Some questions about my upcoming 2 DISH Sat/4 receiver wiring

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by RAF, Aug 2, 2001.

  1. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Yesterday I had a technician over who identified the location where I will be placing my pole on my property which will be holding my two dish installation (110-119 and 61.5 for HDTV). We actually placed a dish 500 temporarily at the proposed location to make sure that signal strength was good enough for an installation (it is) and I will be installing the pole in the ground and laying the underground conduit shortly in preparation for the final installation.
    A couple of questions came up during this process and I'd appreciate some feedback from the regulars (or even the lurkers) here.
    [*] He used a Dish 500 (2 dual LNB's one for 110 and 1 for 119) to test for signal acquisition for all 3 satellites, instead of bringing a Dish 300 for the 61.5 test. I believe he used the 119 to test for the 61.5 signal. He said it didn't matter for the rough analysis. Is this true? I would have thought that a Dish 300 might be optimized for receiving the 61.5 signal (All signal strengths were fine tuned to above the 100 range, usually 113+).
    [*] The pole I install will have two dishes mounted on it. The pole (on a tripod) he used yesterday only had, obviously, the Dish 500. Will the fact I'll have two dishes on the same pole affect the reception geometry? I realize they are pointing in different directions and shouldn't interfere with each other, but I just want to check before I dig and pour concrete. Incidentally, the "test" pole was at a height of 6 feet and I'm planning to sink a 10' foot three feet into the ground so I will actually have an additional foot to work with for the actual installation.
    [*]Wiring issues. After all the excellent advice here I realize that I want to use an SW64 switch, which I plan to locate inside the house. This means that I would have 6 cables (burial grade): 4 from the Dish 500 and 2 from the Dish 300 going through the 2" diameter PVC conduit to the SW64 inside my house. The 4 SW64 outputs would then feed each of the four receivers (a 6000, a PVR 501 and two 301's) from there. This gives me the capability of receiving any broadcast at any set (obviously HDTV would only be decoded at the 6000), but this also allows for wiring already being in place for and future enhancements to my set-up. The installer (who works with a DISH dealer that I had been in contact with) started to insist that he was going to use an external switch on the 500 dish (mounted outside) to feed 4 wires (one to each receiver) and a 5th, single wire to feed the 6000 for 61.5 reception. Everytime I mentioned six wires in the conduit he kept saying there would only be 5, so finally I sat him down and asked him to explain. In the first place, after reading some of the excellent resources here and understanding a bit about the polarization of the signal from adjacent transponders, it is my understanding that an LNB requires two cables to provide access to everything that is sent out from, or will be sent out from a particular satellite, right? So one wire from an LNB would limit you to specific transponders - either 14 volt or 18 volt - on a particular satellite. He said he was installing a single, 5th wire through the conduit to go exclusively to the 6000 for HDTV only, since that's what I had told the DISH retailer. In the first place, I didn't say that, and in the second place I never would have said that because I want the flexibility to receive any 61.5 signals at any receiver. Also, I want to minimize what's on the poles outside since the satellites are not out of reach of trespassers (not that this is a problem, but why tempt fate?) In the final analysis I told him I wanted the SW64 arrangement (6 lines in from the outside, 4 lines out to the receivers) since that's the most elegant solution and that's the way it will be done. His comment about "we don't use SW64's any more since now there is an outside solution from DISH" doesn't seem to make any sense to me. Am I on the right track or am I missing something here?
    [*]Parts vunerability. The pre-install gave me my first real glimpse of the DISH equipment. Everything appears to be quite rugged on the 500 as long as it is installed properly to avoid weather related issues. But I wonder about the ruggedness of the LNB's. Obviously, if the dishes change their orientation there would have to be some re-focusing (which is covered by my service contract) but what about the LNB's? Is there anything in them that is relatively fragile (I couldn't tell) or is everything fine as long as the connections are tight and the orientation is correct? In other words, if an errant football were to hit the LNB's would this possibly send them into terminal rest? Not that I am planning any NFL pre-season games near my property or anything even remotely like that on a family level. I'm just curious about damage control (birds flying blindly, errant branches blowing into it during wind storms and similar). Any need for minor concerns?
    That's about it from this end. It was exciting to see the test equipment pull in signals from the dish and I can't wait to start looking at these images inside my home.
    Thanks in advance for any comments and information you can offer.
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    RAF
    [Demented Video Dude since 1997]
    [Computer Maven since 1956]
    ["PITA" since 1942]
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  2. Chip_Slattery

    Chip_Slattery Stunt Coordinator

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    Robert,
    Glad to see that your able to pick up a signal. Big difference between an installer eyeballing it and saying "Yea, we'll get you a signal" and actually seeing it happen!
    I'm going to try and answer a couple of your questions and I'm sure others will correct me or support me depending on how good a job I do... [​IMG]
    quote: I would have thought that a Dish 300 might be optimized for receiving the 61.5 signal (All signal strengths were fine tuned to above the 100 range, usually 113+).[/quote]
    I don't believe there is anything particularly special about the LNB that is supplied with the DISH300. I base this solely on the fact that many people are using old DirecTV dishes re-pointed at the 61.5° location. These dishes were obviously not optimized in any way for this satellite location.
    quote: The pole I install will have two dishes mounted on it. The pole (on a tripod) he used yesterday only had, obviously, the Dish 500. Will the fact I'll have two dishes on the same pole affect the reception geometry? I realize they are pointing in different directions and shouldn't interfere with each other, but I just want to check before I dig and pour concrete. Incidentally, the "test" pole was at a height of 6 feet and I'm planning to sink a 10' foot three feet into the ground so I will actually have an additional foot to work with for the actual installation.[/quote]
    This seems like kind of a tough call. You shouldn't have any trouble getting good reception from both dishes mounted on the same pole due to azimuth issues, but you may have an issue regarding elevation. I'm going to assume that the installer that checked the signal realized this was going to be a single-pole installation and took that into account, but you never know. Unless your line-of-sight is really narrow (due to trees, buildings, etc.) my uneducated assumption would be that you could tweak the dish to compensate for a couple of feet of elevation.
    quote: His comment about "we don't use SW64's any more since now there is an outside solution from DISH" doesn't seem to make any sense to me. Am I on the right track or am I missing something here?[/quote]
    Hmmm...my system was installed just a few months ago and they were still using the SW64 then. Could he possibly be talking about the QUAD LNB ? I hadn't heard much about them lately and didn't realize they were actually in use, but I'm not sure what else he could be referring to. Maybe someone with a QUAD can chime in on any pros/cons?
    Chip
    [Edited last by Chip_Slattery on August 02, 2001 at 12:40 PM]
     
  3. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    An SW64 is the ONLY way to get signals from all three sat locations to all of your receivers. A Quad is just 2 LNB's and an SW44 switch built into a single housing. With it and some SW21's you would only be able to get all three sats with 2 receivers. The other 2 would just get the 110/119 signals.
    -Robert
     
  4. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the prompt replies to some of my questions, especially the one regarding the installer's mention of a "new" external switch they are using.
    Craig,
    I printed out the material on the QUAD LNB that you referenced and it does seem, from the description, that this is what the installer was talking about. It is quite possible that the DISH person misunderstood what I was trying to do, but from your response and Robert-J's, I would not benefit from using a Quad-LNB in my particular case. That's a way to avoid multiswitches for a 1 dish (500) installation. With 2 dishes I still am going to require a multiswitch for four receivers (as Robert_J stated) to get all the signals to all the monitors so there is no advantage in the QuadLNB - in fact it has its liabilities for my installation. At least I believe the installer wasn't b.s.'ing me when he mentioned the "new" device. It sounds like the QuadLNB is what he was referring to. It just isn't a fit for me.
    Speaking of "fit" I think we took into consideration the fact that the elevation of both dishes would not be the same on a single pole (although I think you can get close with the adjustable bracketing.) We were able to keep the signal coming strong at various heights and skews so I think that this will be O.K. But, of course, one never knows until you actually mount the dishes. It's amazing how different the meter readings and the actual dishes can be. Besides, once I bury the conduit it would not be the end of the world if I had to install a second pole to accomodate reception geometry. Not quite as elegant, but still not a major inconvenience as a last resort.
    Any thoughts on parts vunerability or any other issues I raised? I'm sure that once I get through the process I'll have a clearer idea of what's what and be able to lend a hand to others. But for now I'm relying on the "been there, done that" contingent to continue to provide me with some excellent pathfinding.
    Keep those cards and letters coming.
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    RAF
    [Demented Video Dude since 1997]
    [Computer Maven since 1956]
    ["PITA" since 1942]
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  5. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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    RAF:
    You probably realize this already but it bears repeating:
    Make sure that your pole mounts perfectly vertical. Check it to 90 degrees with a level. If the pole is off by even 1 degree it will effect azimuth and elevation. Best of Luck!
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    JB
    "These go to eleven" - Nigel Tufnel
     
  6. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    DBS systems are very reliable. They have very few moving parts to break. I've lurked at DBSforms for over two years and the biggest problem reported over there is a bad switch. The cause is usually water leaking into it but you've eliminated that by mounting it inside. Another major problem is water in the F-connectors after a rain. I use more expensive connectors with a rubber O-ring on my outside cables. I've never had a problem on an outside cable. Also, LNBs can go bad. My old Sony started going down hill after four years. The symptom was heavy pixelization on HBO. Rather than fix it, I switched to Dish to take advantage to the introductory price on the 6000 and free PTV on the Dishplayer.
    -Robert
     
  7. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    quote: You probably realize this already but it bears repeating:
    Make sure that your pole mounts perfectly vertical. Check it to 90 degrees with a level. If the pole is off by even 1 degree it will effect azimuth and elevation. Best of Luck!
    [/quote]
    John,
    Agreed! I realized this as soon as we were measuring for a signal using the makeshift pole on a tripod. A degree or so off vertical made a HUGE difference in signal strength. I'll be taking special care to assure a completely vertical pole. That way it should minimize problems.
    And thanks to all the others who are volunteering opinions and advice about switching options. While there appear to be various ways to get the signals to my four receivers (SW64, Quad LNB's into SW21's, etc.) I think the best method for my installation is the internally monted SW64 being fed by six lines from the 3 LNB's on the two dishes, right?
    ------------------
    RAF
    [Demented Video Dude since 1997]
    [Computer Maven since 1956]
    ["PITA" since 1942]
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  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Frank,
    A Quad LNB on a Dish500 has four outputs each with the 110/119 signals. A Dish300 LNB only has two outputs. There's no way you can cascade two outputs into four SW21's. Well, there is but you would have to add a 2x4 multiswitch on the Dish300 to get four outputs. Now you end up with five external switches and one SW44 switch built into the Quad LNB. The SW64 option is the easiest option.
    I just gave Robert F. the options for what he was wanting and didn't question his viewing habits. You might want to check out what's actually one the 61.5 sat because you aren't totally correct. There are three regular PPV (533, 534 & 535) and three sports PPV channels (536, 537 & 538).
    -Robert
     

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