A-eurostar-8X1-DiSEqC-in-Nairobi

Amazing DiSEqC Switch Installation Tips from a Technician

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What is a DiSEqC switch? A DiSEqC switch is a special piece of telecommunications gadget that can allow a satellite receiver or a decoder to receive signals from multiple satellite dishes set at different positions. The acronym DiSEqC, stands for Digital Satellite Equipment Control. DiSEqC switches can also enable a decoder to control a rotary motor which has a satellite dish mounted on it. Its usually hard to expalin what a DiSEqC switch is to a newbie, they always have this mentality that its a complicated toggle switch that you have to operate manually everytime you change the channel. This is not the first time

These sturdy looking switches have been misused by satellite enthusiasts and just like any other electronic gadget there is, if you misuse it, it will break down. These tips will help you make the most out of your own DiSEqC switch. All DiSEqC switches I have bought didn’t come with a manual. So this is like my own manual from my experiences to help you. The first switch I ever bought from Nairobi’s Luthuli Avenue was a ESD-41 Eurostar 4X1 switch which I bought for Ksh200 and I fried it with my ignorance. This is what I learnt from my own personal experience as well as some research on the web.

  • First off all installing a DiSEqC switch outside is not a good idea. Rain, heat from the sun, sometimes snow or even hailstorm damages these units. The best place to install it is in the ceiling, attic or a place where it will not receive direct sun or rain. Extreme temperature variations can cause the cables inside the DiSEqC switch contract and expand rapidly, thus causing signal strength disparities. Does the phrase cool and dry place ring a bell.
  • Install it as close as possible to the satellite dishes. The longer the distance, the greater the signal loses.
  • Also install it as close as possible to the satellite decoder as possible. What I am trying to say is that you should minimize the overall length of the cable(s) as much as possible to prevent signal losses.
  • Label the cables on the DiSEqC switch. For example you may have an 8X1 switch with 8 cables coming in, how do you know which is which? I use some Masking tape on each individual cable and usually write down the satellite name, position and corresponding port I will connect it to. I also write down this information on a small sheet of paper that I will use to do the blind scans on the decoder. Very simple, I always match the DiSEqC switch port with the correct satellite name and position on the decoder.
  • Do not use any tool for example a pliers to tighten the F-Type connectors on the DiSEqC switch, use you hands instead. The extra force the pliers provide can damages the fine threads on the switch.
  • Very important, working with the switch while the decoder is ON is not advisable. I did this and damaged one of my DiSEqC switches recently. While most decoders can handle a short circuit at the LNB without any problem, a DiSEqC switch cannot and usually gets damaged easily.

So how do you go about setting up the DiSEqC switch to function with your decoder?

The first thing to check is the DiSEqC version on the Decoder you own. For example what type of DiSEqC switch will a Technosat T-888 plus Ultra Free to Air Decoder use. This decoder has a DiSEqC version of 1.0. What does this mean?

A number of versions of DiSEqC exist:

  • DiSEqC 1.0, which allows switching between up to 4 satellite sources
  • DiSEqC 1.1, which allows switching between up to 16 sources
  • DiSEqC 1.2, which allows switching between up to 16 sources, and control of a single axis satellite motor
  • DiSEqC 2.0, which adds bi-directional communications to DiSEqC 1.0
  • DiSEqC 2.1, which adds bi-directional communications to DiSEqC 1.1
  • DiSEqC 2.2, which adds bi-directional communications to DiSEqC 1.2

The following table shows compatibility between the various DiSEqC versions:

1.0 switch 1.1 switch 1.2 motor 2.0 switch 2.1 switch 2.2 motor
1.0 receiver Yes No No Yes No No
1.1 receiver Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
1.2 receiver Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
2.0 receiver Yes No No Yes No No
2.1 receiver Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
2.2 receiver Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

So according to my Technosat, version 1.0 will switch between 4 sources, so I need a 4×1 DiSEqC switch, like the one pictured below. Even if I used an 8X1 or 16X1 switch, it won’t work, it needs a 4X1 switch.

Eurostar 4 way disecc switch

Connect the LNB IN port of the receiver to the Receiver port on the switch. Connect up to 4 satellite dish inputs, LNBs to each of the ports labeled LNB1, LNB2, LNB3 and LNB4. This should be done when the decoder is disconnected from the mains supply to avoid damaging the switch. From the decoder menu select satellite name and associate it with a port on the satellite dish. For example if I know that LNB 1 is connected to a satellite dish pointed at SES5, I would choose SES 5 Ku band positioned @5 degrees East from the decoder menu and set it to Port 1.

Do this for all the ports and then do a multiple satellite blind scan. You can now enjoy multiple satellite positions using only one decoder.

There are other more recent decoders that can accept more satellite inputs, the procedure is the same.

Make sure you write down all satellite names with the associated port and Orbital position on a piece of paper to avoid confusion.

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