What's wrong with my DirecTv HD receiver?
May 26, 2009 9:19 PM   Subscribe

One of my two HD direcTv receivers routinely loses its satellite signal and will spend countless hours 'searching for signal' while my other receiver works just fine. What's up?

A couple months ago, I finally upgraded my bedroom directv receiver from a non-hd receiver to an hd one. Since I installed the new receiver (which I noticed is a refurbished one), it will routinely crap out on me and give me the 'searching for signal' error 771 msg. Re-setting it doesn't work and everything's plugged in correctly. It's not a satellite problem, I live in northern calif and don't have weather related issues and my satellite dish is completely unobstructed. My b-band box is connected. My other receiver never has this problem.
The weird thing is that it only happens when it gets dark. On average, this happens once a week. I usually turn it off and then the next day, it works just fine again. I've exhausted customer service and am trying to avoid the cost of having a repair person come to my house. Any idea what's going on?
posted by calgirl13 to Technology (6 answers total)
I'm pretty handy with DirecTV but not so much with multi-receiver setups. I would suspect it could be the cable. The installer might have used cheap RG-59 instead of RG-6 coax cable (it's marked on the cable, see here for a discussion) or you may simply have bad cable or a bad connector somewhere along the way. Is the other receiver HD or not? If they're all identical, try swapping receivers and see how the problem changes. Some more info on your setup would be helpful, i.e. how far the run is, where the cable goes, etc.
posted by crapmatic at 9:39 PM on May 26, 2009

I was going to suggest the cable as well. If you are using the flat cable anywhere, as I am, the connection is not great all the time and sometimes I need to flatten out the cable for the signal to come back. It's very finnicky.
posted by proj at 4:00 AM on May 27, 2009

I also suspect the cable. A good way to check, is to switch the receivers; move the old one to your room and the new one downstairs. If the upstairs one looses signal, either the cables's too long, a bad connection, or poor quality. However, if it's still only the refurb that now has issues, congrats you're narrowed it down to the receiver. Alternately, the problem might disappear after swapping the units.

While doing some cabling myself, I stubbonly forced RJ-59 connectors onto RJ-6 cables (it *can* be done). Things mostly worked, but not consistently. Satellite not found/insufficient signal/switch not switching. I spent the extra $4 bought some outdoor RJ-6 connectors, and after a quick crimping things were great.
posted by nobeagle at 7:31 AM on May 27, 2009

I'd swap the receivers too. That'll isolate the problem to being either the receiver which isn't really user serviceable or the something in cable run. I've had a similar problem with a bad LNB that would only work at night. Once the sun hit the LNB it warmed it up and caused a bad signal.
posted by Mitheral at 7:56 AM on May 27, 2009

i dont think its the dish, a bad lnb would be bad on both receivers - nthing the cable or the box.
posted by fumbducker at 8:13 AM on May 27, 2009

DirectTV maybe different but most of the Canadian dish setups for two receivers have dual LNBs in a single package operating independently.
posted by Mitheral at 10:05 AM on May 27, 2009

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