What’s the latest polarity locker for DIRECTV?

A customer recently asked us this particular question. After all, DIRECTV and other satellite companies are always changing and updating their equipment. If you’re putting in something new, you want it to be the latest and greatest, the most futureproof and the best. And of course we have the answer for you.

Introducing the PLPI

This is the PLPI Polarity Locker and Power Inserter. It’s AT&T branded, but made by Unitron, a long-time DIRECTV contractor. I expect that future versions will have the DIRECTV logo, since the whole front is just a sticker anyway. It’s the most flexible polarity locker yet, allowing for power from an external source through satellite 1, or from a dedicated power inserter. It can also be powered from the power out port of Unitron’s trunk amplifier.

Is it really important to have the latest and greatest?

In this case, having the latest and greatest will help you be futureproof, but you can look back one generation and use that polarity locker as well. The DTV6 Polarity Locker from ProBrand has been in use for close to a decade. It may sport a very old DIRECTV logo, but it’s still perfectly good to use in today’s installations.

Remember, a polarity locker has two purposes. First, it provides power to the dish. That’s why it’s critical that it be as close as possible to the dish to minimize current loss over the cable. Second, it ensures that each line has one and precisely one signal on it, always the same signal and always a particular signal.

In the case of outputs 1-4, those signals are very specifically controlled to correspond to one of the 4 possible combinations of voltage and tone provided by a Slimline dish. However, on both the older polarity locker and the new one, outputs 5 and 6 are more flexible. These outputs were originally designed for the international dishes. Today they are used for the reverse band dish. In both cases, the line coming in is already a very specific one. There are no options. So both polarity lockers simply pass the signal through.

Is a polarity locker even needed today?

If you have a commercial installation, you really should have one. If you are at home, you probably don’t need one. In commercial installs, it’s important to have redundancy and reliability. You’re probably serving a lot of receivers and cable runs can be long. In an average home, it’s probably not going to give you much benefit.

Still, if you want to put in commercial-grade equipment in your home, we’re here for it! Solid Signal has all the same equipment the professionals use. You can install it in your home for the same top-notch results found in commercial installs.

Shop at Solid Signal for the best DIRECTV equipment, plus everything else you need to live your best digital life. If you need help any time from beginning to end, call us! We’re here for you during East Coast business hours at 888-233-7563. If it’s after hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you, usually within one business day.

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.