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Thread: WHITE PAPER: More than 16 tuners in the home

  1. #1

    WHITE PAPER: More than 16 tuners in the home

    We all wish we had this problem. You've done well for yourself, and you've rewarded yourself with a home theater system in several rooms. Multiple DVRs, possibly even a server closet full of DVRs. You've got so much equipment that you had to hire a custom installer, but now you want to expand it further.

    DIRECTV's SWiM system doesn't count receivers, it counts tuners. A regular receiver is 1, an older DVR is 2, a Genie DVR is 5. Clients count as zero tuners because their tuners are in the Genie DVR. While DIRECTV will not activate a second Genie on a customer account (for now) it's still fairly easy to bump up against that 16-tuner limit. What can you do?

    DIRECTV installers will not be of much help. There are many documented cases where an installer simply refuses to go above 16 tuners in the home, claiming that any more tuners require a commercial account. This isn't true, but many installers think it is. You may simply be a sports fan, or watch a lot of television, or just have a big family. No matter what, you'll need to have some skill and knowledge, because you may need to help the installer, hire a custom installer, or do it yourself.

    There is a lot of misinformation out there and this special report will help you sort it all out.

    This report has been completely revised and updated!

    This report is available in PDF Format! Click here to download.
    SolidSignal.com SignalMarine.com // 25225 Regency Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

  2. #2


    If you need more than 16 tuners, the obvious choice is the DIRECTV SWiM-32. But is it the right choice?

    The SWiM-32 is not designed for residential use. In fact, it's designed for apartment buildings. It's a really big box. The goal of a SWiM-32 is to provide up to 8 tuners to each of four apartments. While each of those sets of eight tuners can use Whole-Home, it's not possible to share Whole-Home programming between the banks of eight.

    DIRECTV simply doesn't have an approved solution for whole-home for more than 16 tuners.


    There are options, of course. But, between the high cost of the SWiM-32 and its 4 banks of 8 (as opposed to a SWiM-16 that lets you use whole-home between any of the 16 tuners) there are better choices than the SWiM-32 for use within the home.

    DIRECTV has also recently introduced the DSWM-13 designed for hotels. Beware of this multiswitch because it isn't supported for residential use and its power level is so high that you could actually fry receivers by using it.
    SolidSignal.com SignalMarine.com // 25225 Regency Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

  3. #3

    Know what you have now

    The first step in knowing how best to upgrade is to know what you have now.

    Take a look at your dish. Are there four lines coming from it, or only one? If there is one line coming from the dish, then you will have to make a change to the dish, because you have the "SWiM LNB." This dish is not expandable to accommodate more than 8 tuners. But, if you're reading this article you probably have gone beyond the basic installation.

    If you do need to upgrade your dish, read this post for instructions on changing your LNB. You will have to buy a whole new dish, but you won't have to change it all, just the LNB (the front part.)

    If you have four lines coming from your dish, trace the wires and find the multiswitch. Unless this is a very old system, there are three possibilities.
    Last edited by SS@SolidSignal; 06-13-2014 at 05:40 PM.
    SolidSignal.com SignalMarine.com // 25225 Regency Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

  4. #4

    The Zinwell WB68



    This multiswitch was used by DIRECTV until about three years ago. It provides the opportunity for up to eight tuners but doesn't support whole-home. If you have this switch and you're happy with it, there's no need to change, but be aware that DIRECTV's newest receivers, the H25 and HR34, do not support this switch. If you are upgrading, this may be the right time to move from this switch to something newer.

    If you do want to stay with this switch and its older technology, you can purchase another one from Solid Signal and use up to 16 tuners that way. While it's possible to split the signal even further with additional WB68s, this may require the use of an amplifier, which will be discussed in a future post.
    SolidSignal.com SignalMarine.com // 25225 Regency Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

  5. #5

    The SWM-8 Single Wire Multiswitch



    In the mid-2000s, DIRECTV experienced explosive growth but there was a problem. While many homes were wired with high-quality RG6 cable, the standard was for only one wire per room. The DIRECTV HR20 DVR and its successors required two wires each, and it was unnecessarily expensive to run new cables. Homeowners didn't like it, either.

    DIRECTV's answer was the single wire multiswitch. This piece of equipment could be placed into the home instead of the old WB68 and let the DIRECTV DVRs get two tuners (or more) over one line. The new switch requires that power be inserted into the system through a separate module.

    If you have the SWM8 module and you want to add more tuners, you have an easy solution: swap it out for the SWiM-16 Single Wire Multiswitch.
    SolidSignal.com SignalMarine.com // 25225 Regency Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

  6. #6

    The SWM-16 Single Wire Multiswitch



    When DIRECTV's SWM-16 first hit the market, it seemed destined for commercial uses such as bars, restaurants and apartment complexes. With the DIRECTV HR44 Genie DVR it became more common to put it into homes.

    If you have a SWM-8 multiswitch, you have two choices. You can add another SWM-8, and a later post will describe how that can be done. This will keep your investment in a SWiM-8. However, DIRECTV Whole-Home will not be supported between the two switches. There are ways around this, the risks of which will be discussed in a later post.

    An easier, although more expensive, option is to use the SWM-16 multiswitch. The SWM-16 can take the place of the SWM8 with only minor changes to the system.

    First, look at the power inserter. All SWM-8 switches should use the PI-29Z power inserter, but some SWM systems have the PI-21 power inserter. While this does not pose an issue for SWM systems already in place, you need the PI-29Z. Switch out the power inserter before making any other changes.

    Look at the SWM-8. Note if there is a wire coming from the Legacy 3 port into the power inserter. This will be especially obvious if there is no wire coming from the Legacy 1, and 2 ports.

    When replacing a SWM-8 with a SWM-16, connect all the lines in the same places as before, except if you noted the line from the Legacy 3 port. You can get power from the power inserter to the SWM either through the SWM1 port on either SWM-8 or SWM-16, or through a separate line. On the SWM8, that separate line runs to the Legacy 3 port. On the SWiM-16 there is a separate connector marked PWR between the SWM1 and SWM2 connector. Connect the inserter line appropriately.

    There is a clear benefit to having a specific line run from the power inserter to the switch. Wiring this way will make it impossible to accidentally fry a receiver if you hook the power inserter up wrong. However, it also becomes impossible to use the power inserter's "TO IRD" port to connect a receiver inline with the power inserter.

    Then again, you probably already have more than 8 tuners. You wouldn't be reading this article if you didn't.

    If you have two SWM-8s, you can replace them with one SWM16. If you have one SWM-16, you have more options.
    Last edited by SS@SolidSignal; 06-16-2014 at 05:15 PM.
    SolidSignal.com SignalMarine.com // 25225 Regency Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

  7. #7

    DIRECTV-approved method of connecting two SWM-16s.

    Note: DIRECTV does not have an approved method of using two SWM-16s together for whole-home, but if you're willing to go without support, a a method for bridging them will be discussed in a later post.

    In order to connect two SWiM-16s to a dish with four outputs, you will need the following:

    Two multiswitches with power inserters: DIRECTV SWM16 Single Wire Multi-Switch With Power Supply (16 Channel) (SWM-16) from Solid Signal
    Four power-passing splitters: Skywalker 2-way Splitter for Off-air and Satellite signals (SKY23302D) from Solid Signal
    A combination of splitters as needed:Terminators: Skywalker 75 ohm Terminator (1 Terminator) (SPTERM) from Solid Signal
    Cable: Solid Signal Custom Cable Lengths RG6 with High Quality Solid Signal Connectors from Solid Signal

    Remember, do not oversplit the signal and terminate any unused connections. Also, remember to ground your equipment whenever possible. Better to ground too often than not often enough.

    Lines from the dish:
    Lines from the dish should be run to the four power-passing splitters. Run each line from each splitter into the same port in each multiswitch. In other words, the 18V line for each multiswitch should come from the same splitter.

    Line to the Power Inserter:
    For the most consistent results, run a line from the DC/PWR port into the POWER TO SWM port on the power inserter. You will not be able to run a receiver from this connection.

    Lines to the Splitters and Receivers:
    Run lines to the splitters from SWM1 and SWM2. It's not necessary to worry about which line goes into the power passing ports, but it is important that you use "green label" whole-home-compatible splitters. Use the smallest splitter possible and feed no more than eight tuners from each splitter.

    Note: Be aware of your signal levels. Using splitters or cascading switches can often lead to loss of power. An amplifier when combined with a signal locker can be critical in maintaining a clean, strong signal.

    The following post shows a diagram of the DIRECTV-approved method for wiring two SWM-16s.
    SolidSignal.com SignalMarine.com // 25225 Regency Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

  8. #8
    SolidSignal.com SignalMarine.com // 25225 Regency Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

  9. #9

    Connect a SWiM-16 to SWM8: Option 1

    If you have a SWM-8 and wish to add an additional SWiM-16, you have three options. DIRECTV doesn't provide a lot of documentation on the "correct approved" way of doing this, there are three options that may work for you. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

    Option 1 is installing the two multiswitches the same way that as the DIRECTV-approved method for using two SWiM-16s. This option balances out the line loss across both multiswitches, with both multiswitches having 6 dB of loss. It also has a good balance between cost and difficulty. You will need to rewire the area around your multiswitch, but when you are done you will have a stable system and an easy path for upgrading your SWM8 to a SWiM-16 should you wish to go for the full 32 tuners.

    You'll need the following:

    SWiM-16 multiswitch with power inserter: DIRECTV SWM16 Single Wire Multi-Switch With Power Supply (16 Channel) (SWM-16) from Solid Signal
    Four power-passing splitters: Skywalker 2-way Splitter for Off-air and Satellite signals (SKY23302D) from Solid Signal
    A combination of splitters as needed:Terminators: Skywalker 75 ohm Terminator (1 Terminator) (SPTERM) from Solid Signal
    Cable: Solid Signal Custom Cable Lengths RG6 with High Quality Solid Signal Connectors from Solid Signal


    Remember, do not oversplit the signal and terminate any unused connections. Also, remember to ground your equipment whenever possible. Better to ground too often than not often enough.

    Lines from the dish:
    Lines from the dish should be run to the four power-passing splitters. Run each line from each splitter into the same port in each multiswitch. In other words, the 18V line for each multiswitch should come from the same splitter.

    Lines to the Power Inserter:
    On the SWiM-16, run a line from the DC/PWR port into the POWER TO SWM port on the power inserter.
    On the SWM8, run a line from the Legacy3 port into the POWER TO SWM port on the power inserter. You will not be able to run a receiver from connections on the power inserters.

    Lines to the Splitters and Receivers:
    Run lines to the splitters from SWM1 and SWM2 on both SWiM-16 and SWM8. It's not necessary to worry about which line goes into the power passing ports, but it is important that you use "green label" whole-home-compatible splitters. Use the smallest splitter possible and feed no more than eight tuners from each splitter.

    Note: Be aware of your signal levels. Using splitters or cascading switches can often lead to loss of power. An amplifier when combined with a signal locker can be critical in maintaining a clean, strong signal.

    The following post shows a diagram of this method for wiring a SWiM-16 and SWiM-8 together.
    Last edited by VOS; 04-05-2012 at 05:33 PM.
    SolidSignal.com SignalMarine.com // 25225 Regency Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

  10. #10
    SolidSignal.com SignalMarine.com // 25225 Regency Drive // Novi, MI 48375 // 1.877.312.4547

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