Is your Genie acting weird after a power failure?

Power failures. Whose idea of fun is that? But let’s face facts… they can be pretty common this time of year as winter weather slowly comes to the northern half of the country.

For the most part, DIRECTV systems are able to work pretty well through power failures. Of course they need power but once the power comes back on, things usually work pretty well by themselves. Of course things can seem bumpy along the way but if you know what to expect then things will eventually work themselves out.

The most important piece of advice

My advice to people is simply not to worry about anything for about 15 minutes after the power comes back on. Different things power on at different times and usually you’ll be back to live TV within 5 minutes. Although, even that can seem like a long time.

When the power comes on, check everything else first. It’s a pretty good idea. The DIRECTV system will be there ready for you when it’s ready and it shouldn’t take a lot of work from you to make it happen.

If you absolutely must be involved

The first thing that will happen when the power comes back is that the Genie DVR will automatically start booting up. If you’re not using an external power inserter, you may not have live TV on any receivers until the Genie DVR is completely ready.

For older Genies, you can watch the boot process on the TV. For the Genie 2, you’ll see the front panel lights flashing intermittently until the boot process is complete.

Genie clients

Obviously you won’t have any picture on the Genie clients while the Genie DVR is booting, but since the clients boot faster than the DVR, they’ll sit there on a “No Server” or “Select Server” screen while they’re waiting. Generally you don’t have to do anything, they’ll pop up live TV when they are ready. If you think that they aren’t working when they should, you can choose “Try again.” It doesn’t really make things go faster but it gives you something to do.

It is perfectly normal for wireless clients to show a red light when booting if the Genie DVR isn’t ready. The light will turn to green when the DVR is ready

Even if you walk away for 15 minutes…

you may occasionally see a “No Server” message or a red light on the wireless client when they first power up. This is normal for power failures and it also happens when the clients get updates in the middle of the night. Take a breath, this generally fixes itself in just a few seconds and you’ll be back to live TV.

Some things to be aware of

Recordings

Obviously you won’t be able to record while the power is off. But, recordings should start automatically when the power starts up again. Sometimes this will mean you have two recordings of the same thing, one from before the power went out and one from after. This is normal.

If you missed something important in the middle, the show might be available on demand and you can get it there.

Weird client behavior

As I said, the clients may sometimes show a “No Server” message or a red light momentarily after you start them up for the first time. This is normal.

Time problems

It’s very rare but sometimes the Genie DVR’s clock will be off by 1-2 minutes after an unscheduled restart. In order to fix it, just reboot by pressing the red button on the DVR (not on the client)

For users with older receivers in the mix

You might not be able to use your older receivers until the Genie DVR is completely booted up. This is normal depending on your installation.

Also if you have more than 13 tuners in your system (not 13 receivers, 13 tuners… here’s the difference) you might find some receivers don’t work. This is due to the fact that some installations need to be powered up in a particular order. Power down the Genie DVR completely. Then, reboot the receivers and finally power up the Genie DVR after you get live TV on the receivers. An installation like this would have been set up to work even if the Genie DVR isn’t online, so don’t worry about that.

Fixing common problems

The easiest way to fix most of the problems you have with a power failure is a simple reboot. Unplug everything and power things up in order. If you have older receivers and fewer than 13 tuners, power up the Genie DVR first, then the receivers, then the clients. With more than 13 tuners, power up the receivers first, then the Genie DVR then the clients.

If this really doesn’t fix everything, there’s a possibility that the equipment could have been damaged by a power surge during the blackout. You might need to do some extra troubleshooting steps or call a technician out.

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.