Ceton InfiniTV4 - Recurring No TV Signal Warnings

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Ceton InfiniTV4 - Recurring No TV Signal Warnings

Post#1 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:12 am

I am having issues with my ceton card always losing TV signal. When this happens I get 'no TV signal error messages, 4 at a time, about every minute, anytime media center is running, and of course no channels at all. There are also occasional sdv errors, or subscription required warnings. This problem usually shows up everyday for some length of time, sometimes 5 minutes, sometimes 5 days. I've had this problem for almost a year, since initial install.
Things I've tried to fix include:
2 different computers ( also swapped components back and forth)
2 different tuning adapters, USB cables, power supplies( CTS)
Uninstall avast antivirus and install windows security ( CTS)
Re install windows 7
Re install ceton software ( CTS)
2 different cable cards ( TWC)
4-5 ceton repair tickets ( still pending)

CTS = ceton tech support TWC = time Warner cable

I originally had 1 TA, CTS told me to get a 2nd, and later (after a firmware update?) Told me to remove 1. I never returned the second TA to TWC because of these issues never went away, and i wanted to have a spare for troubleshooting. Ive swapped all the wiring and TAs many times. They are plugged into USB 2.0 port on the motherboard, the computer is on 24/7, no sleep. CTS says all my diagnostics show tuning adapter errors. Both of these computers previously had analog hauppauge cards and never had an issue.

I have countless hours into this and may have left something out.... anyone know how to make tuning adapters happy??? I sure don't...
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Post#2 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:24 am

You appear to have done everything but test the signal strength. Have you asked TWC to come to your residence and test the signal where the tuner is connected? I know you had success with analog Hauppauge tuners, but CableCard tuners are less tolerant of weak signals.
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Post#3 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:36 am

I have actually had them here doing signal strength 2 years ago and they rewired from the pole to the house so its all new... it was 2 yrs ago so I can't rule it out but it... should... be good. Can I check signal strength in the diagnostic report?
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Post#4 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:02 am

Have TWC check it anyway. In two years, the wire from the pole to your house could have been chewed by squirrels or have accumulated rain water in certain junction points.

Yes, your signal strength is in the diagnostic report; it should be between -10db and +10db.
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Post#5 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:26 pm

I'm not sure where to look in the diagnostic, I open the zip file and there's quite a few txt and log files and I don't know where to start... in the past 8 hours I had about 35 'tuner error' s and still no cable. Anyone know where signal strength may be located? I may call time Warner.... but every time I do I spend 2 hours getting transferred around because no one knows what an HTPC is, most don't know what a cable card is, but they all seem to agree that ditching it and getting a cable box will fix my issues. Unfortunately I think they may be right...
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Post#6 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:50 pm

Signal strength is reported on the device web page (http://192.168.200.1). Go to the device web page, then go to the tuner tabs at the top. Pick a tuner and click on it. Make sure you are in the status tab and make sure it is not tuned already (the signal level will say "Not Tuned"). If it's tuned, pick a different tuner. Once you get a tuner that is not tuned already, go to the "Tuner" sub-tab. Pick a channel number that gives you problems, type it into the box that says "Channel", then click "Set Channel". That will tune that tuner to that channel. Now look down the page to where it says "Signal Level" and "Signal to noise level". Those are the 2 pieces of information you need. The temperature value is also important...you don't want your InfiniTV to overheat.

Keep in mind that these numbers are unique to each channel, and signal levels may change throughout the day. You may have one channel with excellent signal level and SNR now, but the next channel may not be good at all, or 2 hours from now the first channel might go way downhill. Try to search through a large range of channels, and do your searching at the same time you are seeing errors. It helps to pick the same channels WMC is having trouble with.

Or of course you could take the easy way out and just have a technician come out and test your lines.
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Post#7 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:23 pm

I don't have any channels, all 4 tuners show not tuned. I guess I've got more phone calls to make.
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Post#8 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:55 pm

The channels aren't listed on that page (they are listed on this page: http://192.168.200.1/Services/ChannelMap.html). You just pick a channel number and type it in. If you want to tune to channel 500, type 500 in the box and click "Set Channel".
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Post#9 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:20 pm

No matter the channel or the tuner, the signal strength, and signal to noise level, is the words "not tuned". at the bottom under "last resolve" it says "channel XXX: "tuning resolution cannot be determined at this time (channel not available)" resolved 1 second ago" XXX being whichever channel I attempt to tune to. I'll call time Warner and try to get them over here to check it. Better not cost me anything.... lol

update : i called TWC and they are pinging the TA lol. i made an appt to have the signal strength tested tomorrow... i didnt want to work a full day anyways. i scheduled a tech support call from ceton at the end of last week for today and im hoping to hear from them.... in the mean time, anyone want to tell me what happened on the walking dead last night?
Last edited by maximus4 on Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post#10 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:36 pm

From what you've said in here so far, it sounds like your TA is malfunctioning. Can you please provide your Ceton ticket number(s) so I may look into this?
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Post#11 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:41 pm

its akt-978-25606, i gave it to you on another post earlier today. i actually have another TA here with USB cord and power supply from the days when 2 TAs were required. i never returned it to TWC because i always had TA issues and they werent charging me for it. ive swapped them back and forth several times and always have the same results. i can swap again or trade both of them out for 2 more and try 2 different ones?
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Post#12 » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:43 pm

update...
so, TV started working randomly last night. it has been working almost 24 hours now. it never stays out more then a week so its right on schedule. so last night i checked the signal strength thru ceton web diagnostics, and it reported -22db... which is a little weak from what ive read. i had already made my appt. to have TWC come check signal strength and of course it started working before he showed up.... but i had him check anyways, and he showed me on his little doodad that the wire coming into the house was -.5db, and 33db upstream. the ceton is reporting -20db. he schooled me on signal loss and gave me a handful of splitters. i replaced my 4 way splitter (cable in, split 4 ways, 1 to ceton, 1 to TA, 1 to cable modem, 1 to bedroom tv (not hooked up to media center at all) with a 2 way and a 3 way (cable in, split 2 ways, one to ceton, one to 3 way splitter, which goes to the TA, Modem, bedroom tv) and now the ceton is reporting -17db. these are all high quality new splitters and coaxial cable from the cable co, and all fittings are tight. TWC guy was a little concerned at how tiny the dongle into the ceton card was... but they are all that small right? i cant assume thats the problem... so wheres my other 15 dbs going? anyone have any ideas?

also, i havent heard from ceton support. its been a couple days on the support ticket which is longer then usual for them but understandable, however they had offered, on saturday, to make a tech support call to me on monday (yesterday) which i not only accepted, but also mentioned that i would still like a tech call on my support ticket on sunday. its tuesday night, no call / no message.

it is working moment, but for how long. its never gone more then a week or 2 without issues so time will tell.
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Post#13 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:25 am

maximus4 wrote:it reported -22db... which is a little weak from what ive read.


No, -22 dB isn't a little weak. It's a LOT weak. Your signal strength should be in the range of -10 dB to +10 dB, with 0 dB being optimal (Note: That's what the signal strength should be at the tuner, not before the tuner).

You lose about 7 dB of signal strength on a 4-way splitter. The InfiniTV has a built-in 4 way splitter so it can use one line to feed 4 tuners. So there's 7 dB of loss. Your 2-way splitter adds another 3.5 dB. So right there you've got 10.5 dB of loss. The remaining 6.5 sounds like there's another 4-way splitter somewhere. It doesn't matter though, because even without that extra 6.5 dB of loss, you'd still be down 10.5 dB, which is weak. Either way, your solution is simple: You need to install a signal amplifier where the cable comes into your house. Get something that has about 15-20 dB of gain. By the time the signal gets down to the InfiniTV, it should be pretty close to 0 dB, give or take a few dB.
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Post#14 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:01 am

Definitly way too weak of a signal. As a test, have you tried plugging your infinitv directly into the feed coming to your place from the cable company with not splitters?

My cable tv feed signal level was around 0 dBmV but since I have a lot of devices, the cable guy had to install an amp. I think it was a 6 way +4 dBmV amp.

It wasn't adjustable so I swapped it with my Cable Vision CVT-40BID amplifier.

I have the cable tv feed hooked into the cable vision amp. I then have an 8 way splitter attached to the cable vision amp. I feed 1 ceton infinitv 4, 2 cable boxes, 1 cable modem and 3 tvs from the 8 way splitter.

I have the amp adjusted so the infinitv 4 shows as close to 0 dBmV as possible. Some channels show up to +3 dBmV. SNR is from 35 to 37. Channel changes using the tuning adapter are much faster now and I never have signal issues now.

If ceton could only fix the remaining firmware bugs, I'd be all set!
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Post#15 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:32 am

I'm not sure if I'm understanding something. So the cable to the house is -.5db. Then split once, which should leave a -4db signal at the ceton right?

As I understand it having the 2 way splitter first in line keeps the strongest signal for the ceton, and having the 3 way off of the 2 way keeps the lossiest signals on everything else.

I was not aware the ceton counted as a 4 way splitter, causing further signal loss, wouldn't this mean even a perfect 0db signal would too weak by the time its at the 4 tuners?
So do I need a minimum of roughly +10db AT the ceton to cancel that out?

Does anyone know of any further documentation/resource I could read on this subject? I'm good with wiring and electric but none of this knowledge seem to apply here.
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Post#16 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:59 am

Actually I stand corrected. I forgot there was a built-in amplifier on the InfiniTV. You can ignore the part about the 7 dB drop with the InfiniTV.

If your signal coming into the house is -0.5 dB, you should be seeing -4 dB on each of the 4 tuners and at the coax connector that plugs into the dongle. Since you aren't, there are three possible problems:

1. There are hidden splitters before your 2-way splitter.
2. Your InfiniTV dongle is not secured properly.
3. Your InfiniTV is defective.

You can easily rule out #1 by testing the signal strength at the coax connector that plugs into the dongle. It should read -4 dB.
Last edited by richard1980 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post#17 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:03 am

maximus4 wrote:I'm not sure if I'm understanding something. So the cable to the house is -.5db. Then split once, which should leave a -4db signal at the ceton right?

As I understand it having the 2 way splitter first in line keeps the strongest signal for the ceton, and having the 3 way off of the 2 way keeps the lossiest signals on everything else.

I was not aware the ceton counted as a 4 way splitter, causing further signal loss, wouldn't this mean even a perfect 0db signal would too weak by the time its at the 4 tuners?
So do I need a minimum of roughly +10db AT the ceton to cancel that out?

Does anyone know of any further documentation/resource I could read on this subject? I'm good with wiring and electric but none of this knowledge seem to apply here.


Here's a good site that explains signal loss and how to compensate for it: http://www.swhowto.com/VideoLoss.htm
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Post#18 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:41 am

I have within the past 2 years had the wiring from the pole to the house redone know for certain there are no other splitters, the main cable coming in was measured today at -.5db and yet, with that same cable that was tested connected directly to the ceton with 0 splitters or anything else at all, web diagnostics is showing -10db to -12db on all 4 tuners. With the single 2 way running just the TA and the ceton I'm up around -14db on all 4. I also tested this while gently pushing / spinning the dongle and nothing seemed to change. All connections were lightly tightened by wrench.

So might I need to get a small signal booster for just the ceton, to compensate? It seems a large 4 way booster would over boost everything that's not the ceton because that's the only place I'm having signal loss. Might there be a reason signal strength has never been mentioned by ceton support? They see those numbers right? Defective card.... I really hope not. I simply cannot afford to try this again.

I really do appreciate the help, and that link was very informative about loss. I think I get it, although I'm not sure where my loss is coming from. I miss my crappy cable box.
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Post#19 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:00 am

Can you clarify something? When you say "the main cable coming in", does the cable outside your house run straight in and terminate at a wall plate in your house? Is that the same connector the technician used when he got a -0.5 dB reading? If so, have you tried different coax cables to feed the splitter and the InfiniTV? A bad cable might cause an issue, so test a known good piece of cable.

If you are getting -0.5 at the wall and you are using known good coax cable, then your InfiniTV must be defective. You'll need to contact Ceton for assistance with an RMA.

If the -0.5 reading was at a different termination point (not the one that you use to hook up the splitter), you need to have another test done on the wall plate that feeds your splitter as well as a test on the end of the coax line that connects to the InfiniTV dongle. If you still see a large loss there, your InfiniTV is fine and you need to start tracing back the coax line through your house. You could have bad line inside your house, or you could have splitters that you don't know about. You'll want to eliminate as many splitters as you can and replace all bad line.
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Post#20 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:09 am

There is no wall plate, the cable comes in thru the top of the foundation from the pole, into the basement. My HTPC lives in the basement so the "main wire" is that one and it reaches over there. Its literally the wire coming from the pole. I wish I had a meter so I could double check this stuff.
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