Satellite Set-top-boxes also is known as decoders/receivers and have their fair share of hardware problems just like every other electronic device. Sadly, due to the dominance of the Chinese in the manufacturing of these decoders, we are faced with some quality control problems. It has become a norm now for users to have satellite receivers hardware problems.
I Prevention they say is better than a cure. This post will extensively discuss preventive measures while also preferring solutions for people currently experiencing satellite receivers hardware problems. By hardware problems, I mean problem as a result of the physical components of the decoder. Furthermore, the tips here would be useful for every satellite decoder(including android tv boxes) regardless of its brand. Hence this guide will work for satellite company branded receivers like Dish TV, Direct TV Dstv, mytv, Canaplus official decoders, beIN decoders, TStv, TvSat, startimes and any official decoder worldwide. Obviously, this also works for free to air decoders as well as FTA combo decoders.
By the time am through, you must have learnt one or two things about the troubleshooting, causes, fixes and prevention of satellite receivers hardware problems. Not only that, but you will also learn about the care and maintenance of satellite decoders.
The extent of Decoder Hardware by Satellite TV companies
Worth noting is the fact that local satellite tv companies have their own branded decoders and they offer warranties on them. For example, if your DStv decoder is damaged from a fault that is not yours, you are entitled to a free replacement. If you ever damage your decoder, your DStv dealer will help you repair while you pay a token. Be that as it may, we all know its better not to have problems than having problems and looking for solutions. Therefore these tips will be useful for all forms of receivers and set-top-boxes.
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Symptoms & Causes of Satellite Decoders Hardware Problems & how to Troubleshoot Them
What are the signs that you will see when your decoder start developing hardware issues? While I will try and be thorough with this, my list may not be exhaustive. Look out for the followings that spells hardware trouble for your decoder.
When your pictures suddenly start to fray or get distorted, you should know that this is a hardware problem. Meanwhile, be sure to first isolate any problems with your television set. I will advise you first try and test if your TV is okay. To do this, you can connect your TV to other media players such as DVD player, Blu-ray player or other decoders.
This is when your picture is unsteady and jumping. To troubleshoot, apply the methods above. This is also a hardware problem. You also need to be sure one or some of the buttons on your remote control unit is not Stuck/depressed.
- When your Picture is frozen and the Buttons on your Remote and the decoder is not responding
In most cases, this is also a hardware-related. However, the problem can be triggered by a software issue. The easiest solution(pray it works though) is to shut down your decoder by removing it from the power source and restart it. If it is just a glitch, your decoder will be back to normal. At times, it could be that your remote sensor is damaged.
What to do when your Decoder’s Remote Control Stops Working
Sometimes, your remote control may stop working and refuse to work with your decoder. This can be a very frustrating experience as your decoder’s full functionality is dependent on the remote. To troubleshoot this problem fully, get another remote of the same specs as yours and use it with your receiver. If it works with it then your receivers are safe. However, if another remote fails to work, then your receiver might be the culprit. In the event that you suspect your decoder, get another decoder of the exact model and test it with your remote. Now lest see the causes of a decoder’s remote that stops working.
=> Your remote control’s battery is flat or weak.
=> Maybe you or your kids have dropped your remote control unit several times and you have caused damage to its circuit board or lens(censor).
=> There is liquid damage to your remote.
Solutions to a decoders remote that stops working
- Always change your decoder’s remote batteries as at when due. Never allow the battery’s acid/chemical to leak into your unit before you replace the bad batteries
- Don’t allow your kids to handle your remote or else they can either break it or fill it up with their saliva. Both are bad cases.
- Finally, don’t be fond of dropping your remote, otherwise, you will eventually damage it.
- Buy an original replacement for your remote once you have confirmed that it is damaged beyond repair. Don’t repair, replace.
When your Decoder is not Producing any sound
I would say this is more of a hardware problem than software. To troubleshoot, ensure you haven’t tampered with your tv or receiver’s sound settings. Are you sure you haven’t pressed the “mute” button on either the receiver or TV? Check if your external speakers connected to your tv or receiver is not off. All that being said, did you recently perform any software upgrade on your decoder or tv? Once you have cross-checked all of the above, then you can troubleshoot the decoder by checking the cable that is connecting the receiver to the output sound system. Finally, if everything else fails, take it to an electronic engineer to help you check the sound IC.
When your Decoder Suddenly start to Display “No or BAd Signal” Irrespective of the Satellite
First off, power off your decoder and wait 10 minutes and restart it. If the problem persists, check if the weather is clear outside or it is windy. Furthermore, you can also check with another decoder or your sat finder. Consequently, if another decoder has signal, then any of the following is wrong with the original decoder. 1. your LNBf is bad, 2. Your coaxial cable is severe, 3. Who knows, you may also be having a partial contact with your F-connector. Finally, and the greatest of the problems is if your”decoder’s tuner is kaput.
What usually cause signal loss problems on is the weather, If there has recently been a rainstorm, thunder might have struck your LNBf and this has reflected through your tuner.
Apart from this, sun overtime renders a coaxial cable weak. when this happens, it starts to disintegrate and start losing signal
Your Decoder starts to Produce Electric Shock Even when it is Powered off
When you receive an electric shock whenever you touch your decoder, then something is wrong. In this post, we shall troubleshoot the cause and the solution to this hazardous issue. Electric shock can cause severe injury to the victim depending on its severity. I have been on the receiving end of an electric shock from a decoder. In my case, the decoder was even powered off.
Causes of Electric Shock from a Decoder
- Poor satellite dish installation: Carelessness during installation like failure to install the LNBf cap to cover the meeting point between the coaxial cable and the LNBf port can allow rainwater to get into the cable to cause electric shock.
- Similarly, using an inferior coaxial/LNB cable can cause an electric shock as this will cause the cable to deteriorate and break faster than expected. the consequence of this is electrocution as water can get into the cable and all the way to the decoder’s tuner.
- Your television set or external audio system can also be the culprit. To isolate this, first, disconnect your decoder from your TV or any other device connected to it that requires electricity to power on.
- Lastly, a chip or cable within the decoder itself could be shorted. You need a technician to trace this. However, you can only arrive at this conclusion after you have performed other troubleshooting.
Solutions to a Decoder that is discharging an electric shock
- As fast as possible, go and get a waterproof LNBf cable cover for your dish. here is how it looks like.
- Secondly, make sure you allow the water that is trapped within the coaxial cable to dry up before touching the decoder.
- In the event that the LNB cable is broken, change the entire cable ASAP.
- Furthermore, if your tv or other output devices are the ones causing the issue, go and repair the faulty device.
- Finally, if you must touch your decoder while it is still producing an electric shock, do so with gloves and shock-proof shoes. I won’t advise this though. Please fix the problem instead
When a Decoder enters boot loop or restarts itself Randomly
This problem can be summarised in three points
i. overheating due to poor ventilation within the room the decoder is installed
ii. You have connected an internet modem that is not compatible or one with a poor connection
iii. Bad software upgrade
iv. Using a corrupt USB storage drive on your decoder can also cause this.
DISK FULL Error on PVR Decoders
When your PVR decoder with an internal hard disk does this, try and go to settings to delete unwanted saved media. If this happens with an FTA decoder with an external storage drive connected to it, do well by deleting the unwanted file or disconnect the problematic drive and you will be fine.
When the Decoder/Receiver is on but no Pictures on the TV Screen
This particular satellite receivers hardware problem occurs as a result of wrong or incompatible upgrade software. The decoder is switched on but it is not displaying anything only the red standby light is on or you got only “0000″ / “- – – -” or “loading” on the LCD of the decoder.
Also, a bad or failed software upgrade can trigger this. Sadly, on some decoders such as qsat, T-link alphabox, this can damage the display IC. On Qsat, this can be caused by the “crystal oscillator IC”
When your Decoder boots up fully buy you don’t understand the characters on the Display
The decoder boots but displayed funny characters or tells you to reset the decoder and you cannot get past the load page: This is 100% Software issue and you need full restore to get your device back. in most cases pc loader restore.
Prevention of Satellite Receivers Hardware Problems
Use a Surge Protector or A Stepdown Transformer
First off, please if you are using any modern electronic device, you will agree with me that they come with fragile and delicate chips. Always use a “step down transformer”, a UPS, or a good “surge protector” for all your electronic devices. I will earnestly advise you use Either ups or a step-down transformer. A good central surge protector is also preferable.
Prevent Electric Shock from your decoder
To prevent any form of electric shock from coming from your decoder, please ensure that you employ the service of a qualified professional satellite installer to do the installation for you. Go for quacks can only result in bad news. A professional installer would ensure that the cables are well insulated.
- Secondly. Switch off you Decoder and disconnect if from the Wall Sockets
When thunder strikes, merely powering off your electronic devices may not be enough to save it from hardware damage. Please always try to disconnect your decoder and TV from the wall socket during a windstorm. Lighting and thunder and strong wind are all interwoven, once you notice one, don’t wait for the damage to occur before removing the plugs of your electronics.
Summarily, please always disconnected your electronics when you won’t be around for a while especially during the raining season when we always have heavy thunder and lighting.
- Thirdly, For users of official decoders, please always try and upgrade or accept to upgrade your decoder when you are sure that there won’t be a power failure.
Furthermore, Don’t power on and use your Decoders with an unstable Power Source
When there is overvoltage or under-voltage, use your decoder with a good Automatic voltage regulator. If your generating set is outputting unstable voltage, please power off your decoder. Failure to do this can cause severe damage to your decoder’s components. Please do not use your fragile electronics with it. Better still use them with a step-down transformer. Also, make sure you avoid using an Automatic voltage regulator popular;y known as stabilisers in Nigeria with any generator that is equal to or below 1500kva.
Avoid any form Liquid Damage from Coming in contact with your decoder
Guide against water or any liquid from getting into your decoder devices. It can cause it to start shocking you or cause damage to your decoder. When this happens, please shut down the unit completely and disassemble. clean off the liquid with a soft cloth and let the devices to be air-dried. do not place it under direct sunlight and do not use any electronic device that has been submerged or that has accommodated any liquid.
Prevent dust from accumulating into Your Decoder
It is pertinent that you do not allow dust to accumulate inside your device. If you allow this to happen, you may be exposing the device to overheating.
- When your device is been updated either “OTA” or manually via USB, please do not allow power to go off on it. this is very important as it is the cause of most software problems for electronic devices including smartphones
- Don’t drop the decoder or its remote failure to abide by this advice can damage either of the devices
Avoid connecting corrupt or incompatible external devices to your Decoder
Please and please, do not connect incompatible external devices to your decoder. Also, do not leave unused external devices connected to your device indefinitely.
In addition, do not connect multiple external drives/devices to your decoder simultaneously if they are not useful for the day to day operation of the decoder. E.G some people will connect a hard disk, a USB 3g dongle, a wifi adapter and a LAN cable to the same decoder. Why not pick one best internet protocol and let others go since you cannot use everything simultaneously. Also, why leave a storage device connected to your decoder when you ain’t using it?
- Before I proceed, you must know that some software issue may lead to hardware problems e.g, if you are updating your decoder and there is a power surge, it may damage your decoder’s power pack and if you are not lucky it may damage your board as well.
unplug all the AC power cable from the Main Socket
For all decoders (most especially t-link decoders) to avoid damages to your device through thunder please when you are watching your decoder and it is raining heavily with lighting and thunder, please switch off your decoder and unplug all the AC power cable from the MAIN SOCKET. Yes you heard me right do not merely switch off the decoder in a storming and thundering rain it might not help unplug the device and if you even noticed that the thunder continues; remove your LNB cables from the back of your decoders. Once you do this, you are fortified.
- Always place your device in a well-ventilated environment
- Don’t use a makeshift or a damaged power cable with your decoder if your power cord is faulty change it with the original one.
- In addition, Make sure you place your device on a smooth surface horizontally. Do not put heavy items on your decoder.
- Also, do not use your decoder where there is humidity, or where the temperature is too high or in direct sunlight.
- Finally, do not migrate your decoder from an extremely hot environment to an extremely cold environment to avoid condensation.
Consequences of Failure to Take Care of Your Satellite Receivers/Decoders
I already talked about the effect of failing to take care of your devices. now let me go to the solutions. The solutions are under two categories. Hardware repair and software repair.
- Solutions to hardware failure or faults. If the hardware problem is one that you cannot solve via a simple restart, you will need the expert to look into it. If you own a branded decoder, please take it to an authorised dealer nearest to you. For standalone decoders, take it to a satellite engineer or a skilled computer hardware engineer.
- For Software issues, if the decoder’s menu is still accessible. doing a factory reset from within the decoder’s menu can solve the problem. However, if your device is inaccessible, please you will need a full hard restore which in most cases should be handled for you by engineers. Once again, for any issues on repair on any branded decoder, take it to the dealer. Let me also quickly had this; if your device is under warranty, please do not tamper with it, take it to the seller for a warranty repair.