How to: Install a motorised satellite dish

digidude

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Please read this a few times before starting, and good luck.

First of all you are going to need some tools (stating the obvious i know):

Ladder, remember, working at heights can be dangerous, and you are going to be drilling and carrying equipment up and down a few times, if you dont feel confident then use the services of a professional installer.

Drill, if using a mains powered drill please use an RCD to avoid any possible accidents.

Spanners, the most common sizes when working with dishes are 10mm and 13mm.

Spirit level, to make sure that your mounting bracket is straight, a digital level is best but a bubble level and/or plumb line will manage.

Drill bits, normally 10mm for plastic plugs and coach bolts but look at your fixings first and a long 10mm bit to drill the wall or window frame to get the dish cable into the house.

Compass, to help you alaign the dish, a small satellite signal meter will also be a great help.

Sharp knife or wire cutters, to make off the ends of the cables for the connections

Hammer, to clip the cable to the wall


once you are sure that your ladders are secure (see pic for a safe angle) and have decided on a suitable location for the dish you can attach the bracket to the wall (ideally this would be south facing). The bracket is normally a square plate with an 'L' shaped pole welded to it but there are many different types available such as tripods. Hold the bracket to the wall and drill your first hole, now you can either attach the bracket by this one fixing and then check the level and drill the other 3 holes or you can hold the bracket in place and once you know its level mark the wall using a pen. either way once you have drilled the 4 holes and attached the bracket you can now mount the dish onto the bracket. (it helps when fixing to the wall that if using an 'L' shaped pole type bracket that it points up, especially if using a large dish, make sure the pole is sealed so it wont collect water)

It is of utmost importance that this mounting is truly vertical so please be sure to take time mounting it, a few degrees out will mean that the dish will not follow the satellite arc properly and spoil your enjoyment of the system

You are now ready to start with the dish

laddersay8.jpg
 
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digidude

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Assemble the dish and motor as per the instructions.

Once the motor is assembled you need to set your latitude, on the side of the motor bracket is a scale, and on the motors body is a small mark, alaign the mark with your latitude and tighten them up.

05032006003ab4.jpg


If you visit Multimap and type in your postal code you will be given your latitude and longitude under the map that it shows you, you will need the figures in brackets (as highlighted in red below) write these down and round them to the nearest tenth. A negative number on the longitude means West, you have to make a note of these for later (so 51.65N becomes 51.7N and -3.64 becomes 3.6W).

mulitmap2ll1.jpg


Now you need to mount the dish onto the motor, this is an important part of the installation as if the dish is not mounted on the motors pole correctly then it will fail to follow the satellite arc correctly and you will not pick up the available signals correctly, The dish has to be pointing away from the center of the motors pole, check this as you are tightening the dish onto the pole because as you tighten the left nut the dish will turn on the pole to the right and vice versa so tighten both sides of the clamp evenly.

05032006eq6.jpg


Fit the LNB to the dish and connect using co-axial cable to the connector on the motor marked LNB. For how to fit the connectors to the cable see here. 'F' connectors outside MUST be sealed to keep water out, otherwise it will run through the cable, damaging the inside of the LNB and the satellite receiver. Water runs VERY quickly through coaxial cable by "capillary action".

Using insulation tape or cable ties attach the cable to the LNB arm. And leaving a small loop to allow water to drip off the LNB and cable, connect to the LNB. Now you have to seal the connection.

2005012300033sm8.jpg


Be sure to use Self Amalgamating Tape to seal the LNB. this is a special tape made of rubber that once stretched will stick to itself and shrink to make a weather proof seal. Cut off about four inches (100mm) and peel off the plastic backing. Wrap the tape around the cable, just below the 'F' connector, stretching it strongly as you wrap in a spiral. Overlap by at least half the width of the tape so it bonds to itself. Continue to stretch and wrap it around the cable then the 'F' connector all the way up to the body of the LNB. Now stretch the excess length and spiral it back down the cable to finish off the joint neatly. once you get back to the bottom of the joint stretch the tape and once it breaks squeeze it into the seal to finish.

As you stretch the tape to twice its normal length, you create energy that makes the tape melt into itself to form a solid rubber tube. You won't believe this stuff till you try it. There's NO glue. Also great for repairing leaking hose on car or washing machine! The only way to remove it is by cutting with a very sharp blade.


Now armed with spanners take the dish up the ladder (be very carefull, especially if its a bit windy as they tend to be really good at catching wind when you're not expecting it) and you should be able to hook the clamp on the back of the motor over the wall bracket pole (if its pointing up) tighten the bolts so that the dish is holding in position but can still be turned left and right by turning the whole motor and dish together and the dish can be tilted up and down on the dish itself without using too much force. But dont put the ladders away just yet, you still have to alaign it to all those satellites tens of thousands of miles away.
 
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digidude

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Assuming that you do not own any sort of satellite alaignment tools (meters) you are now going to need to connect the dish to your reciever and use the on screen signal display to alaign your dish. To do this you will first need to run a cable from the dish site to your reciever, normally under the TV.

To begin with you need to have a good quality cable, the digital signal will suffer if you cut corners and its only your viewing pleasure that you will be ruining, so it is worth spending that £5 more (approx per 20M) on proper satellite cable than making do with aerial cable. starting from the dish, making sure theres at least enough to reach the motor and a bit of slack, start to clip the cable down to the TV position. Be carefull when using these clips as the nails are quite small and they can fly in all directions, eye protection is advised (but never used). Once you are within a few feet of the TV (but you are on the outside) you will need to drill to allow the cable to pass through the wall to the reciever.

If you are going to drill through the wall behind the TV then unless you are 101% sure of where you are drilling use a small metal / voltage detector first. its no good having 3500 new channels if you got no electricity to power the reciever cos theres a hole in the ring main cables.

Using a long 10mm drill bit start to drill the hole behind the TV set, if you angle the drill bit down slightly (about 10 degrees) this will make sure no water can travel along the cable through the wall cavity from outside. once you have drilled through the wall go back outside and finish clipping the cable untill you reach the hole. its always best if the cable enters from below so if you need to put a small loop in the cable its for the best (again to stop water traveling along the cable). Feed the cable through the hole to inside the house and using a tube of sealent seal the hole around the cable. Cable hole tidys are available to make things look a bit better

cab1uo6.jpg
cab2qj6.jpg

cab3qn3.jpg
cab4bw0.jpg


Back inside the house connect your satellite reciever to your TV as per the instructions, this is usually done by a scart lead directly from the back of the reciever straight into the TV set. Turn the reciever on and following the manufacterers instructions locate the motor setup screen using the on screen menu.

You are now ready to connect the motor and dish, once you have put on the F connectors as shown earlier.
 
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digidude

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Just a quick recap.

You should now have:

A perfectly vertical mount on the wall with the motor and dish attached to it.
The LNB on the dish connected to the motor.
A cable running from the dish to the back of your television (but not yet connected).
A satellite reciever connected to your television by a scart lead.

Next we will connect the dish and motor to the reciever and set up the reciever and motor ready for you to start looking for satellites to alaign the dish.
 
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digidude

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For menu screen shots i am going to use a Technomate reciever as these are now a very popular choice. The majority of recievers all have very similar setup options.

First of all connect the lead from the reciever to the motor, now back inside connect it to the satellite input socket on the reciever and turn on the reciever.

Now before you enter anything into the reciever go back outside and take a quick look at the dish, it should look similar to the picture below, with the dish face itself sitting pretty straight, if not a quick trip up the ladder now will save you pulling your hair out in 20 mins time. Now would also be an ideal time to use your compass to point the dish as due south as you can, it doesnt need to be spot on, but its no good pointing it towards santas house.

04032006dw1.jpg


Back into the house now, and into the motorised setup menu. First of all select a satellite, for this we'll use Thor @ 1'W. Now select your motor type. I always use USALS as its so easy when it comes to adding more satellites. Now you need to enter your latitude and longitude that you wrote down earlier (you did keep them safe i hope). Once all this is done you should have an option to 'Go To' highlight this and press OK. The dish will move slightly. Now if you havent got a signal strength meter you are going to have to rely on the onscreen levels, fortunatley on the technomates these are extremely sensitive and acurate.

the bars on the screen will more than likley indicate very little or no signal, you need to slowly move the dish to get these as high as possible. On a technomate when a signal is 'locked' the bars will change colour from both red to one yellow and one blue, once they have done this you can tighten the dish slightly ready to fine tune the alaignment.

First off to start fine tuning the dish hold the face of the dish (the big circle) and only very lightly bend it (it wont damage it) left and right and up and down. This should cause the signal on the screen to improve. Once you have worked out which way to move the dish to improve the signal move it very slightly and again bend the face. Keep doing this untill any way you bend the face causes the signal to drop. You have now alaigned the dish, you just need to tighten it. First of all tighten the elevation bracket on the back of the dish, taking care not to move it.

Now you need to tighten the motor onto the pole. Be carefull here because if you just go tightening the bolts you will move the dish. As you tighten a clamp onto a round fixing the clamp moves in the opposite direction its being tightened. So, if you tighten the bolt on the left 3 turns, also tighten the bolt on the right 3 turns. Do this untill you are satisfied that it is tight enough.

You should now have a screen similar to this:

05032006006lw1.jpg
 
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digidude

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Now for the test.

highlight the satellite at the top of the list and press OK. Now use the up and down buttons to find Astra 2 28.2E and press OK. Now highlight Go TO at the bottom of the screen and again press OK. If asked to save choose yes.

You will now see this.

05032006010bz3.jpg


If you have followed everything then you should have blue and yellow bars to show that the reciever has a signal lock. Now to try the other end of the sky. Highlight the satellite at the top of the list again and press OK, now use up and down to find Hispasat 30.0W and press OK. Back to Go To at the bottom and press OK again, again if asked to save choose yes.

You will now see this.

05032006009rx6.jpg


As long as this locks onto a signal as well then you are all alaigned.

Now if the 'moving to' box vanishes and you still have no signal dont panic. YET. sometimes the onscreen bar moves faster than the dish, if you still have no yellow and blue bars after 90 seconds then you need to check that you have lined everything up properly (mount vertical, dish pointing from center of motors pole) also check the lat and lon settings on the reciever, i have before now spent an hour at the dish when i had pressed ok on the remote inside and accidently changed N to S which made the dish do the opposite of what it was meant to. If you only get a lock on one side (east or west) DONT PANIC. The usual suspect in most motorised problems is that the dish is slightly off center when tightened onto the motors pole. Check this and go back to the top of this bit and try again, you are so close dont give up.
 
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digidude

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Now all the easy bits done its time to find the channels.

Nahh, congratulations, you have just done what 85% of Sky trained satellite installers could not do, and you have saved yourself the cost of a professional coming in and doing it for you (at least £130), you should be extremely proud of yourself.

All thats left to do now is either load a ready made channel list onto the reciever (and as you have used USALS any new satellites will be automatically set up) or follow the user manual that came with your reciever for scanning satellites for channels.

If you have installed a Technomate reciever everything you could possibly need is here.
 
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digidude

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If anybody notices anything that needs adding or amending can you please PM me, especially if you have had trouble installing your system and think theres something i have overlooked that caused you problems, i fit these all the time so something i see as small and obvious maybe a nightmare for you so feedback and suggestions are openly welcome to make this better

Thanks for reading

dd
 
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mdt

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what is USALS?

universal satellite automatic location system. basically its a system that can calculate the position of any satellite in the clarke belt once you have entered your long/lat details into your stb so the stb/motor knows were you are on the face of the earth. it was invented by stab and eutelsat to make it easier for joe public to own and operate a motorised multi-satellite system. regards mdt
 

Abu Baniaz

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A. This should be made a sticky.

B. Is there a precise method of ensuring that the dish is mounted centrally on the motor arm?
 

digidude

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Is there a precise method of ensuring that the dish is mounted centrally on the motor arm?

there is only one precise way, but it costs more. you can buy an orbital motor, with a V shaped mount for the dish, which an orbital dish sits in just right

all except the very cheap and nasty generic motors actually have a line down the length of the pole on the mount, this line is dead center, if you assemble the dish then fit the motor to the back of it. stand with the motor between your knees and the dish facing away from you, and you can then look straight down the line on the pole. most dishes you can see the LNB arm either at the bottom of the dish or actually bent around and up the back of the dish, you can use this arm and looking down the central line to get it dead on

REMEMBER!!!!!!

as you tighten the clamp on the dish, it will actually turn in the opposite direction to the bolt you are tightening, so tighten both sides of the clamp equally

very fine adjustments can be made when everything is in place by tightening each bolt a quarter of a turn, to adjust left very slightly, tighten the bolt on the right (looking at the dish from behind) and vise versa
 

dj999

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yes mate, i prefer the V shaped mount for the dish, which an orbital dish sits in just right. and does cost more BUT they're hard to find
 

ravana

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Hi
thanx for support digi dude.I managed to get it working. not all the channels, but around 100 in hotbird sofar
 

ravana

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still when i am using usals i do not get any correct tuning.But i can tune by using manual diseqc1.1 motar. then i can get 97% signal strength and 97% quality.
I can watch sirius, hotbird,eurobird 3 and 9, 3 astra satelites. amos5,asia sat, bonum, telecom, nile sat and one atlantibird,hispasat,badr,thor in same dish location upto 97% both quality and signal strength without rotating the motor by using monoblock lnb(duo lnb).
my latitude is 51.5 north and longitude is 0.2. these are the my setting for postcode da13df.
 
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owen7

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thanks for this came in reaaly helpfull wen i installed my motorised dish last week
 

leemoo

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Nice post mate!
Something I'm thinking of doing when I get the time and money
 

rossi2000

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im using this guide tomorrow to try and setup my new motorised system tomorrow.

the guide seems pretty straightforward but i have 1 question:-

in the guide it mentions that you need to set the motors scale to your latitude, ok, so ive set this to 53.5. but theres also a scale on the back of the dish, but no mention of it in the guide, should this be set to my latitude aswell?

its a new 1m orbital dish but there were no instructions as such in the box, only assembly instructions.
 

mdt

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im using this guide tomorrow to try and setup my new motorised system tomorrow.

the guide seems pretty straightforward but i have 1 question:-

in the guide it mentions that you need to set the motors scale to your latitude, ok, so ive set this to 53.5. but theres also a scale on the back of the dish, but no mention of it in the guide, should this be set to my latitude aswell?

its a new 1m orbital dish but there were no instructions as such in the box, only assembly instructions.

set it to 25 degree,s on the orbital and ajust to suit tp peak the signal. the scales on dishes are a guide really and cannot be taken for granted perticularly on very cheap dishes,regards mdt
 
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