In this article, I will try and give hints on How to Setup a DiSEqC Switch correctly in order to connect multiple LNBs to a single satellite receiver. It is a newbie’s guide on everything DiSEqC. After reading this post, you will be able to combine two or more satellite packages on one single decoder without you having to call your local satellite installer.
What is DiSEqC and How does A DiSEqC Switch Function?
DiSEqC (Digital Satellite Equipment Control), pronounced is a special satellite communication protocol for use between a satellite receiver and a device such as a satellite dish’s LNB. DiSEqC was developed by European satellite provider Eutelsat, which now acts as the standards agency for the protocol.
The primary function of a DiSEqC switch is to combine two or more satellite on a decoder for your viewing pleasure. Put differently, if you install more than one dish e.g, to watch DStv and multi tv/Daarsat and you don’t use a DiSEqC switch, it means you will have to always unplug the LNB cable from the back of your decoder and plug the LNB cable of the channel you want to watch at that point ij time. A DiSEqC switch removes this inconvenience.
First off, with a 4-way switch, select the DiSEqC 1.0 command menu. The 4 positions are usually numbered but some receivers use ABCD instead
with an 8 or 16-way switch, select the DiSEqC 1.1 command menu. The 8 positions are usually 1 to 8
As mentioned above, with any version of DiSEqC, the ports are usually numbered. Let’s take the 4-way DiSEqC as our example. The ports are numbered 1,2,3,4(please take note of this numbers because it must correspond with that of your decoder settings. If you have two dishes, it means you will make use of two out of the four ports of the DiSEqC switch.
In my own case, I made use of port 1 and Port 3. My DStv on Eutelsat 36b 35.0ºE dish is in port 1 and my Amos 17.0e is in port 3.
“Note: Some satellite decoders labelled their DiSEqC ports with alphabets(A, B,C,D) as opposed to numbers. For clarification, A = 1, B=2, C=3 And D = 4. This is just formality”
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Types and Versions of DiSEqC Switches
At the moment, there exist at least 7 versions of DiSEqC switches. This versions started from version 1.0(which is the commonest) to version 3.0. In this section,I will draw up a chart where all the available versions of DiSEqC switches will be displayed.
Versions of DiSEqC Switches
- Firstly, we have “DiSEqC 1.0”, which allows switching between up to 4 satellite sources: this is the one that is most common in household and it is the yardstick for this post.
- DiSEqC 1.1, which allows switching between up to 16 sources
- Another version is “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
- Furthermore, DiSEqC 2.1, adds bi-directional communications to DiSEqC 1.1
- DiSEqC 2.2, which adds bi-directional communications to DiSEqC 1.2
- DiSEqC 3.0, which adds remote management of receivers to DiSEqC 2.2 to enable broadcast house uses
Types of DiSEqC Switches
- 3-Way DiSEqC switch allows a maximum of 3 dishes to be connected to a decoder
- 4 Way DiSEqC Switch like the name implies it allows 4 LNBs from the dish(es) to be linked to a common decoder
- 8-Way DiSEqC Switch
Why Would You Consider Using a DiSEqC Switch?
It is time for you to consider buying a DiSEqC switch when you are in one of the following situations:
- If you have more than one Satellite Dish/LNB installed and you don’t want to be switching between them by unplugging one cable for the other. I mean, a DiSEqC switch will take of this hassle for you. And you won’t need to be undoing the cable from the back of your decoder every time.
- Secondly, if you want to economize space and combine multiple dishes on one decoder, you need a DiSEqC
- Finally, if you are very serious about Free to air satellite TV, you can hardly do without a DiSEqC switch especially if you use a big dish with multiple LNBs connect to it. You have just done a factory reset of your decoder or you just upgraded your decoder
What to look out for when buying a new DiSEqC Switch
- First and foremost, check the DiSEqC protocol that your satellite receiver supports. This will guide you in buying the appropriate DiSEqC version.
- Brand or make of the switch is another major factor worth considering. We have a popualr brand like Eurostar, strong, Konig and so on. Make sure you buy one by a known brand.
- Similarly, check for authenticity. Mind you, buying a fake diSEqC can cause you the life of your receiver. So buy original ones only.
- Make sure you get a multiprotocol switch if possible.
- Last but not least, it is very important to buy a DiSEqC switch with a very high built quality. Things to look out for in the quality department include the weatherproof nature of the device. It is very important that it can withstand extreme weather like sun and rain. If yours comes with a waterproof cover, you are in luck.
How to Setup a DiSEqC Switch in order to Connect Several Dishes to One Satellite Receiver
When the correct LNB is selected for the satellite indicated in the DiSEqC menu, the signal strength display will show a signal is present. Traps for the unwary – if the same frequency is used on 2 of the satellites you are trying to set up, the signal indicator may show ok, when you are on the wrong satellite. If you start the scan process and find the channels are not as expected, exit and reselect the DiSEqC position.
If the above is your case, there is nothing preventing you from setting this up yourself instead of you calling your local satellite installer. I will use qsat decoder and a strong decoder as my case study. but this tutorial applies to all old, new, existing and upcoming decoders. All you must know is that you have to locate the name Diseqc within your decoder. The DiSEqC setting is always under Installation / Antenna setting of any decoder.
How To Setup A DiSEqC Switch on Qsat/Speed HD/Cobox/Nusky Decoder
This decoder use alphabets to label the ports. Therefore, we have port A,B,C and D. In my other illustration, we will be using a decoder with numbers. For this guide, we are using DiSEqC version 1.0
- Press menu on your remote and goto installation>>antenna settings when prompted to enter a password, enter four zeros “0000” or the equivalent default password of your satellite receiver. See image below
- Under the Antenna Setting, scroll down to DiSEqC Mode. By default, the DiSEqC mode will be either “None” or “Off”. You have to enable this by clicking on it and changing it to DiSEqC 1.0 or any protocol supported by the switch you have at hand.
Also, you will notice that your dish signal quality is zero if your DiSEqC is off. Furthermore, if your LNB cable is not connected, you will also have a 0% signal quality. This is shown in the picture below:
- Once you have enabled your DiSEqC switch, what is left is for you to select the port that corresponds with your dish’s LNB that is outside. In my case, I use port one and 3. So I selected port A for my 36.0ºE satellite and port C for my Amos 17.0R. as shown below:
- Immediately you select the right DiSEqC ports, your satellite Signal and the quality status bar will display and reflect the exact percentage you got the very first day you installed your dish.
- If you fail to set up your DiSEqC switch correctly, you will not able to scan and save any channel on the affected satellite.
How to Setup a DiSEqC Switch on Strong Decoder or Other FTA Decoders
Here is my second illustration which covers a wider range of decoders. I use a strong 49XX series for my tutorial but the methods here is applicable to any free to air satellite receiver regardless of the brand/model. A DiSEqC Switch is a peripheral device which enables the selection of one of a multitude of connected LNB sources (950-2300MHz Intermediate Frequency) on the basis of digital commands generated by the receiver.
Steps to connecting multiple dishes to a single decoder using a DiSEqC Switch
- Next, you have to select the input of the LNB (1, 2, 3, 4 etc) according to the LNB which receives the signal of a particular satellite. In my picture below, I combined just two satellite which is: DStv at 36.0ºE and NSS at 22.0ºW. I used port 4 for my switch hence I must select port 4 within my decoder Diseqc settings.
To explain the above further, since the LNB which receives the signal of DStv at 36.0ºE is connected to the input 4 of your DiSEqC Switches, you will have to select this same port 4 within the setting page of your decoder.
- Finally, press exit on your remote and make sure you save your settings before you exit. See the guide below:
Problems Associated with DiSEqC Switches and the Solution
At times, a previously working DiSEqc switch may just start malfunctioning all of a sudden. In this section, I will teach you some troubleshooting guides with DiSEqC as well as the solutions to problems encountered during or after installing a DiSEqC switch for your decoder. And what settings do you have in your receiver?
Possible Troubles with DiSEqC Switches
There are two major problems associated with DiSEqC switches and they are as follows:
- When it is clear that the DiSEqC switch isn’t switching: by this I mean, you have multiple dishes connected to your decoder via your DiSEqC switch, but only one satellite is giving you signal.
- Another major problem that you can experience with a DiSEqC switch is that of a total signal loss. I mean, no signal form all the LNB coming into the decoder.
- Also, you may not get the full channels on a satellite after scanning your decoder with a DiSEqC switch connected to it.
- Lastly, you may be experiencing an intermittent signal or unstable signal.
Irrespective of the problems you are encountering with your DiSEqC Switch, my solutions below will surely fix the issue.
Solutions to DiSEqC Switch Problems
There are to categories of DiSEqC switch problems. The first one occurs during installation while the second problem will arise long after a successful installation. This section will take care of both issues.
Solutions to problems when installing a DiSEqC Switch Afresh
If you are not getting the desired result when installing your DiSEqC switch, try and follow the troubleshooting guides below to fix the same
- First off, check if you connected the various LNB cables to the appropriate ports. Your LNB must not be connected to the decoder in port. In addition, are the cables well-grounded?
- To solve the problem of not getting the full channels using a DiSEqC switch, you may need to first to select one satellite first and do a satellite scan. Then select your second satellite and do a channel scan also. Then connect your DiSEqC. Alternatively, you can scan all your satellite channels directly one after the other before connecting your DiSEqC switch.
- Still, on solving a DiSEqC with unstable signal or one that is not switching between the satellite, You can reset your Switch. To reset a DiSEqC switch, unplug the cable coming from the DiSEqC switch for about 30secs and then plug it in again. This will reset the switch. Then try again.
- Furthermore, for your DiSEqC to work perfectly, you need to match the switch’s version with the within the decoder protocol/mode. To explain this further, if you have a DiSEqC 1.0 switch, don’t choose a “toneburst” DiSEqC settings in your decoder. If your switch uses “toneburst switching”, navigate to the Diseqc mode in the Satellite Menu and select Toneburst A/B. From here, configure your ports to your two satellites.
Solutions to the Problem of a Damaged/Malfunctioning DiSEqC
Now, let’s assume you have the switch installed already. I mean in the event that your perfectly working DiSEqC switch just started giving problems, here are the steps you need to take in order to solve the problems.
Step 1: How to determine if your switch is the culprit
make sure you have gone through the steps above without any success
Once you are certain that none of the tips above could correct the situation, it is time to do advanced troubleshooting. It is likely either your switch or the LNB or the decoder is faulty. Let’s start with the simplest which is troubleshooting the switch. Totally disconnect the switch and connect your cable directly to the decoder. If you get signal and your channels open normally
Step 2: How to check if a fault with the LNB is Causing the Problem
In some instances, your LNB may be faulty and by extension causing your DiSEqC switch to also malfunction. To isolate this fault, you need to change your LNBf. If this doesn’t work, you will need to carefully inspect your coaxial/lnb cable to see if there is damage along the line. Also, try and get your decoder closer to the LNB so as to ensure that the distance between the two is not interfering with the signal quality.
Final Step: Checking to see if Your Satellite Decoder is Faulty and causing the signal problem with your Switch
Occasionally, when you use a sub-standard DiSEqC switch, it can fail prematurely/ Not only that, it can also cause damage to your decoder’s tuner. Your decoder’s LNB tuner is the port that your LNB cable is connected to. If you have a working switch that is not given a signal when using it and you have verified that there is no problems with your LNB, then your decoder’s tuner or related component may be damaged.
To troubleshoot your decoder’s tuner problem as it affects your DiSEqC switch, you may need to swap your decoder with another one. if everything works fine with same settings, it is time to replace or repair your decoder.