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RCA TVPRAMP-1R Power Draw Test Results

majortom,

When I checked the RCA TVPRAMP-1R that I still had in bench stock with my B&K 2815, I was surprised to find that it was drawing 96 mA, just as you reported. I was worried that I’d posted bad information.

The day I received my first RCA, my B&K 2815 wouldn’t measure current and not wanting to take the time to fix it, I used a brand new CEN-TECH 7-Function multi-meter that Harbor Freight Tools frequently gives away for free. I have 8 of them and so far the ones I checked were pretty accurate. In any case, today, I retested with the CEN-TECH expecting it to be way off but it only read .1 ma lower than the B&K. I then went back and checked all 4 RCA’s current draw with the B&K. They are numbered in the order that I received them, with 1-3 mast mounted and in use. 1-3’s voltage & current were measured in the garage, right at the power inserter. RCA #1 was the one I originally reported on and as you can see from the table, it draws significantly less power than the other three. It’s on my main tower and working beautifully. All current measurements reported in the table were made with the B&K. Since there obviously is a voltage regulator in the RCA’s power inserter I didn’t poke holes in the three new ones DC cord to measure their adapter voltages.

I also measured the voltages and current draws from my two Winegard preamps. When I inspected my AP-2870 it appeared that Winegard uses this same circuit board for multiple amplifier models. Down the right (output) side are a double series of solder pads labeled 8275, 8700, 3800, 4800, 2870, 8780, 8800 and three more across the top labeled 4700, 2880 & 3700. Using the same board, I would expect any of those models to draw in excess of 1 watt., like my AP-2870. The HDP-269 is more in line with the RCA’s. RCA #4 and the Winegard's were tested on the kitchen counter.



I’ve tested all four of the RCA’s outside hooked to an antenna and can’t tell any real difference in performance between them so I don’t think the current disparity is affecting anything.
 

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I put up an HDP-269 & it failed within 2 weeks. (Both pieces were inside the house) I then put back the 20 year old Radio Shack distribution amp closer to the antenna & reception is now better than ever.

I've used the CM 7777, 0064C & Winegard 8275 & 8700 on ungrounded systems (before I knew better) & never had a failure. (Those systems are now grounded)
I've seen a few posts like this one about their HDP-269 failing after a short period, but the one I've been using on my VHF mast for a year and a half appears to have died today. Has anyone had success running a HDP-269 reliably for years and years?!?
 

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El Gran Chico,

I bought mine in July 2012 and it has been outside, tower or mast mounted until last week. I also have an AP-2870 which is a totally different design. I replaced the HDP-269 with an RCA TVPRAMP-1R because the RCA has dual VHF/UHF inputs, a switchable FM trap and seems to work better @ my location. The RCA also has more gain and doesn’t seem as prone to overload as either of my Winegards. I’ve had both of mine apart to verify the voltage regulators used and to photograph the internals. I don’t see any reason these shouldn’t give years of service.

I would check that your power inserter is getting power by observing the red light on the front and then verify that you have approximately 10 -17 VDC on the RF cable end that connects to your amp. Voltage isn’t critical with the HDP-269 because it has an internal 8 VDC regulator.

If it has gone bad, and you want to replace it, you might consider trying one of the RCA’s. I’ve recently bought four for $23.02 ea. delivered and they seem to work really well. You can also get them through WalMart, Office Depot and even Ace Hardware all less than $25.00 ea.

Sorry, I just noticed you are in Canada. Here is a link to a Canadian source.

https://www.pricematters.ca/p-7412-rca-digital-signal-pre-amplifier.aspx
 

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I would check that your power inserter is getting power by observing the red light on the front ...
Pete, the red light is on. I'm going to have to go up on the roof and take it off the mast and see what's up with it. Unfortunately I don't have a DC voltmeter.

Thanks for the TVPRAMP-1R info.
 

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El Gran Chico,

If you have a spare 12V automotive light bulb (dash light, glove box light etc.) you can try touching its tip to the center conductor of your coax and use a short piece of wire to complete the circuit between the lamp base and the coax outer jacket. 9.5 volts should dimly light it. Try it on the output side of the power inserter before you go on the roof. If it’s been up for a year plus, unless the cable’s gone bad (unlikely) its probably the amp. Good Luck
 

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Thanks Pete although at this point it's more-or-less academic of whether the amp or power inserter is failing. It's past its warranty period. Probably just going to chuck it and go with a new amp (and NOT a HDP-269 :mad: - I can't recommend a product that died on me after about 18 months)

I'm fairly sure the cabling is good although I will double check it when I go up to the mast.
 

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You can get a cheap Mini Analogue Multimeter from Canadian Tire for $15. Not the greatest, but should do the job.
 

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majortom & All,

I received my LNA-200 from Solid Signal today, so I added it to the table I posted (#3679).

It’s still 99 deg. here @ 6 PM so I’ll wait until tomorrow morning before I climb up on the roof to test it.
 

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LNA-200 Update

As I mentioned in my last post, I received my new Winegard LNA-200 late Wednesday afternoon. Yesterday morning I got out before the temperature started to climb to test it. I have a Solid Signal HDB-8X fix mounted on a pushup mast pointed towards Los Angeles. I was using just the UHF portion of an RCA TVPRAMP-1R (#3) configured for separate UHF/VHF inputs and the FM trap selected with the HDB-8X. It also has a dedicated RG-6 run into a coax switch in the garage. Since it required the least amount of climbing to get at and only took swapping two cables I substituted the new Winegard LNA-200 for the HDB-8X’s RCA.

Before I took the RCA out of line I ran through the LA channels to verify everything was working. Then I swapped out the power supplies, went up on the roof and swapped out the amps, returned to the garage to power the Winegard and came in to check reception. The new Winegard appeared to be working except KTLA RF channel 31 (5.1-.3) was missing. Winegard advertises this amp to withstand a “Maximum Total Input (microvolts)” of 2,024,789 µV which in a 75 ohm system, I believe, should be a signal of about +17.38 dBm. I have one local FM station on 99.9 MHz @ -13.4 dBm and a local TV station on RF channel 26 (24.1- .4) @ -15.6 dBm so I certainly wasn’t expecting overload. Interesting! both because the HDB8X shouldn’t have much response to the FM signal and the one strong TV station is almost 33 dBm below the advertised “Maximum Total Input (microvolts)”.

Above the HDB8X, I have a Radio Shack 15-1220 rotor turning a Channel Master CM-4228 and a Winegard YA-1713 High VHF antenna. I usually leave those antennas pointed towards the San Diego stations. I was also using an RCA TVPRAMP-1R (#2) configured for separate UHF/VHF inputs and the FM trap selected with that array. I decided to try the Winegard LNA-200 with the VHF/UHF array. I reconnected the HDB8X to its original RCA. Since the LNA-200 only has one input I disconnected the separate VHF & UHF cables from the array RCA amp and connected them through a UVSJ. The output of the UVSJ went to the LNA-200 input and the LNA-200 output went through a separate RG-6 cable to the power inserter in the garage. I now had the HDB-8X/RCA’s power inserter and the CM-4228/YA-1713/LNA-200’s power inserter feeding opposite sides of the coax switch. The first difference I noted, when I substituted the UVSJ and the LNA-200 for the RCA, channel 26 was coming in with a very watchable SNR of ~18.5. With the RCA amp and the array pointed towards San Diego I don’t receive my local RF channel 26 at all. I am guessing this is due to the signal ingress issue ADTech reported on.

I rotated the array towards LA. As expected, RF channel 26’s SNR jumped to 30. That’s the highest my tuner cards register. When I tried RF channel 31 it was still gone! I went out in the garage and switched to the HDB8X/RCA and channel 31 popped back in with an SNR of 24.7.

In all fairness, I’m reporting on one LNA-200 sample tested at my unique location. I’m sure it is a good product that would work well for many people. It didn’t show the pronounced overload I experienced with my AP-2870 and to a lesser degree my HDP-269. When we get a break from this heat wave, I’ll probably try the Antennas Direct FM traps to see if they will help clean it up. Unfortunately, while the Channel Plus NF-471 that I used with the AP-2870 is only rated to filter RF channels 24-29 it rolls off too gradually to pass RF channel 31 which for me TV Fool lists @ -103.5 dBm. On the channels that both amplifiers receive clearly, it looked like the LNA-200 might have a few tenths of a dB SNR advantage, but keep in mind I am comparing the RCA with a lower fixed mounted antenna to the CM-4228/LNA-200 that I can peak with the rotor.
 

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Pete, the red light is on. I'm going to have to go up on the roof and take it off the mast and see what's up with it. Unfortunately I don't have a DC voltmeter.

Thanks for the TVPRAMP-1R info.
Got it down and ran a few tests. Definitely not working. If anyone in the Toronto area wants my HDP-269 for parts, send me a PM soon.
 

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Pete,

As previously pointed out, that overload spec that Winegard is advertising has already been debunked. Totally bogus. Their own IP3 and P1dB numbers prove that.

However, since the Winegard is reportedly without any shielding, your symptom might be from ingress issues instead of overload via the normal signal path. Maybe you can put the amp in your ammo can to see if that makes a difference.
 

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ProjectSHO89,

The boxes that I referred to in my earlier posts are bright yellow plastic boxes that 22 cal ammo came in. They worked great for housing and weather proofing my drop amp power distribution system but wouldn’t provide any RF shielding.

I thought about getting an aluminum project box from Electronics Warehouse or Radio Shack but the RCA’s work so well and they are so cheap I wonder if it’s worth it? I’m really surprised that the RCA’s don’t overload here. The only other amps I been able to get to work reliably are the PCT MA2-M +15 dB CATV drop amps.

El Gran Chico,

Sorry to hear that. Do you suppose a static discharge got it? You might want to keep the power supply/power inserter for future projects.
 

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In areas like the GTA, I recommend to my customers that they DO NOT use a Pre-Amp, because it kills the Toronto stations.

Instead, if they are using three or more TV's, I recommend they invest in a Power Distribution Amp (such as the Channel Master/PCT line).
 

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Power pass splitter after pre amp below antenna?

Can I use a 3 way splitter with power pass right after the
pre amp and feed 3 tuners with the power inserter using
the DC power pass?
 

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Yes on the power pass. I have a 4 way power pass. The power inserter is behind the basement tv. The other 3 go direct, or split again with regular splitters.
 

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Just be careful. If the splitter passes power on all ports, you will want to put DC blocks on the the ports to the other TVs. Also, apparently some satellite splitters use diodes for power pass, but they are wired backwards for what is needed for OTA pre-amps.
 
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