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post #1 of 45 Old 10-24-2008, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I have recently been having an issue where my non-UTV receiver just gives me a searching for sat signal message. While UTV is completely fine. The tech came out and replaced the dish the wiring to the multi-switch and the multi-switch itself.

When he hooked it all back up the non UTV receiver picked up the signal fine. As soon as he plugged the UTV back into the multi-switch the signal went back to searching for sat. So we disconnected the UTV from the switch and let the other get the full guide and plugged back in the UTV everything was working so he left.

Well of course the next day I see the same searching... message. I unhook the UTV from the switch and immediately it comes back. I hook the UTV backup and it is fine again (for how long I don't know).

Does anyone have any idea what could cause this or how I can fix it. Does it sound like my UTV receiver needs to be replaced or the other one or something else?

Any guesses (educated or otherwise) would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 45 Old 10-25-2008, 07:51 AM
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Have you tried changing your LNB settings? With a new dish/switch/wiring... It's possible you might have to "upgrade" the settings. Maybe even try and "downgrade" it and see if that helps on some level.

Have you swapped cables with the non-UTV? (Bad Cable run?) Tested each cable run by itself, not in pairs? (A simple problem with one tuner/cable, could confuse the troubleshooting) Also, is the History Log giving you any odd messages? Does the Signal Strength meter say one/both tuners are flaky?

In the full Sat setup menu there is an "advanced" mode where you can test/find the signals on your Multi-Switch. I'd recommend you use this option while testing your cable runs... This should tell you if each tuner is getting the signals it should.

Let us know what you find.
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post #3 of 45 Old 10-25-2008, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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The UTV exihibits no problems at all, its the other receiver. Next time it goes down I will have to try unplugging one run at a time and see if one specific line is causing the problem. I am betting it is the one that is run outside the house.
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post #4 of 45 Old 10-25-2008, 06:31 PM
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I'd doubt this... but did the Tech leave the old Multi-Switch behind? I would try and "cascade" another switch off the main switch to "isolate" the feed(s) to both receivers.

If you can't do that I'd probably try verifying that each run goes from the Switch directly to the Tuner. If you have easy access to the Multi-Switch running a known "good" short cables directly to both units and try and repeat the issue.

The tips I suggested about your setup for the UTV... Did you check/verfy the settings on the non-UTV are OK?
Keep us posted.
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post #5 of 45 Old 10-25-2008, 07:02 PM
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It might also be a good idea to try and run "direct" lines from the LNB (or extend the lines going to the Multi-Switch) to the Receivers, bypassing the switch. That might give you some clues. Of coarse I'm not sure how these newer LNBs work so with my old dual LNB this might be easy to test/isolate the receivers... The Multi-Switch might be needed in your setup to get a good signal...

Keep us posted.
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post #6 of 45 Old 10-25-2008, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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It is still a standard dual LNB. But the run from the multi to the UTV is long and complicated. One is interior the other is exterior to the house. Both are fairly long and next to impossible to replace.

I do now have 3 multi-switches so I thought about cascading them to see if that would "shield" whatever interference there is. Just not sure how you cascade the multi-switches.

Do you just feed any two lines from the outbound of the first into the inbound of the second?
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post #7 of 45 Old 10-26-2008, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cedeveloperx View Post

It is still a standard dual LNB. But the run from the multi to the UTV is long and complicated. One is interior the other is exterior to the house. Both are fairly long and next to impossible to replace.

I do now have 3 multi-switches so I thought about cascading them to see if that would "shield" whatever interference there is. Just not sure how you cascade the multi-switches.

Do you just feed any two lines from the outbound of the first into the inbound of the second?

You would not have to replace the original run from the LNB... but if you can "extend" them with a coupler to bypass the multi-switch you could run some tests that way.

If you have three Multi-Switches already you should have "cascaded" them some how already. You have it right, about the layout. Connect the input of one to the output of another...

If you're somehow NOT cascaded already I suspect you might have splitter in the line which might be a problem.

Keep us posted.
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post #8 of 45 Old 10-26-2008, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry to confuse the issue, but I have 3 multi-switches but only one is in use. So my question is do I need to take any two lines out of the first mutli-switch into the second and then just feed the two coming out of there into the UTV while leaving the original 3rd line off the 1 switch and send that into the other reciever? I only have two receivers one is the UTV (2lines).

I hope that didn't make it more confusing and thanks again for your help.
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post #9 of 45 Old 10-26-2008, 07:52 PM
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Not a problem. What you are suggesting sounds like a good example of cascading the second multi-switch and feeding your receivers. If you should continue having problems you might try the other switch and/or swap which switch feeds the UTV.

But as mentioned your suggestion seems sound. Cascading the other multi-switch should "Isolate" the UTV and your non-UTV should hopefully feel it has the primary switch to itself. I'd still recommend using the "advanced" Multi-Switch test on the UTV to make sure the Switch is feeding all the Sats it should. Maybe test it before and after adding the non-UTV... If it drops off a signal that may be a clue.

Since the non-UTV seems a bit sensitive I'd recommend verifying that JUST adding the second multi-switch doesn't cause problems. If it does you can rule out the UTV at some level. If DirecTV will cover repairs you'll have a non-UTV related "problem" you can create on demand. They might find the glitch then and not blame the UTV.

Good luck. Keep us posted.
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post #10 of 45 Old 10-27-2008, 06:39 PM
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My 2 cents: Your multiswitch is unpowered, yes? If not, I'm hosed, but this sounds like a loading issue to me, which would only be compounded by cascading. Change the multiswitch to a powered model. If you're already using a powered multiswitch, please let us know here (this would completely stump me, but that's cool). As has been mentioned above, splitters = bad.
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post #11 of 45 Old 10-27-2008, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyEric View Post

My 2 cents: Your multiswitch is unpowered, yes? If not, I'm hosed, but this sounds like a loading issue to me, which would only be compounded by cascading. Change the multiswitch to a powered model. If you're already using a powered multiswitch, please let us know here (this would completely stump me, but that's cool). As has been mentioned above, splitters = bad.

Depending on the specific setup I could see an "unpowered" Switch causing issues were a "powered" one wouldn't.

If the system setup Cedeveloperx has is "standard" (less then 100FT run) I wouldn't suspect this as a problem. In my setup I have an external power 3x8 multi-switch with a 3x4 "receiver/non-powered" switch cascaded off of that. I've also run an additional 3x4 "receiver/non-powered" switches off of that on occasion.

The powered vs "non-powered" question shouldn't be over looked but if the runs from the LNB to the switch and then to the receivers are fairly "short" (under 100 ft?) then a "non-powered" switch should be OK.

If Cedeveloperx can test the setup by running some "test" lines directly from the LNB to the Switch then to the receivers (Might require running some extension cords/TV/Receivers outside) you could rule out the LNB cable runs as being problems.

If I read the topic correctly the LNB cable runs weren't replaced recently when the Sat and Multi-Switch were replaced... so maybe a bad/loose contact could be an issue. Maybe checking that all the contacts at the LNB/Grounding Block/Multi-Switch are good wouldn't hurt regardless.

I seem to remember a post here where somebody had a Sat on the roof and they checked the contacts up there and they were completely degraded and after getting swapped out the setup was great... Of coarse a DirecTV tech should have seen if the cables were badly damaged...
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post #12 of 45 Old 10-27-2008, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah cascading did not help. I used to have a powered multi-switch don't have it anymore left it at my last residence foolishly thinking the "free" install would include one at my newer place.

Anyway one of the two runs back to the UTV is probably over 50 feet. The two runs from the dish are probably less than 20 feet.

One other interesting thing to note. It happens when I tune to specific channels. When I stay on the locals and usually the kids channels I don't have an issue however as soon as I turned to 771 for a hockey game it went off. Disconnecting the other two lines (to the UTV) immediately fixed it and would allow tuning to the channel. When I plug it back in it continues to work, however if I turn off that channel and back on it would happen again. Also noticed it worked on 512 and 513. I am sure there are more.

Now I wonder if I should try contacting directv tech support again and see if I can worm a free powered multi-switch out of them.
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post #13 of 45 Old 10-27-2008, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cedeveloperx View Post

Anyway one of the two runs back to the UTV is probably over 50 feet. The two runs from the dish are probably less than 20 feet.

This being the case, as lgodave mentioned, the runs do seem to be well within standard norms.

I agree also with lgodave that bad/loose connection, perhaps a corroded high-resistance connection, may be the culprit. The danger with this is that using a powered multiswitch may get the system running, but the problem isn't fixed and "compensating" for it could create additional problems.

I'm curious about the statement regarding the cable runs being "long and complicated". Care to elaborate?

Lastly, I just noticed you mentioned "one of the two runs" to the UTV - presumably a second run was added to accommodate the extra tuner. I wonder if this difference in wiring length (can you estimate it?) could cause some weird feedback due to both being powered from the same UTV power supply but presenting differing levels of resistance and capacitance (which admittedly should be miniscule).
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post #14 of 45 Old 10-28-2008, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cedeveloperx View Post

One other interesting thing to note. It happens when I tune to specific channels. When I stay on the locals and usually the kids channels I don't have an issue however as soon as I turned to 771 for a hockey game it went off. Disconnecting the other two lines (to the UTV) immediately fixed it and would allow tuning to the channel. When I plug it back in it continues to work, however if I turn off that channel and back on it would happen again. Also noticed it worked on 512 and 513. I am sure there are more.

Now I wonder if I should try contacting directv tech support again and see if I can worm a free powered multi-switch out of them.

This suggests that one of your LNB to Multi-Switch runs might be problematic.

If possible I'd swap the cables at the LNB so Cables "A" and "B" swap spots... OR swap cables at the Multi-Switch "A"/"B" if that is easier.

That might result in channel 771 being "good" and your locals and kid channels might be problematic. Ideally you want to rule out the cable runs AND the LNB. It's possible the LNB is faulty and can't acquire the signal from even/odd transponders correctly. In a perfect setup the Signal Strength Meter on the UTV will compare levels between both tuners and transponders. So if you can connect the UTV directly to the LNB (Bypass the Multi-Switch) and check the various transponders you might find some are weaker. If Tuner "A" is 90%, Tuner "B" is 70% on Transponder 5, for example, the cable run and/or LNB contact feeding tuner "B" is bad and should be checked out. If you swap the contacts at the LNB and Tuner "A" is 70% and "B" is 90% that suggests the LNB and/or cable run. If it "stays" on the same tuner I'd suspect the Cable Run is bad and the LNB is OK.
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post #15 of 45 Old 10-28-2008, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgodave View Post

This suggests that one of your LNB to Multi-Switch runs might be problematic.

If possible I'd swap the cables at the LNB so Cables "A" and "B" swap spots... OR swap cables at the Multi-Switch "A"/"B" if that is easier.

That might result in channel 771 being "good" and your locals and kid channels might be problematic. Ideally you want to rule out the cable runs AND the LNB. It's possible the LNB is faulty and can't acquire the signal from even/odd transponders correctly. In a perfect setup the Signal Strength Meter on the UTV will compare levels between both tuners and transponders. So if you can connect the UTV directly to the LNB (Bypass the Multi-Switch) and check the various transponders you might find some are weaker. If Tuner "A" is 90%, Tuner "B" is 70% on Transponder 5, for example, the cable run and/or LNB contact feeding tuner "B" is bad and should be checked out. If you swap the contacts at the LNB and Tuner "A" is 70% and "B" is 90% that suggests the LNB and/or cable run. If it "stays" on the same tuner I'd suspect the Cable Run is bad and the LNB is OK.

Highly doubtful as both the LNB and the runs to the multi-switch were just replaced by the tech. Plus the signal strength is pretty much the same.
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post #16 of 45 Old 10-28-2008, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyEric View Post

I agree also with lgodave that bad/loose connection, perhaps a corroded high-resistance connection, may be the culprit. The danger with this is that using a powered multiswitch may get the system running, but the problem isn't fixed and "compensating" for it could create additional problems.

I'm curious about the statement regarding the cable runs being "long and complicated". Care to elaborate?

Lastly, I just noticed you mentioned "one of the two runs" to the UTV - presumably a second run was added to accommodate the extra tuner. I wonder if this difference in wiring length (can you estimate it?) could cause some weird feedback due to both being powered from the same UTV power supply but presenting differing levels of resistance and capacitance (which admittedly should be miniscule).

There is definitely a difference in wire length one going thru the interior of the house very direct the other going back outside and around the outside of the house. Although I would estimate the difference at no more then 20 feet.

I guess by complicated I just mean I can't really replace them. The exterior one has been pretty much thru a small hole in the brick which was then sealed around it. The interior is inside the walls at a point where access is pretty much zero now that my basement has been finished.
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post #17 of 45 Old 10-28-2008, 03:05 PM
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Sorry I had the impression the runs from the LNB to switch were left in place.

As for a bad LNB... while unlikely it could be bad.

To restate/simplify the issue. The non-UTV doesn't play nice if the UTV is online (either or both tuners? Correct?). UTV signal meter seems to suggest that the LNB and runs are OK.

If you bypass the Multi-Switch (using some standard cable couplers) and run a single line to the UTV and one to the non-UTV and the problem goes away (swap/check both feeds to make sure "A" or "B" side of the LNB isn't flaky) then you know it's switch related.
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post #18 of 45 Old 10-28-2008, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgodave View Post

Sorry I had the impression the runs from the LNB to switch were left in place.

As for a bad LNB... while unlikely it could be bad.

To restate/simplify the issue. The non-UTV doesn't play nice if the UTV is online (either or both tuners? Correct?). UTV signal meter seems to suggest that the LNB and runs are OK.

If you bypass the Multi-Switch (using some standard cable couplers) and run a single line to the UTV and one to the non-UTV and the problem goes away (swap/check both feeds to make sure "A" or "B" side of the LNB isn't flaky) then you know it's switch related.

Thanks for the idea. I will give that a shot as soon as they are not all recording stuff. I like the process of elimination.
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post #19 of 45 Old 10-28-2008, 07:04 PM
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keep us posted....now I HAVE to know what the problem is...
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post #20 of 45 Old 10-28-2008, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyEric View Post

keep us posted....now I HAVE to know what the problem is...

Yes, I agree, plenty of people reading this would love to know.

The "bypass" direct to the LNB is the simplest "default" safe mode and should hopefully give you a "clean" signal for both the UTV and Non-UTV.

Worse case scenario (you'll love this with your difficult cable runs) you could run another Dish LNB to the UTV or Non-UTV. A neighbor up north had this done (added another receiver and the installer did it this way probably because it was easier/cheaper then trying to run another set of cables or a Multi-Switch into the new location). The nice thing with that is both are independent of each other. If heavy rain/trees/people are blocking one (it's near the ground) the other (on the roof) may have a clearer view. One bad setup the other can be used as a "backup". Great for us troubleshooters at least.
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post #21 of 45 Old 10-29-2008, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I took the multi-switch out of the picture and it still occurred. So I tried unplugging from the back of the UTV. When I noticed it was really hot where the cables plug-in. I unplugged for five minutes and plugged back in and I was able to change to any channel without issue. So I am wondering if the heat right on the cable connections could be an issue. I propped the UTV up about 1 inch off the ground hoping the better airflow will reduce the heat and solve the problem.

Of course it has been in the exact location for several years without issue but I guess dust and stuff is probably building up inside.

I could be completely off base but from my work in computers I know that heat can cause some mighty strange things to happen.

We shall see if it continues to work for 24 hours and on.
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post #22 of 45 Old 10-30-2008, 10:39 AM
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As others have mentioned if you have a desktop fan or maybe a USB fan you could try and rule out heat buildup as a concern.

An hour (or more) or so to "cool down" when making changes can also be helpful...

Hopefully the internal fan is still working and the vents are clean. If you decide to open the UTV for cleaning be sure to pull the access card FIRST!!

Keep us posted.
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post #23 of 45 Old 11-01-2008, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Well it worked for a few days and this afternoon I went to record something and it was back on the searching for sat message. Unplugged the connections and it came right back. There does seem to be a lot of heat around the back vent of the UTV right on the cables which were pretty hot.

I have the UTV raised up around an inch or more so there is plenty of air flow now. I guess it is time to crack it open and see just how much dust has accumulated over the years.

And if that doesn't work my last try will be a USB fan.
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post #24 of 45 Old 11-01-2008, 04:09 PM
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"Unplugged the connections and it came right back"

Have you been able to determine if you need to pull both connections or just one or the other on the UTV to get the signal back?

Have you swapped locations with the "Non-UTV" to see if cable connections from the wall to the receiver is bad? It's been a long time I've had issues with a "bad cable" but if you have a weak (RG-59 or damaged RG-6) cable in the setup I'd try swapping cables around to see if that changes anything. I've actually used "Non-RG6" cables on my UTV and DTivo without a problem but your "non-UTV" might have issues with that...

Heat Tip:

I've done this downstairs were I don't have a lot of space to work with. Instead of "stacking" the UTVs... I've got one standing on end. The power supply side (front left) is sitting on bottle caps and the internal fan side (front right) is facing up.

This does appear to effectively dissipate the heat without the use of additional fans.

Not everyone has the space to do something like this but it may be worth a try. It may look odd but you could even try tilting the UTV 30-45 degrees and remove the heat that way.

If you go with a fan... you might see past threads on this forum were I've mentioned my internal "PC Slot Blower Fan" modification. You take a PC Slot Blower Fan and flatten the "slot" plate and using twist ties or some machine screws you can attach it inside the back UTV vent above the tuners and power it off the Hard Drive...

Keeps it cool and doesn't cause any damage to the UTV's case, allowing you to return the UTV to "out of the box" condition with very little effort.
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post #25 of 45 Old 11-02-2008, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cedeveloperx View Post

... I went to record something and it was back on the searching for sat message...

Wait - this seems to be a _new_ problem. As I understood it before, only the NON-UTV receiver was having the problem. The way I read the above quote, it is now the actual UTV that is searching for sat?
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post #26 of 45 Old 11-03-2008, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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No, it is the non-UTV that has the searching for Sat. The problem however seems to originate from the UTV and possible overheating. I still haven't had a chance to crack it open and check to see how much dust has built up. But it seems to go for a few days vs instantly now that I have it elevated.

I am also experimenting with turning it off at night, however I know that really doesn't do much since it technically doesn't really turn off.
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post #27 of 45 Old 11-03-2008, 02:23 PM
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While the heating issue is something to address (I have a laptop cooler under my UTVs), the only thing I can see this doing to the signal is changing the tolerance and therefore the output voltage of the UTV jacks which I could see confusing the multiswitch somewhat, but this is not something that I can see confusing another receiver while the UTV continues to get clean signal.

With ENORMOUS respect to lgodave (he's been here a long time and has helped more than his fair share of folks), i still gotta believe that an upgraded, powerered, multiswitch is the answer here. HOWEVER, as I'm not the one paying for said multiswitch, I do agree you should try EVERYTHING else first.

Good Luck! When (if) you do fix the problem, please post the solution here.

--Eric
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post #28 of 45 Old 11-03-2008, 05:05 PM
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I'm more then willing to try a powered Multi-Switch. It can rule out some issues.

Everyone's experience will vary... As someone had mentioned a powered switch might "mask" the issue if the powered switch "fixes" the problem.
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post #29 of 45 Old 11-06-2008, 07:31 AM
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teehee...that sounds like somethng I'd say...oh, wait...
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post #30 of 45 Old 11-07-2008, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I just picked one up on eBay should be here early next week.
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