New installer (1 Viewer)

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TonyH

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 15, 2006
46
0
WV
Hi, Stumbled across this site by accident... looks pretty good.. however, I'm not sure where to post my question or if there is a section to post it to... anyway... what I'm looking for is tips ( not short cuts that will compromise the job )... time savers... example... having a dish or two already assembled in the truck can save some time on the installation... having two boxes of single and double cable seems like it would save time and get me off the roof quicker by being able to go up and run both down to ground block at the same time... at least this makes sense to me right now...

I have many questions and would like to talk with some experienced installers... any help would be greatly appreciated...

thanks
 

urnote96

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 24, 2004
156
0
The key to doing your job faster and easier, is finding little knicks to do it well, I can do a complete 4 room install in about 2 hours....and thats even calling directv to activate it.....you just need to find your way to do...i dont do anything before hand like putting dishes together or anything like that....just find your system and do it like that every time and you will get it done well...
 

TYORK

SatelliteGuys Pro
Supporting Founder
Jun 6, 2004
1,039
0
indy
The more you do the faster you will get and you will find the more you do you will find a easier way to the next.

tyork
 

TonyH

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 15, 2006
46
0
WV
Thanks for the welcome... I understand the more installations I do I will become more efficent in the installation process, but I am sure there are some simple steps that could save me time... I just dont know them... that was what I was hopig for... how about a more specific question... a house I rolled up on yesterday was a 4 box install... I checked for line of site (good), mounted and aimed the dish, ran down to ground blocks, ran 3 lines in the attic to a splitter the customer had placed in the attic, I disconnected one by one until I found the TV I was looking for and connected it to my lines, the fourth line was the issue. I was told by the customer the cable company splitter (mounted outside the house just below where I mounted my ground block) was a direct line to the basement TV. I disconnected from the cable company splitter and connected it to the remaining ground block feed (mine). TV's upstairs worked but the basement did not. I ran a homerun to ensure my side was ok... it was... customer did not want additional holes drilled in his walls or floor. He wanted to use the existing cable. Took many hours to get him service... what should I have done differently? It was also possible I could have had the same issue on the rooms upstairs, correct? how can I check to see if the customers lines are homeruns from where I am going to connect to?
 

HCI

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 19, 2005
2,580
0
land of the ice and snow
Being a good installer just takes a lot of time and work. Don't expect to go out and be able to cover every situation in a couple of weeks. You will have to spend many long days "and nights". I have been installing for almost 3 years now and run into something new all the time. What works for other people may not work for you. Also make sure you have the right tools you need for the job, this makes a lot of difference and can cut out time in certain areas. For example having an 18 volt drill instead of a 14 volt, having the right equipment to put ends on, having glow rods for wall fishes. If you see something that can make your job easier get it.
 

urnote96

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 24, 2004
156
0
Each job is different....the key to most of this just take it slow and easy the first few times and dont think too far outside the box. Its not that hard of work and do what you can to make it work, within reason. Sometimes you will find the customer that wont understand what is going on and have no clue what you are doing and other times you will have a customer like most of the ones on this forum that know more about the stuff, or think that they do, (most of the people on this forum are really smart no disrespect to any of them).

Again take it slow and easy.

Having all the right tools is a must...a birdog will save lots of time and effort, while have a satbuddy will help you too....little things that you will find is the easiest and most effective. Talk to your other teammates and get information from them. Talking to them will help you a lot.

The best way i have found doing my stuff is, do all of your outside cabling first....dish to ground block.....than move from the rooms to the ground block.


BTW, where are you at?

I live in north dakota
 
Last edited:

TonyH

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 15, 2006
46
0
WV
I got the glow rods and 18v drill already... someone was telling me to get a "toner" but I have not been able to find one yet... I think it's used to verify cable runs... not 100% sure..
 

volkodav

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 16, 2005
864
0
us
to get quicker make sure you not waisting extra trips to you car, make sure you go up to the dish once, start outside. don't doubt yourself- you are the professional. don't let you're customers know that you are new. if you have questions or problems go to your vehicle and call some one more experienced. i see a lot of new techs struggle with TC or SC. if it takes too long, call someone they might have better ideas. don't get too frustrated with job if some thing doesn't work, go to your car and a take 5 min. break and then try again. welcome to installation-you'll see some good stuff and bad stuff.
 

Claude Greiner

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
13,225
3,761
Detroit - The Paris of the Midwest
TonyH said:
Thanks for the welcome... I understand the more installations I do I will become more efficent in the installation process, but I am sure there are some simple steps that could save me time... I just dont know them... that was what I was hopig for... how about a more specific question... a house I rolled up on yesterday was a 4 box install... I checked for line of site (good), mounted and aimed the dish, ran down to ground blocks, ran 3 lines in the attic to a splitter the customer had placed in the attic, I disconnected one by one until I found the TV I was looking for and connected it to my lines, the fourth line was the issue. I was told by the customer the cable company splitter (mounted outside the house just below where I mounted my ground block) was a direct line to the basement TV. I disconnected from the cable company splitter and connected it to the remaining ground block feed (mine). TV's upstairs worked but the basement did not. I ran a homerun to ensure my side was ok... it was... customer did not want additional holes drilled in his walls or floor. He wanted to use the existing cable. Took many hours to get him service... what should I have done differently? It was also possible I could have had the same issue on the rooms upstairs, correct? how can I check to see if the customers lines are homeruns from where I am going to connect to?

You can't let the customer dictate how your gonna do your Job. When you determined the line was bad and proved it by running a home run at that point you tell the customer your running a new cable.

The customer either has a choice, they can let you run the new cable to do your Job, or they can pay you to troubleshoot their existing cable.

I was an installer for 3 years before I decided it was better for me to be in the office as a manager. Don't let customers dictate the terms and conditions of your sale. Go off the work order and do exactly what it says on the work order.

If the customer wants you to do something extra, then let the customer know there will be an extra charge.

If the customer wants be be unreasonable and wants the wire run a certain way which is more work then charge.

Last but not least, don't let the customer bully you around by threating to cancel if you don't do something for free. I have walked away from many jobs because of these situations, and its really a bigger inconvience for the customer having to schedule another appointment than it is for you to loose the Job.

As far as time saving tips, if your installing DISH Network having the Dishes pre-assembled and the receivers already downloaded before you arrive to the customers home does save about 30-45 minutes. The only issue with this is occasionally you do run into customers who think they are getting "used" equipment because they don't see new boxes, but this should not be an issue most of the time.
 

TonyH

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 15, 2006
46
0
WV
I've already seen some really bad installs. I know starting out mine are not the best but it is better then some I've seen. I know the speed and neatness will improve over time. It's the trouble shooting that I'm concerned about. How can I tell if a prewired house has direct runs or if a splitter is in-line? How do you conect the ground blocks to brick or block? The screws that come with the ground block can't penitrate the morter?
 

Claude Greiner

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
13,225
3,761
Detroit - The Paris of the Midwest
Technically speaking the ground block is susposed to go at the point of penitration, meaning it goes right before the cable enters the home.

To mount the ground block to brick, simply go to the hardware store and get some of those plastic anchors and pre-drill a hole with a masonary bit.

Most of the time on Pre-wired homes, we'll usually install the ground block in the basement ceiling after the cable has already entered the home and use it to make the final connections to the customers wiring.

Preferably, the less connections you can make outside, the less chance of a service call you will have in the future from water getting inside the connections.

You should really have your ground block outside, but most installers will mount it inside. In addition if your using a multi-switch, you can usually ground off that.

The ground wire will not protect agenst lightning, it will simply help static electricity find a safe way to ground before it shorts out your receiver or LNB.

The easiest way to tell if there are splitters in the lines is to count the number of wall plates and then count the number of cables in the basement. Usually they are all home run, sometimes its common to see all the 1st floor wall plates home ran and then a single cable going to the attic with a splitter.

There are some toners which will detect splitters, but I find it faster to simply to do trial and error. Get your good satellite feed to the central point and start hooking stuff up to see if it works.

When using existing cable, its very important to check the signal strenghs on all your transponders before leaving. If the signal is un-usually low on a few transponers, it could mean a hidden splitter in the wall or a bad piece of cable which will cause a service issue in the future.

Now to be honest with you, there has been many times where I have looked at the customers existing wiring for cable or another satellite system and it was easier to just rip it all down and run new cable than it was to spend a few hours troubleshooting. You'll be surprised how fast it is to run new cable when you can already use the holes that are already there.

The only time you should use existing wiring is it was in the walls and the customer has wall plates to all the rooms. If it was run through the floor and along the outside of the house, you need to determine the condition of the cable, and only use it if its nice clean runs. If you see any splitters or anything, its better to pull it out and replace it than risk having to go back later on a service call.

Remember, your being paid to install all new cable from scratch. Just because the customer already has cable installed doesn't automatically mean you have to use it.
 

TonyH

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Jan 15, 2006
46
0
WV
Thank you for answering... and I do see what you mean about dropping new cable rather then try and figure out the rats nest... especially if the entry in the home already exist and is accessable.... again thanks... confused about one statement you made which is "When using existing cable, its very important to check the signal strenghs on all your transponders before leaving. If the signal is un-usually low on a few transponers, it could mean a hidden splitter in the wall or a bad piece of cable which will cause a service issue in the future." Transponder?
 

Claude Greiner

SatelliteGuys Master
Supporting Founder
Sep 8, 2003
13,225
3,761
Detroit - The Paris of the Midwest
A Satellite signal is made up of 32 frequancies, which are called transponders on your Signal strengh screen.

Sometimes when you have a bad piece of cable, or a splitter it will degrade the signal quality on certain frequencies. Yes, you will get a picture, but the signal might not be as good of a quality as it should be.

Things like a staple, a bad barrol connector, corrosion and even a bad fitting can cause the system to look like its working properly but degrade the signal on different frequencies.

For example, you might see even transponders in the 90's while odd transponders are in the 70's, or for example transponders 20-25 will be low.
 

volkodav

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 16, 2005
864
0
us
the way i attach my stuff to brick or stucco is that i use a tap-con drill bit. then I use one of my used zip ties in the hole after I drill. if it doesn't go in i cut it under angle so it goes in. and then i use a screw clip and it holds just fine.
 
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