Is it ever ok to feed a SWM with a different power inserter?

Residential DIRECTV installers know that if you’re feeding an external multiswitch, you’ll need a PI-29Z power inserter. It’s important to put enough voltage on the line so you can power the dish and the SWM, and the PI-29Z is the only power inserter on the market that does that.

On the other hand, if you’re starting to venture out into the world of commercial and MDU, you might have seen a different power inserter used in equipment closets. For example, you might see this Sonora PS24 power supply. As its name implies, it’s a 24 volt power inserter, and that may not seem like enough to power a SWM.

You’ll be surprised to hear that the PS24 power inserter is approved for commercial and MDU use, under specific circumstances:

  • You must also use a polarity locker to power the dish like an SDPI64SATPL, or 5SATPL.
  • The PS24 must be connected directly to the PWR port of the SWM, and must be located in the closet with the SWM.

How is it that you can get a pass on using a smaller power inserter? The real truth is that the SWM8 and SWM16 modules only require 24 volts. 29 volt power inserters are indicated because of the potential voltage loss between the PI and the SWM, and because of the potential voltage loss between the SWM and the dish. The SWM is built to handle overvoltage up to 29v, so that’s not a problem. It will run cooler with a 24 volt power supply and that’s something to think about.

If you’re sure that the only thing you’re powering is the SWM, and you’re sure that you’re putting that power inserter in the closet with the SWM, you should absolutely use the PS24 because it will give you the best possible result: better cooling and longer device life.

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.