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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Dish 5000 and a Panasonic TU-DST50, and about 3 weeks ago I lost the ability to Tune in HD from my Dish 5000 with HD modulator (Pointed at 61.5).


Simptoms are as follows:

If I start from a fresh startup. (All equipment off and cold). Turn on the DST50, select channel 3, turn on Dish 5000, pull up menu, select HBO-HD or SHO-HD, everything works great...for about 4-5 minutes, then some pixels, then some more, then about 20-30 seconds later, total failure to tune in.


If I change the tuner's channel from 3 to something else then back, it will tune in for about 1-2 seconds, then boom failure again.


This will work a few times, then eventually nothing can bring the picture back.


Even more bizarre, if I attempt to tune in the Demo channel (even if it's a cold start), instant failure after about 1-2 seconds, AND I can no longer tune in any of the other HD channels.


The only way to get everthing working again is to turn off the tuner, and unplug the Dish 5000 for a few minutes. At that point I can start the game all over again... with identical results.


Things I have tried:

- calling Dish's advanced tech support - no help (although he told me to unplug the HD modulator while the Dish 5000 was power UP! Weird... didn't help).

- switch every cable I could think of - nothing

- aim dish at 148 - couldn't find it

- aim dish back at 61.5 - same problem

- check signal strength - high 80s (base 125)

- run "check switch" on my 64 switch - no help

- switch cables between dishes - nope

- check other SD channels on 61.5 - they work fine.

- call Dish support back - convince them to swap my HD modulator for a new one - they did - sadly it didn't help


I dont' know where else to turn....HELLLPPPPP!!!!


Jeremy


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What software revision are you running?


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Software version: 741PBTEA-N X100

Bootstrap ver: 100BBTEA Z000


Is this the right info?


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Sounds like you have a variation of the well-known DST50's "blue speckle when hot" problem. Your DST50 needs to go back to the factory for replacement of more temperature stable ICs. Do a search in this forum for more info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't think that's the problem, because if I tune in HDTV over the aif, it works fine, even if I have reached the point of failure on Dish content...


It's only on content from Dish.

http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/frown.gif


Jeremy


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I think 741 is the latest Dish software for the 5000. I don't know for sure if it's bug free, or not. There was a problem recently with revision 740, and reports of no HDTV output. To temporally fix the problem, this is what worked:

In the 5000 menu, reset the HDTV manufacturer's code, try 700, also reset the DTV Output Channel to 3.



It sounds like either the HD modulator is not working properly on ch 3 (but you did get a second unit to try & that did not fix your problem), or the TU-DST is not able to receive ch 3 anymore.


You could also reset the 5000 to output on DTV ch 4 and rescan channels to see if the DST picks up ch 4 better.


Another idea is to try only inputting the ch 4 (or 3) from the modulator to the DST, and disconnect the coax for your local DTV stations.




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May be unrelated but I had a similar problem a while ago with my 5000/HD/DST51 (but not totally identical symptoms) and found the culprit and then forgot. With the latest upgrade (I'm also now using 741) and problems folks had with it, I panicked when I thought I had problems with the upgrade. (I went through all the fixes - set the code to 700 or 701, set the output channel to 4 then back to 3 etc, swapped cables and it didn't make any sense!) However, in trying to track things down (signal for a few seconds then black, but not with OTA) I found the culprit again (doh!) Turns out it was/is a problem with the coax input connector on the DST51 and not the cable or the 5000. I would tune Dish HD and wanted to see how long it lasted before "blackout" so I was getting up to go do something else - when I stood up it went black, when I didn't, it stayed on HD for longer. This standing up was getting to the cable/connector! I stood still by the unit, tuned HD - picture - just touching the cable was enough to get the picture to disappear - but ONLY on the 5000 and not OTA =very weird. The attachment of the connector to the circuit board is my current suspect/culprit. So far it has stabilized and I haven't had to "jiggle the doodad". If the manufacturing process for attaching this connector is flaky, you might have the same issue - I've had a couple of problems with other electronics where this was the problem (notably two Yamaha units) and it may not be as isolated as I had thought. The only explanation I have for the OTA working is the low output of the 5000 compared to my (pre-amped and distributed) OTA - if the connector /PCB contact was only a few thou, a stronger signal (higher voltage?) might get enough into the DST51 for it to see sufficient info to decode cleanly - I didn't try a pre-amp on the 5000/HD output before the DST51 but if I have to jiggle the doodad with any regularity in the future, I'm going to try that. I could, I suppose, get into the DST51 and try and fix it ....


In any case worth, checking out because it's so simple!


Good luck


Andy


PS Guess I should mention that the OTA is all UHF and I split that out with a VHF/UHF splitter and combine it with the Ch3 from the 5000 with a combiner so there's only one cable going to the DST51; CH3 = Dish and UHF CH#'s are OTA = no switch needed!( suggestion courtesy of Don Landis - I think).


[This message has been edited by AJSJones (edited 05-24-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ken,


Thanks for the help. I'll try the reset trick for the manufacturers code. I already tried the channel 4 thing to no avail.. I don't currently have the local DTV coax plugged in.


Andy,


Wow, sounds close to my problem. It really does behave like it's a weak signal. The dropout is exactly like a misaligned antenna. I'll start with the "jiggle the doodad" trick, if that doesn't help I think I'll pick up a pre-amp. Do you have a recommendation, does Radio Shack sell anything that would work? I love your (or Don's) idea about combining the two signals into one connection. Does Radio Shack also sell a combiner or do you recommend a specific type.


Thanks you guys - this place rocks!,


Jeremy


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Jeremy, The splitter and combiner are the same unit (one configured in reverse) and they came from RatShack.

I have a 5 way preamp from my OTA antenna, one output of which goes to the splitter with the UHF going to the combiner with the CH3 from the 5000, and the others feed the rest of the house. I got it from RatShack also and it works but others have found them hit and miss - there are current and past threads on other pre-amps and Winegard seems highly regarded...

Hope the doodad trick works for you - if it does there may be other folks with a similar problem/solution


Good luck

Andy
 

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Hi guys,


I too had some problems that seem related to low RF output from the DISH HD modulator. I ended up using a 10 dB RadioShack amplifier from the output of the modulator to the VHF terminal of a VHF/UHF splitter. The antenna feed the UHF OTA stations to the UHF terminal, and the common goes to the input of the DST-50. That also seemed to lower the frequency of audio dropouts!


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I want to thank everybody for their help, but... I am sad to report, none of the ideas solved the problem. Although installing a pre-amp increased the amount of time before failure to about 12-15 minutes, but in the long run, it always fails.


I am still open to suggestions. I would be happy if I could just figure out the offending hardware. Possible culprits are Dish 5000, HD modulator, cables, HD Tuner, LNB,?.


Joel,


I'm a bit confused by your description. Where does VHF come into play? Is there any chance you could diagram this...maybe you are on to something. I purchased a 20db UHF "High-Gain Antenna-Mount Signal Amplifier" designed to handle 430-1450Mhz from Radio Shack. I plugged in inline between the Dish HD modulator and my Panasonic HD Tuner. It seem to help a bit, but then the power supply on the pre-amp overheated (too hot to touch).


Anyway, still looking for help. Thanks in advance,


Jeremy


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[This message has been edited by JeremyNeish (edited 05-27-2001).]
 

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If you have access to another ATSC STB, you can confirm whether the HD modulator's output is tunable at all. If the problem doesn't show up there, there's a good chance that the coax connection to the DST-50 is the culprit, as Andy suggested. I've seen this problem as well (as have others on the Forum).


Just on general principles it's probably a good idea to swap out your TU-DST50 for another. Panasonic still has the swap-out program in which they'll ship you a replacement unit, and you return yours in the same box with a pre-paid UPS return label. If yours has never been serviced or refurbished you're at risk of seeing the overheating/blue sparkle problem anyway.


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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I took your advice and called Panasonic support. They claimed I need to prove my DST-50 was still under warranty. Although I did purchase it less than a year ago (clearance at costco) I'm not sure I can find my reciept. Does this "swap-out program" require it be under warranty like the support person claimed? If not, what number should I call to get it swapped?

Thanks,


Jeremy


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I've had several STBs swapped out by Panasonic and I don't recall warranty being an issue; I don't think the question was even asked. I simply called the "digital products" service number (888-VIEW-PTV) and described the problem I was having.


Usually their initial suggestion is to send it in for service; they don't always volunteer the information that there is a swap-out program for these units. Perhaps the people answering the phone don't always know. But if you ask about the program they should be able to confirm whether it's still in effect--a couple of weeks ago, at least, it still was.


It's worth doing, whether or not it's under warranty.


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Jeremy, Having re-read your reply to joel, it sounds like you used a UHF pre-amp for the signal from the mod to the STB and it didn't do much. The signal from the HD mod TO the STB is on VHF Ch3 or Ch4 (you select it in set-up) so you need a VHF pre-amp for either of them. You can use the UHF pre-amp for OTA (if you get any) but check out a VHF to boost the HD mod signal.


Of course if you can get Panny to swap-out the unit and the new one's OK that's great, but you still might benefit from the VHF pre-amp


Andy


[This message has been edited by AJSJones (edited 05-29-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JeremyNeish:
... but then the power supply on the pre-amp overheated (too hot to touch)
Maybe you have a major ground-loop problem. Try disconnecting one end of the cable between the modulator and the DST50 and measure the voltage between the cable shield and the F-connector external threads on the DST50. If you see more than a few volts then the ground-loop current might be enough to effect the input sensitivity of the STB. Start looking for crossed house wiring, bad grounds, etc.


One other thought: the DST50 (and 51 to a lessor extent) transmits a strong carrier somewhere around 75 mhz. I can't be sure of the frequency because my spectrum analyzer is way out of calibration. It radiates much more of this when the firewire is plugged in. The firewire cable supplied with the Panasonic recorder has HUGE ferrite cores at each end to cut down the RFI. Try unplugging the firewire and see if it makes a difference.


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Success!! (almost)


I think I have finally narrowed the problem down. It is a problem with my DST-50. First thing that helped was inserting a VHF amplifier inline. That increased the time before failure to about 30minutes. Next I tried taking the top of the DST-50 and aiming a fan at it...much better, now it doesn't ever fail completely, but it does still glitch out. Next I touched the various parts to see what was hottest, the area just behind the RF input was pretty hot, and I noticed it would react to me touching it. So I took a closer look. I noticed 3 pots (the kind with a phillips head on them)... So I said what the heck, lets tweek 'em. Sure enough, I tweeked the biggest of the three just a quarter turn to the right. Viola no more glitching (almost), I watched about 2 hours of HD programming. The demo channel looped twice, and the end of The Patriot... only two very minor glitches. Wahoo! I have no idea what I tweeked, but it worked!


Earlier today I tried calling Panasonic "digital products" again, they are totally unwilling to do a swap or repair if I can't find the reciept (which I can't). Very frustrating.


Anyway, thanks for everybody's help, this place rocks,


Jeremy


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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
UPDATE: I have now watched over 5 hours of HD programming. Not one singe glitch, not even any audio drop outs. Simply FLAWLESS! I've never been happier with my system. Again, I have no idea what I tweaked, but whatever it was, it worked.


If anybody else is having problems with dropout or audio glitches, try my tweak, after all you can always put it back.


Jeremy


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