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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got an odd problem where two of the four lines from my satellite dish work and the other two do not. I don't know if this is the correct place to put my question, but it is HD related so I figured it was worth a try. :)


The dish is an oval Terk dish, has A and B LNBs, a multiswitch, and was purchased and installed when the house was built in Feb 2002. There are two white coax and two black coming out the back of the dish, and all four are connected to lines that run back to the house's distribution panel. The two lines connected to the dish's white leads are distributed to a DTivo and they work just fine. The two lines from the dish's black leads were not connected to anything. That is, until now.


This weekend I picked up a Sony HD200 and couldn't get it to work using the additional connections. If I move one of the DTivo lines over to the HD200 it works and I get signal strength from the A and B satellites in the 88-92 range. Conversely, if I connect one of the other two lines to either the DTivo or the HD200, they don't work. This holds true even when I make the switch at the dish itself.


One thing that I don't understand is that when I hook up the non-DTivo "black" lines to the HD200, I get good signal strength (88-90) on the B satellite, get zero on A with transponders 1-21, but good strength on A with transponders 22-32! I see that satellite B only has transponders 22-32, but why do only these work on satellite A?


I thought that all of the lines that come out of the satellite were through its multiswitch and would all be the same? Can anybody give me a clue as to what's going on here? I'd rather not pay a couple of hundred dollars for travel and a service call to the original installers if this is something silly on my part.


Any and all advice would be appreciated.
 

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There are four lines coming from the dish, two for each LNB. I would hazard a guess your Terk doesn't have an integrated multiswitch. The white one are for the SAT A LNB and the black ones run to the Sat B LNB. The installer probably hooked just the two white ones into a 2 (or 3) by ? multiswitch, which will distribute Sat A signals to all of its outputs. Since you weren't using Sat B, he just left those loose.


When you hook up your HD STB to the black lines (Sat B only) your box only sees Sat B. Since the transponders on either satellite use the same frequencies, the box has no way of telling it's not looking at Sat A. Hence, the same transponder numbers give exactly the same reading when you select them. It sends the switching tone upstream and just assumes the satellite switching was properly done.


If you hook your HD STB to one of the white lines and select, say, NASA, I'd bet the picture you get is most certainly not from NASA. The HD box then is only looking at Sat A and THINKS it's looking at Sat B.


To fix the problem, you'll need a new multiswitch (what you've termed "distrbution panel") designed for multi-satellite use. On the top of the multiswitch, there will be 4 or 5 inputs, two for sat A and two for sat B. Possibly one for an over-the-air antenna. (There's a remote possibility the installer put that in but didn't hook it up. Look closely at it. If it has fewer than four inputs, it's not a multi-satellite multiswitch.


Note that adding the multiswitch will get you HBO-HD and HDNet, which are on Sat B. ShowtimeHD and some future HD services will be on the third (middle) Sat C position. For that, you will have to obtain the special Sat C kit, which consists of a unique LNB (electrically different from the ones you have) and a combiner. Search this forum for "Sat C kit" for more of the gory details.


If you dont want to shell out for the special multiswitch, you can get by with a simple 22khz tone switch. They're considerably cheaper. You'd take one output from your current multiswitch for the Sat A input and and one of the black leads for the Sat B input. Run the output to your HD box.


Good luck.


Doc
 

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What is in the distribution panel? It sounds like there is another multiswitch in there. For a second multiswitch to work, it must have 4 dish inputs hooked up to the dish's multiswitch's 4 outputs. It also must be cascadable since without a tone generator it can't signal the dish's multiswitch to switch sats. Getting transponders 22-32 only showing up means the unit is still seeing Sat B and isn't being switched to A even though the receiver is requesting it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies! Based on your responses, I got home a little while ago and manually checked the LNB housing on the Terk S23 dish. Sure enough, even though the installer insisted that there was a multiswitch within it, there wasn't anything! The A and B dual LNBs each had their two coax cables passing directly to the back of the dish, and from there into the house. Everything makes sense now, of course, as the two feeds from LNB A were the ones connected to the DTivo. The much embarrassed installer is coming out thursday morning to install a 5x4 multiswitch free of charge. :D
 

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You may want to see if he'll go a little better than a 5X4 or if you can upgrade, unless 4 outputs is plenty for you.


Doc
 

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The Terk S23 has an integrated 5x4, 5 in due to the connection for a Sat C LNB not an OTA connection, multiswitch in the arm that holds the LNBs. Your installer needs to run all 4 connections from the dish to the new inside multiswitch.


Check the specs at http://www.terk.com/tv/product/trks23.html


That inside multiswitch must be cascadable or a separate tone generator must also be installed. A 5x4 or 5x8 switch has inputs for the 4 dish wires plus an OTA antenna wire.


If there really is no multiswitch in the distribution box and the lines do run directly between the dish and the receiver, the multiswitch built in the dish isn't working and the dish will need to be replaced.


I'm still betting there is a 2x4 multiswitch in the distribution box since it's a typical round dish installation procedure and would cause exactly the symptoms described.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, the S23 has an integrated 5x4, but that consists of a small multiswitch placed within the base housing the LNBs (see the last page of the PDF here ). Unfortunately, the 5x4 switch wasn't placed within the housing or connected (obviously, if not there :D ). Apparently the original installation plan was to instead put a 5x8 switch within the distribution box, but for whatever reason that didn't happen. However, since there was only two lines required for the DTivo, the outputs from the dual LNB A were distributed directly to that device and everything worked fine. (Until of course I added the HD200.) So tomorrow morning the original installer is coming out to install a 5x8 switch within the distribution box. (By the way, thanks for the heads-up DrDon. I don't know if they would have installed a 5x8 anyway, but without checking with them I might have ended up with a 5x4 switch.)
 

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No. The device on that last page is the combiner for a Sat C kit which isn't even used for that model dish. Only the LNB is required. Take a look at the picture of the S23. The section with all the screws showing that the LNBs are attached to is the 5x4 multiswitch. If you take off the LNBs and the central cover you will see the 5 inputs that the LNBs attach to. If you didn't have a built in multiswitch, the cables would be connected directly to the LNBs.


Aren't there any connections in the distribution box? I can't believe the wires go in one hole and come out another. Perhaps what you are calling a distribution box is actually an external multiswitch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to those that replied. Everything is working now, so I thought I'd post an update.


It turns out "the section with all the screws showing that the LNBs are attached to" (greywolf) is not the multiswitch exactly, but is hollow and is supposed to contain the multiswitch. The original installer was at the house yesterday to fix whatever was wrong, and we were able to figure out what happened.


As part of building our house, I had at least one each of high-grade audio, video, telephone, and LAN cables run to every room, and all of those lines (as well as the incoming telephone, satellite, cable, and antenna feeds) were run to a single 'home-run point' at a specially built, centrally located cabinet. Within that cabinet is a large OnQ enclosure, with various telephone, cable TV, and LAN distribution components from OnQ installed. This is what I've been calling the distribution box. (I'm sure there's over a hundred cables feeding into that cabinet, and it allows me to connect anything to anything else. Its pretty cool from a gadget standpoint. :D )


With that design at their disposal, the installer's original plans were to not use the multiswitch at the satellite, but instead run the A and B dual LNB feeds directly to the OnQ box and use a multiswitch with more than four outputs. However, near the end of building we needed to make some changes (read 'we were badly over-budget' ;) ), and one of the things we cut back on was the initial DirecTV satellite distributions. Since a high-quality, powered, and expensive multiswitch with eight or more outputs was no longer required, it wasn't installed. Unfortunately, then someone forgot to go back and re-install the 5x4 multiswitch at the satellite. And that's how we got two lines to the DTivo that worked just fine, and two that didn't.


There is a happy ending, though. We now have a high-quality 5x8 multiswitch in our distribution box, at a huge discount and installed for free. :D :D
 

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Ok. I was under the impression that some integrated multiswitch dishes allowed removal of the switch from the arm but the Terk wasn't one of them. I guess it is. The 5x4 multiswitch could have been installed in the distribution box and you would have 4 outputs right away. I hope you got a great deal on the 5x8 because the installer still has your 5x4 and you probably didn't get any money back in return. Now you'll need a full Sat C kit including the combiner to get the 110 satellite too since the 5x4 has a built in combiner and the 5x8 doesn't. To give you some idea of multiswitch prices, I paid $92 delivered but not installed for my Eagle Aspen 5x8 which looks to be the same as the Terk M58.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Actually, he did give me credit for the 5x4 combiner then gave me the 5x8 at cost. I paid about $40 for the whole thing installed.
 

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It sounds like your installer did the job oddly but fairly. Enjoy your system.:)
 
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