Installing a motorised satellite tv system
Most people that install a motorised satellite system do so because they are not happy with all of the repeats that SKY show, because of curiosity, channels in their native tongue or maybe for the hardcore uncensored pornography.
Installing a motorised satellite system is a challenge but well worth the time spent. For this tutorial I will assume that you are going to wall mount your dish but if not you will be glad to know that most of the information here will still apply to you.
Following the instructions found here you should be able to have a fully working system within 5-6 hours.
You will need:
A satellite receiver
A satellite dish
T & K brackets + a pole or our L-SHAPED Wall Bracket
A Diseqc motor
F plugs etc to make the connections
A satellite Meter
Advice on what to buy
Determine what you want to watch i.e. movies, music, documentaries or whatever you can get as this will determine what satellite receiver you buy. Some receivers can be patched with software to allow you to view pay TV but others may require you to buy a conditional access module which you would have to program in order to view encrypted channels. There are receivers out there that use software to emulate these cam's i.e. Technomate TM500S , the VU+Duo is our best selling alternative.
Your best bet is to buy something that can be upgraded in the future but also very simple for you to use and for this purpose I would recommend a Technomate satellite receiver. The Technomate TM500 Linux would be my choice as it represents good value and is so simple a young child could operate it.
Buying a complete kit is a good way of saving money and you know that everything you have purchased was designed to work together.
Satellite dishes can be thought of as very ugly devices but there are ways of disguising your dish. Metal dishes can be sprayed with car paint to help them blend into the surroundings or you may want to buy a transparent satellite dish made of polycarbonates which for installations near the seaside are brilliant as they do not rust. New products are always being developed to help people disguise their satellite installations. As with a lot of things size really does matter but due to the local council's dislike of satellite dishes you may not get planning permission for anything to large and your neighbours may complain if the dish obstructs a view from their property so I would recommend not going for a dish any bigger than 90cm though you can always risk a bigger dish and hope that nobody notices. Bigger dishes are essential for picking up weaker signals.
You want to buy a universal LNB and preferably 0.2db or less. The lower the number the better the picture quality will be. Universal means that the LNB is not fixed to only receiving channels on a certain band.
The motor should support Diseqc 1.2, Goto X and USALS as should your satellite receiver. USALS stand for Universal Satellite Automatic Locator System and use your longitude and latitude in order to track the satellites positioned above the Clarke belt. Having USALS will make things simple so it's a good thing to have. The Disecq Motors we sell would be my choice as they support all of the above and can turn from 75E to 75W. This motor can be driven using buttons on the base of the unit which helps to set the dish up quickly. It also moves quite quickly so you don't have to wait so long when moving from one satellite to another.
Starting the install
A dry warm weekend is best for this preferably when your partner is out shopping or something. Start by looking for a neighbours Sky satellite dish and look where the dish arm is pointing. As we are in the North and the satellites circle the equator we know that our dish has to have a clear view of the south. Alternatively use a compass for a more precise reading. Look at your home and decide where the best place to mount the dish will be. Mine is on the side of my house just below the roof so it has an unobstructed view of the sky both East to West.
Once you have decided where the dish will go you need to fix the brackets to the wall. Opinions differ as to how these should be fitted to the wall but I prefer to have the K at the top as I believe it adds greater stability to the dish especially in high winds. The brackets should be approximately 1m apart. You will need strong bolts in order to get a good fixing. If you use our L-Shaped Wall Bracket the setup is simpler, all you need to do is ensure the pole upstand is vertical using a spirit level.
Once complete you will need to attach the pole using U clamps and make sure that the pole is 100% vertical. This is the most important thing you will do so make sure it's spot on and check with either a spirit level or inclinometer.
A hammer may be needed to tap the brackets and pole in order to get things completely level.
Once complete go and have a cup of tea and read the instruction leaflet that came with your dish. Dish assembly is quite straight forward.
Unpack the motor and flick through the instructions. There should be a chart which tells you what to set the inclination and declination to on your motor and satellite dish based on your latitude. If you don't know what your latitude and longitude are you can visit www.multimap.com and type in your post code. Your latitude and longitude will be displayed under the picture of the map. Another useful site is www.heavens-above.com/LocationFromGoogleMaps.aspx , all you do is click on where you live and your latitude and longitude will be displayed at the bottom of the page.
Now would be a good time to wire up the LNB to the motor. Pre made cables for this purpose are available.
Set the motor and dish to the settings given in the motor manual and triple check everything as it's far easier to work on the dish when it's on ground level. Now bolt the dish to the motor insuring that the motor is set to 0 degrees and that the dish goes on completely central. Again this is an important step so make sure it’s accurate.
Take the dish up the ladder and bolt it onto the pole making sure the dish will not be obstructed by anything. Using a compass find magnetic south and adjust to find true south. A map that shows the magnetic variation for your location is helpful but not essential as you can turn the dish manually and raise and lower the dish as long as the brackets are loosened.
As a general rule you want to find the closest satellite to your longitude, which will always be the highest satellite in the sky and gives you a better chance of tracking the arc, in my case I chose Athlantic Bird 2 8W (If you were in Dublin say, you would be better with Atlantic Bird 3 at 5W). Basic rule of thumb is that if you are west of the Shannon use 8w and if you are on the east coast use 5w.
Plug in your satellite receiver and run a cable outside so that you can plug in your satellite meter. Satellite meters take power from the receiver so the receiver will need to be on and not just in standby. A good meter for this purpose is the First Strike FS1 or the Horizon USB Plus. Connect your cable from the receiver and another cable to the motor and gently move the dish side to side and up and down until you find the satellite and get the best possible signal. Once complete you can tighten up the brackets and run a new satellite cable from the motor to the satellite receiver.
Satellite cables come in 3 main colours which are white, brown and black. You should use the colour of cable that is most pleasing to the eye. I find black cable is best suited to brick houses.
You should now weatherproof your hard work with silicone and tape and make sure that the cables are long enough that should the dish move a long way in one direction that the cables will not be stretched or damaged.
You can now set your receiver to USALS and start scanning and storing satellites.
It is advisable to check which satellites you can receive for your size / type of dish on the satellite forums. You may need to tweak your setup a little to get a good signal on all satellites.
That's all there is to it.
If you get stuck it may be advisable to seek professional help. firstname.lastname@example.org