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I need help installing my 5LNB dish for DirecTV service.
October 3, 2007 3:19 PM   Subscribe

I need help installing my 5LNB dish for DirecTV service.

Hi! I'm temporarily living with the folks and intend on moving soon. I can get my dish installed for $50 only once a year, and the second time in a year costs $199. I'll save the $50 install for my new home and if I can't get this to work at my folks place then I'll just live without (which kinda sucks because I still have to pay for it due to a 2 year commitment).

Anyway, I need help. I can point it in the right direction (azimuth) with the right tilt and elevation as is specified in the manual. All that I get are "0"'s when I check the signal strength of all satellites and transponders. I can check the individual signals of the transponders but am not sure of the best method and approach to do this.

I've been searching online but all I find is people rambling with no specific step-by-step instructions.

Here are my questions:

1. Can I check the signal strength of the 101 deg satellite and transponder 1 and just worry about that one?
2. Will I start hearing some noise coming from the set once I am zero'ing in on the right trajectory?
3. is there a very narrow room for error? If I'm pointing in "about" the right direction shouldn't I receive at least some signal strength from somewhere? Or is it all going to be 0 signal strength and then after a quarter of a degree adjustment all of a sudden BAM perfect signal?
4. Once I'm pointing in the right Azimuth, which should I try adjusting first for better signal quality? Elevation?

Is this even worth while?

I have a pretty basic compass for the azimuth and a very percise digital protractor for the elevation. I'm not sure how to measure my tilt other then just going by the number on the dish for that particular bolt adjustment.

Oh yeah....1 more thing. When I was moving my dish from my old place to my folks house and carrying it up the ladder (dang that thing was heavy) at one moment it I was pushing the thing up against the receivers against the wall. Upon examination, it does not look like anything broke from this... however I'm worried that the receivers are slightly off-center and that is why I'm having so many problems.... :(

Thanks for your help
posted by nickerbocker to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
 
I for no good reason (other than being lazy) had my directv dish mounted on an unsecured metal post for several years - a couple times a year we'd get enough wind that the dish would need to be adjusted. It's easiest to set the tv to check the signal strength, call your cell phone from a landline, stick one handset next to a speaker and take the other phone outside. You'll have no trouble hearing what is going on. I don't think I ever used a compass to adjust the dish, look where everyone else has their dishes pointed then swing the thing side to side slowly, starting at the horizon and moving up a little each pass. You'll find the signal after a few minutes.
posted by foodgeek at 3:26 PM on October 3, 2007


I'm not an expert by any means, but I'll try:

1. Can I check the signal strength of the 101 deg satellite and transponder 1 and just worry about that one?

No, just one satellite correct does not imply that you have the other ones dialled in. You can have sat 1 coming in fine but no others due to incorrect tilt, for example.

2. Will I start hearing some noise coming from the set once I am zero'ing in on the right trajectory?

When I was setting mine up, I recall some beeping test sound where the beeping would increase in frequency the stronger the signal was.
Though I had to recalibrate my dish a week ago and couldn't find that test sound.

3. is there a very narrow room for error? If I'm pointing in "about" the right direction shouldn't I receive at least some signal strength from somewhere? Or is it all going to be 0 signal strength and then after a quarter of a degree adjustment all of a sudden BAM perfect signal?

I don't think the room for error is that narrow. Are you sure your cables are correct (and you have a clear view of the sky)?
posted by mrnutty at 3:37 PM on October 3, 2007


You can find someone on craigslist who can do this for 50-75 dollars. Then you can spend the other 50 for grand total of 100-125 dollars as opposed to 250.

Yes, if you bent or damaged the arm youre in trouble.
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:48 PM on October 3, 2007


I take mine camping all the time. Camping World sells a signal strength meter ($39.00) that makes this job easy.
posted by mrleec at 4:11 PM on October 3, 2007


If you damaged it, don't worry, you can get a dish pretty cheaply, they are just plastic and aluminum, the expensive part is the LNB.

Are you mounting on a roof, or near the ground? if it is on the ground, you can just bring a small TV and the tuner outside and see them while you work.

you don't need a protractor, just level the mount for the dish and use the dishes side mounted angles. it is actually better to do that because the pointing directions in the reciever setup menu are written for people with t 5$ compass and mark 1 eyeballs, not a laser protractor and GPS compass.

trees and power/utility lines can kill you signal more than you might imagine.

I can't think of any other advice.
posted by Megafly at 4:16 PM on October 3, 2007


Ok...so on the receiver I goto sat setup and then to the signal strength screen. For all of the sats i get 0's. I then goto the signal meter for tuner 1, sat 101 deg, transponder 1, and set the audio to tuner 1. I don't get a peep out of it no matter what I try. The field of view for the dish looks pretty clear. There are some large trees to the left and right of the 159 deg azimuth direction, but it is pretty darn clear in that direction. I've heard that the 5LNB dishes are a lot more difficult to get the right direction.

It seems that the arm is pretty easy to bend (I tested it..i guess it is aluminum and not steel :( ), and I probably bent it when I was moving the equipment. Although it doesn't [i]look[/i] bent at all.

I checked craig's list and no one seems to be offering these types of services locally.

I guess I'll wait until I move out and have it professionaly installed. If I did bend it, hopefully directv will just get me a new dish.
posted by nickerbocker at 5:03 PM on October 3, 2007


The guy I found on craigslist didnt write an ad. I wrote a want ad in gigs or labor looking for him. I got a lot of replies.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:11 PM on October 3, 2007


At 119 deg sat I get a signal strength of "42" on transponder 28.... but I hear no audio feedback. I really need audio feedback as I have a speaker outside and need to hear it to set it up. All the other signals are "0"s still. Is 42 too weak for any audio feedback?
posted by nickerbocker at 6:21 PM on October 3, 2007


You might have some luck in finding a step by step guide, and certainly audible pointing tips, by searching the forums at www.dbstalk.com (DirecTV section) and to a lesser extent www.avsforum.com .

Try not to get too sucked in over there, those guys are hardcore.
posted by intermod at 8:00 PM on October 3, 2007


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