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post #91 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-16, 11:47 AM
 
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Location: Rimouski QC & A Southern Province
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Quote:
The worst case would be a completely ungrounded antenna system that runs to a TV (also ungrounded) that then finally connects to a grounded cable system or X-Box or sound system etc
I suppose you're talking about the setup I have at my southern "cottage".......

The Shaw dish is "completely ungrounded" with the coax connecting from the dish to the receiver, and then coax from the receiver to the "Antenna B" input on the TV (an 8-year-old projection TV). The "Antenna A" input on the TV is connected directly to the wall outlet for the cable TV, which then goes to the cable TV junction box outside the house and that is grounded to the race of the house electrical panel. Flipping from Input A to Input B on the remote goes from US cable service to Shaw Direct.

So, with the Shaw dish on the opposite side of the house from the electric service panel (for line of sight reasons), and keeping in mind that the system has worked flawlessly for 4 years as-is (), what's the prudent thing to do? The only thing I could think of is to put a ground rod (7' long into Arizona soil ) near where Shaw enters the house, and then run another wire from the ground rod completely around the house to the electrical panel? Is such a setup really going to ensure that no tragedies occur?

I went to the trouble to consult some installers (who poo-pooed the idea of grounding the system), and three electricians (none of which had any idea how to go about grounding my Shaw dish).

As I walk around the village here in Canada, I check out the Bell and Shaw dishes to see if they appear to be grounded. Some are, and some aren't. I would really like to know what percentage of all installations are grounded according to code, and of those that aren't, what percentage of those have actually experienced any problems.....

So there I is.......but I'm still open to ideas.
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post #92 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-16, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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Cool

joshuals,

You (and millions of others) are just playing with the perentages with regards to proper grounding. (A Gambler's life.)

Personally the odds of your incoming electrical system getting hit by Lightning is very low, with the odds of it actually hitting your Dish / Cabling setup even lower. Of course some geographies are far more prone to electrical storms so that too will change the odds.

To protect the whole house I reccomend something like these that fit in the electrical panel:

http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-...atalogId=10053

They are far less expensive than a bunch of Monster Power Bars (and the like) and IMHO proven effective. Different OEMs make them for different electrical panels. The Grounding of the incoming coax seems to be "iffy" for most as I scan cyberspace.

In your Arizona abode I'd still install this block where the cables first enter the house:



and put a ground lead to the nearest ground point (off a plug, copper water pipe if it's grounded, etc.) My concern would then be for ground loops (like my instalation) causing noise (humming) when used. And if the insertion losses at the ground block really affect your signal, then you can make a choice on the odds at that time and roll the dice.

Regards,
Jim
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post #93 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-16, 01:25 PM
 
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Thank you for your thoughts.

Quote:
(A Gambler's life.)
Actually, this isn't "me". As I think I pointed out in an earlier post, at the outset, I lost several nights' sleep over this issue.


Quote:
and put a ground lead to the nearest ground point (off a plug, copper water pipe if it's grounded, etc.)
That would seem a simple solution. But the best I can do, given the location of my coax from the dish to the point of entry to the house, would be to ground to a hose bib. Unfortunately, the hose bib comes out of the exterior wall of the house and is not grounded until it reaches the other side of the house, near the electrical panel. I have read where (1) such a setup would be a waste of time, and (2) a ground to a waterline should be to a point within 5' of the point of entry of the water pipe into the earth. Do you agree?

I will, however, check out the HomeDepot link you provided.

The grounding issue, from my point of view, is almost as complicated as your situation with finding the signal...well, almost!
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post #94 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-16, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
 
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A ground like you suggest is better than no ground at all. In electrical terms the need to be close to the ground stakes is to prevent it coming disconnected, and also prevent the possibility of circualting currents by small differences in potential (voltage).

I've read papers on grounding (boring => I know) and the position of grounding stakes, or grids, and their effect. The issue of moisture in the soils also imacts their effectiveness (think dry Arizona where a corroded stake is driven into the soil - even so there is a possiblity of a high resistance ground).

I think addressing this issue is the prudent thing to do.

Regards,
Jim
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post #95 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-16, 02:11 PM
 
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Sorry if we have drifted off topic, but hopefully this will help others also....

OK....suppose I were to install a ground block (as shown in your picture) at the point where my coax comes down the exterior wall from the dish. Such point would be about 15 feet from the point of entry of the coax into the house. (From such point to the actual point of entry, there is concrete patio slab). Below the point of installing the grounding block, I drive a rebar into the ground, connect the ground wire to it, and call it a day. Presume I use a rebar of length of 2', which maybe I can do before it refuses to go any further into the ground.

Though far from "code" is this:

(1) better than nothing?

(2) more dangerous than nothing?

(3) likely to result in a ground loop that will cause other problems?

(4) a total waste of time?

And while I think about it, the grounding block in your picture grounds the coax. Do I also need a separate wire, running from a clamp nut on the dish to the ground rod, that serves to ground the dish as well?
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post #96 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-16, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Cool

Yes you still need to ground the dish assembly if it's mounted on a wood structure. According to the ShawDirect Installation Manual, Section 10, Page 10:

"Outdoor coaxial cable that may be subject to static discharge or contact "with electrical wiring, must be grounded through a grounding block located as close as possible to the cable entry point.

Run the Grounding Wire for the coaxial cable from the Grounding Block connector to a cold water pipe nearest the cable entry point,

Wrap copper grounding strap around the cold water pipe. Tighten the strap using bolt and secure the ground wire under the binding post as illustrated below."



I'd head for the Hose Bib with both ground wires even if it's a bit away from the usual path, as long as it's all copper water pipes) instead of driving a steel rebar into the ground. Rebars rusts and the eventual corrosion there, and at the point of connection to the copper wire (2 dissimilar metals), would not make for a good ground.

I'd worry about circulating currents only when and if that problem arrises.

Regards,
Jim
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post #97 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-17, 01:24 AM
 
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in order of preference you would run a ground wire from that ground block to the house electrical power ground. this is usually a bare copper wire probably about 6 gauge on a home. it may be insulated with green plastic and if you look near the electrical panel you might find the ground coming out of the panel and connecting to other utilities such as the furnace or hot water heater to ground those as well. often you will find a split bolt on that wire that makes it easy to loosen it off a bit and slip another wire in there. if you don't find a split bolt, you might find a pipe clamp on the pipes going to the furnace or water heater where the ground wire is connected and you can hopefully find room to slide the ground wire from the ground block in there. 2nd preference would be the metal box that your power meter is installed in. you may not find the clamps that will connect a ground wire to the meter box at your local hardware but there are about a dozen different types, corner mount, lip mount, or an adjustable bracket that will span across the whole box. the idea is that the screws will tighten down on the metal box edge and scrape a spot of paint off to get good contact with the grounded power meter box. 3rd preference would be the telephone interface box. there is usually a 12 gauge ground wire or bigger inside and you can either use the edge clamps for the power meter box or open up the telephone box and you will find several screws inside with other heavy green wires fastened to the box, although i've seen some very old houses that had black wires instead of green. a water pipe ground would be the 4th preference but there are several problems to watch out for. your water pipe might be plastic coming up out of the ground or the house might have a mixture of copper and plastic piping. as a last resort you could put a ground rod into the dirt but you don't want to do that unless you are sure you aren't driving it into a buried pipe or cable.
many installers are reluctant to ground the cables thinking that it will actually attract lightning. as some others have pointed out they are actually gambling. they should have seen the house i was at a month ago. lightning hit the shaw dish which wasn't the highest point on the house and didn't hit the xplornet dish which was grounded and higher on the house. the cables were burnt right off of the lnb. the screws on the mast directed the lightning into the porch below where it started a fire. luckily the homeowner had a fire extinguisher handy and was able to put the fire out before it spread too far. inside the cable was welded to the back of the satellite receiver which had that stench of burnt silicon. anything that was connected to the receiver was also destroyed, the tv, the stereo, the dvd, the vcr, and a second tv. grounding the satellite dish may not guarantee that your equipment will survive but at least your house won't get burnt down.
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post #98 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-17, 07:18 AM
 
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Thanks, Lonnie, for your reply....even though I'm not sleeping well again....

Quote:
in order of preference you would run a ground wire from that ground block to the house electrical power ground
Question #1
I can't believe everyone has the luxury of installing their dish directly above (or near) the location of the house ground. So, if the only solution (for line of sight reasons) is to mount the dish on the opposite side of the house from the house ground, would you then run the wire around the house, attaching it to the house (or burying it ) thus creating a bunch of 90-degree bends in the wire? Would doing so be really be effective in protecting the equipment & house? If the answers were "yes", I would certainly proceed with doing this....

Question #2
Suppose I were to successfully find line of sight near the house ground and that I were to move the dish to improve my grounding options. I'm then faced with running the coax back up over the roof (house has tile roof with cathedral ceiling...hence no second floor or attic) and using the same point of entry that I'm currently using. That would result in a very long run of coax between the grounding block and the point of entry. Have I really improved my grounding situation?

It seems to me like no matter what I do, I'm down to your "last resort" of using the grounding rod, and, yes, I would have to have the location blue-staked to ensure I have no underground utiltiies in the area of the rod......

Everyone's input is really appreciated on this issue......
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post #99 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-17, 08:21 AM
 
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re: Grounding

just a data point.

I've been with Starchoice for over 10 years at 2 different houses. Never grounded the cables in either house....

All my receivers work, and they all are covered under the multi receiver warranty.

Peter

Panny 47wx52, DMR-e80*C DSR500x2, XBOX 360, Toshiba 26hf84, LG 37LC2D
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post #100 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-17, 11:51 PM
 
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if you are running that ground wire to a good quality ground such as the electrical utility ground, that may be better than the shorter path. if you are running a long distance though you may want to go to a heavier gauge of wire to ensure that the wire doesn't vaporize. even a 14 gauge wire can pass a tremendous amount of current for the fraction of a second that the lightning strike occurs without melting the insulation. it's not usually the wire burning up that causes a fire, it's the sparks jumping across a gap that can set nearby things on fire. connecting your cables coming from the dish through a surge protector that has the coax connections on it can be additional protection as well. the outer shield wires can add up to 18 gauge equivalent with good quality cable. lower quality cable may be nothing more than a thin aluminum foil for a shield but still better than nothing. older homes may not have a ground wire in the wall outlet though. if you suspect a 3 pin socket was installed in place of an old 2 pin socket you can get a plug in tester that will test your outlets for ground, or miswiring. you might find one at the local hardware store.
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post #101 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-20, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
 
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Cool

Gents,

I think we've beaten Grounding into the ground enough for this thread.

I'd now like some opinions on how to fine tune the Dish once you got a signal. Some folks have sugested there are other special screens available on some recievers (DSR505 or DSR530?) that are beneficial when fine tuning. I'm still concerned we couldn't get better than 70% signal strength on the temporary setup at the Cabin, although we didn't spend a long time tweaking it, as it was just temporary.

My methodology was to try to follow the ShawDirect manual as closely as possible. It says "if the reciever installer menu displays signal strength of between 80 and 90% and the icon LED signal indicator on the reciever is green, you have sucessfully aligned the dish to the Shaw Direct satellite." We set the pole vertical (plumb in both planes using a magnetic level), put the Elevation at 31.3 °(or close based on the crude scale) put the skew at 90°. Then we swept towards Sat B 149° magnetic from about 30° away => near 180° magnetic. Once we "found" the Sat we moved off the asmuth in each direction until we maxed the signal. We then tweaked elevation in each direction to max out the signal, then skew towards the 82° stated in the manual.

When I took the dish home and temporarily set it up, I found it impossible to get max signal on both birds at the same time. I assume it's "normal" to have to compromise. Is it better to have one Bird stronger or ? (If so which one?) The manual also advises the audio beeping "will increase in speed as signal strength increases and become monotone once you have aligned the dish to the satelllite and achieved approximately 50% signal strength." This certainly didn't do much for me with the DSR505. True the bar color changed from red to green but the beeping certainly didn't change much at all.

By the way, my brother in law was going to set-up the pole and run the conduit back to the Cabin last week (weather pemitting). I'll give him a call and check his progress.

Regards,
Jim
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post #102 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-20, 05:33 PM
 
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Quote:
I think we've beaten Grounding into the ground enough for this thread
Sigh......ok.....

Quote:
I'd now like some opinions on how to fine tune the Dish once you got a signal
Well, here's what I did:

Once I got the signal strength as high as I could on 299 and my skew was set properly and my receiver was authorized, I abandoned the signal strength meter altogether.

With the receiver still on 299, select: Options 6-4-7. After a few seconds some numbers will appear at the end of Line C on that screen. The left-most number is the signal strength, and the right-most number is the signal quality (the EcbNo). The EcbNo should be formatted like this: +8.2. The idea is to get the EcbNo number as high as possible, without further regard to the signal strength. With all clamps tight on the dish, apply light pressure left, right, up, and down. Note how each of these motions affects the EcbNo. If you see that movement in a given direction increases the number, then loosen the appropriate clamp enough to actually tweak (and I mean tweak) the dish, re-tighten the clamps, and repeat the procedure. Before going too far with this, change the channel to a F2 channel such as 350 or 700 and try the same thing. Note that this operation can be very sensitive....even the final turn of the wrench in tightening a clamp can have an effect on the EcbNo.

When tuned to a SDef channel, an EcbNo of +8.0 or above is "good", but in Canada you may be able to do much better, say +10.0 or even higher. From this point forward, it's a question of (1) finding the optimum EcbNo for both satellites by repeating the above procedure back and forth for a channel on each satellite, and (2) how much patience you have. Sooner or later you are likely to find that improving the EcbNo on an F1R channel will decrease it on an F2 channel. Personally, I got EcbNo's from both satellites of about +8.0 (in Arizona) and called it good.

Now if you're an HDef person (and I have no experience with HDef) I've read that you will find the EcbNo's on HDef channels will be lower than SDef by about 2.0. So if you're getting +9.0 on SDef channels, expect +7.0 on HDef. Perhaps someone else will confirm, but if you are an HDef person, perhaps it's best to use the HDef channels on each satellite to maximize the EcbNo.

Note that the EcbNo's will fluctuate from moment to moment and will not be the same on all channels from a given satellite. While I don't think the EcbNo will have an impact on the quality of the picture, it will have an impact on how long you will continue hold lock on the satellite when the weather gets bad. The higher the number, the more rain/snow it can stand.

Good luck....sounds like you're getting there!
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post #103 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-20, 06:33 PM
 
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Wow Joshuals, very informative - Thank You!
I guess that would explain why in poor weather the HD channels go out before the SD.
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post #104 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-20, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
 
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joshuals,

Thanks for the info on Ecb/No tweaking.

Just for grins I decided to check the numbers as currently temporarily setup with the Dish in my front yard. (It will be going to the Cabin => soon I hope => see below)

On FR1 Channel 299 - ShawDirect Reg - the strength / Quality numbers are: 85, 9.8dB

On FR1 Channel 260 - SNE HD - the strength / Quality numbers are: 90, 6.8dB

On F2 Channel 298 - CBC Reg - the strength / Quality numbers are: 94, 7.6dB

On F2 Channel 284 - NBC HD - the strength / Quality numbers are: 94, 7.6dB

On F2 Channel 269 - TSN2 HD - the strength / Quality numbers are: 91, 7.6dB

This info sort of follows your logic except for the Quality on Channel 298 is the same lower value as the HD channels on that bird. It seems a bit odd the signal strength is sometimes different on the same Bird even though I've made no adjustments and the weather is relatively steady (little wind and no rain at the moment; just a few clouds and blue sky). I guess I can put it down to atmospheric irregularities

Now the bad news. I called my brother-in-law and it's been raining every day except yesterday for the last week; so he hasn't gotten the pole, or trench, done yet. He starts a new project (he's a Steelworker) on Wednesday but will be home on the weekend. He said he's get it done then but I'm not so sure...

Regards,
Jim
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post #105 of 245 (permalink) Old 2010-09-21, 07:41 AM
 
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Quote:
This info sort of follows your logic except for the Quality on Channel 298 is the same lower value as the HD channels on that bird
That is interesting!

What's also interesting is that 298 is one of the few (if not the "only") English channel that was changed to 8PSK format (about a year ago) and moved from its former location to 298. What is also odd is that they stuck it in the 200's range, which is somewhat reserved for HDef channels.

298 is not in my programming package, so I can't check it.

From Arizona, your other numbers look great! It would be ineteresting to know how, however, they compare with other subscribers in your area.

Quote:
...and it's been raining every day....
Heck...after all you've gone through to get this up and running, he should have been willing to work in the rain.....
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