Connect with pre-amp

Reception, channel detection, network issues, CableCARD setup, etc.
Alligator5678
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:10 pm

Connect with pre-amp

Postby Alligator5678 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:00 pm

I have an HDHomerun Connect and a new Connect Duo. The tuners are connected to a DB8e antenna in my garage. The cable run is about 120 feet. I've been having issues with pixelation, particularly on windy days. I also have a Tivo Roamio OTA that I'm "testing". Both were having similar issues. Antennas direct suggested I try a preamp and sold me a "Juice" model. I hooked it up and pixelation got much worse on the Connects, basically unusable. There were about 19 more channels found though. The Tivo reported a whopping 29 new channels and worked fine. I called Antennas Direct to get advice regarding the issues with the Connects but they weren't able to help. Is there an amplifier already built into the Connects? If there is, does anybody know it's specs? It seems I can get more channels with an amplified signal, but not with the Connects. I'd prefer not to keep the Tivo and I'd also like to be able to pull in those additional channels. I'm much happier with the flexibility I get with the HDHomeruns and MythTV over the Tivo. Any suggestions / advice?

jasonl
Silicondust
Posts: 11228
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby jasonl » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:26 pm

If you are using a Windows PC:
  1. If you have not already done so, please install the latest HDHomeRun Windows software from viewtopic.php?f=119&t=20613
  2. Run HDHomeRun Setup, enable “Send diagnostic information...” on the Advanced tab and click Apply. If you do not have an Advanced tab, close HDHomeRun Setup and reopen it.
  3. Run a channel scan on the Duo
  4. Click OK
If you are using a Mac:
  1. If you have not already done so, please install the latest HDHomeRun Mac software from viewtopic.php?f=119&t=20613
  2. Open Terminal and run:

    Code: Select all

    hdhomerun_config ffffffff set /sys/debug debug_enabled=10
  3. Unplug the power from the HDHomeRun and plug it back in
  4. After the powerup sequence finishes, run a channel scan on the Duo's web page
Reply back with the device ID for your Duo and we will check the logs. Also, if you can easily get to it, can you try one scan with the amp and one without? Just so we can get an idea of what the levels are like in both states.

Alligator5678
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby Alligator5678 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:51 pm

I'm running Linux - Lubuntu 16.04. Will the HDHomerun Linux software work also? Currently I don't have it installed but can give it a go.
Any special instructions?

jasonl
Silicondust
Posts: 11228
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby jasonl » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:08 pm

Linux would follow the same instructions as Mac. I believe one of the HDHomeRun packages that is available through Ubuntu will install the hdhomerun_config program.

Alligator5678
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby Alligator5678 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:27 pm

Thanks Jason. The tip to go for the Ubuntu package saved me a ton of time! My better half has control of the TV for the rest of the evening so I'm unable to unplug the antenna for awhile. I"ll get the data over tomorrow.

Alligator5678
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby Alligator5678 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:57 am

I've run 3 scans. The Connect Duo device id is 10605861.
Scan 1 - Juice preamp installeed, preamp at the base of antenna, power 120 feet away next to the tuner
Scan 2 - No amplifier
Scan 3 - small mohu jolt amplifier, this came with a flat indoor antenna I purchased some time ago. It was the configuration prior to the Antennas Direct Juice pre-amp. It's located next to the tuner about 120 feet from the antenna.

jasonl
Silicondust
Posts: 11228
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby jasonl » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:36 pm

Please update your device to the latest beta firmware and check again.
http://download.silicondust.com/hdhomer ... 8beta1.bin

Code: Select all

hdhomerun_config 10605861 upgrade /path/to/hdhomerun5_atsc_firmware_20171118beta1.bin

Alligator5678
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby Alligator5678 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:02 am

I upgraded the firmware, ran the scan from my.hdhomerun.com, more channels found but not all are highly pixelated with juice installed...

Alligator5678
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby Alligator5678 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:07 am

Sorry, misinformation in my previous post. It should read "All stations are highly pixelated". They are, in fact, unwatchable. Also, not as many stations as the Tivo is receiving. Tivo still working fine plus more channels with the same pre-amp installed.

Alligator5678
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby Alligator5678 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:02 pm

I moved the Duo to the garage attic and connected it with a 6 foot rg6 cable to the antenna. I used a Netgear powerline ethernet adapter to gain access to the network. The network is providing speeds of about 35 mbs. I then a ran a scan and received 35 channels. The 35 channels are comprised of 9 subgroup channels. However, the quality of the channels is not as good as that reported by the 4 tuner Tivo, 3 of the channel groups are not watchable. I was monitoring the HDHomerun Config app to see the signal quality and network bandwidth. The highest bandwidth requirement was about 14.5 mbs so I'm comfortable with the network transfer rate providing adequate pipe to deliver the video. Now, I'm questioning whether the tuner should perform better than it does. I tried connecting the Mohu Jolt amp (15db) and it resulted in only 5 channels found in the scan. When I hooked up my older Connect with the same 6 foot cable to antenna I received 15 (4 channel groups) channels with the Mohu amp and only 5 without it. Intuitively, I expected similar results with the older and newer Connect models. They are performing very differently though. This is certainly perplexing. My best results are actually from the tuner built into the TV. The TV is a 5 year old Toshiba "dumb" TV. When I connect the TV (Juice preamp, 120 feet of cable) I get 42 channels. They all work fine. Please advise.

jasonl
Silicondust
Posts: 11228
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:23 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby jasonl » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:41 pm

Can you enable the sending of diagnostic data on the older device and run a scan on it and reply back with the device ID? I'd like to see how it's comparing. The last channel scan on the Duo looks like it found 34 channels.

The issue with amplification is that 15dB is a lot. That's 25% on the HDHomeRun's scale. When you take a signal that's already near/at 100 and bump it another 25, you have a strong possibility of overloading the input to the HDHomeRun, which decreases signal quality on everything, resulting in fewer channels being found.

Alligator5678
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby Alligator5678 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:02 pm

I will be out of town for a couple of weeks and will be able to do as you request when I return. I appreciate your feedback on the 15 db information. Here's what I'm trying to do - use my older connect and the new duo to provide 4 tuners. Right now, they are behaving very differently to the point where they cannot be used together. You identify near 100%, but the stations that report at 100% signal strength have much lower signal and symbol quality scores.
So far my best configurations -
1) Duo, no amplification, 6 foot cable from antenna to duo. This is not practical at this time. The garage is not climate controlled, summer temps exceed 100, winter temps drop below 0 degrees. 34 channels but only about 4 "groups" visible, NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX. of those ABC and Fox highly pixelated, not usable. Any preamp results in extremely poor reception with very few channels regardless of whether the duo is next to the antenna or 120' away next to the router. Even the best case near the antenna doesn't work as well as the configurations below.
2) Old connect, best result is with 15 db moju jolt amp, 120 feet downstream from antenna, positioned in my family room. About the same as Duo but better results on ABC and FOX, not perfect but usually watchable. Also have CW and occasionally PBS. Direct connect to antenna as in 1 above (no amp) resulted in 5 stations.
3) TV- Antennas direct preamp 19db. 46 channels including some that are 40 to 50 miles away. This is the best scenario for viewing a single channel but I need to record multiple shows so this isn't an option, unfortunately.
4) Tivo - with antennas direct 19db juice preamp, 120 feet downstream from antenna: 42 channels, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, CW, and 2 groups of subchannels that include MeTV, Comet, etc. CW and PBS occasionaly have pixelation, others are good.

My goal is to use my 2 HDHomeruns. But that's not working and the 2 that I have won't work together and the duo has so far been a very poor experience. I am still curious about the connect and duo regarding amplification built in. NickK states in a separate post that that amplification is built in. Can you supply details?

Again, I will run the tests you request later this month. I will help in any way I can to resolve, including any alpha / beta testing (I really don't like the Tivo) . Based on the multiple configurations I've tried I've got a good feel for what I should be able to achieve regarding the number of stations and the quality. I'm hopeful I can get there with the Homeruns. I've had great success with the HDHomerun primes in the past, I've purchased 5 of them for myself and family members. They work great but I don't have cable at this location so I need the tuners to work.

ebo
Posts: 441
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:58 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby ebo » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:02 pm

3) TV- Antennas direct preamp 19db. 46 channels including some that are 40 to 50 miles away. This is the best scenario for viewing a single channel but I need to record multiple shows so this isn't an option, unfortunately.
Since that works well for the TV I'd start with that and add a 3- or 4-output passive splitter downstream from the preamp's power injector to feed the TV and the 2 HDHRs (don't put splitters or attenuators between the injector and the preamp). Or, if the HDHRs aren't close to the TV, use a dual splitter to feed the TV and the line to the HDHRs with another dual splitter at the HDHRs. Check the signal level for each channel on each HDHR. If any channel is at 100%, add more attenuation until it's below 100%. You may need different attenuation to each HDHR.

Early HDHR models had a separate input for each tuner. More recent ones have a single input regardless of the number of tuners in the box, which means they have an internal splitter. It's amplified to overcome the loss of a passive splitter (typically 3.5 dB per output for two outputs). I don't know if it has more gain than that.

Any amp can be overloaded by a sufficiently strong signal in its passband, not necessarily the channel you're trying to watch. Since your TV gets good reception with the Antennas Direct preamp, that preamp isn't being overloaded. However, its 19dB gain could easily overload the preamps in your HDHRs. That's why you need to attenuate it.

Alligator5678
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby Alligator5678 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:25 pm

@Ebo - thanks for the detail. I've seen variable attenuators for $10 to $15 (Antennas Direct ATT-1 variable attenuator). Would it make sense for me to purchase one of these and attempt to dial in the best result?
Last edited by Alligator5678 on Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alligator5678
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:10 pm

Re: Connect with pre-amp

Postby Alligator5678 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:29 pm

@jasonl - should I expect different or the same results in the tuner reception results of my Toshiba TV, my older Connect and the new Duo once they are attenuated?


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