Sparking 311


Thread Starter
New Member
May 5, 2006
Today a local hunting club called us up to swap out there single dish with a super dish just so they could get the locals for there big derby party tomorrow, so being such a simple project we went over there about 1:30 checked out there set up which was two older Winegard receivers that were fed directly from the dish. The receivers were new enough that they did have superdish listed on the setup menu, so we installed the new dish put the 3-4 switch by the dish. When I landed one of the receiver wires on to the switch I saw a little arc not major thought maybe I brushed the lead against the case. So landed both wires on the switch went to the main TV and nothing the receiver couldn't see the switch so checked voltage coming out of the receiver and had nothing. So I grabbed a new 311 out of the van just to get the dish sighted in to get the other guy off the roof. Did that and it instantly saw the switch got the dish sighted perfectly. Then when Marc came in from the roof he went into the other room to check the other receiver as soon as he powered it up the new 311 started shooting sparks and flames out of the right rear of the receiver where the satellite in is. And now the receiver in the other room comes on but acts just like the first one will not see the switch and puts out no voltage. Has anyone ever had this happen to them or know why it happened? The only thing I can think of is a bad 3-4 switch. I ended up taking my 3-4 switch from my house and one of my receivers throwing it in there and it worked but now will not see the 119 sat but all I needed was the locals so I didn't care at 7:00 pm on a Friday.Any sugestions for Monday?


Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 7, 2003
Western WV
I think it could either be a DP-34 switch shorting out the receivers or there might be something wrong with the ground. Did you try to connect the receiver up to another type of setup such as a Dish1000 or Dish500 to see if sparks come off of it then? It could have also shorted out the lnb. Ironically I ran across the same issue that you have last fall and the receiver would only receive one satellite at a time in one room and work just fine in the other room. The dish and switch had been in a flood in the past. The receiver would sometimes output voltage while other times it would not in the one room. I tried putting another receiver in the same room and it did the same thing that the other one did. I ended up replacing the line from the dish to the receiver and the DP-34 switch.

Jared Twomey

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Mar 7, 2005
Tacoma, WA
i installed a directv setup one time that bit me really hard anytime i disconnected a wire from the switch... it ended up being a bad ground to the trailer i was installing it on. The trailer was using the receivers as the ground for the whole trailer, because my ground to the switch was better than the homemade ground (piece of 10 gage solid copper, stripped about a foot, and poked into the ground) the customer had made...

The only other sparker I have had was one where I ran a lag bolt on the side of one of the trusses on the roof, and I caught a peice of romex.... the victim there was a BRAND NEW 522, first one our company TRIED to install... it shot sparks out the top about a foot as soon as I plugged it in...

In your situation I would be checking for any problems with the ground... was the original dish that was up grounded? is this dish and switch grounded?


SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 16, 2005
Only ac power problems can cause a problem like that. You're going to need a technician on this one. Or an electrician.

Sounds like the two receivers are wired to opposite phases, plus outlets are miswired. Or the "grd" connection is hot.


SatelliteGuys Master
Jul 8, 2004
Virginia Beach
I wonder if you followed the lines to see if there was something like a powered multi switch in the mix somewhere or an amp that should never have been put in place.


Retired & lovin' it!
Lifetime Supporter
Feb 26, 2006
Central PA
I agree, if it's throwing sparks you have some serious energy there, more than what's available to the LNBs from the switch or receivers. Sounds to me like a bad/floating ground like birddoggy mentioned with some serious leakage into it, or possibly a floating neutral (not bonded to ground for some reason). Get an electrician to check it out. Your "discovery" may save a life...!