Zinwell ZAT-970A? - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 1146 Old 08-24-2008, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slprp1 View Post

I made it (abundantly) clear in my initial review some time ago......
The Zinwell is a mediocre (at best!) converter. Nothing to write home about!
As you (and others) continue to use it......you will likely find this out first hand (as I did)......unfortunately!


THE BASIC PROBLEM:
CECB products are basically a "one shot deal". There will be very few sold beyond February, 2009 and probably none sold after the coupon program ends later next year (if the funding lasts that long).
The primary objective for these manufacturers was to get them on the street ASAP. Little care or pride was invested in the design and production of these (short term) units!!


THE BIGGEST CONCERN (at least for me):
Will they still be available when our current units self destruct and need to be replaced?
Based upon the fact that they're using the poorest quality parts and workmanship in the building of these units......unfortunately, these "disposable" boxes will end up being trashed soon enough!......
what happens then?......

I am glad my well ventilated Zenith DTT901 is cool running. Cooler operating temperature usually leads to longer life.
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post #182 of 1146 Old 08-24-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cia_viewer View Post

I am glad my well ventilated Zenith DTT901 is cool running. Cooler operating temperature usually leads to longer life.


Agreed....but it's not just the ventilation.....there are other units that have good (or at least decent) ventilation and are still running very warm.
This even includes the Channel Master (which may have better than average build quality).
It's poor, under designed power supplies (and other circuits) that cause this (all too common) heat issue......
It's also a clear indication of how little these manufacturers care!
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post #183 of 1146 Old 08-28-2008, 01:40 PM
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Here's what's happened since my last update 11 days ago.

The good: The box has not reset itself during this time.

The bad: The manual clock has drifted over 3 minutes.

Conclusion: The manual clock is useless. I have switched back to PSIP time, and the local stations are now showing 2-4 minute discrepencies again. Maybe they are using the same internal clock as the Zinwell? I'm now actually considering getting a DVD recorder by the analog cutoff date.

In this day and age, I didn't think keeping accurate time would be such an impossible task...
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post #184 of 1146 Old 08-28-2008, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by visualsensation View Post

In this day and age, I didn't think keeping accurate time would be such an impossible task...

It's not. The problem is lazy programmers.
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post #185 of 1146 Old 08-29-2008, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

On the way home I stopped at the ACME to pick up some shrimp. Right after the checkout by the courtesy desk there stood a "basket" containing about 50 Zinwell ZAT-857's, selling for $50 and eligible for the gov't coupon.

According to the the wikipedia comparison page (the most definitive source known to man or beast) the ZAT-857 uses the MicroTune tuner. Is that what it actually has?

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post #186 of 1146 Old 08-29-2008, 01:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by visualsensation View Post

.

The bad: The manual clock has drifted over 3 minutes.

I'm now actually considering getting a DVD recorder by the analog cutoff date.

...

The couple of DVDrs I had/have drifted at least 2-3 min/mo - so only a bit better than this box.
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post #187 of 1146 Old 09-01-2008, 10:50 PM
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I ordered a ZAT-970A a couple of weeks ago from Solid Signal. So far, so good. The picture quality appears to be slightly better than the DTVPal, and the timers actually seem to work. What a concept! As someone else here said, I probably wouldn't recommend this unit as a primary converter box since it lacks a good EPG, but it works great in conjunction with a VCR.

Has anyone tried to use a universal remote with this box yet? I'm wondering if there is an alternate brand name that I could try since Zinwell isn't listed in the code list. Any ideas?
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post #188 of 1146 Old 09-01-2008, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick313 View Post

Has anyone tried to use a universal remote with this box yet? I'm wondering if there is an alternate brand name that I could try since Zinwell isn't listed in the code list. Any ideas?

Often universal remotes have a search function that may locate codes but since this product may not be manufactured by a "mainstream" producer there is only an outside chance that an ordinary universal remote may work.

Some universal "learning" remotes are not expensive. In my area the Kroger-owned Fred Meyer stores have the Philips PMDVD6 six device learning remote on sale at $9.99 through 9/6. I use this remote on several devices, either by entering codes from the 12 pages of documentation, through the search feature, or through the "learning" function from the original product remote. The drawback with this model is that some of its 51 buttons are rather too small or close together, making for difficult button labeling with a Sharpie.

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post #189 of 1146 Old 09-03-2008, 12:10 AM
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I did a code search on my Philips PMDVR8 remote today and ended up with code 0465 which does power on the ZAT-970A and allow me to change channels. I had to teach the remote most of the other keys, but at least this gave me a starting point.

According to the Philips manual, other brand names that use this code include DirecTV, Hitachi, Hughes Network, Mitsubishi, and Toshiba. If someone has a different universal remote, codes for one or more of these brands might work.
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post #190 of 1146 Old 09-03-2008, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick313 View Post

I did a code search on my Philips PMDVR8 remote today and ended up with code 0465 which does power on the ZAT-970A and allow me to change channels. I had to teach the remote most of the other keys, but at least this gave me a starting point.

According to the Philips manual, other brand names that use this code include DirecTV, Hitachi, Hughes Network, Mitsubishi, and Toshiba. If someone has a different universal remote, codes for one or more of these brands might work.

Excellent work. Thank you.

It's good to have someone to actually come up with some new, useful information here in this subforum for a change.
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post #191 of 1146 Old 09-03-2008, 11:42 PM
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My 970A arrived today, a day before its coupon expires. A peek inside revealed some noteworthy empty spots: a connector at the back labeled "Y C", presumably s-video; an RS-232 port; slots for 3 additional front panel buttons; and I guess the stuff at the front corner is for a 7V power supply (vs. 5V).

My multimeter showed 5V between the RS232 vias labeled 5V and GND. Only thing I could determine from from the s-video was that there's continuity between the two square vias.

Sad to think that the only thing that stood in the way of s-video was a manufacturer that wouldn't spring for the 10 cent part.
LL

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post #192 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 12:02 AM
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How do you like your new Zinwell so far? Want to give a review?
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post #193 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 02:14 AM
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Without any DTV signals there's not much to review. I will say that unlike the DTVPal, the 970A did allow me to turn it off.

I'll also add that the board has space for a jtag interface.

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post #194 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 02:37 AM
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I see, didn't know it had these potential extra hardware inside its gut. I am just curious about it, as it is alternative to DTVPal.
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post #195 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 12:50 PM
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yeah i'm still deciding between the tr40cra and zinwell too... Baseship, did you decide on which one to get yet? I think i might just get both so i can compare them myself!
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post #196 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 01:16 PM
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I've been debating that myself. Decided to go with the Zinwell as the TR40 still has problems and my coupon is expiring. Will order this afternoon and test as soon as it arrives.

Placed my order a few hours ago. Whee!
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post #197 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 01:18 PM
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cheaplikeafox: I still have 2 coupons left, I think I might get a CM-7000 because of its PQ. I really want to get Tr40Cra, but I worry about the lockups, heat, guide download takes too long time, etc. Still, I am curious about Tr40Cra, so I might risk my last one on it...I haven't made up my mind yet.

If you do get both, I'd be curious about your impressions on them, as I doubt we'll see other timer box anytime soon, so another comparison would be helpful to folks out there!
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post #198 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by equivocal View Post

Without any DTV signals there's not much to review. I will say that unlike the DTVPal, the 970A did allow me to turn it off.

I'll also add that the board has space for a jtag interface.

What do you mean "Without any DTV signals there's not much to review." Unless you are 100 miles from a city or town, there must be some DTV signals in your area. What is your ZIP code.
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post #199 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 05:03 PM
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Thanks for the post equivocal.

So if an S-video port were soldered in the spot where the port should go, do you think it would work or does it need a firmware upgrade?

I suck at soldering, and to try pretty much means my Zat will end up as garbage, but I know some of you must be good at it...would anyone be willing to try and solder an s-video port on to see if it works?
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post #200 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 06:13 PM
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I have been using an attenuator with the Zinwell ZAT-970A, that has two signal bars, to check the OTA signal level and quality as described in the Kelvin link below in my signature. This enables me to find out how close I am to the "cliff" before dropout. The BER (bit error rate) stays low until you get near the cliff, and then it rapidly increases, without much warning, just before dropout. Rather than duplicate my post #98 on the Channel Master CM 8-Bay Bowtie UHF Antenna (CM4228) thread, I invite you to go to:
www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=14530126#post14530126

My thanks to electrictroy for telling me about the dual signal bars.

If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
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post #201 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwiser View Post

So if an S-video port were soldered in the spot where the port should go, do you think it would work or does it need a firmware upgrade?

I suck at soldering, and to try pretty much means my Zat will end up as garbage, but I know some of you must be good at it...would anyone be willing to try and solder an s-video port on to see if it works?

I extracted my own "10 cent part" from a dead DVD player. Although I didn't get it seated all the way down it held well enough to plug in an s-video cable for a test. No s-video.

I don't know about firmware, but the s-video pins connect to the block of resistors next to it, half of which are open. Might be like the CM7000 where it's thought that digital audio can be enabled by populating the empty resistor pads. But I was already using more heat that I thought I should just to get the solder to flow, so no surface mount hacking for me.

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post #202 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pestocat View Post

What do you mean "Without any DTV signals there's not much to review." Unless you are 100 miles from a city or town, there must be some DTV signals in your area.

The only signals are from translators which receive their signals from 100 miles away. Since the translators will have to vacate their current channels after the transition the prospects for any DTV are uncertain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pestocat View Post

What is your ZIP code.

That's between me and the post office.

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post #203 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by equivocal View Post

Since the translators will have to vacate their current channels after the transition the prospects for any DTV are uncertain.

There is currently no requirement by the FCC for translator, class "A," or low-power stations to vacate their current channel frequencies. That's why there are Analog Pass-Through (APT) CECB's.
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post #204 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post

...Zinwell ZAT-970A, that has two signal bars, to check the signal level and quality...

Do all ZAT-970A's come with this feature?

The only CECB that I knew of that has this ability is the APEX DT502. This would be a lock to purchase for me. There is no better way to station peak an antenna that is on a rotor.
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post #205 of 1146 Old 09-04-2008, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

There is currently no requirement by the FCC for translator, class "A," or low-power stations to vacate their current channel frequencies.

Even if the current assignment is in the 52-69 range?
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post #206 of 1146 Old 09-05-2008, 05:25 AM
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post #207 of 1146 Old 09-05-2008, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

Do all ZAT-970A's come with this feature?

The only CECB that I knew of that has this ability is the APEX DT502. This would be a lock to purchase for me. There is no better way to station peak an antenna that is on a rotor.

It was a lock for me too. So I bought one! As far as I know, all 970As have the dual signal bars. I meant in comparison to other CECBs rather than other 970As. What got me hooked were the photos by visualsensation of the dual bars. They were in a cache of posts lost in the AVS crash that were recovered by TalkingRat who left the cache link in post #109, but I can't seem to get it to work anymore; up comes Echostar TR-50. I think Google dumps the older posts to make room for the new ones. An alternate Google path was: Page 4 AVS Forum p=14450594, but that's NG too. There is one remaining photo by visualsensation in post #125 on page 5:
www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=14442865#post14442865

It shows the bars that don't stay on the screen very long. You have to go into the menu for manual scan to keep the bars on screen. If you use the intensity bar for aiming, give it a little time to peak on an increasing signal. I think that the AGC has a slow time constant. The Zenith DTT900 signal bar responds more rapidly. It was the unusual 970A signal quality bar that got to me, because I became interested in the importance of BER.

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post #208 of 1146 Old 09-05-2008, 07:12 PM
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The APEX DT502 doesn't seem to have any response latency. The dual bars (Quality & Strength) can be accessed with the "Signal" key on the remote and it stays until you release it.

It's so much easier to dial in channels, since I've owned the 502.
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post #209 of 1146 Old 09-06-2008, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biker19 View Post

The couple of DVDrs I had/have drifted at least 2-3 min/mo - so only a bit better than this box.

I have a DTVPal. I want to use it on my VCR so that I can use timers to tape shows at different times. However, for whatever reason the DTVPal gets its "clock" from whatever time the CBS channel in my area is broadcasting. The CBS time is anywhere from 2-12 minutes off on any given day, rendering the timer feature useless. There is no way to manually change the DTVPal's time, so you are stuck with what it says.

I am interested in the Zinwell 970A because I understand it has a timer feature, and a manual clock feature. I noticed one post stating that their clock was drifting even in manual clock mode. But does anyone else have this problem in manual mode? Can everyone out there with one of these please advise and let us know if the manual clock/timers will work on this device before I go out and buy it. Thanks!!!!
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post #210 of 1146 Old 09-07-2008, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by eatougrm View Post

I have a DTVPal. I want to use it on my VCR so that I can use timers to tape shows at different times. However, for whatever reason the DTVPal gets its "clock" from whatever time the CBS channel in my area is broadcasting. The CBS time is anywhere from 2-12 minutes off on any given day, rendering the timer feature useless. There is no way to manually change the DTVPal's time, so you are stuck with what it says.

... Thanks!!!!

On your DTVPal, forum posters have phoned/emailed their CBS stations to get them to 'fix' their (PSIP?) clocks. Also they say that dish will be making exchanges for the faulty DTVPals. F103 has fixed some of the problems, but there are more fixes in the works.
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