HANDS-ON REVIEW: PLPI-R0-09 Polarity Locker and Power Inserter

It isn’t every day that you see new commercial premises equipment from DIRECTV. This time, they’ve partnered with Unitron, the people who make their commercial amplifiers and taps, for a new polarity locker and power inserter. This is the first time we’ve seen a new polarity locker for DIRECTV installs in about six years and this is without a doubt a better product.

Taking a look

As you can see in these images, this is a solidly built device and should last as long as you need it to last. It uses the same spacing between connectors as the STA-R0-09 amplifier so connection should be easy.

There are two big features to consider here. The first is that the grounding lugs now let you thread ground wire in from behind. This isn’t such a big deal but it will let you do a cleaner install if you’re not bonding this to a common ground plate anyway.

The other thing here is flexibility. Unlike previous polarity lockers, you can now power this device from the multiswitch if you so desire. You can also daisy-chain the power from a single PI-29Z power inserter so that it feeds both the amplifier and the polarity locker.

Except, I wouldn’t do that

I’m glad these devices have more flexibility but I personally still advise you to power the amplifier and the polarity locker separately, each with their own PI-29Z. The major purpose of a polarity locker is to provide clean, reliable power to the dish and the best way to do that is to power it directly.

Why this is an important part

For commercial installers, this is a critical part. First of all, depending on your install, your multiswitches may just be too far away to effectively power the dish. More importantly, if you use multiple multiswitches, you want to make sure that you are feeding each one with the same signals on the same cables. Without a polarity locker, you run the risk of miswiring and not catching the problem. Everything could look fine and then you find out a month later that you switched two lines. You’re back out to the customer site for a call at your cost. It’s just worth it to do it right in the first place.

Basic installation

Here’s a diagram that shows basic installation of this part:

STA-R0-09_PLPI-R0-09_Install

Click or tap here for a downloadable version.

For those who prefer a video review, of course I won’t disappoint! Take a look at what I thought of this device.

This polarity locker is available now from Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.