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Multiple Directv Receivers - Hook up

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Old 11-17-2004, 11:18 AM   #1
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Default Multiple Directv Receivers - Hook up

EDIT: This thread pertains to the 3 LNB satellite systems. Much of the information is also applicable to the new 5 LNB systems, but not all.


The issue of connecting multiple Directv receivers keeps coming up from time to time. This post will try to shed some light on how to connect multiple receivers to a single dish and the issues that frequently come up with such installations.

Usually the question pops up "can I use common signal splitters" to connect dual tuners. With the HD Tivo and other HD DVRs becoming more and more prevalent, people find that they only have a single cable coming from their dish to the receiver. With the dual tuners there is a need to connect the second tuner to the dish somehow. The short answer is you can not use signal splitters to make that connection.

To understand why a signal splitter can not be used it is necessary to know how the satellite dish systems work. In order to pack the channels closer together frequency wise, satellite transmission uses a polarized signal. To try to keep it into layman terms the signal is sent from the satellite transmitter in either a horizontal beam or a vertical beam. The LNBs at the dish have a corresponding horizontal or vertical "filter" to match. On the C-band satellite systems the signal would alternate between even numbered channels and odd numbered channels and there is a mechanical mirror like device to switch between the horizontal and vertical filters. This is very similar to the polarized glasses where you are dealing with light rather than RF signals. In any case by employing this system the channels can be placed closer together and thus allowing more channels on a satellite without cross-talk, so to speak.

On the C-band system there was a separate wire for the polarization of the LNBs and it was included in the cable that also ran the servo for pointing the dish to different satellites. The small dish systems, Directv, Dish and Voom, the polarization signal is sent by superimposing a DC voltage on the coax cable from the receiver. Although the proper terms are Left Hand Circular Polarization and Right Hand Circular Polarization, many satellite devices will still label them Horizontal and Vertical. For LHCP the receiver will place an 18-volt DC voltage on the coax and for RHCP the receiver will place a 14-volt DC voltage on the coax. This voltage is not only used to select polarization, but is also used to power the tiny amplifiers in the LNBs.

So what would happen if you tried to use a signal splitter like used by cable or antenna systems, is the tuner that was outputting the highest voltage would set the polarization for that cable and eventually the LNB. This means that both tuners would only be able to receive the LHCP channels unless both tuners were to have a RHCP channel selected. This erratic behavior is why some people try a splitter thinking it is working and drive themselves nuts looking for other reasons why they can’t get all of the channels. It needs to be stressed that with satellite connections, unlike cable or antenna hook-ups, there are two components occurring in the lead in cable. A DC voltage to set the LNB polarity and the RF signal from the satellite. Splitters will allow the RF to get through to the receiver, but can not differentiate between the LHCP and RHCP voltages.

This is where the multiswitch comes in. If we take a look at a 2x4 standard multiswitch there will be 2 inputs to the switch and 4 outputs. These inputs and outputs are from the RF signal perspective. As far as the DC voltage is concerned their roles are reversed in that the 2 cables that come from the dish LNBs their inputs will be assigned by the multiswitch to be LHCP and RHCP respectively. Then the proper DC voltage will be applied so as to polarize one of the inputs to be LHCP and the other to be RHCP. The RF signal is sent by the multiswitch to whichever input is desired by the receiver. HD elliptical dishes have two dual LNBs, one for sat-101 and one for sat-119, and a single LNB for sat-110. This means there are 5 total connections at the LNBs. Most HD dishes are furnished with a built in 5x4 multiswitch, providing service for up to 4 receivers or tuners without the need for additional equipment.

So what to do when a HD DVR is dropped into the system? If you have only two other rooms with SD receivers, then you can run the 4th cable to the DVR to provide service to the second tuner. It is not possible to run two tuners over a common cable when we are talking about satellite signals for the reasons discussed above. You have to have a feed for each tuner.

Now if you have four rooms hooked up to the HD dish, you will need to add a multiswitch of some sort to accommodate the extra tuner. If the other three rooms have SD satellite receivers then it is possible to use a standard 2x4 multiswitch. What you would do is to run 2 cables from the dish 5x4 multiswitch to the DVR thus providing individual feeds for each tuner. The other 2 cables from the dish 5x4 multiswitch are then run to the input of the new 2x4 multiswitch. From this multiswitch you can connect up to 4 rooms with SD receivers. These cables may also connect to HD receivers and work, but I have not tried that connection. When we have more than one HD DVR or more than 2 HD receivers we use a Spaun HD multiswitch intended for that purpose.

Now in the interest of completeness, the other issue that comes up is the hook up of the over the air (OTA) antenna. Since the satellite receivers do not get all of the networks in HD, most HD satellite receivers have an OTA tuner built in. That’s great, but it also requires a separate antenna system. The best way to hook up the OTA antenna is through separate runs of coax with splitters or distribution amplifiers. Alternately, some multiswitches have a connection for the OTA antenna connection so that the antenna RF (which is at a different frequency than the satellite) can be sent through the satellite cables that feed the receivers. The device that splits out the OTA RF from the coax is called a diplexer. Diplexers will cause some signal loss, so it is generally considered better to use a separate coax system for the OTA. Sometimes due to physical constraints it is not possible to run separate coax for the OTA and that is where diplexers can save your bacon. The use of amplifiers at the antenna or integrated in the multiswitch (some Spaun units have an integrated amp) will normally make up for the loss at the diplexers. Diplexers are hooked up right at the receiver. There is an input that hooks to the coax from the dish or multiswitch, and the an output for the satellite signal and another output for the OTA RF signal. Diplexers will pass through the DC voltage sent out by the receiver.

Hopefully, this post will clear up some of the confusion in hooking up Directv multiple receivers. More information can be had with some diagrams at http://www.hometech.com/learn/dss.html This discussion is primaraly for SD receivers, but it contains some good info.

Links

Standard Spaun multiswitches: http://www.spaun.com/c-multi.htm

HDTV Spaun multiswitches: http://www.spaun.com/duo-sat.htm

The first diagram shows how to connect a new HD DVR using an existing SD multiswitch.

The second diagram shows a hookup using a powered HD multiswitch.

Note when using a HD multiswitch there are the four cables from the HD dish. All four cables are required for HD operation because with HD in addition to the polarization voltages, there is a High and Low band select required. The band is selected by the receiver sending a 22khz pulse up to the LNBs to tell the LNB to change bands. Therefore to cover all of the possibilities, 4 cables are required:
  1. Low band LHCP = 18vdc and no 22khz pulse
  2. Low band RHCP = 14vdc and no 22khz pulse
  3. High band LHCP = 18vdc and 22khz pulse
  4. High band RHCP = 14vdc and 22khz pulse
For an expanded essay on this subject with other diagrams see: Connecting Multiple Directv Receivers
Also a discussion on frequency stackers that can in some cases allow a single coax service multiple receivers or tuners see: Frequency Stackers
Attached Images
File Type: jpg HD sat hookup.jpg (47.9 KB, 18775 views)
File Type: jpg HD sat hookup 2.jpg (50.6 KB, 18607 views)

Last edited by rbinck; 04-13-2008 at 09:04 PM. Reason: Added reference to frequency stackers
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Old 11-17-2004, 08:20 PM   #2
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Thank you for that tutorial. I'm new to this satellite stuff and my setup\install is next week and now I can talk more intellegently with the installer and understand what he does. I may have him run two cables down to my HD setup incase I want to get the HD Tivo and need two seperate inputs.
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Old 11-17-2004, 09:30 PM   #3
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rbinck, I have a 3-LNB elliptical dish from DTV and currently using it for three separate rooms with one of the rooms having an HDTV, the other two using SDTVs. I'd like to expand the use to five rooms total with the two additional rooms also being SDTVs. Am I correct in assuming that I can run one cable directly from the dish to my HDTV and use the other two cable to connect a Spaun SMS 241 to then feed the other four rooms?
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Old 11-17-2004, 09:33 PM   #4
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Yes as long as they are SD receivers (sat-101) only. I have that setup in my house. Are you using diplexers for the OTA? If so, you may need to address that a bit differently and get a SMS-341 so you can hook up the OTA antenna. If you have an existing combiner for the OTA, you can use a splitter to feed the existing OTA connection and the SMS-341 connection.

Last edited by rbinck; 11-17-2004 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 12-15-2004, 02:01 PM   #5
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I have been researching this topic in the web and I came across this post. I would appreciate your advice.

I have a DTV Triple LNB oval dish with two SD receivers and one HD receiver. I believe the multiswitch is located on the dish itself but I could be wrong. OTA antenna is only for local HD reception and goes directly to the HD receiver. I am planning on adding another HD (receiver or PVR) and have the following possible configurations:

1. One HD receiver and one HD DVR; no SD. This will then have 3 HD tuners which I want to be to tune up to three different HD channels (either all 3 unique DTV HD channels or two unique DTV HD channels plus one OTA) simultaneously. Pls confirm that my current multiswitch (if I do have one) can support this configuration.

2. Two (2) HD receivers and one SD PVR. This basically has two HD tuners and two SD tuners. Again, I want to be able to tune to four different DTV channels simultaneously. What hardware (multiswitch, splitters, etc) modifications do I need to make? I have dual coax cables running to each room with a receiver from the attic where I can connect to the OTA antenna and coax coming from the dish.

Thanks in advance for any advice or inputs you may provide.
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:58 PM   #6
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Added Diagram to original post.
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Old 12-28-2004, 02:59 PM   #7
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can you tell me anything about hooking up multible dishes?

How i have it now is, the 2 lines from the original dual LNB are plugged into the matching connections on the switch. Then there is a port marked 72.5 that i have one line connected to from the new local tv dish which is also a dual LNB.

the problem is that i cannot get the local tv channels to work. Ive double checked with direct tv and we are all setup for it, when i click on a local channel it used to say you need to purchase this channel, but now it says cannot locate satelite. I'm 99% sure i have it aimed right too.

Any suggestions?
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Old 12-28-2004, 06:33 PM   #8
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Sure, I had just done that for another member in another thread:


The diagram is for a HD dish where the 119 sat needs to be located elsewhere due to obstructions. The same approach will work for two round dishes, you just won't have the extra two cables that the HD dish has.

I'm not sure if you have your multiswitch hooked up correctly. What is the brand/model number?
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Old 12-29-2004, 07:11 AM   #9
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Thanks alot, here is the model number and make of the switch.
Zinwell 6x8 multi-switch
model SAM-6802

I didn't buy it, the boss did when he was at Best Buy getting the second dish and reciever. And of course there was no instructions in the box.

The very first thing I did when I started this install was to hook the line that was coming off the roof, from the 101 satellite, to the port on the switch labeled (101 satellite, 18v and 13v, I just picked one of them)

Then I checked to see if the existing TV worked. It did just fine but we couldnt get some channels now. So I called the number on the switch box and he said I had to hook up both of the ports (the 18v and the 13v) So I go back on the roof and check to see if the existing dish is a dual LNB. I wasn't sure because their were 3 lines coming out of the dish (I forgot to mention that its an oval dish with one dual LNB and then a second big ass thing for the satellite internet because it is a Direcway dish, which we no longer use the internet part of it)

So I go up and remove one of the lines coming from the internet head and connect it to the second LNB port on the oval dish and then connect the other end to the other 101 port on the switch. Voila' it worked exactly how the hard to understand chinese gentleman on the phone said it would.

Now for the new dish. Its a 18" dual LNB that is used only for the local channel satelite, 72.5 (isnt it dumb that they cannot use the same satelite for the local channels too?) So after about 100 phone calls to Best Buy and Directv I finally get someone on the phone that can tell me the settings for the 72.5 W satellite. So we get that all adjusted, reset the reciever (per the techs instructions), run a line from one of the ports on the LNB to the one marked flex port one then it has a clear sticker under that that says 72.5 W. and get nothing. Just a blank screen for the local channels.

So I was guessing that I have to run another line from the other port on the LNB, and plug it into Flex port 2 on the switch, which has a sticker under it that says 92 W. Does that sound right? I was guessing that because of having to use both ports on the main LNB.

Also none this entire thing is HD, it is all SD.
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Old 12-29-2004, 08:24 AM   #10
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update kinda, I found the manual PDF online and downloaded it.

Told me a couple of things. One it confirmed that you have to use both of the 101 ports, although i have since been informed that we are still not getting a couple random channels (???) I might try to switch the 2 wires going into the switch.

Also it says that to use the "flex ports" you have to have an APG reciever. I know the new one is because we checked with DTV on it. Maybe I should doublecheck with you though, its a model D10. Now the older one is an RCA model DRD430RG.

It additionally states that you should use auto configure with the switch to locate the different flex ports. Says that older recievers cannot do that.
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Old 12-29-2004, 08:24 AM   #11
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Ok, the problem may be your receiver, not the multiswitch. From this ad: http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_disp...&PROD=SAM-6802
Zinwell SAM-6802 DIRECTV Approved 6x8 Flexport Multiswitch
(SAM-6802)


6x8 multiswitch designed to interface with 101/110/119W satellites plus additional inputs (2), Flexport 1 and Flexport 2. Flexports are used to interface with new DIRECTV satellites such as 95 W and 72.5W.

Flexports can only be accessed with latest APG (Advanced Program Guide) satellite receivers. Earlier, non-APG satellite receivers can select the first 4 ports only (101/110/119W satellites)
If you only have one of 95W or 72.5W, then always use Flexport 1 before using Flexport 2. The will reduce system acquisition time.
Multiswitch is passive, powered only by the connected satellite receivers.


It appears the SAM-6802 allows a single LNB only (one side of your dual LNB) to be connected to the flex port marked 72.5. To use this multiswitch the receivers will have to be APG complient.

At this point I'd be trying to get to sombody at Zinwell.


Address:
320 South Lemon Ave.,Walnut, CA 91789 USA



TEL:+1-909-444-1518 FAX:+1-801-740-7438

Last edited by rbinck; 12-29-2004 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 12-31-2004, 07:48 AM   #12
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Default Got a new Samsung HDTV Tuner Receiver

Hello there. I currently have DTV (in one room only and it is HD) and local cable in the rest of the house. I am going to be dropping my cable soon as I am going to expand the DTV coverage to other rooms. Here is my question: For Christmas I got a second Samsung HDTV receiver and another HDTV television .....we want that in our bedroom....and then just a standard receiver in our son's room for a total of 3 boxes. DTV is coming out to do the installation.....will it be that difficult for them to do it? The current receiver is in the basement. The other two will be upstairs. Just wondering if I will be running into issues with the installer since I will now have two HDTV tuners.
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Old 12-31-2004, 09:15 AM   #13
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I'm assuming the HD receivers are not DVRs and they only require a single coax. DVRs require 2 coax feeds and therefore are the equlivalent of 2 receivers which would be a different problem.

The only issue will be the need for another coax from your dish to the new receiver. If you have an HD dish now it will supply up to four HD or SD receivers without the need of a multiswitch. It may be that the installer ran the other three coax cables from your dish into your attic, but probably not.

I'd ask the installer that is comming out if they would run all 4 of the cables into your attic (or other location inside the house) for future expansion of a multiswitch. If you need to feed more than 4 receivers in the future, you will need to be able to add a multiswitch.

Last edited by rbinck; 12-31-2004 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 12-31-2004, 07:40 PM   #14
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This is very very helpful....no, these are not DVR.....just HD receivers.....this is perfect.....we only have a small access panel to the attic area.....I am in a split level and the previous owners has all of their cable run around the outside of the house.....would really like for the cable to be inside as much as possible.....I am sure the installer will figure a way to do it......thanks again....just registered here.....great to get immediate help!
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Old 01-01-2005, 09:54 AM   #15
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Default One Other HD receiver Question

I am currently using a Samsung SIR-TS160. My new receiver that I was going to use for my other room is a SIR-TS360. What is the difference? Should I use the new one as the primary or just go with it? I assume that it really does not matter....however, I do want the best receiver on our most watched television.....just let me know...thanks again!
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