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Cool Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HR20-700 - We've been having the various problems that others are reporting. The frequent lockups began several months ago. DVR wouldn't even turn on - most of the time the red button reset didn't even work, we had to unplug it to reboot. Based on what I read here, we tried disconnecting the network cable. This seemed to solve the problem. No lockups if no network. I would try reconnecting the network every couple of weeks - no luck, it would lockup within 24 hours.

Then we started getting the blank recordings. Select a recording, we'd get a black screen and the prompt to delete. This started happening more and more frequently. I tried calling DTV but due to a comedy of errors, I got a huge run around, disconnected etc.

Then they moved some channels between satellites - HBO, Showtime, ESPN, etc. We started to get Searching for Signal on these channels. I called DTV about this issue (due to the runaround on the other issues, I decided to deal with one at a time). The rep who was troubleshooting had me go in and check my signal strength. Several transponders were on the low side. He figured that this was the cause of the Searching for Signal - so he arranged for a tech to come out.

The tech came out - and realigned the dish - he did nothing else. He didn't touch the DVR, my network, he was no where near the multi-switch etc. He did comment that a few screws securing the LNB were missing so it was likely getting more and more out of alignment as time went by.

This fixed the Searching for Signal issue - all channels were coming in perfect. Right after he left, I decided to plug the network cable back in. I expected the DVR to lockup within a day. But surprise - 10 days later and no lockups. It hasn't gone 24 hours without a lockup when connected to the network since the problem began. Also we have not had a blank recording since.

So we had the collection of problems that I see others reporting as well. All we had done was a dish realignment and everything is working.

Others report the same issue, get the DVR replaced and the problems persist. DTV seems to be having trouble tracking down these problems, but it would seem likely to me that they probably have a strong signal to the DVRs in their testing labs. Could weak signals be at least partially behind these problems?
 

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Legend
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Interesting . . . I seem to be getting the searching for satellite signal more recently than I did before. We're coming up to about a year since the dish was installed after we moved. Maybe it's time to check the alignment.
 

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I keep getting intermittent searching for satellite signal and pixelation on HD channels. I've had a tech out 3 times, had the dish replaced, all the RG6 replaced, and the receiver replaced 2 times. Still no fix.
 

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Hall Of Fame
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Rence said:
.....He did comment that a few screws securing the LNB were missing so it was likely getting more and more out of alignment as time went by.....
You'd be surprised what kind of problems this can cause, but not alignment-related. The LNB is not necessarily electrically grounded to the dish when those 8x32x1-1/4 inch bolts with Whiz nuts are missing out of the LNB arm.

Rence said:
.....Could weak signals be at least partially behind these problems?
Just one of many possible things that can cause a problem. The first link in the chain.
 

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Bmikuta said:
I keep getting intermittent searching for satellite signal and pixelation on HD channels. I've had a tech out 3 times, had the dish replaced, all the RG6 replaced, and the receiver replaced 2 times. Still no fix.
So what are your signal strengths on the 99c/a and 103c/b signal strength screens, all transponders (and both tuners if you have a DVR)?
 

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Rence, I am with you on this. I’ve not had any major, chronic problems with my HR20’s, but I have had the occasional gray/black recording and odd lock-up. Saturday, I ran another coax line for the second tuner on a newly-acquired HR20, replacing an H20 in the kitchen. When made the connection to the multiswitch, I must have disturbed a weak crimp connection on the coax going to tuner #1 on the HR20 in the living room. It actually worked fine for many hours, until a scheduled recording kicked in on another channel and the screen went gray. I tried using the remote and front panel controls but the receiver was acting very sluggish. I couldn’t get into the menu to test signal strengths, but with a lot of patience, I could get to the guide.

After I fixed the bad connection (actually, the coax had pulled completely out of the F-connector), all was well. Oddly enough, the recording that kicked in was also gray. This means that neither tuner was working during the “outage”, although tuner #2 was firmly connected to the multiswitch. Over the past months, I have occasionally been getting brief “771” errors on this receiver when changing channels. I’ve often wondered if this was the cause for the occasional blank recordings. I did a lot of channel changes and I am not getting the brief 771 errors, either. Maybe this loose connection was the cause of that all along.

My guess is that the software in the HR2x’s is very sensitive to signal issues. On a different model receiver, a loose connection might just cause occasional pixelization or make it more susceptible to raid-fade, but on the HR2x, it makes it sluggish and results in blank recordings. It’s just a theory, and in fact I tried testing it some Tuesday night. I never could duplicate it, but I didn’t bother to schedule a recording. Also, it may have to do with the exact channels being tuned to, for example which satellite is selected or MPEG4 vs. MPEG2. I intend to do some further testing

If signal issues are in fact the cause for some of the problems with the HR2x, I wonder if it has something to do with the way the BBC works to unstack the signals. Or, maybe there is something in the circuitry designed to work with the SWM that kicks-in and causes problems when a tuner connection has dropped. I am beginning to think that it’s not specifically software related, although the software may be trying to respond to actions in the tuner circuitry that cause it do unexpected things.
 

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Cool Member
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just an update - my system ran fine for a couple of months. About a week ago, I had the dreaded lockup. I reset the DVR and next night I got the lockup again, so I disconnected the network cable.

Then I got the "Opps" email from DTV - about something that they did causing DVRs to lockup. I thought that this was good news - it is a known issue and caused by a one-time event. I was a little concerned because I had two lockups, one being the day before the DTV "incident".

I decided to wait a week before reconnecting to the network. I plugged the network cable back in and next day I was locked up again.

Signal strength appears to be fine - I don't notice any changes since I had my dish realigned. I have not had any blank recordings since my dish realignment back in August.

My past experiences with calling DTV have been mostly bad (endless run arounds - "accidental" hang-ups - rep after rep saying that they have never heard of this issue before even though it is posted all over the internet). But I guess I'm going to have to have another go at that. <sigh>
 

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I used to be a rocket scientist
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There's clearly something wrong with certain peoples' setups that seem to cause problems and I don't think it's entirely receiver-related. I'm almost 100% certain that some of the problems (perhaps a lot) are caused by poor grounding, bad cabling (improperly-fitted connectors or water leaking into connectors) and home electrical issues.

My rationale? Well, here it is: I've got a first-generation HR20-7 that's within a week of being 2 years in regular service and never replaced. I've got an early HR21-700 that's 14 months old and again in daily use, never replaced. I've got an R22-200 that's going on 6 months old or thereabouts, again never replaced. My RG6 is mostly the same stuff the first installer put into this house 7 years ago, plus the a few runs added when I added receivers to other rooms and when I upgraded to HD 2 years ago. My signals are always high 80's to 100 on every transponder, both tuners, on all my DVRs.

Do I have lockups? Nope. Never? Aside from CE-related testing and such, I do not. All my boxes, from the lowliest, oldest R15-500's to the newest R22-200 work fine. Sure they have some of the same generic glitches but my R22 and HR2x boxes are all networked full-time and get regular to heavy use by multiple members of the household and I just don't get issues.

Are my boxes all "magic" and therefore immune from bugs? Of course not. But at the same time, my household AC power is very stable, I never have blackouts absent some drunk smashing into a transformer once a year or less (even in bad weather), my dish and wiring is properly and adequately grounded, and I have very good signals on all my boxes.

You do the math.
 

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Herb, I agree with you. Intermittent signal problems caused by loose or bad equipment/connections can definitely cause gray/blank recordings and lock-ups. Of course this really “shouldn’t”, as the receiver’s software should be able to handle these situations, but it doesn’t. Still, it leaves many people in situations where the receiver is blamed when the root cause is bad signal delivery.

Also, to Rence, try playing with your router’s UPnP settings (and if you don’t have that in your router, it may be time for a new one). It seems that some people have reported that turning UPnP on if it’s off (or even off if it’s on) has solved the problems of lock-ups when networked.
 

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I don't buy it. If it was connectors, cable, LNB, dish, etc. - then why wouldn't my box immediately show problems after a reset? It doesn't make sense to me. It acts like a memory leak in some computers where it slowly degrades over time and then eventually is so unbearable that we do a reset. In my experience as a server/database administrator, those problems were solved by a software patch.
 

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Mike the MJB said:
I don't buy it. If it was connectors, cable, LNB, dish, etc. - then why wouldn't my box immediately show problems after a reset? It doesn't make sense to me. It acts like a memory leak in some computers where it slowly degrades over time and then eventually is so unbearable that we do a reset. In my experience as a server/database administrator, those problems were solved by a software patch.
lnb switching, resistance changes, same software is on every model #. if it was not related to its particular environment every box (or a high percentage) would all exhibit the same symptoms.
 

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Mike the MJB said:
I don't buy it. If it was connectors, cable, LNB, dish, etc. - then why wouldn't my box immediately show problems after a reset? It doesn't make sense to me. It acts like a memory leak in some computers where it slowly degrades over time and then eventually is so unbearable that we do a reset. In my experience as a server/database administrator, those problems were solved by a software patch.
Keep in mind that each tuner in your system is putting out a combination of 13V or 18V and a 22KHZ tone or no tone in order to tell the multiswitch which signal it wants. One bad connection on one tuner's feed to the switch can cause variations in this voltage and tone. If the weakness of that connection is just a few milliamps short of full signal, then things like ambient heating and cooling can certainly affect it. Even certain combinations of voltage and tone from different tuners could be the culprit in situations like this.

I do agree that these type things shouldn't cause the receiver to lock up or become sluggish, but I does. Maybe someday the programmers will figure out what it is about these type problems that causes it, but until then, the way to prevent this is to make certain that there are no problems with the signal delivery to the receivers.

As for memory leaks, I suppose anything is possible, but I have four HR0's that run 24x7 and are very rarely rebooted. In fact, until I started doing CE's a few months ago, I had two that had not been rebooted in at least three months. And both of these usually ran with less than 5% free space and somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 SL's. Don't get me wrong; I'm not being a fanboy or apologist. All I am suggesting is that the environment and infrastructure may have more to do with stability than the software or O/S.
 

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That makes sense. I wonder if the Dish Network customers experience similar issues with their HD DVR's......
Off topic a bit ... When I click 'Send' to the report feature, does it actually get sent to D* or do I have to post the number here for them to see the report????
 

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Mike the MJB said:
That makes sense. I wonder if the Dish Network customers experience similar issues with their HD DVR's......
Off topic a bit ... When I click 'Send' to the report feature, does it actually get sent to D* or do I have to post the number here for them to see the report????
gets sent to directv.. but it helps to post the # so they have your description too
 
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