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Advice? Two dead receivers in a week

1255 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  ThomasM
Okay, I am seething, so I will try to compose myself within this post (ha).

Had a DTV Plus R15-100 (DVR) for just over a year. Worked great, never had an issue. Then, out of the blue, we were watching TV, walked out of the room for a minute, came back in to a black screen. Hubby checked everything (he used to install for them) and said "It died". What? The fan was running, but no screen - nada.

Called DirecTV, explained the problem, said they would mail me a new DVR receiver if I pay the $20 shipping cost. Sure. Mama needs her DVR.

Got the new one (a DTV Plus R16-300) two days ago, called to have them activate the box. A total pain in the a$$ process. It would get stuck on the loading screen over and over. The tech girl had me restart it (reset button) FIVE times. I was disgusted. Well, they kept trying to tell us it was our signal - umm, no it's not. In the interim of waiting on the new receiver, we had taken the regular receiver out of the spare bedroom and had been using it in the master (where all this is happening). Funny how that one worked fine, then we plug the new one in and this issue happens.

After the hubby got on the phone with her supervisor, he explained that he used to install for them and understood the basics of the wiring, what to look for as far as troubleshooting, etc. The guy seemed a little uncooperative, hubby got (rightfully) ticked, and in the course of their tete-a-tete, voila - the stupid thing began working. Okay, good. I'm happy, he's happy. We're all happy.

Well, that was the night before last. Last night, we go up to get in bed and guess what? Yep, the new one was DEAD - exact same thing. Wouldn't power up, but the internal fan was running. I am livid. Hot. Fuming.

Can anyone here advise as to what they think it would be? The receiver, DVD player and out LCD 36" TV are all plugged into a less than 3 month old surge bar (and a good one, no cheapy). Seems like if it were the plug, that the TV and DVD would have suffered as well. So we are baffled. I have yet to call them today, because I wanted to see if someone here had a bit of insight first. I have an inkling that they will tell me it's MY problem (my plug, connection, etc.) when I know full dang well it's theirs.

Been a customer for 5 years, and am [ ] this close to going to Dish.

Thanks in advance,
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By the way, I was told it could be possible IR interference, so I bought the [presumably dead] box downstairs and tried it on the TV here. No go.
How adequate is the ventilation through(and under) the receiver/DVR, wherever it is located?
If you have another location with two satellite cables, you should try it there. If not, plug a cable into SAT1.

If it works, you probably have a cabling or switchgear problem. If it doesn't work, she's dead, J. ;)

This sounds suspiciously like a problem external to the DVR.
Thanks for your replies. I am hopeful!

Cmnore - the ventilation is great (or at least I think so!). The DVR is on the dresser top with nothing on top of or next to it. It was sitting next to a 36" LCD television, which is why the other person suggested possible IR issues.

harsh - damn! I don't want it to be dead as that is my getaway-from-my-4-boys-at-the-end-of-the-day haven. Not good. And actually, this one has only one cable plugged into it for the time being since my oh so handy but oh so busy hubby has yet to drop the second line. And I have to agree with you about al things pointing to an external issue. But what? That's the magic question for the hubb and I. This scenario couldn't be crappier! I will try plugging a cable into SAT1 and let you know in a sec...
If you can get it working with another lead somewhere in the house, then it would be time to move the bedroom cable to another port on the multiswitch. If the problem remains in the bedroom, then the cable is the likely culprit.
You're lucky your R15 lasted so long. I went through three in three weeks!
Your description of the problem was read by me very carefully and I have a few insights to offer....

First, when you got the new replacement DVR (the R16) did it come with an access card or did the instructions tell you to insert your old access card and call DirecTV to get it assigned to the new box?

If it came with a new access card, it should have booted up and let you watch channel 100 even before activating it. If it didn't, it STILL should have booted up but told you to insert a valid access card. Since one of your family members who was a DirecTV installer was trying to get things working, I won't go over the satellite dish setup which also should have been done.

Meanwhile, there are all kinds of things that can cause a unit to play dead.

If the coax has a short somewhere, the unit's power supply can shut down since it needs to send a voltage to the dish or multiswitch. Next time it "dies" just unplug all satellite feeds and try starting it up. When it says it's searching for the satellite, press EXIT and see if it lets you watch your exising recordings. (It should)

A voltage spike (or defective spike protected outlet strip) can shut the unit down. So can an over or under voltage condition. What is your line voltage? (A cheap voltmeter from Radio Shack can tell you) And as mentioned, HEAT can also cause a shutdown. Choose MENU-SETTINGS-SETUP-INFO & TEST and page down to see what the temperature inside the unit is. Anything over 125 degrees F is getting close to the shutdown point.

Finally, you may have just gotten two duds. I received a "reconditioned" D10 regular receiver once that wouldn't power on. Turned out it had been dropped and the socket on the back where the cord plugs in took most of the impact. As a result, it's contacts that were soldered to the circuit board were loose. When it arrived at DirecTV to be "reconditioned" (I.E. plugged in to see if a picture appeared), it must have worked so out the door it went. Maybe the unit you received got just such a "reconditioning" which didn't reveal why the previous user returned it.

Anything's possible but all you can do is verify that the problem is with the receiver itself. Otherwise, you'll be a frequent customer of FedEx or UPS!!
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jcbell said:
The receiver, DVD player and out LCD 36" TV are all plugged into a less than 3 month old surge bar (and a good one, no cheapy). Seems like if it were the plug, that the TV and DVD would have suffered as well.
Others have given some good suggestions so far... so I'll just throw out a little food for thought on this... The R15/16 would in fact be the most likely thing to go in the event the surge strip was defective... While all electronics are pretty sensitive to voltage spikes and drops, hard drives are especially so...

Not saying that this is necessarily your problem... since you've had the strip for 3 months... but just wanted to throw that out there...

:welcome_s to DBSTalk by the way! :)
With all your DVR problems, I'm curious to know if you got stuck with an additional two year commitment? My R-15 will not power on as if it is on permanent standby but I will not get another leased DVR because DTV wants another two year commitment for their broken DVR which does not make any sense at all.
Where does this 2 year commitment come from? I believe it was back in March of '06 when they decided that you will no longer have to buy a receiver, but lease them, that they also did away with future commitments.

Matter of fact, I had cancelled my service 3 weeks ago and within 12 hours had it restored and it's now a new account and on their home page, my account specifically shows I have NO Commitment('s) what-so-ever.

Maybe it's just me huh?
There's plenty of threads on commitment and lease vs. own, lets try and stick to helping the OP in this one.
spartanstew said:
There's plenty of threads on commitment and lease vs. own, lets try and stick to helping the OP in this one.
I think the commmitment issue is important in the resolution of the problem and the decision the subscriber has to make.

According to MANY posts, paying the $20 to get a broken, leased receiver replaced WITHOUT having the protection plan SHOULDN'T extend a programming commitment....but others have said that it does. I sure wish this issue could finally be resolved with a definitive answer from DirecTV. If one of my leased DVR's breaks down, I certainly am going to consider the commitment issue before getting it replaced!! Nobody likes surprises!
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