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Questions About Tuner Failure Characteristics

1145 Views 17 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  TheRatPatrol
I have three UTVs and one of then is acting up. I suspect the tuners may be starting to go, but I have a couple of questions:

1) When a tuner goes, I am able to unplug the unit for more than 10 minutes and then it will come back.

2) Once I had both tuners go, unplugged it for more than 10 miuntes and they both came back.

3) I am seeing no plixation (sp?) on the screen when the tuners are working.

Are the above stated items characteristics of a tuner about to go belly up or is this possibly another problem?

I live in northern NJ and there is a place to repair UTVs nearby in Little Ferry and I was smart enough to get replacment tuner chips with production dates after 0145 just in case this happens. However, I do not want to replace them if the tuner chips are not the problem.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks !!
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When one tuner goes, does the other tuner say "searching for satellite?" If so, it sounds like tuner chips to me. I would take it to that place in Little Ferry NJ, they do have the proper equipment needed to replace the tuner chips. I do believe another guy on here went to the same place and had his done too, so they are good. Let us know how it goes.
The other tuner does say "searching for satellite signal. Guess the tuner is fried. I unplugged it again this morning and I'll have my wife plug it back in to see if it comes back. It actually did last night when I did that but it was toasted within an hour.

I was a little concerned with using SST (that place in Little Ferry). I called last night at 10PM to get the answering machine to get the hours and somebody actually answered the phone like it was a local residence and not a business. They charge $80 to replace 1 tuner and $120 to replace two tuners (which is what I will do) with a 90 day warranty. I actually bought extra tuner chips from Larry B earlier this summer just in case this happened but SST says they have the chips. What do you know about SST? Are they reputable? Do they have the right equipment to perform a tuner replacement properly? I'd hate to to this and the guy fries the motherboard. I PM'd Larry B asking him about SST to make sure they are reputable.

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I've read about CCS but I thought that the price was $160 plus shipping. When you say they fix everything on the unit, does that mean they perform a diagnostic test to make sure the problem is the tuners or are you refering to something else?

Thanks for the help.
Yes I highly recommend CCS corporation too. I didn't realize that the other place wanted that much. For 200.00 (this is what I had done) they will also upgrade your hard drive to 120gigs, but I guess nowadays you can get a 120gig for cheaper than that. But like NlogN said, for 130 they will fix anything, and get BOTH tuners fixed if you send it to them, its best to be safe than sorry.
At this point, nothing. I unplugged the UTV for more than 10 minutes again and the tuner has been working for the last 2 days. If I see it continue to fail again, I think I'll send it to CSS. The couple of extra bucks is worth it for a reputable company. I PM'd LarryB about SST, but he has yet to reply.

I also saw that Best Buy has a 70 hour Directv with Tivo for $78. I'm thinking about buying that as a backup for my 3 UTVs. I'd like to buy another UTV but do not trust what I am seeing on E-Bay.
Have you tried using a fan to cool the unit/tuner chips? These tuner chips have heat issues, when cool they work fine, when they get hot they stop working. However, if you use a fan and the tuner stops working again, then its time to replace the tuner chips.

Are you having this issue with all 3 or just 1 of your units?
Only one of the UTVs is acting up. The other 2 are fine.

With regards to using a fan to cool the units: I only have the internal fan on my UTVs. Are there any external fans or more powerful internal fans that do the job better? I'm rather clueless on this one.

Another thing about the chips/heat point, that ratpatrol made, is the effect of heat on the chip seems to be cumulative over the life of the unit. If you haven't already, prop your UTV up a bit to get air flowing under the unit (I took the recommendation on this site to use four soda bottle caps under each foot of the UTV to do that).

Also, the USB powered fans (laptop coolers) are highly recommended around this forum.

Since the effect is cumulative, you surely want to do something about heat for your UTVs that are still working. That may give your tuner chips & hard drive a longer life.

Does it make sense that the unit you are currently having trouble with may have been running hotter than the other two over its life?

Also, there is a post in here somewhere that talks about the born-on-date of the tuner chips. Supposedly there was a point where the chip manufacturer may have changed their process (using a different material)....chips made before that point are more likely to fail sooner than later.

That's my two cents and I sent you a PM to talk about my experience with SST in Little Ferry. Just one caveat, LarryB has a working relationship with SST. When I was in SST the owner actually called LarryB for some guidance on getting my unit up and running (turned out to be a stray bit of solder, but we tried a few other fixes first).

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Can you give me a littl emore info on the laptop fans. Are they external fans or internal fans? Where can you get these and how do I install them?

I have this one, Antec laptop cooler , go to that site and search on "laptop cooler" or skew number 554813 if it doesn't come up via the link. Its powered by the USB ports. The unit gets placed under the UTV and draws hot air away from it. I have mine elevated on top of the cooling fan by placing some small rubber grommets between the 2.
Hey Rat,

Thanks for the tip. I'll stop by Staples and pick one up. Does the fan draw air out of the backof the fan or does the fan also need to be raised by rubber grommets?
It draws it out of the bottom of the fan, mines not raised and I don't think it has to be.
Why not use Sony's repair system, i think they will cross ship[ cc deposit] and they only charge around $85 ?

Originally posted by NLogN

It sounds like one (or both) of your tuners are failing. I haven't heard anything about SST, but IMHO, answering the phone at night isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Anyhow, I'm sure you've already read about CCS Corp, as they've been discussed in several threads here. I believe they charge $130 (includes return shipping) for the repair, *BUT* this includes anything & everything that is wrong with your unit(s). Also, they offer a 6 month warranty. Oh yeah, if you request both MAX2104s to be replaced, they will do that for the same price. As this doesn't appear to be a readily disclosed policy, make sure you call them before sending out your unit to confirm the work to be done and the price (the generic MO for any repair service).

I've had all three of my units repaired by them, and I am very pleased. It is on the high side, since you can get a used unit off ebay for about $50-60, but at least you'll know both tuners chips are good & you won't have to lose any recorded content.

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Hey Rat,

I bought one of the Antec fans you recommended and it did noticibly cool off my UTV. However, I noticed that the fan does not shut off when you shut off the UTV. Do you leave your fan on all of the time?
Yes I leave my fan on all the time. I've had it on now for about 8 months straight with no problems.
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