Good Signal Strength but no signal Quality

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My Satellite Setup
Pace 2500, 80cm offset dish and a £13 LNB
My Location
Switzerland, near Geneva
#1
I have two Pace 2500 boxes. One is my own Sky system and has a Sky card in it and is working fine. I have a second receiver that I wish to use in a spare room on a second dish with no card. I have just tried to update the EPG software and after 2 hours, the box is stuck in updating system software mode. When I check the Service menu and do a Signal Test I get excellent Signal Strength but no Signal Quality on this box. If I swap the boxes on the same dish then the original box + card works fine. The new (used on ebay) with no card never works. It used to work fine with the old EPG but since it got stuck in update mode, it now does nothing. I have tried different transponders to no avail. Help please. Thank you
 

rolfw

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My Satellite Setup
Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
#2
Some old boxes with very old software have a problem with updating, try doing a forced update again, it may take several attempts. At the end of the day, even if it is knackered, they are very cheap to replace now. :)
 
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My Satellite Setup
Pace 2500, 80cm offset dish and a £13 LNB
My Location
Switzerland, near Geneva
#3
Thanks for the reply. Is this really the only option? Is there no way to force a hardware reset back to it's factory defaults even if the button is inside the box?

Yes, you are right, they are cheap. I paid less than £25 for this one on ebay including shipping. THAT was the attraction....
 

rolfw

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My Satellite Setup
Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
#4
No there isn't a reset button, just unplug at the mains and then plug back in whilst keeping the backup button on the receiver depressed, keeping it depressed until all of the lights flash. If it doesn't work after several attempts, then unfortunately the box is probably broken.
 
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My Satellite Setup
Pace 2500, 80cm offset dish and a £13 LNB
My Location
Switzerland, near Geneva
#5
I have gone down this route several times. I will try it one more time overnight tonight and again for the next few nights. If it does not work then, I'll bin it and buy another one. Thanks for your help.
 

rolfw

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My Satellite Setup
Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
#6
Just as a matter of information, what version is it running at the moment?
 
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My Satellite Setup
Pace 2500, 80cm offset dish and a £13 LNB
My Location
Switzerland, near Geneva
#7
Rolf, Here's the information you asked for:
Mfg : Pace
Model No. : 1.3Z25
Version No.: 9F0306
Serila No. : 0028366078
Card : No Card
O/S Version: 1.2S4FB
EPG version: 3.b.5

Does this help? Is there a way out of where I am?
 

rolfw

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My Satellite Setup
Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
#8
Looks like is may not be quite the latest, but don't think it is that old, how does that compare with the other box?

Sounds like you may simply have to bite the bullet I'm afraid though. :)
 
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My Satellite Setup
Pace 2500, 80cm offset dish and a £13 LNB
My Location
Switzerland, near Geneva
#9
Well I left it on overnight (about 10 hours) and this morning, it it still displaying the UPDATING SYSTEM SOFTWARE message and the four LEDs are still lit up on the front panel. I think that this box is screwed. I believe that the downlink protocol is unable to be received (understood) by the box as there is plenty of signal (as proved by my working original box and by the Sugnal Strentgh indicator in the system menu. The fact that I see no Signal Quality or Lock (protocol recognised and locked - packets understood) means that this box will never work again until someone does something to it with a soldering iron.

I will look into having this box repaired and report back but I think that the cheapest route will be to simply buy a replacement on eBay.

What I do not understand is how this happened ! It is always dangerous to try and update software on a downlink only but millions of boxes have been upgraded in this manner so what went wrong with mine ? I think that I was just unlucky or maybe the signal was interuppeted at the wrong time for a spilit second although I cannot see how the latter could have happened.
 

rolfw

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Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
#10
Perhaps it was simply on its last legs and just needed a push over the edge.
 
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My Satellite Setup
Pace 2500, 80cm offset dish and a £13 LNB
My Location
Switzerland, near Geneva
#11
Fixed, working upgraded --- thanks to:
Michael Dranfield.
Digifix Ltd.
16,Terrace road,
Buxton ,
Derbyshire.
SK17-6DU.
+44 01298- 73989.
www.digifixltd.co.uk

who sent me the following article he has published.

Pace ZIF tuner failure.

Tuner failure in pace satellite receiver boxes is now one of the most common faults there is ,I am of course referring to models fitted with the ZIF type tuner module,the problem is caused by failure of the MAX2104CCM 48 pin down converter chip and typical faults range from stuck in st/by to no satellite signal received sometimes intermittent or affecting only some channels.Now the underneath of the chip has a metal pad which is not only the R.F ground plane connection but also the heatsink contact ,which of course has to be soldered to the ground plane on the pcb,investigation has shown that the soldering between these two areas is very poor and for a long time I assumed this to be the cause of the chip failure however this has turned out to be incorrect and the real cause of chip failure is more complex.

Some time after 1996 Maxim semiconductors introduced a change in the moulding compound that is used to produce the chips package ,phosphorus was added to the moulding compound as a flame retardent,replacing Bromine and Antimony which are not considered to be very environmentally friendly and it would seem that the addition of the Phosphorus sets up some chemical reaction within the chips package leading to the growth of Silver Dendrite between adjacent pins ,this growth then results in high resistance shorts between pins.

Any one who has restored vintage radios will be familiar with 1960 s transistor radios that use the AF XXX series of transistors in which over time a crystal substance grows within the transistor which eventually causes one of the lead outs to short to the screen connection , a simple way round this is to simply cut off the screen connection extending the transistors life.

Now in the case of the MAX2104CCM there is a way to destroy the Silver Dendrite growth and believe it or not it is possible to repair the chip without having to remove or replace it ,this is of course only a short term solution as the Silver Dendrite will start to grow again , remove the tuner and the small metal screening can covering the chip and heat up the chip to around 190-200 degrees ,don’t go over 205 and then let it cool and hey presto the chip will now be found to work again,I have soak tested repaired tuners in this way and they still continue to work,but I stress this is only a short term solution as a repeat failure is inevitable.

Chips manufactured by Maxim after November 2001 were produced with non- Phosphorus based moulding compound ,but bare in mind millions had already been produced and many will still be sitting is stock at semiconductor surplus suppliers so beware ,the top of the chip carries the date code as follows, 0145= 2001 year ,week 45( November).

Michael Dranfield.
6,Calesdale close,
Buxton ,
Derbyshire.
SK17-9RH.

I did this and the receiver started working. As Michael said, there is no guarantee as to how long it will stay working so I will shortly order a new tuner module from him which costs between £20 and £30 + postage.

Michael was very helpful and he obviously knows exactly what he is talking about. A really good contact indeed.

Finally before you try this fix, you really need to be good with a soldering iron and to have an iron that is transformer isolatedand is temperature controlled. If you don't know what you are doing, deal with Michael who does.
 
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My Satellite Setup
Pace 2200 Sky digibox with ftv card, Comag SL65 FTA sat receiver, 40cm Sky minidish, Setpal terrestrial receiver (for free uk tv only!).
My Location
Midlands
#12
Zif tuners are well know to be very failure prone, but I find these particular claims quite bizarre!

Note that zif tuners are easily available for much less (!), eg see: www.mces.co.uk/Digital.htm .

(From above explanation, I would expect "gunge" appearing between pins to lower received signal amplitude, not retain it in amplitude but with no "quality"! Since, all the tuner does is pass through the recieved signal, actual detection is done in the demodulator chip!).
 
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My Satellite Setup
Pace 2200 Sky digibox with ftv card, Comag SL65 FTA sat receiver, 40cm Sky minidish, Setpal terrestrial receiver (for free uk tv only!).
My Location
Midlands
#13
Michael, you completely missed the point, so that sarcasm was wasted!

With sufficient sat if signal received, if demoudulation isn't happening, then either there's bad interference, or a fault in receiver tuner or if/demod stages.

Interference is most easily checked by using a different sat receiver, if possible (most people don't have test equipment!). If there's none, then a fault is unlikely in the demodulator, so it's either the 2nd if section or tuner, almost certainly the tuner. If a Zif tuner, then of course must be that.

I'd have thought not many people are in a posiiton to attempt a short-lasting repair with a temp controlled iron! Fraught, and will fail again, so why bother? Just repace the damn thing!

(I see you're selling them at a high price, MCES don't charge much more for full digibox repair).

I accept, this does seem a bizarre failure mode! Ion migration causes junction failures, especially at high powers, but I thought actual packaging problems were long time understood!

PS, I haven't called myself anything, "specialist" was added by forums admin! But, since you ask, no I don't spend my time mostly repairing digiboxes.

PS, nice place, Buxton. Lots of hills, so good area for satellite installs!
 
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My Satellite Setup
Multi sat for Astra 19.2 (60cm dish)and 28.2.(1.2 m and MTI Twin AP82-XT2BL) LNB .Skymaster DS33 receiver.
My Location
Mallorca Spain
#14
Nice one guys !! . Good to read some intelligent and well informed comments from people who seem to know their stuff instead of the usual mundane answers from people who post for the sake of it.
 

Llew

cerca trova...
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Triple Dragon, Dreambox 8000, Echostar AD3000ip, TBS6522,6925,6983 PCie cards.
Gibertini 1.25m motorised dish driven by the AD3000, with either Inverto BU Quad or Norsat / XMW Ka LNBs . SMW 1.05m + 3 other dishes. Speccy: Promax HD Ranger+
My Location
The Flatlands of East Anglia
#15
Hi Michael

Did you manage to locate the jtag connections for the Panasonic series you were enquiring after some time back?

Llew
 

Llew

cerca trova...
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My Satellite Setup
Triple Dragon, Dreambox 8000, Echostar AD3000ip, TBS6522,6925,6983 PCie cards.
Gibertini 1.25m motorised dish driven by the AD3000, with either Inverto BU Quad or Norsat / XMW Ka LNBs . SMW 1.05m + 3 other dishes. Speccy: Promax HD Ranger+
My Location
The Flatlands of East Anglia
#16
OK Michael. Maybe somebody will include the chip in jkeys or similar eventually.
 

jimbo

Specialist Contributor
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Sky HD, TM6800HD, Manhattan Plaza ST550 and TM1500 CI+. 1.0m dish and 36v motor, Panasonic DVD HDD recorder and Panasonic video/DVD recorder. Sony G800 HD TV stand/surround system + Sony KDL40W2000. Infinity USB, Elvis, CAS1, CAS2.
My Location
Greater London
#17
lazious said:
Nice one guys !! . Good to read some intelligent and well informed comments from people who seem to know their stuff instead of the usual mundane answers from people who post for the sake of it.
michael dranfield said:
Exactly the reason I dont usually write for forums.
Michael Dranfield.
I'm always interested in 'informed' debate but I don't think I'd judge anyone to be particularly intelligent because they can give sensible answers about satellite receiver problems. It's all relative.

Don't forget that this is, afterall, a hobby and many people give time and effort unselfishly. In the case of those who take the financial risks in setting up forums then there is even more time and effort. The idea behind forums is to try to help those who are 'getting into' the hobby and if their posts seem a bit 'off the mark' at times then so what? It's also a fun thing to come together to discuss a common interest, whatever the level of expertise.
So let's not be judgemental.:)
 
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My Satellite Setup
Pace 2500, 80cm offset dish and a £13 LNB
My Location
Switzerland, near Geneva
#18
Well, it works now and I'm happy.

In fact, tis kind of thing is not so rare in chip manufacturer. The silver dendrite grows within the chip along the substrate and not across the external pins. This is why you can't clean it with a wire brush!

Remember that I was seeing good signal strength but no signal quality. Hence it was pretty obvious that there was no protocol lock at the packet or frame level.

I had my original receiver that has worked for years on a stable installation so I knew that whatever I saw was almost certain to be withing the new box. What fooled me was the fact that the new box worked fine until I tried to upgrade the EPG. Of course, it picked this exact moment to fail. It also failesd the Mk. 1 eyball test so obviously I blamed the software upgrade.
 
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My Satellite Setup
Pace 2500, 80cm offset dish and a £13 LNB
My Location
Switzerland, near Geneva
#19
One should also remeber that Michael helped me out over the phone when there was no chance of him making a sale. I was, in fact, wasting his time. I asked his permission to post the email he sent me because I was happy to have fixed MY problem and I wanted to give him some minor publicity since he'd made no sale. I am very grateful to him.

I am also grateful to Rolf who exchanged a number of message with me on Sunday when I was somewhat at a loss as to what was happeneing.

So thanks to all from me. If I need to buy a tuner, it wil be from Michael even if his prices are a bit higher than rock bottom because he has given me good service.
 

rolfw

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My Satellite Setup
Technomate 5402 HD M2 Ci, DM7000s, Transparent 80cm Dish, Moteck SG2100 DiseqC motor, lots of legacy gear. Meters: Satlook Digital NIT, Promax HD Ranger+ spectrum analyser.
My Location
Berkshire
#20
At the end of the day it is good that you got it sorted Pete6.:)

This thread would probably be better placed in "The Workbench and Soldering Station" section, as the repair can/should only be attempted by someone with a reasonable degree of aptitude.. :)
 
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