Possibly Getting a BUD -Questions

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Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 14, 2005
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I found an 8ft dish in excellent condition, and a 4dtv 920 receiver (last used only 6 monthes ago). Take away for $150. Questions:

1. Is the 920 Okay to start with, then possibly go with 922+HD220 setup later?

2. I've read the 920 needs a VCII board to get analog- How do I identify this?

3. I've read the 920 will not get SCPC or 36MHZ feeds- What does that mean exaclty?

4. Assuming I get the dish home and get the new pole up, is lining up the dish difficult? Any links to instructions?

5. The previous owner says he thinks he only did C-Band- How can I identify if there is a Ku lnb onboard?

5. Will I need any sort of subscription to get started? Or to get an epg? Can I sub a few a-la-cart stations just to get an epg?

Thanks
Hammer
 
Shawn95GT

Shawn95GT

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Feb 9, 2005
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1 - sure.
2 - You only need the board to get subscription analog services. there isn't much subscription analog left. Look on the back on the receiver - if you see a slot for a smartcard, it has a VCRS module.
3 - you won't be able to tune in some stuff (I don't know specifics)
4 - see the FAQ at the top - good tuning info there - if all else fails, ask specific questions :).
5 - The Ku LNB's flange is MUCH smaller that the c-band one. It's is roughly 2" square (the flange). If there are 2 LNBs it's Likely a C/Ku feedhorn. Besides that, the LNBs are usually marked. Sometimes c-band only is due to the mesh on the dish being too big.
6 - There are channels you can see w/o a subscription. To get EPG you need to sub to it. From what I understand it's free or real cheap if you don't sub to anything else. I'm only subbed to Starz Digital and NPS did the guide at the same time (no charge). The Absolute digital package is pretty nice. I'll probably sub to it later.
 
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Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 14, 2005
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Cool! Thanks for the quick answers. One more very important Q-

I've read about the 920 dead battery issue :eek: Is there any way to test this receiver without hooking it up to a display? Or at least without hooking it up to an lnb/dish?

Hammer
 
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tdti1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 23, 2004
2,321
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Montreal, QC
The 920 and 922 need a VCII+ board for subsciption analog, if it was being used before, chances are there is one inside, the 920 is not that bad, though for 5.1 and ease of use the 922 is much better.

Get it up and running ebay off the 920 and grab a new 922 from NPS or Skyvision, or any other dealer, best to get a new one to be honest.
Good luck!
 
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gizzer777

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Dec 15, 2005
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Excellent deal

I say that is an excellent price...920's with no VCRS (or VCII+) and no dish are going for more than that on Ebay. It does not have to have a card slot in back though.....if there is a blue or pink, or RED (new one on me) box inside the back, (look at the horizontal slot...if you do not see something...no analog descrambler) you also have a VCII+ (VCRS protection was never implimented since VCII+ was never widely cracked) descrambler for analog subscriptions....That box in a tray has the same type of battery backup security code. I just posted a Battery-ectemy thread here when I did my VCII board as well!

I have begun to purchase cheap old VCII units and replacing the batteries to make them last...have sold a few, but, just have a good time saving them (costs me about $7 ea battery, plus about 1 hr at the worst, inc prep time! There is even a LEGIT preview chip VCII unit out there that lets you see a non subscribed channel with no sound and a black noise bar (as long as you have something authorized)...my newly rebuilt VCII+ (RED) has that preview chip...fun! I paid some $$ for that one though. Note: it is just a matter of time for analog scrambled stuff...days are numbered and everything is going digital for the 4DTV

SUGGEST YOU CHECK OUT THE FAQ ABOVE!!!!

You will find subscriptions are alot cheaper than the little dish and you can even go ala carte instead of having stuff pushed down your throat! Also the Picture is 1st generation (direct from the Satellite) and not 3rd generation like the little dish! )MUCH better Picture quality.....since the little dish works this way....Our Birds send a signal down to the little dish guys who then re-transmit it back to their birds, who then following a ton of compression, re transmit it back to the sucker...I mean subscriber

One caveat. The 920 began production in 1997 and the security codes are battery backed up by a 10 yr Lithium battery. If the power goes out and the battery is dead....so is your receiver, without an expensive motherboard replacement. Somewhere in the faq above is a link to a post I did when I replaced the battery before my unit went bye bye....(preventative). I did not get brave enough to try it until I decided to get a new 922.....the replacement turned out fine and I have a nice spare good for another 10 yrs!!
 
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gizzer777

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Dec 15, 2005
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You can just hook it to a TV

hammerdown said:
Cool! Thanks for the quick answers. One more very important Q-
I've read about the 920 dead battery issue :eek: Is there any way to test this receiver without hooking it up to a display? Or at least without hooking it up to an lnb/dish?
Hammer


As far as KU goes...you would see a Co Rotor II with a spot to mount 2 LNB's (or equivilant. there will be 2 lnbs present, (or a cover where the KU one goes. Again, check out some links in the faq! attached to the co Rotor II (they get expensive)..chances are if he only did C band, the unit has the normal feedhorn with only a C Band LNB.
LNB(s) will have the tv type antenna connector on them (F connector)

Go here (in the FAQ)
http://www.geo-orbit.org/sizepgs/tuningp4.html#anchor797917

You will see a diagram of a ku/C band installation feedhorn.

Hook it to a TV...press option on remote then 6 and then 5 to check system status....see if the Unit ID is still there, F's with all zeros (dead) or? let us know what you see...Suggest you not type in the entire nimber, but give us a hint like 00-*F45-4*77-B* (format) etc.

Attached is a shot of my screen with some of the numbers blacked out to protect my unit id...this is what you should expect to see
 

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scottn

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Jul 24, 2005
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Like gizzer777 mentioned hook the 920 up to a television. After if powers up and the warm up goes away on the receiver display turn the receiver on with the remote. Hit the options button on the remote then 6 and then 5. The system status screen will pop up. Line A is the Unit ID. This should begin with 00-12FX-XXXX-XX. The X's don't matter so much as they are different with every receiver but it should start with 00-12F. If not the Battery has died and the unit ID isn't valid.

You can also call a programming provider like NPS and read the full unit ID to then and they can tell you if it is valid. If the battery has died the receiver is pretty much worthless. It cost about $170 to have it repaired.

Most 920's will only do 19.51 and 29.27 data rates. There will be some stuff that you can't get that a 922 will but not much.

Good luck..
 
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gizzer777

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Dec 15, 2005
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I never even knew I was missing anything

scottn said:
Like gizzer777 mentioned hook the 920 up to a television. After if powers up and the warm up goes away on the receiver display turn the receiver on with the remote. Hit the options button on the remote then 6 and then 5. The system status screen will pop up. Line A is the Unit ID. This should begin with 00-12FX-XXXX-XX. The X's don't matter so much as they are different with every receiver but it should start with 00-12F. If not the Battery has died and the unit ID isn't valid.
You can also call a programming provider like NPS and read the full unit ID to then and they can tell you if it is valid. If the battery has died the receiver is pretty much worthless. It cost about $170 to have it repaired.
Most 920's will only do 19.51 and 29.27 data rates. There will be some stuff that you can't get that a 922 will but not much.
Good luck..
I never even knew I was missing anything with my 920...was a very stable receiver until I retired it in favor of a 922....I was just in the mood to buy a present for myself.! it got more than enough to keep me happy and the PQ was great as well! $150 is still a good deal if it is alive!
If you are not good with component repair, take it someone who is and get the battery repair done (you must maintain power to the board while repairing it, either with a parallel batteryand diode or by keeping it plugged in like I did! That will give you 10 more years in theory!


It also is apparently more compatable with the HDD200 (which I had but sold) than the 922 is. My new (rebuilt by Motorola) HD200 has the Starz bug with the 922, and is being swapped out by the vendor who sold it to me.
 
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Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 14, 2005
324
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Northern California
Shawn95GT said:
...You only need the board to get subscription analog services. there isn't much subscription analog left. Look on the back on the receiver - if you see a slot for a smartcard, it has a VCRS module...

A little confusion on this. Does the 920 get analog/clear channels (as listed on Lynsat) without the the VCRS module?

Thanks
Hammer
 
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scottn

Member
Jul 24, 2005
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Yes, anything that is analog in the clear you can receive without a videocipher module.
 
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Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 14, 2005
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Northern California
I just got got the 920. I took a 13in Tv with me and verified the Options/Receiver ID was in tact before I handed over the $150. So the battery must be Ok to survive 6 monthes of sitting without power in his garage.

It looks like it has a Yellow module in the back for some kind of auth card to go in, I guess that is a VCRS module?

Going back this afternoon to snag the dish/lnb. Thanks for all the help. It will be at least a few monthes before I get it all hooked up, but I will be here... asking questions I'm sure.

Hammer
 
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gizzer777

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Dec 15, 2005
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Congrats and welcome to the land of the BUD!!!

hammerdown said:
I just got got the 920. I took a 13in Tv with me and verified the Options/Receiver ID was in tact before I handed over the $150. So the battery must be Ok to survive 6 monthes of sitting without power in his garage.
It looks like it has a Yellow module in the back for some kind of auth card to go in, I guess that is a VCRS module?
Going back this afternoon to snag the dish/lnb. Thanks for all the help. It will be at least a few monthes before I get it all hooked up, but I will be here... asking questions I'm sure.
Hammer
HmmmI have not seen the yellow one but it sounds like you have the VCRS module! Of course I had not seen a red one either until I got my rebuilt one! Black, Blue, Pink, Red, Light blue and now yellow! Someone had a color thing!
To check that VCII out, plug it in again and to a tv too. Hit options on the remote and then at the bottom of the screen you will see "press 9" or something like that for VCII options...I Think it is option 1 in that menu that will take you to a screen with diagnostics that should show a unit # of an alive and kicking VCII+ board!!!:D If it not there, let me know and I will fix one up for you (battery only!) at a reasonable price. (I have accumulated 3 of them! (fun for me)
Was all set to get another one on Ebay until the owner was asked about the unit ID being in tact..he replied "it must be since they checked it out on local TV"...ENDED THAT SALE!!! <plonk>
BTW: IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THE BATTERIES ACTUALLY LAST LONGER NOT BEING PLUGGED IN TO THE WALL. Apparently heat causes more drain on those lithium guys!
If you want to take a shot later on changing out the battery it is not hard at all...YOU NEED A LITTLE UNDERSTANDING AND A SOLDER STATION (LOW WATTAGE) AS WELL AS A THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND MENTALITY!. See the faq thread. the big pain were the torx screws they use Luckily I have a torx set! I did mine while the unit stayed plugged in! (all low voltage. a SAFE APPROACH IS TO PUT THE RECEIVER ON A COMPUTER UPS in case of power failure!
CAUTION...LITHIUM CAN BE DANGEROUS IF MISHANDLED AND PRECAUTIONS OBSERVED TO PROTECT YOURSELF!
Keep us posted
Jeff
 
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tdti1

SatelliteGuys Pro
Nov 23, 2004
2,321
3
Montreal, QC
hammerdown said:
I just got got the 920. I took a 13in Tv with me and verified the Options/Receiver ID was in tact before I handed over the $150. So the battery must be Ok to survive 6 monthes of sitting without power in his garage.
It looks like it has a Yellow module in the back for some kind of auth card to go in, I guess that is a VCRS module?
Going back this afternoon to snag the dish/lnb. Thanks for all the help. It will be at least a few monthes before I get it all hooked up, but I will be here... asking questions I'm sure.
Hammer

It will be best to leave the unit pluged in while you wait for the install.
 
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gizzer777

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 15, 2005
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Agree 100%

tdti1 said:
It will be best to leave the unit pluged in while you wait for the install.


Agreed!
Sorry if my post appeared otherwise....Better to be safe!

Jeff
 
hammerdown

hammerdown

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 14, 2005
324
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Northern California
gizzer777 said:
To check that VCII out, plug it in again and to a tv too. Hit options on the remote and then at the bottom of the screen you will see "press 9" or something like that for VCII options...I Think it is option 1 in that menu that will take you to a screen with diagnostics that should show a unit # of an alive and kicking VCII+ board...

Well, I tried it. There is a banner in Options that says press 9 for Videocypher, but when I do it just says must be on a videocypher channel to access those features... nearest channel is... please tune to...

I got the Dish home and was surprised when I opened the feedhorn cover to find a California Amplifier C/Ku combo lnb! I feel like I hit the jackpot on this deal so far.

Hammer
 
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gizzer777

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 15, 2005
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You sure did! I think you can still interrogate it using option 1

hammerdown said:
Well, I tried it. There is a banner in Options that says press 9 for Videocypher, but when I do it just says must be on a videocypher channel to access those features... nearest channel is... please tune to...
I got the Dish home and was surprised when I opened the feedhorn cover to find a California Amplifier C/Ku combo lnb! I feel like I hit the jackpot on this deal so far.
Hammer
You sure did!...I am down on DSL (sending this thru modem).
I still think you can access the VCII menu option 1 without being on a channel...will snoop around and be back to you later
Jeff
 
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truckracer

truckracer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 17, 2004
4,338
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Charleston wv
Get 4DTV it is great!

Do get 4dtv. You will love the pic quality even on standard definition channels. Heck, my standard def channels look better than most of the pizza pan pushers hdtv quality (at least the ones that i have seen from friends who have "LSD" addiction. (Little Silly Dish).

Lots and Lots of interesting feeds and free programs on c/ku band. Nothing is free on the little dish, they just cut you off without subscription and you can only watch what "they" carry on their systems.

Master broadcast quality with c-band. You are watching the first generation signal uplinked. The very best picture possible is achieved with the least amount of signal processing. Little Silly dish companies use C/KU band dishes at their uplink facilities to receive their signals, compress the daylights out of them so they can offer you "digital quantity" (except they say "digital quality") but they really mean "digital quantity".

Food tastes best straight from the garden (c-band-4dtv) while taste and quality of food goes down as it is processed, placed in containers, additives, etc. (little dish and cable companies). I am not saying it is not edible, it is just a lot better straight from the garden

Slave a free to air mpeg-2 DVB receiver to your system such as a Fortec Ultra Lifetime (many other brands also exist) be sure to get one with a blind search or power scan feature that will hunt down channels from the various satellites.

With the free to air receiver you will add a great many more channels to your system. More info on slaving receivers on this site.

I love my system, plus all that I have learned about how tv really works.

Good Luck, Trucker
 
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gizzer777

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 15, 2005
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I Second That Emotion!

truckracer said:
Do get 4dtv. You will love the pic quality even on standard definition channels. Heck, my standard def channels look better than most of the pizza pan pushers hdtv quality (at least the ones that i have seen from friends who have "LSD" addiction. (Little Silly Dish).
Lots and Lots of interesting feeds and free programs on c/ku band. Nothing is free on the little dish, they just cut you off without subscription and you can only watch what "they" carry on their systems.
Master broadcast quality with c-band. You are watching the first generation signal uplinked. The very best picture possible is achieved with the least amount of signal processing. Little Silly dish companies use C/KU band dishes at their uplink facilities to receive their signals, compress the daylights out of them so they can offer you "digital quantity" (except they say "digital quality") but they really mean "digital quantity".
Food tastes best straight from the garden (c-band-4dtv) while taste and quality of food goes down as it is processed, placed in containers, additives, etc. (little dish and cable companies). I am not saying it is not edible, it is just a lot better straight from the garden
Slave a free to air mpeg-2 DVB receiver to your system such as a Fortec Ultra Lifetime (many other brands also exist) be sure to get one with a blind search or power scan feature that will hunt down channels from the various satellites.
With the free to air receiver you will add a great many more channels to your system. More info on slaving receivers on this site.
I love my system, plus all that I have learned about how tv really works.
Good Luck, Trucker

If you have, or plan to have an HDTV, spring for an HDD200 HD decoder! Works fine with the 920 and what a picture that gives off! see my next thread!
 
ken2400

ken2400

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Sep 4, 2004
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Nice find. I found a C/Ku combo LNBF when driving by a sat dealer. Stopped the car when I passed the 8' mesh he was pitching out. The Ku/C LNBF was in good shape. While pulling the LNBF off he came out and started talking to me. He then gave me two older analog receivers. If I remember right one worked and the other did not. He also said he was hoping someone would pick up the dish for scrap and how he pulled it down to remove the dish. Alls I could think was if he spent 10 more mins taking it down right the dish would have been usable. Oh well there are others out there.

Good luck with yours and keep us posted.

hammerdown said:
Well, I tried it. There is a banner in Options that says press 9 for Videocypher, but when I do it just says must be on a videocypher channel to access those features... nearest channel is... please tune to...
I got the Dish home and was surprised when I opened the feedhorn cover to find a California Amplifier C/Ku combo lnb! I feel like I hit the jackpot on this deal so far.
Hammer
 
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