Satellite Problems

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techgy
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Postby techgy » Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:01 pm

RussellHltn wrote:The fan has been a source of concern to me. It's noisy and I imagine must be small. My experience with computers is the reliability of the fan is inversely proportional to the size. Not to mention that forced air cooling is a major dust magnet.

So one time I finally pulled the case off of it (after consulting with support over all the problems we had) and to my surprise found almost no dust at all. The fan is a squirrel cage type, not the little propeller type I had been expecting..


Most of the receivers are mounted high from the floor inside a cabinet so they're not subject to the dust that collects near the floor or on a desktop like a computer would be. I'd guess that the design of the fan probably had less to do with the dust than the location of the equipment.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:30 pm

Techgy wrote:Since you're dealing with a digital signal the strength of the signal isn't as important as the quality.


Not necessarily. Everything works great until it doesn't. That yellow light is a warning that the signal reaching the receiver is getting close to the level of "not working". I believe it's based on signal to noise rather the raw signal strength. Among other things it probably indicates that you don't have enough fade margin to take care of weather events or other things that can naturally cause the signal strength to weaken.

Since the problem is said to be the length of the cable, a good preamp placed close to the dish may be the solution.

One should also check for trees growing up in the path of dish.
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techgy
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Postby techgy » Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:22 pm

Russell,

As I said, the quality of the signal is more important than the strength although both are related :)
A pre-amp would be a good idea, but before I jump onto that wagon, I'd get a professional out to investigate the possibilities and perform a thorough evaluation of the system. These systems are paid for out of tithing funds and it's important that it be done right the first time. :)

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Postby rmrichesjr » Fri Oct 10, 2008 8:50 pm

Techgy wrote:When our dish was re-aimed a year ago, I was at work. I DO recall a conversation afterwards with the FM employees who adjusted it. I believe they mentioned that they had tried to adjust it but the signal they were getting at that time was the strongest they could get. I also don't know what equipment was used to do the adjusting.

Everyone's comments have been very helpful. I plan on passing them along. It might be necessary to have a professional come out and check out the entire system.


The FM group was seeking "the strongest [signal] they could get"??? That sounds like they may have made the mistake the satellite support person at Church headquarters had warned me about. If your signal quality is poor, it might be worth calling support about it.

avskip wrote:At our Stake building, the satellite receiver is a Wegener. It's really hot and the fan doesn't like to work all the time so we have an external fan on it. I was told it won't be replaced until it dies completely. It seems to be one tough unit as it's had this heat problem for over a year now.

During all of Conference it ran well. We did have a couple of red light times during the Church News between sessions on Saturday. We also experienced a few seconds of "Not Authorized" at the beginning of Priesthood. A call to the Satellite Desk and I was told the problem was on their end and had been corrected (and it had).

During the California only Marriage broadcast we had no problem at all. I was also told by the Stake President not to record the broadcast.

Due to the distance from the dish, our normal led color code is 2 flashing yellow. That seems to be permanent.


The flash and color codes are described in the receiver manual, and it can be downloaded from the Weggener site. Here's the URL for the 500IP: http://www.wegener.com/SUPPORT/pdf/archive/800001-01E-OL.PDF
Two amber blinks means "Marginal Eb/No (and locked on carrier)".

Techgy wrote:How far is the receiver from the dish? Our receiver is on the south side of the building and the receiver is on the north side so the cabling has to run into the building up and across the widest portion of the facility and back down into where the receiver is located. I'd make a guess that the distance is a couple of hundred feet easily perhaps more.

Since you're dealing with a digital signal the strength of the signal isn't as important as the quality. If you haven't had it done, you may wish to have someone run a check of the alignment. I'm guessing that you've already confirmed that the dish is clean and has no obstructions.


While it's true that signal quality is more important than signal strength, signal strength has a significant influence on quality. The signal between the LNB and the receiver is very much an analog signal susceptible to signal strength issues if the signal at the receiver is anywhere near the noise floor of the receiver. Modern Church installations use RG11 cable between the dish and the receiver. Formerly, RG6 was used if the cable length was not more than 100 feet. If you have a cable run much longer than 100 feet with RG6 cable, it might be worth asking Church support if a cable upgrade might help.

There are also preamps that can be installed near the dish to boost the signal to make up for cable losses. However, make sure the preamp won't block the DC power the LNB needs.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:06 pm

Techgy wrote:As I said, the quality of the signal is more important than the strength although both are related :)


What is the proper term for what you're calling "quality"? I'd think it would be the signal to noise ratio (s/n) and my understanding is the LED is triggered by low s/n. So if my understanding is correct, if the yellow light is on, the "quality" is marginal.


Techgy wrote:A pre-amp would be a good idea, but before I jump onto that wagon, I'd get a professional out to investigate the possibilities and perform a thorough evaluation of the system. These systems are paid for out of tithing funds and it's important that it be done right the first time. :)


Agreed. A noisy preamp would actually make things worse. But if the problem is the loss in the long coax run, then a low-noise preamp is likely the most cost effective solution. And the pro's job is to determine the source of the problem and the right fix.
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techgy
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Postby techgy » Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:30 pm

Our signal strength is good in spite of the length of the run.
I brought up this thread due to the problems we encountered during the California Marriage broadcast.
We're both in agreement. When I said quality I was referring to just that - signal to noise ratio, etc.

Nuf said.

techgy
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Postby techgy » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:26 am

Techgy wrote:During the Marriage broadcast to units in California we experienced some severe reception problems.
It started about 20-30 minutes into the broadcast when the screen went black (no audio/video). The only thing we had was an error message "Error Mode" or words to that effect. A few seconds later it all came back on. Then over the balance of the broadcast we had intermittent reception problems where the picture and audio would freeze for a couple of seconds then come back. We had the "error" screen a few more times as well.

The status light on the receiver would go from steady green to blinking red.


In an effort to close the loop on this report I offer the following.
Last week I met an engineer at the building for an evaluation of the problem we had reported. As usual everything was working exceptionally well. The signal Eb/No was up to a 12 or higher. He monitored the signal for some time while he snooped through the satellite cabinet in the hopes of finding something that may have caused the intermittent problem.

The only thing that he found was a loose "barrel" connector on the video feed from the dish. He said that it took around 8-10 turns of the connector to tighten it. This would have been enough to cause an intermittent condition. The last time this line was touched was when the FM group installed a new receiver two years ago, so it's possible that the connection was never tightened completely.

He also added another tid-bit which I thought would be interesting to pass along. He told me a story that happened a few years ago during the Nauvoo
Temple dedication. Instructions had been given to all stakes that were to receive the broadcast to; 1) Do Not Record It, and 2) Disconnect the wireless transmitter for the hard of hearing because they didn't want the signal leaving the building and being recorded.

This engineer said that he personally went around to several buildings and disconnected the transmitter. During the broadcast one stake presidency had told someone to "record the broadcast". When the broadcast started the building that had the recording going suddenly lost the signal. Not one person in the facility saw the dedication.

The next day this same engineer was called in to find the problem. Nothing was ever found and he told me that to this day he's never had another call for that facility.:rolleyes:

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:50 am

Techgy wrote:The only thing that he found was a loose "barrel" connector on the video feed from the dish. He said that it took around 8-10 turns of the connector to tighten it.

Just curious, was this connector located indoors or outdoors?
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techgy
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Postby techgy » Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:52 am

Mikerowaved wrote:Just curious, was this connector located indoors or outdoors?


Indoors in the satellite receiver cabinet which is kept locked.

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Something worth checking

Postby jameshalgren » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:06 pm

When we experienced similar blackouts during general conference a few years ago, we got remarkable improvement by wiping the satellite receiver element cover with a handkerchief. Dust and hard water deposits had created a thin film that was interfering with the signal.


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