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Satellite Workshop 23
Recently people have pointed out that my articles often contain more Pace faults than any other make. "Surely, Pace receivers must be very unreliable" commented one reader. Well, this is not really true. There are several factors involved. Firstly, more Pace receivers were sold in this area than any other make. Secondly, customers like them so much that they prefer to have them repaired rather than scrap them. Thirdly, parts are available even for eight year old Pace receivers and, fourthly, service information is willingly given by Pace Technical department. The combination of these factors, plus Pace's openness about any problems, means that dealer loyalty and customer loyalty remains high. With the truly unreliable receivers, you would be reading about the same faults month after month. Nobody wants to read about replacing start-up resistors time after time - which is why I write about Pace receivers instead!
Yesterday I had a telephone call from London. The customer described the problem as "horizontal streaks on decoded channels." This was on an IF distribution system and, apparently, several receivers exhibited the problem in the same location. I suspected a batch of faulty decoder I.C.s but Nokia Technical proved me wrong. They suggested that the customer was mounting the receiver too close to his television and that interference radiating from the TV was creating the effect. They were correct. The receiver was actually on top of the TV. Moving it to a side table cured the problem. Now, I've pointed out that a receiver should not be placed on top of other equipment because it can cause overheating and can also radiate into the TV but this is the first time I've come across the opposite effect.
The local carpenter is Welsh. To be more accurate he is from Anglesey. I won't try to pronounce the name of his village but it ends in "gogogoch." Everyone calls him "the artful bodger." I don't know how he ended up in Yorkshire and he certainly hasn't learned the language.
"This satellite receiver by hyur dusan't wurk no more look you," he sang, spilling wood shavings across my floor. "When I press this button he flashes minus three then goes back into standby."
He left the unit with me and I looked inside it later that day. A generous filling of sawdust had kept it nice and warm and I guessed that the electrolytics had dried out. Replacing C5 (100 F) and C10 (10 F) in the power supply got it running but the decoder messages were pale grey and the 5 volt supply measured 4.5v. I changed C13 (470 F) and C14 (1000 F) in the power supply and the decoder messages went nice and dark. The power supply output was now 5.05v which is correct but I noticed that the decoder messages flickered as I put the meter probe on the connector plug. A squirt of switch cleaner and a wiggle cured this bad connection.
My accountant probably won't believe the receipt which reads "Paid with thanks: one rolling pin, one dibber and a garden chair in payment for SRD500 repair." Well, we still like to barter around here. I hope the baker has a fault soon; I'm feeling hungry!
While I was on the way to drop off repairs for a local shop, I received a call on my mobile telephone. The lady's Cambridge ARD200 was dead and her husband said it needed a fuse. Her address was only a short detour off the main road so I called in to collect the receiver. The woman showed me into her living room then trotted off to watch TV in the kitchen. I spent an exhausting ten minutes extracting the receiver from the floor-to-ceiling cabinet which had to be lifted to release the mains cable upon which it was standing.
Having finally freed the captive receiver, I poked my head around the kitchen door to tell the lady that I'd be back with it in the morning.
"Oh, you can't take it away!" she exclaimed. "My husband's an electrician and he says it just wants a fuse."
I explained patiently that I would need to take it to the workshop to find the cause of the melted fuse, if in fact that's what the problem was. I don't carry fuses in the van and it needed a Torx number 10 screwdriver to release the cover.
"Oh, you can't take it away!" she exclaimed. "My husband's an electrician and he says it just wants a fuse," she repeated, as if I hadn't said a word.
I handed the unit over to her, smiled and walked out of the house, silently grinding my teeth.
"Do you know where I can buy a fuse?" she shouted.
"Ask your husband -- he's an electrician!"
Made by The Orient Power Video Manufacturing Co., which made the
Oritron/Aegir/Dixi/Lenco D2Mac decoder, this receiver is sold under the "BT" badge.
I had two for repair, today. The first exhibited "decoder messages disappear after warm up". Replace C45 (1uF next to U6 PTV111) often effects a cure but, on this occasion, C38, 33nF polyester caused the problem.
It measured correct but must have been leaky.
The same receiver had apparently had a previous fault described as
"Pattening" (sic) which was cured by replacing D15, L6 and C29 at the
back right corner of the decoder board (located with hair-drier and
freezer aerosol by the dealer who fixed it). However, another fault
appeared after warm-up: At switch-on the display would show "LNB5" then
"OFF". ("LNB5" is actually "LNBS" meaning "LNB Short-circuit")
In fact, there was NO short-circuit and the LNB voltage under load was 14v dc. The dealer posted it to me. I traced this fault to Q407 (2SC1815) and Q406 (medium power PNP) next to heatsink. Luckily I have a poor photocopy of a photocopy of what they laughingly call "the circuit diagrams" -- barely readable but at least I was able to figure out the LNB supply circuitry (although the fault was in the 12 volt regulated supply!)
The other SVS250 had symptoms which I've not seen previously:
On changing channel I could see only a blank screen for a couple of
seconds until the picture appeared. On channel 18 (possibly others, too) the
screen (Cartoon Channel) remained blank. After replacing every
electrolytic on the main board, I found it was C173 (47nF green coloured
polyester cap) in the middle of a cluster of electrolytics just right of
As a precaution, I replaced C460 (100 F) next to the heatsink. This causes a herringbone pattern which customers often describe as "loses colours when warm."
These BT receivers are now "dropping like flies" and should be good
little earners for a few months.