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Thread: WHITE PAPER: Do you need a single-wire upgrade?

  1. #1

    WHITE PAPER: Do you need a single-wire upgrade?


    It's fun to look at old pictures... but it's not always fun when technology moves on without taking us with it. If you are a longtime DIRECTV customer who hasn't upgrade in a while, you may be in danger of being left behind.


    It's called SWiM technology and it's been standard for DIRECTV installs for about three years. Before SWiM, every receiver needed a separate line all the way to the dish or multiswitch... and and DVRs needed two lines. This made it hard for installers working with homes pre-wired for cable TV, increasing costs and install times. Homeowners who had cables running through the walls didn't like the idea that they needed more wires, often outside the walls, to get basic service.

    DIRECTV SWiM technology was developed to address this. The goals were simpler installation, a single wire to each receiver, and the ability to use splitters across the line in order to make installs go faster.

    SWiM technology was introduced with the HR20 DVR and rapidly moved across the equipment line, By 2009 all new DIRECTV equipment was SWiM-capable, but could still be used with the older setups. However, starting in 2012, DIRECTV started making receivers and DVRs that required SWiM technology: the HR44 Genie DVR and the H25 HD receiver. What can you do if you want to upgrade, but don't have SWiM technology?

    This article is available in PDF format and has been completely revised and updated for 2015! Click here to download!
    SolidSignal.com // 22285 Roethel Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

    Formerly known as SS@SolidSignal

  2. #2

    How do you know if you have SWiM Technology?

    There are two ways to know if you if you have SWiM technology installed already. Start with pushing the {DASH} button on your remote. In newer receivers this will pop up a message like the one shown above. It's simple... if it says SWiM Connected, you are.

    If you can't get to the receiver, you can look at the equipment. Round dishes and the old Phase III dish are not SWiM-compatible. The AT-9 Dish (shown at right) is SWiM-compatible but should be replaced due to reliability issues.



    If your dish looks like one of the above, with a round reflector or two heads up front, you will need to replace it to upgrade to SWiM.
    SolidSignal.com // 22285 Roethel Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

    Formerly known as SS@SolidSignal

  3. #3

    If you have a newer dish, take a look at it. Is there only one wire coming from it, or four? One wire means that you have SWiM technology. Four means that unless you have an external multiswitch, you don't have SWiM technology. The dish on the left is definitely using SWiM technology.
    SolidSignal.com // 22285 Roethel Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

    Formerly known as SS@SolidSignal

  4. #4

    Upgrading an LNB

    Unless you have the Slimline-series dish, you will need to completely replace it in order to upgrade to SWiM technology. If you are unfamiliar with aiming a multisatellite dish,you might want to find a local expert to call. An expensive multisatellite meter is required and it is a multistep process.

    If you wish to try it yourself, you can start with the basic dish pointing setup from your receiver's satellite setup screens and then proceed to use a multisatellite meter like the Birdog USB to peak the 101 and 119 signals from the dish.

    On the other hand if you do have a Slimline dish with four lines, you can upgrade just the LNB (the front part) with ease, or you can add an external multiswitch. Adding an external multiswitch gives you the option to upgrade easily but is more expensive.

    To change out an LNB you need the following:

    DIRECTV SL5-SWM SlimLine Single Wire Ka/Ku Five LNB With Built-In Multiswitch (SL5-SWM) from Solid Signal
    DIRECTV SWS-8 Satellite 8-Way Wide Band MRV Compatible Splitter (2 -2150 MHz) from Solid Signal
    DIRECTV SWM-PI 29V 1.5A Power Inserter for SWM-8 (SWM-PI) from Solid Signal
    Solid Signal Custom Cable Lengths RG6 with High Quality Solid Signal Connectors from Solid Signal (approximately 4' of cable for the dish, plus any additional runs you may need)
    A pencil
    A ladder
    A 7/16" open-end wrench and screwdrivers
    Cable ties

    Note: in some installations, you may be able to use a smaller splitter or LNB. Call Solid Signal at 1.877.312.4547 if you have questions.



    Go up to the dish and before you move anything, use the pencil to mark the position of all mounting and adjustment screws on the back of the dish. If you accidentally bump the dish, you'll know it.

    Disconnect the LNB by unscrewing it and removing the coaxial cables. Feed the four cables back through the arm.

    Connect the new, single cable to the LNB and feed it through the arm. Connect it to the splitter at the top. Run the four existing cables into the splitter. You will need a line to a power source connected to port #1 (the red port.) You can use existing lines or run a new one for this purpose.


    Here's a diagram showing how it's done:
    SolidSignal.com // 22285 Roethel Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

    Formerly known as SS@SolidSignal

  5. #5

    Should you choose a SWM-13 LNB?


    DIRECTV's latest LNB gives you the option of 13 tuners on a single line. This may give you the ability to do without an external multiswitch, and that may make your installation easier. On the other hand, the new SWM-13 LNB is more expensive than the traditional SWM LNB. Should you choose it? Here's a way to decide.

    First, the new SWM-13 LNB will not work for you if you're in a market where you need the Slimline-5 LNB. Some markets do need that LNB to get some channels. Our handy, always updated list of Slimline-5 markets will help you to decide. If you get channels from any of the cities on that list, you'll need a Slimline-5 LNB so the SWM-13 LNB is the wrong choice for you.

    You also should decide if you actually need that much capacity. Are you going to have more than 8 tuners? A Genie DVR is 5 tuners, a regular DVR is 2 tuners, and a regular receiver is 1 tuner. (A Genie Mini Client doesn't count as a tuner.) Add up the tuners you'll need and you'll get an idea whether or not you'll be fine with the 8 tuners supplied by the regular SWM LNB.

    To install a SWM-13 LNB, follow the instructions in the previous post. Here are the parts you'll need:

    DIRECTV SWM-13 LNB Next-Generation Slimline-3 (SWM13LNB) from Solid Signal
    DIRECTV SWS-8 Satellite 8-Way Wide Band MRV Compatible Splitter (2 -2150 MHz) from Solid Signal
    DIRECTV SWM-PI 29V 1.5A Power Inserter for SWM-8 (SWM-PI) from Solid Signal
    Solid Signal Custom Cable Lengths RG6 with High Quality Solid Signal Connectors from Solid Signal (approximately 4' of cable for the dish, plus any additional runs you may need)
    A pencil
    A ladder
    A 7/16" open-end wrench and screwdrivers
    Cable ties

    Here's a simplified installation diagram for the SWM-13 LNB:

    SolidSignal.com // 22285 Roethel Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

    Formerly known as SS@SolidSignal

  6. #6

    Adding a multiswitch



    Another option for upgrading is the use of an external multiswitch. This will allow you to do the upgrade without touching the dish but is more expensive and will require you to cut cables and attach compression connectors. An external multiswitch is a good option if you think you will need to upgrade even more later, because if you upgrade the LNB to a single-wire model you will have to replace it with a four-wire model later for additional upgrades.

    You'll need the following:

    DIRECTV SWM-8 Single Wire Multi-Switch With Power Supply (8 Channel) (SWM-8) from Solid Signal
    DIRECTV SWS-8 Satellite 8-Way Wide Band MRV Compatible Splitter (2 -2150 MHz) from Solid Signal
    DIRECTV SWM-PI 29V Inserter for SWM-8 and SWM-16 (PI-29Z) from Solid Signal
    Solid Signal Universal Compression Tool (LCCT-1-SS) from Solid Signal
    Digicon S-Series DS-6 RG-6 Connectors (Bag of 100) (DS6) from Solid Signal
    Solid Signal Custom Cable Lengths RG6 with High Quality Solid Signal Connectors from Solid Signal (one 3' run for the splitter, and any additional runs you may need)
    A pencil
    A ladder
    A 7/16" open-end wrench and screwdrivers
    Cable ties


    After you decide where the multiswitch should go, cut the four lines to the dish so there is approximately 12" slack. Attach new compression connectors to the lines and connect them to the four ports at the bottom labeled Sat 99/101 and Sat 103/110/119. The flex ports are not used.

    Connect a line from the SWM1/PWR port to the splitter. Attach compression connectors to the other side of the line you cut and attach them to the splitter. In general, the SWM2 port is not used. While you can use the SWM1/PWR port just for power and the SWM2 port just for receivers, that is a less stable configuration than using a power-passing splitter. You will need a line to a power source connected to port #1 (the red port.) You can use existing lines or run a new one for this purpose.

    Make sure that any unused ports are terminated, using terminators you removed from the splitter. The following post shows a basic multiswitch installation.
    SolidSignal.com // 22285 Roethel Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

    Formerly known as SS@SolidSignal

  7. #7
    SolidSignal.com // 22285 Roethel Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

    Formerly known as SS@SolidSignal

  8. #8

    Attaching the power inserter



    Whether you upgraded your LNB or added a multiswitch you will need a power inserter. The power inserter makes the SWiM system function. Find a location with AC power at least 15 cable feet from the dish or switch and run a line from the RED port on the splitter to the "POWER TO SWM" port. If you have an external switch, you can run a dedicated line from the "Legacy 3" port on the multiswitch instead.

    There is a second port on the power inserter labeled SIGNAL TO IRD. This can be used to attach to a receiver, but it's not recommended because of the risk of burning out the receiver if not connected properly.
    SolidSignal.com // 22285 Roethel Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

    Formerly known as SS@SolidSignal

  9. #9

    Preparing the receivers for the new system

    After you have connected the power inserter, you are ready to change the receivers over to SWiM. If you have any non-DIRECTV-branded receivers, such as any Hughes, RCA, Sony, or Philips receivers, they should be replaced with new, SWiM-capable receivers. The DIRECTV D10, D11, R10, R15 and H10 receivers are also incompatible with SWiM and should be replaced.



    Other receivers and DVRs may have B-band converters on the back. The B-Band converter allows HD receivers to work with the older system and are no longer used. If you see these grey or black boxes connected to the back of your receiver, disconnect them.

    If you have DVRs with two lines attached, disconnect the line into "Satellite In 2." Use a cheap "barrel" connector (available at any home store or discount department store) to add a terminator to these lines if they aren't used.
    SolidSignal.com // 22285 Roethel Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

    Formerly known as SS@SolidSignal

  10. #10

    Going through Satellite Setup


    You will need to change the satellite setup on every receiver. Start by powering up the receiver and pressing {MENU}.


    Arrow down to "Settings & Help" and press {SELECT}. Then, with "Settings" highlighted, press {SELECT} again.


    Arrow down to "Satellite" and press {SELECT}. Then, arrow down to "Repeat Satellite Setup" and press {SELECT} again.


    Because this process interrupts all programming, you will have to push the {DASH} button on the remote to continue. When you do, you will see the Satellite Setup menu. Here you can select the dish type you want and the multiswitch type. The dish type will probably be 04: Slimline 5 for a regular LNB, or 19: Slimline-3DS (DSWM) unless you have put in a different LNB. If the multiswitch type says "02: Multiswitch," change it to "01: SWM".Then arrow over and down to "Recheck SWM" and press {SELECT}.

    When the settings are right, arrow over to "Continue," and press {SELECT}.

    The receiver will then go through its automatic setup and retrieval of guide data. This can take several minutes. When it's done, you will have the option to set up the remote if you wish. When setup is finally done, you can watch live TV or view the guide.
    SolidSignal.com // 22285 Roethel Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

    Formerly known as SS@SolidSignal

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