This article originally ran in 2014. New technology has made it worth revisiting.
Letter from a tech
A tech sent me this letter, and I’m sharing it with you, with permission.
I am an installer for a dtv hsp. I recently did a service call to a sports bar with 24 receivers (hd/sd mixed). Everything was connected properly. 4 power passing splitters, 2 swm16s, dedicated powerline to each swm16. All of this crap in a closet. Initial observations: all odd xponders on the 119 and 103 out on all tvs. OK. Lnb is fine. Switch pps for 18 and 13v on the 119/103 side and the problem DID NOT MOVE/CHANGE. Output of all 4 swm16 outputs same problem. In the course of checking everything, I did not keep track of which line went to which splitter and when I put it all back together, the problem moved to the other half of the switches.
LOOK. I DO NOT HAVE ANY POWER PASSING SPLITTERS ON THE VAN. IT’S MY DAY OFF, I’M DOING THIS AS A FAVOR FOR THE OFFICE. THEY DON’T HAVE TIME TO FIND A TECH THAT HAS THEM. NOBODY CARRIES THEM AROUND, All of this is all happening between 12 and 1 on a Sunday week 2 of the NFL season in a sports bar packed with about 200 people. I throw everything back together at 1245 and go around to the various TVs putting on which games are to be on which TV the best I can unhiding the standard channels on some HD boxes, moving people to different spots, etc. I tell the owner look, this is the best I can do for now. I’ll be back this week to fix it.
As I drove away I wondered. Could I have put a 6×8 in place of the splitters? I called a buddy I trust and he told me he solved a house with the same problem using a 6×8. The splitters were failing every week or two and he thought about it like I did, tried it, and it worked. And is still working. 4 months later.
I returned a couple of days later, put the 6×8 in place of the splitters and viola. It all works. It’s still working.
I have been told this shouldn’t work and asked the regional trainer and was told it won’t because of steering, but that is what it is designed to do and IT WORKS. Talking to the older techs around, they hadn’t done it and at first were skeptical. But the more they thought about it, the more open they were to believing it should work. I asked ISS about it. Yes, I realize you never know who you’re going to get on the phone. I was told “if it works, then great.”
So, should you do this?
Yes, this works with older dishes. A 6×8 multiswitch is an expensive way to connect to SWM multiswitches, but it does work if you run four lines into one and four lines into the other. The multiswitch automatically provides each SWM with the correct signal for each of the four ports. It’s a good way to make use of older multiswitches you may have in your warehouse, and it can yield a very clean installation as well.
You could even say that this provides a cleaner installation than six individual splitters.
Warning: Don’t try this with reverse band
This technique will not work with the Legacy Reverse Band dishes. and it won’t work with SWM-30 multiswitches. The fifth and sixth lines from those switches don’t make sense to the WB68. Instead, use a SWM Expander instead of splitters. This is new technology that will let you power four SWM-30s with two PI-29s and gives you the most compact way to feed 104 tuners.