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No Video Signal Detected and now cannot Chg channels on PACE

 
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tarl_cabot
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Joined: 02 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 12:12 am    Post subject: No Video Signal Detected and now cannot Chg channels on PACE Reply with quote

A little background, I'll try to be brief but clear:
I have 3 ReplayTVs (5040, 5504, 5508). Up until about 3 weeks ago, they were all working just fine.
3 weeks ago, my 5508 suddenly decided that it could no longer 'see' any video signal on any channel. I can play back what I've recorded, but everything from that date forward has been a less than 1min recording failure since there was no signal. Every channel is the same.
I've cleared the channel guide 2x.
I've soft rebooted
I've hard rebooted
I've removed RF connector (from Pace 50x), unplugged, plugged Pace back in, waited more than a minute than replugged power
I've unplugged for a week then RF first, then power
All resulted in no joy. I simply cannot get ANY video signal on a unit that HAD BEEN working just fine. Nothing changed.

I took a PACE from my 5504 (another room) and swapped it with the one the 5508 had been using to see if it might have been the STB. It wasn't. Put the Pace's back to their original Replays

So, today I went to watch programs recorded on the 5504, and I found they were all from the same channel. That is, the Replay THOUGHT it was changing channels, and the descriptions were right, but the recorded shows were from one channel indicating the Pace didn't change the channels in response to the IR Blaster commands (like it HAD been doing before I removed it and swapped to try with the 5508.

I checked the setup (although I hadn't changed anything). Still using code 1982, everything is rock solid. Nothing different...except that now it won't change channels via IR Blaster. I took the Pace remote itself and confirmed that the Pace CAN tune to different channels...so it's a Replay/IR Blaster issue... No clue what's wrong.

So, 3 weeks ago, 3 great working Replays
Now, one functioning Replay (5040 connected to the big main STB from Comcast).

If it makes any difference:
5508 connected to TV via VCR RCA connections and watched by putting TV on Ch4 and VCR on
5040 connected to TV via VCR RCA connections routed directly to TV input (old TV with only RCA connections, and only one set) that gets a pass-through (VCR on or off doesn't impact video, it's just passing the signal through the VCR chains I set up a very long time ago and haven't really been using, but never disconnected...if it was working, why muck with it?). Watch that RTV output by tuning TV to it's RCA inputs
5504 connected via SVideo inputs to a smarter TV with more connections...but since video isn't an issue with this one, only channel changing, I'm not mucking with that...

So
1. Should I get different IR Blasters? If so, is there any difference/preferred brand?
-assuming maybe I "killed" them during the swapping? No idea why 5504 won't change channels anymore since the only thing I did was remove the PACE (and IRBlaster) and then replace them back again
2. Should I buy better STBs to replace the Pace units? If so, recommended units for really JUST allowing me to take Comcast's digital output and feeding it into my Replay with IR Blaster channel changing?
3. Any suggestions or ideas or recommendations here? I've pretty much exhausted my resources and ideas and am beginning to think I'll just throw in the towel and accept Comcast's crappy PVRs/STB combos they offer and add to my 'used to work better' Replay pile...I started with Panasonics and have been working with them ever since...usually going years with no issues... Now it's a cascade of failures, and I'm a bit overwhelmed....

Help.

Thx,
David.

...okay, I failed on brevity, but I hope I succeeded with clarity...
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rmeden
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2016 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, first recognize what "no video signal" means... it means the digital encoder can't see a signal. It has nothing to do with the guide, activation, etc.

Possibilities:

    RF tuner on the wrong station. (each PACE could use a different channel!)
    Bad input signal.
    Bad RF tuner. ( or power supply)
    Bad Digital encoder ( or power supply).


I suggest connecting the 5508's PACE output to your VCR. That probably has an analog tuner (not sure about the TV). Confirm the PACE works and note the channel it's on. Make sure the 5508 is configured the same. Post back the results of the test.

On the 5504 IR BLaster issue, unplug and replug it in the 5504. Maybe moving the PACE caused a bad connection. Practice viewing the IR signal using your phone on a known good channel change. It needs to be in a pretty dark room to see. Once you know how to view the IR signal, then you can see if you're getting anything on the 5504 blaster.

Robert
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tarl_cabot
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rmeden wrote:
Ok, first recognize what "no video signal" means... it means the digital encoder can't see a signal. It has nothing to do with the guide, activation, etc.

I know. I hope my comments above didn't indicate I was confused by what 'no video signal' meant. I just don't know WHY I'm getting this when everything worked fine for years...and now, suddenly, it's screwy. I'm wondering if maybe Comcast did an overall transmit power reduction?
rmeden wrote:

Possibilities:

    RF tuner on the wrong station. (each PACE could use a different channel!)

are you saying each Pace could be tuned to a different channel so when I was swapping them, I might have seen different channels being displayed?? I rebooted them each time (since they were in different rooms, and I had to unplug to move them), and I was trying to change channels from the Replay. Despite the Pace used, the Replay indicated channels were being changed, but each channel selected resulted in no video on either Pace.
rmeden wrote:

Bad input signal.

why would it suddenly change?? BTW: I'm waiting on an inline signal booster to see if that helps...
rmeden wrote:

Bad RF tuner. ( or power supply)
Bad Digital encoder ( or power supply).


The bad tuner/PS/DE all are possible, I guess if that 'magic dust' in the Replay ICs suddenly 'self-escaped'. It's not impossible, I guess, but there had been no power outage or other notable 'event' preceding the sudden video signal fail... It's just confusing...
rmeden wrote:

I suggest connecting the 5508's PACE output to your VCR. That probably has an analog tuner (not sure about the TV). Confirm the PACE works and note the channel it's on. Make sure the 5508 is configured the same. Post back the results of the test.

Want to confirm: Connect RF output from Pace to RF input of VCR. View through VCR and see if changing channels on the Pace shows changing channels (video and correct frequency changes for each channel) on VCR?
"Make sure the 5508 is configured the same" ??? What do you mean?
rmeden wrote:

On the 5504 IR BLaster issue, unplug and replug it in the 5504.

Unplug/replug the IR blaster cable into the back of the 5504?
rmeden wrote:

Maybe moving the PACE caused a bad connection. Practice viewing the IR signal using your phone on a known good channel change. It needs to be in a pretty dark room to see. Once you know how to view the IR signal, then you can see if you're getting anything on the 5504 blaster.

I tried viewing the IR Blaster (assuming the 'blink' would come from the glue side of the oblong head? I tried looking at both sides anyway. No joy) from the 5504 using my iPhone...couldn't see anything. I turned the lights off in the room completely (making it difficult to focus on the IR Blaster head), but no matter what, I couldn't see any pulse (and rather 3-handed fun ensued trying to hold the IR Blaster head, my phone and change channels on a remote, but I managed). I went into the other room where the 5508 is (and no video signal issues), and tried looking at IT'S IR Blaster output, but still, I couldn't see anything.
It's possible the resolution of the iPhone camera isn't good enough for such a small signal, but I CAN see the IR 'pulse' from my Replay remote itself. It's not very bright, but I can see it. The IR Blasters both don't show any blinking...but even if the 5508's IR Blaster was also fouled up, I'd see the same channel displayed (like on the 5504) rather than no video signal. So different units, different problems...

Walking through the various connections over the weekend, I did notice one difference between the single still functioning unit (5040 connected to the 'smarter' Comcast STB) and his 2 differently malfunctioning brethren.
    5508: Pace: RF connection routed from wall (Comcast IN) to Pace, then from Pace to RTV. Video routed out from RTV to VCR L1 input. View by putting TV on Ch4
    5504: Pace: RF connection routed from wall (Comcast IN) to Pace, then from Pace to RTV. Video out from RTV to SVideo IN of TV
    5040: Motorola STB: RCA output from STB to RCA Signal In of RTV (NOT Coax). Video out from RTV routed to VCR Video In on L2. Video Out from VCR routed to back of older TV. View by putting TV on RCA inputs. (I know, it's complicated, but it works and allows a daisy-chain of VCRs to be viewed)

So,
    Video signal failure from coax source and Pace on 5508
    no channel changing on Pace seen on 5504 using coax input (but works when use Pace remote to change channels)
    still functioning: 5040: Channel input over RCA jacks from Motorola STB

If you can confirm my understanding of the Pace>VCR connection for testing, I'll try that.

BTW, is there a recommended (smarter) STB I could BUY and not deal with the dumb Pace units and perhaps have better signal performance? I saw some recommendations for a DCT700, but all of those for sale (eBay/Amazon) indicate that Comcast will refuse to register them (for various reasons), so I'd like to:

    get a box that I buy outright (no Comcast monthly rent),
    isn't ridiculously expensive (I just need it to parse the digital signals for channels into my Replay(s)
    That Comcast will register

Suggestions?

Thanks for wading through my info overload. Having 2 of 3 units suddenly misbehave is really disappointing...
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rmeden
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2016 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Want to confirm: Connect RF output from Pace to RF input of VCR. View through VCR and see if changing channels on the Pace shows changing channels (video and correct frequency changes for each channel) on VCR?
"Make sure the 5508 is configured the same" ??? What do you mean?


Correct.. RF output of Pace to RF input of VCR. You'll need to tune the VCR to channel 3 or 4. That's the channel I'm interested in.

re: IR issues.. just to be clear. You are able to view the IR on your phone from the remote, but you are not able to see the IR blinks form a *KNOWN WORKING* IR blaster. (maybe to the other comcast box)
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2016 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Robert is trying to do is walk you through testing each item to try and determine where the problem is, so you know which component to replace.

Step 1: determine if the Pace boxes still work with the Comcast input.
The idea here is to eliminate the RTV box from the equation, so you should connect the Pace box directly to either your TV or a VCR/TV combination, then see if you can "see" the signal by selecting channel 3 or 4. If you can, that proves the STB still works with Comcast, if you can't, you have found the first problem.

Step 2: determine if the IR blasters are working.
As you saw, you can "see" the IR signal coming from your remote when viewed through a phone or digital camera, so you should be able to do this with the IR blasters too. The fact that you can't see a signal tends to imply that maybe the blaster is broken, but I would suggest that you also test the blasters on the other 2 RTVs also, just to confirm whether you can "see" the signal from a cable that is known to work.

I did have a 5040 unit start getting the "no video" message at one point, and it turned out to be the power supply, because when I replaced the PS with one from a spare unit, it started working again. You can typically repair most bad PS's by replacing the C42 capacitor.

If you do have a bad blaster, I don't think it really matters what brand you buy, they should all work.

Do your Pace boxes have an IR input port? Because, if they do, you could decide to use a direct cable rather than a blaster cable.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/191554446582
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http://www.hifi-remote.com
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tarl_cabot
Almost hooked


Joined: 02 Mar 2012
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 5:27 pm    Post subject: No Video Signal Detected and now cannot Chg channels on PACE Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:

Step 2: determine if the IR blasters are working.
As you saw, you can "see" the IR signal coming from your remote when viewed through a phone or digital camera, so you should be able to do this with the IR blasters too. The fact that you can't see a signal tends to imply that maybe the blaster is broken, but I would suggest that you also test the blasters on the other 2 RTVs also, just to confirm whether you can "see" the signal from a cable that is known to work.

My IR blaster seemed to have 'magically' started working last night on my 5504, but unfortunately, I managed to kill it anyway.
I got a new IR blaster needed to connect it to test. As I was unplugging the old one, the cable/connector interface broke. I thought, ok, it wasn't working anyway, but when I was testing the new blaster, I noticed TV shows on different channels had been recorded correctly during the day...so a miracle...given I had become completely unable to change channels with that old blaster BEFORE, but then I killed it ;p

Anyway, the new blaster works AND it's an improvement since it includes a 'flasher' so the head has an LED that flashes when it's communicating making it very obvious it's working [https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005BJFDDY]

One issue fixed (and there was much rejoicing...)

The Robman wrote:
I did have a 5040 unit start getting the "no video" message at one point, and it turned out to be the power supply, because when I replaced the PS with one from a spare unit, it started working again. You can typically repair most bad PS's by replacing the C42 capacitor.

Do you have any pictures to point out where C42 is located? Do you know its specs (capacitive value, tolerance, etc.?)

The Robman wrote:
Do your Pace boxes have an IR input port? Because, if they do, you could decide to use a direct cable rather than a blaster cable.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/191554446582


While mucking about, I did check the back of the Pace, and it DOES have an "IR In". Would this be a straight through cable from RTV IR Blaster output port to Pace IR In port?

Still waiting to get time to muck about with my 5508 and its input issues...will report back when have update.

Thx for your assistance

David.
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:15 am    Post subject: Re: No Video Signal Detected and now cannot Chg channels on Reply with quote

tarl_cabot wrote:
Do you have any pictures to point out where C42 is located? Do you know its specs (capacitive value, tolerance, etc.?)

See if this helps...
http://www.replaytvupgrade.com/Mikeyboy/5000or5500powerproblems.html

tarl_cabot wrote:
While mucking about, I did check the back of the Pace, and it DOES have an "IR In". Would this be a straight through cable from RTV IR Blaster output port to Pace IR In port?

Yes, exactly. Be aware that there are some parts inside one of the cable connectors, so it's not a standard "off the shelf" cable, so you can't just make one yourself.
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http://www.hifi-remote.com
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