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Channels gradually disappear with digital converter -- SOLVED

I'm posting this to inform anyone who might encounter this situation, as I have solved the problem.

 

I've had a Spectrum 101 digital converter for two months.  At first it worked fine, then it started losing channels -- it shows the info banner at the bottom of the screen when I first tuned to the channel, but there was no picture or sound.  This started with one or two channels and gradually increased to a couple dozen.  They were scattered numerically -- 24,  32, 48, 50, 56, etc.  If I reset the box most of them came back, but over a few days they would disappear.  Once a station dropped out it never returned unless I reset the box.  This has happened for the past month.

 

I thought the box was flakey and was about to call Spectrum for a replacement.  Before I did that I replaced the splitter that feeds the box and tightened all connections, and that fixed it.  For the past two days I've gotten all channels.

 

I don't understand how a bad splitter or connection could result in the vast majority of channels being fine, but a small and variable number not working, but that's what it seems to have been.  If it was the connection, as it appears, I also don't understand how resetting the box recovered some of the channels.   I'm mystified but pleased with the result.

 

Thought I'd mention this in case anyone else encounters the same problem.

8 REPLIES 8
Expert

Re: Channels gradually disappear with digital converter -- SOLVED

reason why DTA's are garbage and need to be replaced with real cable boxes by actual techs, not customers.

Digital cable is level critical and in most cases works poorly when the house had multiple analog sets direct connected.

All old rg59 coax and 500 mHz splitters are trash. In most cases anything over a 4 way split won't work well if at all.

 

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Re: Channels gradually disappear with digital converter -- SOLVED

I'm no expert, but my understanding is that my box is not a DTA.    The Spectrum 101 HD is a digital converter which is currently provided and supported by Spectrum.  (It's true that I connected it.  I'm not aware that having a tech visit was an option, and I'd have done it myself anyway since it's easy.  Although I have no way of measuring signal strength.)

 

The 3-way splitter was a Time-Warner 5-1000Mhz, also provided by TW when they connected my cable modem.  The -3.5db OUT went to my cable modem, and a -7db OUT to the 101 box at issue. The third OUT was unused.

 

Since I replaced the splitter with a newer but similar one and tightened the connections at the same time, I'm not sure which was the cause of the problem.

 

It doesn't make sense to me though that over 95% of the channels would work fine, but a handful -- spread widely through the range -- would fail.  Regardless, it's still all good so far.

Helper

Re: Channels gradually disappear with digital converter -- SOLVED

Most problems like the one you describe are caused by loose connections or degraded coax (chewed up wire, water, etc.) that impair the signal. 99% of the time the box is not the cause.  In fact, the box was actually fighting tooth and nail to save the connection for most channels despite the lowered signal levels. 

 

Also, replace the 3 way splitter with a 2 way since the third out is unused. 

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Re: Channels gradually disappear with digital converter -- SOLVED

>>> Also, replace the 3 way splitter with a 2 way since the third out is unused. 

 

Thanks, the thought had crossed my mind.  I do have a 2-way but it's not as good quality so I figured the 3-way was preferable.  I'll pick up a good 2-way.

 

Can someone advise what specs I should look for?  I see them on Amazon with varying Mhz/Ghz ranges and prices from $2 to $20.  Obviously I won't go for the cheapies, but I'm not sure how to judge the rest.  Thanks.

Expert

Re: Channels gradually disappear with digital converter -- SOLVED

the direcTv 5-2000 mhz SWM ones are decent and include a term resistor for $5. They sell 2-4-8way ones.

If you use a 3 way, the modem must be on the -3.5 port and the cable box on a -7 with a terminator on the empty -7 port.

 

 

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Re: Channels gradually disappear with digital converter -- SOLVED

Thanks for the recommendation.

 

>>> If you use a 3 way, the modem must be on the -3.5 port and the cable box on a -7 with a terminator on the empty -7 port.

 

Thanks, that's how the 3-way has been all along.

 

BTW, all channels continue to come in fine.

Expert

Re: Channels gradually disappear with digital converter -- SOLVED

All channel numbers are aliased and not anywhere in any order that you would recognize.

nothing is cable ready anymore.

 for example, ch 95 at around 100 mHz might have channels 3,17, 76,210 and 995,996,997 on it.

 If 95 has severe fm radio ingress, only those channels won't work...

 You can get into diagnostic mode on some boxes to see what the actual rf channels are, probably the bad ones will have poor s/n and high errors and be on the same actual RF frequency channel

Everything on cable is licensed to many other services .not the cable companies.

 

 

Proven Sharer

Re: Channels gradually disappear with digital converter -- SOLVED

Remember too that the channel lineups for Legacy TWC tiers do not match up exactly to the corresponding tier levels now being promoted by Spectrum.  In theory you should still have your old TWC channel programming lineup, unless you made some sort of service subscription plan change that moved you to a Spectrum offering.  If that happened, you are (edited) , there is no way to go back to Legacy TWC, not even to fix an error made by Spectrum's employees.