Newbie Here Diagnosing no signal?

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Smiffy2422

Regular Member
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Regular ex-sky Mini-Dish going to Manhattan Plaza HD-S2 Freesat Receiver
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Hi guys,

We recently moved in to a property that had a Sky Mini-Dish set up on the wall (and was working when the previous family lived there). We never used the dish initially, but bought a freesat box, and assuming the satellite is the same, hooked it up, only to be greeted with not being able to even do the initial set up on the freesat box, because there's no signal whatsoever.

The physical appearance of the dish is in good condition, the LNB and connectors look almost new and there's no sign of degradation or corrosion. We've tried to re-position the dish along its horizontal alignment, but still no luck.

Out of curiosity we also tried both the old satellite cable that was already attached to the dish, and tried a brand new one, both had the same results.

It's also worth noting the freesat receiver is brand new, too.

Thanks,
Lewis
 
Captain Jack

Captain Jack

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Hi Lewis, did you mark where the dish was originally before you moved it? A couple of millimetres in the wrong direction and signal is lost. Is the dish looking in the the same general direction as other Sky dishes around you?

In first instance, I would suggest checking the cable to ensure that the F connectors sit on the cable tight and the outside braids aren't touching the centre core. Then try realigning the dish, if that doesn't work. The key is to work sllooowwlllly and move the dish in small (5mm) steps.Receivers can take a while to lock the signal, so working slowly is key. Work along the horizontal pane, then change the dish elevation (vertical pane) a bit and do the horizontal sweep again. The dish should be almost vertical but elevated slightly... To make things a bit easier, you could consider getting a cheap sat meter/beeper (something like this) to help you along.

LNBs are also not unknown to randomly fail, especially after being there for a few years, so it's worth replacing this as well if you have no luck with the above.
 
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Mickha

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I would buy a cheap satellite meter, you can get one online, or probably at a local DIY store:
satellite meter.JPG

This will not only help you align the dish, but also show if there is a problem, with the cable, connections, or other, as it wont light up.
They can be vought for £6-£10.
 
PaulR

PaulR

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My first thought is that the the plug that goes into the back of the receiver was put on wrongly. Either it had unscrewed from the cable a bit (when it was removed from the old satellite receiver) or the centre wire had bent over when the plug was being put on to the new receiver. The same might be true of the new cable that was put in with the added possibility that there is a single wisp of copper wire from the braid shorting out to the centre wire - it's very easy to do this if you don't watch out

Unfortunately if you have moved the dish out of its correct alignment and not put back to the correct position you won't be able to check this out.

What you need to do is be absolutely sure that the cable and plugs are absolutely correct and then see if you can put the dish back where it should be.
 
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Smiffy2422

Regular Member
Messages
15
My Satellite Setup
Regular ex-sky Mini-Dish going to Manhattan Plaza HD-S2 Freesat Receiver
My Location
Epsom, Surrey
Thanks for your messages everyone. We had originally tried the dish in its initial position before moving it. I have just picked up one of those Satellite Finders from Maplins which will at least tell me if there's a problem. Last night I had noticed there was a slight bend with the copper cable after plugging it in to the receiver, could it be too long? (We did have to cut it down and put the F-Connectors on ourselves). Is there a particular trick with screwing these on?
 
4wd

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Last edited:
Ghostleader

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A wee cheap meter is definitely a good shout here, I've noticed these cheap Freesat boxes from Bush/Goodman's (Home shopping groups own make) lock up and don't respond to the fact you have found signal when moving the dish into correct alignment, shoddy but true.

Sent from my thl 2015A using Tapatalk
 
PaulR

PaulR

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I would change the instructions that 4wd linked to a little as follows:
  1. Cut the plastic outer sheath back about 1/2" (13mm)
  2. Don't try to twist the braid into a pigtail - that never works. Instead just pull it back over the outer sheath and spread it so that it's surrounding the sheath as evenly as possible. Incidentally the metal foil never folds back properly and should be torn off in line with the outer sheath and discarded.
  3. The inner foam should be cut back so that it is almost back to the braid. About 1 - 2mm sticking out is enough.
  4. Screw the plug on until the foam is just showing through into the inside of the plug.
  5. Then snip the excess centre wire so that it just protrudes as per the picture.
Make sure that there aren't any of the braids thin wires touching the centre conductor and you're good to go.
 
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Smiffy2422

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My Satellite Setup
Regular ex-sky Mini-Dish going to Manhattan Plaza HD-S2 Freesat Receiver
My Location
Epsom, Surrey
A wee cheap meter is definitely a good shout here, I've noticed these cheap Freesat boxes from Bush/Goodman's (Home shopping groups own make) lock up and don't respond to the fact you have found signal when moving the dish into correct alignment, shoddy but true.

Sent from my thl 2015A using Tapatalk
Definitely sounds like what's happening to my Manhattan. I would make sense. Thanks for that info. I'll be sure not to rush it tonight and make sure the scans "complete" before moving the dish again.
 
Ghostleader

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Here you go Smiffy, made a wee video for you, turn down your "gain" wheel on your beeper, half way should be fine, otherwise you could end up with that "What the fecks going on with this now?.." Look on your face.


Sent from my thl 2015A using Tapatalk
 
S

Smiffy2422

Regular Member
Messages
15
My Satellite Setup
Regular ex-sky Mini-Dish going to Manhattan Plaza HD-S2 Freesat Receiver
My Location
Epsom, Surrey
Here you go Smiffy, made a wee video for you, turn down your "gain" wheel on your beeper, half way should be fine, otherwise you could end up with that "What the fecks going on with this now?.." Look on your face.


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Hi Ghost, thanks for that video. Very helpful.

Just to give you an update, we attached the sat finder between the LNB and the receiver, but we were still getting nothing on the dial. I'm assuming this would mean the LNB has packed up?

Thanks,
Lewis
 
PaulR

PaulR

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Have you checked the plugs as described above by me?
 
Captain Jack

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Did the sat finder light up?
 
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Smiffy2422

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My Satellite Setup
Regular ex-sky Mini-Dish going to Manhattan Plaza HD-S2 Freesat Receiver
My Location
Epsom, Surrey
Have you checked the plugs as described above by me?
We did indeed and we redid 3 of the plugs as they were touching the copper sheath.

Did the sat finder light up?
It did when it received power from the Receiver. But because we haven't even been able to do an initial set up, we have had to try doing it before and during the initial scan, in the hope it would get something, but unless we have the dB dial turned to almost full, it just won't do anything.
 
Lazarus

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Often the short cable stub supplied with those meters isn't fit for purpose, being thin and flimsy and prone to not making a good connection to the LNB.

I commend you to make up your own stub using a suitable length of decent cable and F connectors.
 
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Mickha

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You can get a signal reading, on the satellite meter, even when the dish is pointing at the ground, it is designed to work that way.

It's pointless trying to do a scan, until you have the dish aligned, increase the sensitivity, on the meter, until it reads 5, about mid way, then gently move the dish, East/West, and then up/down, until the meter reads 10, decrease the sensitivity, until it goes back to 5, then move the dish, until you get 10.
Keep doing this until you get the strongest signal possible, but even then it doesn't mean that you have located 28.2E, there are a lot of other satellites that you can get a signal off.
Can you take the receiver to a friends/relative, with a working satellite dish, just to get it working?
 
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Smiffy2422

Regular Member
Messages
15
My Satellite Setup
Regular ex-sky Mini-Dish going to Manhattan Plaza HD-S2 Freesat Receiver
My Location
Epsom, Surrey
Often the short cable stub supplied with those meters isn't fit for purpose, being thin and flimsy and prone to not making a good connection to the LNB.

I commend you to make up your own stub using a suitable length of decent cable and F connectors.
The finder didn't actually come with one of those short cables. So we used the ORIGINAL cable that was on the outside of the house when we moved in to connect from the receiver to the finder, then the brand new cable to go from the LNB to the finder. We tried it the other way round but still nothing.

You can get a signal reading, on the satellite meter, even when the dish is pointing at the ground, it is designed to work that way.

It's pointless trying to do a scan, until you have the dish aligned, increase the sensitivity, on the meter, until it reads 5, about mid way, then gently move the dish, East/West, and then up/down, until the meter reads 10, decrease the sensitivity, until it goes back to 5, then move the dish, until you get 10.
Keep doing this until you get the strongest signal possible, but even then it doesn't mean that you have located 28.2E, there are a lot of other satellites that you can get a signal off.
Can you take the receiver to a friends/relative, with a working satellite dish, just to get it working?
We tried that but it doesn't seem to go past 5, or whatever number we get to with the sensitivity dial up. It doesn't matter how slowly we move the dish either.

We'll be able to test the receiver at my partners grandparents house, however that won't be possible until the weekend.

Thanks again for all your help on this, guys.
 
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Mickha

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Can you please upload a few photographs, of the dish, in case we can spot an obvious problem.
Also try dishpointer.com, enter your postcode, select Astra 21, 28.2E, from the drop down satellite box, zoom in on the map, then move the green icon to where your dish is sited.
This will show you roughly where the dish needs pointing.
 
S

Smiffy2422

Regular Member
Messages
15
My Satellite Setup
Regular ex-sky Mini-Dish going to Manhattan Plaza HD-S2 Freesat Receiver
My Location
Epsom, Surrey
Can you please upload a few photographs, of the dish, in case we can spot an obvious problem.
Also try dishpointer.com, enter your postcode, select Astra 21, 28.2E, from the drop down satellite box, zoom in on the map, then move the green icon to where your dish is sited.
This will show you roughly where the dish needs pointing.
Pictures below. I will give that site a go and tell you what I get.



 
Lazarus

Lazarus

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Several small Dishes.
Much else.
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It is pointing far too high upwards.

The dish face should be nigh on vertical.

Required Elevation is in the mid 20 degrees, but the LNB arm is offset by more or less the same amount.

Pics 2 and 3 have got parallax error, but Pic 1 does not, I think, deceive.
 
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