Saga of the New Tivo, Part IV

Previously: : “But what about when you join the reversed circuit to a “normal” circuit via a coaxial cable connection to the satellite dish?”

After exchanging a few emails with Weaknees, they agreed to send me a replacement DTivo immediately. I received it the next week. I tried hooking it up in the bedroom again, but as I suspected I could get no signal from the satellite. Now I had to figure out what had been burned out by the bad electrical situation. Here’s the sequence starting from the dish:

  1. Four coaxial cables come out of the dish,
  2. Those four cables are connected to what I would describe as a “breakout box” that has four incoming coax connections and four outgoing connections.
  3. Two outgoing connections on the breakout box go to the Big TV room DTivo, one goes back to the bedroom and one is capped.
  4. The cable going to the bedroom runs along the outside of the house until it gets to the bedroom where it enters the outside wall.
  5. Inside the wall the external cable is connected to a faceplate splitter.
  6. The other side of the splitter is connected inside the bedroom to the cable that goes to the DTivo.

So, by my count, any or all of the six components in that chain could be faulty. I started testing at the breakout box by hooking the DTivo directly to it’s output side. No dice. With trepidation, I connected via splitter directly to the coax from the dish. Coax 1 and 2 (which were connected to the Big TV DTivo) worked fine, but 3 produced a signal level of only about 37% and 4 was completely dead. So I retreated and rethought my plan for a few days.

Clearly I would need a replacement dish which I priced near $200 on the internet. Dave Camp, a friend of mine who used to be a DTV customer suggested calling DTV customer service and describing my problem. They might fix it for free or minimal charge. I certainly had nothing to lose. I resolved to do this but just then work intervened in a way that would leave me no free time for several weeks.

In the meantime, I came up with a better plan. Remember the original plan was to place the DTivo in our bedroom and hook it to the single coax that was already there. Eventually, I would have to run a second coax from one end of the house to the other to get the full dual tuner capability enabled. My friend, Rob Marquardt, provided the inspiration for the new plan, which was much easier to implement and potentially better for everybody.

When I visited Rob back in 2003, he had an Infrared Extender which let him control his Tivo from other parts of his apartment. He could also view his Tivo from three different rooms. The new plan would have the new DTivo in the Big TV room with our original DTivo making it simpler to run the new cabling (25 feet vs. 80 feet). I would utilize an old coax cable installed during our cable TV days to connect the new DTivo to the TV in the bedroom. Add the infrared extender and we would be able to watch and control the new DTivo from the bedroom, but would also be able to watch and control it in the Big TV room. Cool, huh?

As a temporary measure, I purchased the infrared extender set from Radio Shack and wired our old DTivo to the television in the bedroom. This would help ease the pain of no TV in the bedroom Tina had experienced since the saga had begun two weeks before. Although she was not completely satisfied with this temporary solution, it was better than no TV at all.

Next: “The replacement card was now “linked” to our old DTivo (the one in the Big TV room) and the card that had been in the old DTivo was now a useless piece of plastic.”