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291 posts

Ultimate Geek

Topic # 29991 25-Jan-2009 21:09
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Hi all.

Since the Olympics, most TV I watch is via freeview HD (DVB-T).  I had planned on dumping sky altogether but there were too many channels my partner likes to watch which are not free to air.

But for some time a large majority of the channels intermitently become unavailable with the rainfade message.  Typically all that's left is the preview channel (28) and Prime.  On occassion, every channel fails.  Then, as if by magic (normally an hour or so later after the problem happened) they all come back.

Checking the signal strength, assuming I get a picture, I get about 60% strength, and 40% quality.  When we get rainfade, we get 0% on the channels that are gone.

What's odd is that I have split the sky cable and also run it into a DVB-S card (on my HTPC).  When checking signal strength on this card (using mediaportal) I get 100% strength and 95-97% quality, on the same channel (eg TV 1 Sky feed) when the skybox says 0%, and never better than 40% quality.

Anyway, I've organised a tech to visit tomorrow (Monday afternoon) but of course chances are good it will be working fine when he arrives.  So I'm keen to get any opinions anyone might have about what the issue might be.  I can imagine he might say there is nothing he can do if it is working when he gets here.

My suspicion is that the decoder has a bad connector to the cable, but that's an educated guess at best.

ps. I've tried swapping cables and removing the splitter to rule out the cable/splitter as an issue -but it made no difference.

pps. when calling sky for help they told me to move my cordless phones out of the room.  I shut down my cordless phones (and even my wireless network) and it made no difference.  I'm left scratching my head as to why that could possible cause a problem?

"There is no way to Peace -Peace is the Way" (A. J. Muste)


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115 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 1

  Reply # 192059 26-Jan-2009 08:10
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We had a similar problem recently.  I posted a reply here in an earlier forum, but to sum up we had to have the LNB replaced, and the problem is (or at least was for us) caused by there being water in it.  Despite having drain-holes, if these get blocked and water stays inside the LNB, during the day, when it's warm, the water tries to evaporate, but can't escape properly so mists up the inside of the LNB and gives a rain-fade message.  In the evening as the temperature drops the water condenses again and falls to the bottom of the LNB, clear of the receptors, and all channels work again!

With a new LNB installed all channels now work perfectly.

It'll be interesting to know if the problem ends up being the same for you, or if there is something else that can cause this, such as a faulty decoder.

291 posts

Ultimate Geek

  Reply # 192064 26-Jan-2009 08:37
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Thanks for the reply.  I will definately mention this to the tech.

I can certainly say that the pattern seems to fit.  During the evening this problem never seems to happen.

On the other hand, even while we have the problem, I am able to get a perfect Freeview feed off the same dish.  I would have thought such a problem would have impacted all channels, not just some?

"There is no way to Peace -Peace is the Way" (A. J. Muste)


291 posts

Ultimate Geek

  Reply # 192277 27-Jan-2009 14:48
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OK, just to update..

The tech decided to come in the morning, which foiled my plans of actually being on-site when he attempted to diagnose/resolve the problem.

Apparently he had a 1 spare decoder with him, and when he swapped with the existing one, the same problem persisted.

At this point he delcared that the spare decoder he had with him was probably faulty, and I am unsure of how he came to that conclusion.

He apparently checked hte LNB, but I don't know what for, or if he did anything.  I do know that he installed some sort of power amplifier, which has resulted in the decoder reporting 100% power (previously 60%)

Lastly, he decided I may have a faulty cable, and replaced the cable that goes from the splitter to the STB.  This is wrong, and it appears the cable he swapped it with is inferior, as the quality reading has actually dropped from 40% to 20%.  I have not yet swapped the original cable back in to confirm this.

To be hoenst, the cable swap was irrational, as apparently he had also tried removing the splitter from the equation (something I had already tried) and it did not fix the problem.

Anyway, it seems luckily for him, all the channels became available just long enough for him to declare the problem fixed, and he promptly left.  Naturally enough, this did not last very long, so we still have a fault, but I guess I did gain an extra cable.

To be honest, I've had it with Sky.  I pretty much hate the channels my partner watches anyway, and I'm either just going to leave it as is, or perhaps dump Sky and go with Telsta.  Given we already have Telstra cable and phone, it's probably a better option.

Actually, I've heard it's possible to run Telstra into a PC via a DVB-C card, which is something that would work very well for me as that is how I currently view Freeview (probably a lot of work/hassle to get it going though, doesn't look like DVB-C cards are available via normal retail lines)

"There is no way to Peace -Peace is the Way" (A. J. Muste)


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  Reply # 193218 1-Feb-2009 15:07
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are you able to tell me what decoder model you have, I've had a lot of issues with certain decoders that i now refuse to install them,

it definately sounds more of a decoder issue especially takiong into account the fact that the dvb-s card in your pc is working fine.

its a frustrating thing for a tech with an intermittant fault, whats the length of the cable run, coz in a standard house you should not require an amp

291 posts

Ultimate Geek

  Reply # 193275 1-Feb-2009 19:37
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Hello -thanks for the post.

1) Model is Motorola DTH-335-4
2) Cable run is quite short.  Satelite dish is on the same Wall pretty much directly behind where the TV is located.

Obviously I'd be very interested to know if this particular decoder is on your "ban-list"

As you say, it is very odd that the DVB-S card has no problems, and I agree that the amplifier really didn't add value.  It certainly did not solve the problem.

"There is no way to Peace -Peace is the Way" (A. J. Muste)


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  Reply # 193702 3-Feb-2009 14:53
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as i suspected this is one of the decoders on my ban list, i'm not saying they are bad encoders, i've just had bad experiences with them,

ring up sky and complain its still not going, the tech should call you the night before he comes out, when he does make sure he has a "silver pace" with him, and get him to install that instead of the motorola.

I cannot guarantee this will solve the problem, but its where i would start if it was my job

291 posts

Ultimate Geek

  Reply # 193746 3-Feb-2009 17:26
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Rock on dude.

And I here you, there are no promices, but it sounds like a great lead -I'm all over it.  Cheers

"There is no way to Peace -Peace is the Way" (A. J. Muste)


6 posts

Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 194523 6-Feb-2009 19:30
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I had the same problem - random channels would get the rain fade signal at any time of the day or night.  I called Sky and booked a tech to check it out.   The problem seemed to stop right after I called Sky, so I cancelled the tech.  The problem started again a couple of days later so I called Sky again and the tech came out and fixed it.  According to his service docket he swapped a faulty DLNB - whatever that may be!  It's been fine ever since - hope this helps!

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