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Satellite Workshop 01

Bush IRD155

This receiver does not appear to be a "clone" of anything else but, when a dead one arrived in the mail the other day, I was surprised to find that the power supply is very similar to the Amstrad SRD500 design. Fitting parts from an SRD500 power supply repair kit cured the fault which had destroyed several parts including the mains input diode, D501, the 10 resistor, R504 and the MJE18004, Q501. The Bush kit is available from "Economic Devices."

Ferguson SRD4

This receiver is wedge-shaped which, as I tell my customers, makes it ideal for use as a door stop. But people become rather attached to their equipment it seems. Certainly, the lady with the wedge-shaped face was insistent that she would pay me lots of money to fix her receiver. Faced with an offer like this, how could I refuse? The symptom was familiar: two vertical white bars and the message "No video signal."
The LNB voltage was present and, from time to time, a German station on Astra 1D would appear. This was a valuable clue. A few measurements confirmed that the tuning was stuck at the lowest possible frequency. Replacing the SDA3202 surface mount chip beneath the tuner did the trick.
Now another problem appeared on the screen. A request for the PIN number! Not knowing the number. I made a "forced entry" by pressing 9A69 on the remote control which I had bought from Sendz for the princely sum of two pounds! This got me into the menu and I was able to change the PIN. However, the darn machine continued to request the PIN each time I applied mains power. The Ferguson instructions on this are unclear (at least they are to me) so, if anyone knows the exact sequence of button presses required to disable this feature I'd be pleased to hear from them. In fact I might even send a free copy of my book to the writer of the first correct answer!
The power supply whistled in standby so I replaced the 220 F capacitor and the two 3v9 zeners near the power input socket. Now the only remaining fault was lines and "streaky pictures." Replacing every electrolytic on the secondary of the power supply with 105 C types cured the lines. The streakiness finally disappeared after I replaced all the electrolytics which sit to the left of the tuner. Phew!
The lady with the wedge-shaped face hasn't been back to collect it, yet. Still, it's only six months and I know she'll pay me lots of money!

Ferguson SRD6

(picture supplied on disc)
Whenever I lend out a manual, it arrives back with a page missing! Unfortunately, I find out only when a receiver comes in for repair and I have no time to hunt for the errant sheet of paper. Such was the case with a Ferguson SRD6 which was brought to me by the owner of the "Bull & Bushel."
He swore to me that nobody had poured beer inside it but it had some rather suspicious looking stains on top. Luckily the inside was dry and clean but only three volts was present on the LNB input. Without the relevant circuit diagram I was forced to trace the supply track with an indelible red marker pen. The culprit was easy to spot, however. Diode DK01 on the 22kHz tone board had become so hot that the solder had melted. I was reluctant to change the diode because its type was unfamiliar to me and I know that a voltage of exactly 0.6 volts must develop across it for the 22kHz tone to be recognised by an LNB. At 300mA that's a worst-case dissipation of just 0.16 Watts with the oscillator not running. I don't see why it had run so hot. Cleaning and resoldering the joints provided a cure but I did wonder how long it would be before the pub owner brought it back again.

Telephone Blues!

Occasionally, I get telephone calls from dealers who think I run a free technical help line. Well, I do but only for those people who buy spares from me, send me a lot of repairs or give me help in return. Otherwise, the free advice is by e-mail only. This serves two purposes: I can answer the e-mail in the evening when I'm less busy and it leaves the telephone free for my genuine customers. At present I get roughly ten telephone calls per day and fifteen e-mails*. That's as many as 125 enquiries per week. At an average of ten minutes each, that's twenty hours of charity work per week! (Not counting the replies to letters which are very time-consuming). Oh yes: for those of you who found the number, I reply to faxes only if you enclose a five pound note.
*Nowadays it's nearer to 50 e-mail messages per day!

Pace PRD800

A local shopkeeper also deals in satellite equipment but he concentrates on sales and installation while my main business is repairs and spares. Consequently he brings me receivers to repair and I pass most of my installation enquiries to him. Since we are only five minutes apart, he expects me to repair his receivers while he waits. This is fine for the easy ones but last week he brought me a tricky one. It was a PRD800 which would give an excellent picture from the Scart sockets but nothing from the RF Modulator. However, the terrestrial signal looped through perfectly so there was obviously no break in the connection. The clue was that, on UHF channel 69, I could see a faint ghost of a picture from the satellite receiver. My impression was that the modulator output was on UHF channel 70.
This clue was all that I required. A few measurements confirmed that one side of the "Nicky 2" chip was not working. A new chip cured the fault and my friend went on his way, pleased that he'd seen me sweat for a change.


Being on the main caravan route to Scarborough does seem to attract the foreigners. A tiny lady towed a huge fellow with a number one haircut into the shop. I would have called it a "crewcut" but my daughter tells me that's not "cool". During the war it was very cool but things must have hotted up since then. I blame it on global warming and Mrs Heckmondwyke's greenhouse next door.
But I digress. The tiny lady handed over a Pace D150 and twittered
"Tell the man what's wrong with it, Yoorgen."
"Lauft nicht." Rumbled the monster in a gutteral voice.
"Yes, Yoorgen, we know it won't work but can we be more specific?"
"Keine Mitteilungen auf dem Bildschirm. Dekodiert nicht."
Now that last bit I understood but the tiny person peered over the counter and translated "No information on the screen. Won't decode."
This was all very strange because the stout fellow clearly understood every word she said in English! Anyway, I booked it in as "Kaputt", which seemed to please the hulk so much that his monacle fell out.
"Aufwiederschauen" I smiled at the pair as they left. I learned that in Dusseldorf.
"Goetz von Berlichingen" they replied. I guess that means they like goats.
On test, the D2Mac decoder appeared to work all right until I pointed the dish at 1 W. The CTV package announced "No Access" even with a valid smart card. A quick call to Pace established that these programmes are now broadcast in "Simulcrypt" which means both D2Mac and DMac. A new Eprom (807-2301009) arrived the following day. Replacing the existing Eprom in the socket was simple and cured the problem. It's a real delight to deal with a company that can answer technical questions and supply the parts for product updates straight away.
The little woman and large gentleman were staying at the "Bull and Bushel" so a quick phone call brought them back. I refused the offer of a 500 deutschmark note and settled for an English tenner instead. You can't fool an old soldier! I've been caught once with a 500 peseta note. The big gent patted me on the shoulder, kindly, and called me "Dumkopf." I think he liked me.

Amstrad SR950

Jerry runs the TV and Video repair shop in town. I pass all the TVs to him and he usually reciprocates with satellite equipment. On this occasion, however, his problem was so simple that I told him to do it himself. His customer had acquired a second hand SR950 from an elderly relative who, having paid 350 to have it installed (!), found it too complicated to use. Unfortunately, he'd already pressed every combination of button on the remote. The problem was that there were no decoder messages and half the channels were missing because the new owner was using a standard 10.0 GHz LNB.
Now, this model comes programmed for an "Enhanced" 9.75 GHz LNB and, unlike the similar SRD700, the SR950 has no menu option for any other local oscillator frequency. The only way to use it with a standard LNB is to use the "AutoTune" facility. To do this is simple.
You press [SETUP] [>] [>] [>] then quickly (within 5 seconds) press [SETUP] and [MUTE]. The receiver will supply 18 volts to the LNB and search the entire band from the lowest to the highest frequency, storing each programme on successively higher odd-numbered channels as it does so. This sequence is repeated with even-numbered channels and 13 volts to the LNB. It takes several minutes for the automatic process to take place but once it has finished you will see "OK" on the screen. Press [CANCEL] and it is done. As the programmes will be stored in transponder order you then need to reprogramme the "Favourites." Press button [1] then press the button with the "smiling face" to select "Favourites" mode.
Now press the [up] and [down] buttons to find "Sky One" or whichever programme you want as Favourite 1. Press [STORE] and this programme will be fixed as Favourite channel 1 and the number will increment automatically to Favourite 2 ready for the next. Press the up/down buttons to find the next programme and press [STORE]. This process is really simple and best done without a card inserted so that you can read the names of the scrambled channels which appear after "Please Insert Card."
Unfortunately, in Jerry's life, nothing is ever simple. He followed my instructions but nothing seemed to work. In desperation he brought the SR950 to my workshop and I connected it via Scart to my TV. There were no messages because the video bandwidth was set to wide instead of narrow. Wide shows as a [. . .] symbol in the Setup mode whereas narrow shows just a single dot within the square brackets, thus [.]
I corrected this but Autotune failed to find any stations at all, even though I could see pictures! Changing the "AFC" value from "-32" to "0" cured this. However, my LNB is a "Universal" type so there was no point in continuing. Jerry returned to his shop where he uses a standard 10.0 GHz LNB. Within minutes he was on the phone again.
"It's reset itself to "wide" again and every time I press a button in the Setup mode it goes into standby!"
After several trips back and forth we realised that he was using a fully wired Scart connector whereas I was using a partly wired one. According to the User Instructions, his was correct. However, on looking at the Scart connection list, I found pins 10 and 12 labelled as "Data" and "Clock." It seems that his Sony TV was interfering with these lines. Cutting off the two offending wires restored normal operation.

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