How does your switchbox look like? (1 Viewer)

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zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
Since end of year sales offer new opportunities for a Sat system upgrade, I started looking for the best switch combo solution for my future 2 Dual/Quad -LNB Ku-motorized 90cm dish and a 2-Dual LNB C/Ku-motorized 1.2m MiniBUD plus OTA Antenna system all connected to 3 sat receivers with OTA tuners and able to control both motors independently from every receiver. I looked at several switch matrix solutions along the way, and finally come up with an idea to prompt the Best Switch Matrix contest. Hopefully, some of the site sponsors will be interested to support this idea with a valuable switch prize for the best post inspiring our switchbox improvements. But merely our exchange of valuable switch related info and money & space & coax run saving ideas is the best prize a newbie or experienced Sat Fan can hope for.

I don't remember the owner of switch matrix shown below, but it's certainly something to brag about. :) Please share your thoughts and arguments about the best switch models you currently use in your system, or would be happy to buy if only..., or plan to get for your incoming system upgrade, and WHY did you pick this particular switch or switch combo? Of course, your very own switchbox photos would be highly appreciated. :up
 

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classicsat

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 28, 2009
195
0
Ontario, Canada
Just a blue box strapped to the dish pole with a4x1 Diseq switch inside, ran to the 3 LNBFs on the main FTA Ku dish, and the DBS LNBF on my Shaw Direct Dish to get Echostar 7.

For Shaw Direct I just have a small board with a couple splitters and two 2x2 tone switches, to supply four receivers.
 
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digiblur

SatelliteGuys Master
Jun 8, 2005
14,190
2
Louisiana
What the hell..... LOL... I'll pass on troubleshooting that thing.

I haven't seen an SW-64 in a while! Brings backs memories...
 

Mr Tony

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Nov 17, 2003
295
43
Mankato, MN
That pic is labgate's switch setup. He's a member here

I dont have much of a switch setup. Couple 4x4 multiswitches and some diseqcs in the bunch
 

Anole

SatelliteGuys Master
Sep 22, 2005
11,819
12
L.A., Calif.
few thoughts:

One of my several favorite switch wiring diagrams.
Doesn't apply to your problem, but it wasn't clear that was a requirement. - ;)
...and it was the best I had.

Pendragon has addressed the matter of running two motors with two receivers in a previous thread.
I don't have the link handy, but we can bash that idea around again if it's useful.

I kinda prefer powered 4x8 multiswitches to unpowered ones, just on principle.
Many get the unpowered to work for them, but I'm not impressed. - :rolleyes:
This switch seems fine, and doesn't really need the mod described in the thread (for most users).

I don't care for the idea of reducing signal levels by passing 'em through diplexers.
So, I have a separate wiring path, regardless of the extra coax involved, for my OTA antenna farm.
And in truth, they're not co-located anyway.
 

Tron

SatelliteGuys Master
May 6, 2005
6,599
33
Metro New Orleans, LA
I don't remember the owner of switch matrix shown below, but it's certainly something to brag about. :)

Darned Black Friday switch sales :rolleyes: ...

I just hope someone doesn't forget to disconnect the power from ALL of the receivers when they go in to troubleshoot that!
 

linuxman

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 16, 2006
3,903
15
North West of St. Louis, MO
I don't have a "single switch" box, but I have quite a few singles. :)

Below is the switch diagram for my system setup with 28 LNBS/LNBFs. This diagram is for a single receiver, so you can multiply it times 3, which is what I currently have.

I have added a few since the diagram was drawn, but here it is. :D

switches-cables-project-web.jpg
 

cruzin

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 13, 2009
323
0
michigan
This is last summer picture when I was putting it all together and has been revised a bit. There is one more 6 x8 zinwell on the other side of the board for c band that does not show. It was made from a piece of MDF covered with flashing on both sides and seams were siliconed. I have 4 ku dishes and one c band dish so what I have is overkill but room for more if there is ever a need. My system serves 4 receivers in the house and I also have a couple extra coax running out not being used. But until more sats that are something I would be interested in tuning in I will not be expanding. I still have the dish pointed at 129 were WSTV was waiting for something to use it on.
 

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zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
Birdview

It looks like you hooked up on several occasions a single LNB port to 2 adjacent ports of a 4x4 multiswitch. I haven't seen such approach recommended anywhere. Can you elaborate a bit on its advantages and drawbacks, risks involved? What you guys think about such approach in general - is it wise to consider and in what switching scenarios?
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
I kinda prefer powered 4x8 multiswitches to unpowered ones, just on principle. Many get the unpowered to work for them, but I'm not impressed.
I like your suggested solutions a lot, and my current setup is based on Ecoda & Chieta Combo. Simple stuff, but really does wonders. For the upgrade I'm eying the Pendragon's solution for several motors control (attached below), but I wonder if signal losses would affect the reception of weaker sats and TPs, like 12.5W - now my next target to catch? :D

Could you comment on your preference to have powered switches: how does it affect signal losses, what are other advantages and drawbacks? Any concerns about the Pendragon's solution? In what frequency range motor commands are usually transmitted?
 

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zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
Adding A/B Switches to the mix

I'm now thinking about adding another STB, so it will be 2 STBs and 2 Sat Cards in total, all controlling the motors independently.

Another issue is that my STBs loop through ports are to be occupied by add-on cards, so no loop through port from an STB to a PC Card to be available. Hence, as an available option, I'm thinking to employ an A/B Switch to switch the loop through port coax btw a PC Card and the STB's Add-on Card, or an A/B/C Switch to loop through from a main STB to 2 PC Cards and its Add-on Card. Another option would be to use A/B switch to connect either an STB or a PC Card to the main coax line instead of using a Loop Through port, which of course would work better if a PC Card is blind scan capable. What do you guys think about adding A/B Switches to a Switch Matrix? Any advantages and issues with them, apart from more manual switching involved? It looks like a lower cost & less coax holes in the concrete wall solution. ;)

I looked at several A/B switches currently on the market, and its unclear which one would pass 5-to-2300 MHz (aiming band-stacked LNBs for future upgrades and OTA/Cable) freq range with min losses and power passing capability on all ports. Which A/B switch model from listed by Summit Source would you recommend or tested yourself for sat applications? Don't look at their posted specs - they're incorrect on Summit Source site or, I'd say, generalized without merit. I'm kind of preferring PAB-2 from Pico Macom at the moment with insertion loss <0.5 dB, Isolation 60-90 dB, and DC Power Passing, but its spec freq range is 5-1750 MHz. I couldn't find any meaningful spec for a PerfectVision PV-AB95 Switch sold also by Sadoun, or Steren's 200-345 A/B/C Switch also sold as Cables-to-Go CTG 41016. Any thoughts or pics of using A/B switches in your own Switch Matrix?
 
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pendragon

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 13, 2008
1,100
63
My 44x8 switch matrix is operational, but it's still being tweaked and with all the projects I'm juggling, I will only have time to document it once. Sorry. At the moment I'm feeding it with 18 orthomode LNB outputs and about 26 bandstacked LNBs, and all the receiver outputs are spoken for. My remaining struggles are whether to expand it to 56x8, and/or special case some paths so I can employ more receivers.

Switches - I've tested all sorts of these things to varying degrees. I'm not fond of the unpowered 4x4s at all. They have significant frequency-dependent losses, are very prone to saturation and are not a good fit for bandstacked LNBs. The WNC 4x8 is a great powered switch that will pass up to 2150 MHz, but only in a pinch and with a lot of roll-off at the top end. The WNCs have some healthy gain built-in (average of 7 dB) and in my experience are almost immune to saturation. They are a great choice if your only need to pass 950-1450 MHz. The unpowered Zinwell 6x8 is much better at high frequencies than the WNC and works very well with bandstacked LNBs. I have a minor concern about its susceptibility to overload, but I haven't yet had a chance to test this. In terms of DiSEqC switches, I've tested the Pansat and Chieta 4x1s and the Digiwave 8x1s. The Chieta were not flat across the entire L-band and I only use them for accessory switching. The Pansats and Digiwaves work fine for my purposes.

Losses and CNR - FTA LNBs have output levels far above the theoretical noise floor for an ideal 75 ohm resistor. As long as the components in the signal chain don't introduce too much tilt, add an incredible amount of noise or are easily prone to saturation, dealing with any attenuation should be trivial - just add amplification at the correct place(s). However people here are petrified with the thought of any loss and are unwilling to employ amps for any reason.

I'll try to say it another way. A 3 dB loss in level is NOT a 3 dB loss in CNR unless you are doing something horribly wrong. For almost all intents and purposes in FTA a 3 dB loss after the LNB output should mean a 0 dB loss in CNR. However if you fail to use the appropriate tools, a 3 dB loss may cause an even larger loss than 3 dB in CNR.

If I take a full 36 MHz transponder and consider the theoretical limit of noise in a 75 ohm terminator at room temperature, I calculate a noise floor of -92 dBm. If the signal is less than 36 MHz in bandwidth, the noise will be lower. However I'm choosing the worst case. I try to keep most of my signals peaking at around -30 to -40 dBm at the receiver input. Even if I'm lucky enough to get a 25 dB CNR, the background noise output by the LNB at the receiver input is no lower than -65 dBm, or 27 dB above the thermal noise limit. An amplifier with a NF of 5 dB is going to introduce a completely negligible and unmeasurable amount of noise. However if you let too many losses impinge on your signal without an amp, the LNB's background noise output can quickly fall below the theoretical limit and even more easily the receiver's noise floor. Then you are losing CNR big time. Please stop worrying about simple losses and use an amplifier when they accumulate.

Manual coax switches - I had some cheap ones lying around from OTA use and bought a few others for testing purposes. They aren't very good and show a lot of variation from sample to sample. Measured losses and VWSR can change a lot for each switch cycle. You might get away with 950-1450 MHz some of the time, but these are horrible alternatives to electrical switches. There are commercial mechanical coax switches that have incredible specs, but the prices are very high. Unless you have access to good surplus sources, I would not bother with manual coax switches.
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
Pendragon

Thanks for the input. So you don't recommend using A/B Switches at all, even of Pico Macom & Steren variety, despite they have a TrueSpec logo, and the company is heavily into pro telecom business? They're marketed by Winegard as well, but for Cable & OTA or no specific applications, but were designed and specked by Pico Macom for Sat TV purposes as well.

Regarding motor control, will OTA diplexer's port pass any motor commands? In what freq range they're usually transmitted as required by DiSEqC standard?

I take it, WNC 4x8 powered switches provide enough clean amplification eliminating the need for an in-line Amp in above schematics with separate motor control by each receiver? What about Zinwell 6x8 unpowered switches: did they require adding in-line Amps in your application? What in-line Amps makes & models would you recommend for Sat & OTA combined or Sat only applications?
 

zamar23

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 5, 2009
1,204
1
Mid West
Birds on Mars will poop a lot more on one's dish, if not picked properly by using the right switch matrix. :)

Happy New year!
 

AcWxRadar

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 26, 2006
4,575
4
40 miles NW of Omaha. Omaha?
This is my old switchbox.

I could accommodate up to eight fixed point sats feeding two independent receivers. The bottom left connection was used for a motorized connection for a time, instead of a fixed point sat. (Yes, this can be done with certain receivers and switch combinations - although not a recommended practice).

Although it is still fully functional, I am exclusively utilizing my motorized dish on a separate cable. The enclosure is a Thompson box that has a sealing gasket for the door. Note the tube of NOVAGARD. Good stuff for cable ends to protect them from moisture, oxidation and corrosion.

Cable entries to the box are all barrel connectors. I bought everything that Rat Shack had in stock twice. Needed 18 for sure.

It is simplistic, but served its purpose well and I think I did a nice job of laying it out to be "serviceable friendly" in a well confined space.

RADAR
 

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