LNB at the turret and used one of the unused pass through ports through the turret to a separate additional coax run down to the Genie in an attempt to insert power to the Winegard box in the turret with one line (assuming it might need the power as well as the LNB) while using another power inserter on the run that bypasses the Winegard box in the turret. The results of this configuration allow me to get the signals to the Genie IF I'm passing the power from the Genie through the red port on the splitter for power pass through to the LNB. However, (and I'm assuming here once again because of a lack of knowledge on the way the signals are put on the coax) but it seems that when the splitter is wired this way, the signal from the non-red port on the SWM3 LNB is now not providing all of the signals from ANY satellite in the sky, which then causes the Winegard box in the turret to NOT be able to properly detect the signals from non-DirecTV satellites (I'm presuming) when a seek is initiated so the dish hunts and gives up and stows away. As soon as I reverse the two wires on the SWM-3 two port splitter on the coax from the LNB, allowing the power pass through (red port on splitter) to come from the Winegard Box, It jumps right on the mission and finds the 99, 101, and 103 satellites, but I don't get a signal to the Genie on the other (non-red) port of the splitter as soon as the tweaking has stopped and the display shows 99, 101, 103. Presumably because the Winegard box has now interrupted the power insertion to the LNB because of the malfunction on the Winegard box. (It's like once the Winegard box finds the signals, it disconnects or opens the circuit either between it and the power insertion transformer below or it and and the LNB above and everything stops playing.) In that wiring configuration, I do see the signals fading in and out as the dish is seeking and tweaking from my coax run that's bypassing the Winegard box from the non-red port of the splitter but the power (which was needed through the Winegard Box becomes disconnected by the Winegard box at the end of the alignment procedure, it would seem. Thus, switching my bypassed coax line to the red port on the splitter and supplying the power insertion on that line and turning off the power inserter feeding the Winegard box in the turret, gets everything playing again. I'm just not interested in climbing on the roof of the motorhome every time we set up in a new place.

    Hoping someone will have an idea about how I might be able to wire this thing in a way that would achieve satisfying the power insertion needs to the LNB while providing a non-filtered signal back to the Winegard box in the turret that allows it to detect other satellite signals and accomplish its alignment procedure, and yet allow me to get a feed from the LNB that bypasses the Winegard box and goes straight to my receivers. (I run a 4 port SWM splitter down below and split to a 2 tuner DVR in the bedroom as well as the HR44 Genie in the Living room and also have A DECA unit connected to a router with "whole house sharing" configured.)

    Could some kind of a regular splitter be used in this location that doesn't filter anything?
     
  2. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    probably, it's "diode steering" one ...

    I would re-read installation and operation manual(s) from winegard or/and do call them first
     
  3. jlane

    jlane New Member

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    Dec 10, 2017
    Kerrville, TX
    This dish will be three years old on the 22nd of this month and has worked great until about 2 months ago. This all started with the "No power to LNB" caused by defective piece of the mini coax they use from the LNB down to the turret, as well as a short piece connected to their control box, I refer to as the Winegard box in the turret. These pieces of mini coax actually honed out open. After replacing them with standard coax, everything worked for a short period of time but then something seemed to fail as I've described in their box. They want almost 1000 dollars to send the turret into their out of warranty repair center. I paid a little more than 1300 for it 3 years ago and a brand new one today is right around 1500. Not cost effective to repair one at their repair center. Im just trying to figure a way to keep using itbthe way it is.
     
  4. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    may be you could find local EE like me who're more interesting in process of troubleshooting and repair then money?
     
  5. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    If I understand correctly how things are connected, you are supposed to have a receiver -> PI -> Winegard box -> LNB. The PI is passing power to the Winegard box and power is (or is supposed to be) passed through to the LNB.

    Does the Winegard box depend on your receiver in any way, or will it auto-aim your dish even if you just had a PI connected and no receiver? If so, I think it is doable as follows:

    Connect the input of a dual power passing satellite splitter (NOT diode steered) to the PI's output, then connect one of its outputs to the Winegard box and the other to the red (power passing) output of a 4 way SWM splitter. Two other outputs of that SWM splitter would be connected to the output of the Winegard box (since you won't need it to pass power any longer) and your receiver (which must bypass the PI's "to receiver" output or you'll have two signal paths to your receiver which may cause problems) The SWM splitter's input would be connected to the LNB.

    So if you think about where power & signal are flowing, the power from the PI is split between the Winegard box's input and the LNB (via the red SWM splitter port) but is blocked between the Winegard box's output and LNB and between the receiver and LNB. Signal from the LNB reaches both the Winegard box and the receiver, and of course SWM commands can be passed from each back to the LNB.

    So I think everything should work this way, again IF the Winegard box does not depend on the receiver to work. If it does there may be a way to get that to happen, but it would be more complicated so hopefully that's not the case!
     
  6. jlane

    jlane New Member

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    Dec 10, 2017
    Kerrville, TX

    Thanks for the reply. I don't think the Winegard box needs anything from an IRD. I think it is supposed to just pass the power through to the LNB and then it sees the signals from satellites and uses a matrix in its control software to find 101 based on its programmed knowledge of the other birds in the sky's positions. That's just based on my observation of the way it has worked over the past years and especially when I have thrown it a curve, being parked close to trees narrowing its window to the clear sky to 101. Having been a programmer in the past, I've always been curious about its matrix in figuring out north from south and narrowing in on the right birds. It does say on its control head, "Identifying satellite" when it fine tunes the aim on the first birds it finds, but then it seems that once identified, it goes right to the 101 bird and fine tunes on it and sometimes checks and identifies the 99 and 103 and then comes back to the 101 with the knowledge, at that point, to set the skew. Its last step before 99, 101, and 103 go up on the control head screen with asterisks next to the numbers.

    Since I'm back home now and weather has gotten better down in the hill country of Central Texas, I'll go out tomorrow and take the 2 port swm3 splitter off the dish and wire it the way it's supposed to be and leave the 4 port swm3 splitter disconnected down below and start the dish up and confirm it can go take aim without any interaction with the ird's. I'll post a link to the manual on the wiring of the dish.

    I have 2 power inserters and was sending power up a second wire from below and bypassing the winegard box and connecting it to a 2 port swm3 splitter placed where the coax from the LNB would connect to the turret to then connect to winegard's box inside the turret. It just seems that if I pass the power from the inserter through the bypass coax, I'll call it, with that power inserter feeding the 4 port swm3 splitter, as the pic shows in the link, then the port that isn't red "seems" to not pass "non DirecTV" satellite signals to the winegard box and it becomes stupid about finding the 101 satellite. It worked one time out of many tries and I think that was because the motorhome had not been moved when it had found the bird before so it seemed it went back, on the next deploy, to its previous location looking first before going through major gyrations and it stumbled across the 101 signal, which was passing through the non powered port of the 2 port splitter to the winegard box. The next several times I moved the coach and deployed the dish, it went through it's whole bag of tricks in the matrix of figuring out where is south and how much elevation do I need to find the Clark belt and the first satellite signal and totally failed to find 101. I already had the other power inserter attached to the other coax that feeds the winegard box and both of them powered on. As soon as I simply went up on the roof and swapped the two coax lines on the output side of the 2 port splitter so that the one coming from the winegard box was connected to the red port, boom... It went and found 101 lickity split! But after finding it, fine tuning, setting skew, and displaying the three birds on its control box, signal goes away on the non red port line feeding the 4 port splitter below through it's power inserter. (I presume because a malfunction in relays within the winegard box quits sending power through to the LNB on the red port of the 2 port splitter or maybe, as you said, SWM control can't pass through that non red port of the 2 port splitter.) I have yet to probe the coax with my Fluke VOM looking for the 22 VDC in the coax feeding the LNB after it has found the birds and finished it's alignment procedure. That'll be another test to make.

    PDF online of the typical wiring on these antennas: http://www.winegard.com/wp-content/uploads/dealertraining/TRAVLER Antennas Module.pdf
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
  7. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    If you have two PIs you could do what I suggest without the need for the dual power passing satellite splitter, just connect one to the Winegard box and the other to the red port on the four way SWM splitter that's connected to the LNB. But first verify the Winegard will aim without a receiver connected to it, this plan will need some modification if the Winegard depends on the receiver in some way (I doubt it does, but have no experience with it so can't say for sure)
     
  8. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    the pdf state:
    reading the document, I see separate power supplies for control box/movements the turret and feeding LNBF
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  9. jlane

    jlane New Member

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    Dec 10, 2017
    Kerrville, TX
    Absolutely true. The control aspect of the dish, which is done by the power supply to the control head and an interconnecting cable between it and the "Winegard box" in the turret. However, I can also say that this control system appears to be reliant on the Directv power inserter to power up the LNB and receive signals.

    The technical aspect of the system I wish I knew and understood better is why the directv two port splitter, with one power pass through port, I placed on the transmission line between the LNB and the Winegard control box, appears to supply all the signals necessary for the detection and control matrix in the box, as long as power was inserted for the LNB from the Winegard box, which came to the Winegard box from the direct PI below. (Which is also sending nice signals from the 2 port splitter's non power pass through port to the 4 port splitter below until the dish has completed its alignment procedure, wherein everything stops playing.)

    But when power is inserted from a line, that bypasses the Winegard box to LNB, and the Winegard box is fed signals from the non power pass through port of the 2 port splitter, it doesn't appear to detect the signals of other satellites (except DirecTV signals) so as to be able to find the 101 in its allignment process. I'm left with an uneducated guess that the 2 port swm3 splitter is filtering out non directv signals on the non power pass through port or something like that, just by the way the system acts when wired this way. Anyone understand these splitters well enough to confirm or reject my suspicion?

    I know the control system, that finds 101, gets stupid until the the connection between the LNB and the Winegard box is connected to the power pass through port on the 2 port splitter, rather than the other port. I just don't know why.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  10. doctor j

    doctor j Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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  11. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    Interesting ...
    from the PDF:
    and on the picture shown two cables connected to PortA and B - what a purpose of the two ports/cables here ?
     
  12. jlane

    jlane New Member

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    Dec 10, 2017
    Kerrville, TX
    This (attachment 29103) would be a typical setup and connection of a Trav'ler configured for Dish Network, rather than DirecTV. On a DirecTV configuration, the C port is used and inside the turret, the C port connects with a short piece of coax to the Winegard control box. The Winegard box has another connection point that feeds the top of the turret (also labeled C) where the feed line from the LNB connects on. There are also A and B ports on top of the turret. The A and B ports are pass through pieces of coax with F connectors on each end. They are normally not used and have termination caps on each end in a DirecTV SWM3 setup. I'm using the A port to bypass the winegard box through the turret to the 2 port splitter I added on top of the turret, in an effort to send signals from the LNB to both the Winegard box (on port C) for dish alignment process, as well as straight down (on port A) to my 4 port splitter below with the two IRD's as well as DECA and power inserter connected.
     
  13. jlane

    jlane New Member

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    Dec 10, 2017
    Kerrville, TX
    That picture is not of mine. When I had the turret open and followed the mini-coax from port A and B, they just pass through, combined with the mini-coax from the Winegard box inside the turret on port C. The three of them in a bundle, with some slack, twist around, a little more than 360 degrees from full left to full right, to accommodate the motor jacking the dish around in circles to find the Clark Belt and ultimately the three satellites needed for DirecTV. A separate motor tilts the dish up and down for elevation and still another motor twists the feed horn to accommodate the skew.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017
  14. doctor j

    doctor j Hall Of Fame DBSTalk Club

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    Used on DISH installations

    Doctor j
     
  15. jlane

    jlane New Member

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    Dec 10, 2017
    Kerrville, TX
    More testing today and discovered that the Winegard box generates its own power to support the SWM3 LNB on the feed horn. It will go find the DirecTV satellites without anything hooked up to it including the DirecTV PI. (As the football refs say, "After further review!") :)

    The issue, finally discovered, was a bad connection to the C connection point on the base of the turret on the F connector. So when I had the splitter in line on the coax to the LNB with the power pass through port connected to the Winegard control box, I can now deduce that it was powering up the LNB through the 2 port splitter, while it was searching for the satellites, and disconnecting the line to the PI below, while doing so, which allowed the split signal to my IRD's to work below until the birds were found. Then it was shutting off power to the LNB and disconnecting itself from the line, which was killing the signals from the LNB down my 2 port splitter to the IRD's. The bad F connector on the C port of turret wasn't allowing the signal to make it to where the PI was and the IRD's were supposed to be. So problem was not in the pass through operation within the Winegard control box. I would have figured this out sooner had I known that the Winegard box produces its own 21 VDC and in effect inserts itself on the line ONLY as long as necessary to complete the alignment process and then removes itself from the signal feed from the LNB. Live and learn... That's what I always say...

    Thanks everyone for your input in this matter. I have been reading this forum a long time and I owe you all for the knowledge I have obtained through the years to be able to support my DirecTV installation at my house as well as install a complete system in my motorhome. I have gone through the many iterations of Directv's technological advancements, including obsoletion of two generations of HD receivers with B band filters, as well as converting my home and motorhome from the older Multi-mode to the newer Single Wire Multimode and whole house sharing and bridging my LAN to the coax via the DECA's and I'm sure I could not have done it without reading all of the great information I've learned in the forum by all of you. Thanks Again! I hope what I've added here might help someone else, trying to diagnose issues with their Winegard SWM3 Trav'ler.
     
  16. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    sure, thanks for sharing good info
     
  17. reubenray

    reubenray Godfather

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    When I had the "no LNB voltage" I changed out the cable with a regular RG6 one and it worked for a while. It then quit so I ordered the Winegard one and it worked a few times and it quit also. I found out the "f connector" was turning when I screwed on the cable. I believe this is the weak link. Whenever it would quit working I would unscrew the cable, tighten the "F connector" and then rescrew the cable on and it would work. I don't have that RV anymore, so I don't know if it still works or not. I have the same setup on my new motorhome and I hold my breath each time I use the dish.
     
  18. jlane

    jlane New Member

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    Dec 10, 2017
    Kerrville, TX
    You are dead on with the weak spot in the design. The connection point on top of the turret, which the mini coax connects to from the LNB, and which also looks like a barrel connector, is not. It has a 3" length of mini coax mechanically fastened into threaded barrel looking connector with a f connector on the other end which is connected to the Winegard control box. That piece was the main failure for me. It ohmed out open on the center lead of the 3" piece of mini coax. The problem, as you mentioned, is the barrel looking connector has flat sides on opposing sides and IF Winegard had milled the cast aluminium with flat sides on it, rather than drilling round holes to slip the barrel looking connectors through from the inside to the outside, the connector wouldn't have spun and broke the center lead. Additionally, there was no reason, that I can see, to use the mini coax from the LNB down to the turret or the short 3" piece that connects it to the Winegard control box. Both of those are now run in regular RG6 on mine. I've read a slew of posts about the failure of those pieces of mini coax that can't take the stress of the dish deploying and stowing. I bought one of the extra long barrel connectors and made a three inch jumper with f connectors on both ends and replaced their mini coax there as well as from the LNB down to the top of the turret. The other three pieces of mini coax, which are bundled together and twist around a little more than a full circle inside the turret during alignment of the dish, I think will pretty much have to remain mini coax. So be careful with the A, B, and C ports at the base of the turret as well as the A and B port on top of the turret. Everyone with one of these Trav'ler dishes just needs to know they have to use a skinny end wrench on the flat spot of, what look like barrel connectors, when snugging down or taking loose a connection on them. Shame on Winegard for not milling the holes to make them keyed and prevent the connectors from spinning in the hole!
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  19. jlane

    jlane New Member

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    Kerrville, TX
    One more comment... They use an O-ring underneath the turret, or I should say the inside of the turret, on each and everyone of those connectors. Keeps the water out, but makes the fitting susceptible to spinning. Because the feed horn folds up when the dish stowes away and unfolds when deployed, that action causes some torque to that C connector on top of the turret. I suspect that after the unit is a couple of years old, the O-ring inside becomes compressed flat and the connector becomes loose and susceptible to the spinning back and forth with each deploy and finally the work hardened tiny piece of copper center lead breaks on either that 3" piece or the longer one feeding the LNB or both. I'd recommend snugging at least that one connector down after the dish is 6 months to a year old, backing it up with a wrench on the flat side of that barrel looking connector.

    Jim
    KD5WS
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2017
  20. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    Jim, I would add pictures (zoomed) of the weak (bad designed) spot from different angles, assembled and parted out for better visualizing the issue and a cure.
     
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