Yes, you can shock yourself on satellite equipment

Here’s a word to the wise: have respect for electricity. A satellite system only carries about 30 volts of electricity but under the right circumstances that can seriously damage both you and your equipment.

Take, for example, the story of one DIRECTV hobbyist we’ll call “Smokey.” Smokey hooked up his power inserter backwards so that the line that was supposed to go to the dish actually went to his DVR. What happened next… wasn’t pretty. Smokey earned his nickname that day, and his recordings were, as they say, toast. That voltage coming into his DVR where it wasn’t expected burned his DVR but good.

The same voltage heads up the line to your multiswitch, even if it’s built into your dish. If you’re standing up on the roof adjusting the dish, remember to unplug all power sources for as long as possible. A meter like our SATLOOKLITE will give the dish just enough juice to work while keeping you safe. A little jolt can be just enough to cause you to lose your balance while on the roof or on a ladder, and serious injuries can result.

It should go without saying, and yet it deserves to be said, that you should never be up on the roof when it is storming. It’s tempting, isn’t it? There’s a little bit of rain fade, and you know that the dish is a little off alignment. If you could just make a slight move, everything will be fine. Forget for a moment that the roof is slippery and so is the ladder… going up there during a storm is just the wrong thing to do. The slightest loose connection could give you a shock, just what you don’t need at that moment. Of course, that tiny shock will be the least of your problems if you get struck by lightning, but that’s a topic for another article.

So, please be careful anytime you handle your satellite equipment. It can be dangerous.

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.