DIRECTV users: Getting error message 771B or 776? Here’s why

It’s confusing and frustrating. All you want to do is watch TV and you get a message saying there is a satellite dish error and gives you a code of 771B or 776. The problem goes away by itself and then maybe comes back a while later. What does it mean?

The official definition, from DIRECTV’s own library:

Too many receivers or tuners are connected to the SWiM. Test with SWiM meter and upgrade to SWiM 16 if necessary.

What it really means is that somehow the system thinks there are too many tuners in use. Not necessarily too many receivers — remember a regular DVR has 2 tuners and a Genie has 5. If you add up all the tuners on a single line it should never be more than 8. If you have a SWM-16 multiswitch you can have up to 16 tuners but it’s a max of 8 on each line from the SWM.

What should you do?

Sometimes this error message is just a mistake. Reset your entire DIRECTV system by doing the following:

  1. First turn off all your TVs and DIRECTV receivers.
  2. Then, find the SWM power inserter. (Click through for a picture of a power inserter.) Unplug it for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Finally, reset all your receivers by pushing the red reset button on each.

In many cases this will clear up the problem, especially if it just showed up by itself even though you didn’t add anything.

If that doesn’t fix things, try counting the number of tuners in your system. Remember, each receiver counts as 1, each regular DVR as 2, each Genie as 5. C31 and C41 clients don’t count at all. Is the final number more than 8?

If it is, make sure you have a SWM-16 and that there are no more than 8 tuners on each outgoing line (called a “SWM leg.”) If the number is more than 16, check out our White Paper for the best way to wire your home.

For a temporary fix, unplug a receiver or two and reset the SWM power inserter and the receivers as shown above.

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 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.