Sky Digibox
Sky Analogue


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NOTE: These decoders are obsolete. Most accessories and modifications mentioned on this page are no longer available.

Frequently Asked Questions about D2Mac decoders


File off the sharp front edges of your card, otherwise it will damage the contacts inside the slot, like this --->

Never touch the copper tracks or ICs on your card when you insert it. If your body is charged with static electricity you will discharge it through the card into the decoder!

The slot contacts are gold-plated but your pirate card contacts are covered with solder. Do not expect the connection to be reliable, ever again!

cardreader contact assembly

PLEASE do NOT ask me about pirate cards or codes!
I don't know anything about them.

Pirate cards can damage your decoder by bending the contacts and by depositing solder on them!

I do NOT repair D2Mac equipment or supply it, or cards, or software.

I DO supply some power supply repair kits for D2Mac decoders.

People still write to me to ask "will my XYZ receiver work with an ABC decoder?" or "Why won't it work" or "What should I buy?" or "How should I connect it?". My answer is simply "I don't know."

Some receivers are not designed to work with a D2Mac decoder. They might work with some models of decoder but not others. Some receivers have no Mac baseband output and will work only with a decoder which accepts PAL input. You should take your receiver to a satellite specialist and get him to provide a D2Mac decoder which is compatible. Be sure to ask for a demonstration of the decoder with your own receiver. Be sure to buy the same connecting lead and the decoder which are actually used in the demonstration. Bear in mind that a smart card may not be available for the programmes you want to watch. Ask your dealer about this. Make sure that the smart card is compatible with the decoder. If it's a pirate card then it may not be.

If you have a Pace receiver then you would be wise to buy a Pace D2Mac decoder. If you have a Nokia receiver then buy a Nokia decoder. They are designed to be compatible. If you buy anything else, you are taking a gamble. Also, if things don't work, the receiver manufacturer will blame the decoder and vice-versa! You have effectively NO guarantee if the seller can show that the receiver works and the decoder works, unless you have it in writing that you bought them as a matched pair.

The connecting cable can give problems. It should be short - preferably no more than half a metre. It should have no more wires than you actually need. (Some receivers use Scart pins 10, 12 and 14 for data connection). The video wires should themselves be screened (=shielded). Check in the FAQ for your receiver to see if special leads are required. (Amstrad and Nokia in particular).

So, I repeat:
Get the dealer to demonstrate the receiver and decoder working together. Buy the connecting lead that is used in the demonstration (and the card, too, if possible!)

Problems caused by Scart leads

Scart leads come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You can get long, short, fat, thin, screened, unscreened, gold-plated....

Not all of these are suitable for D2Mac. Some of the problems you will see are:

  • Colour cast on picture - often a green tinge at one side of the TV screen
  • Unfocussed picture at one side of the TV screen
  • Speckles on the picture (weak or too strong a signal can cause this, too)
  • Streaks on the picture

What sort should you buy? One that works of course. It's impossible to guess. As a general rule, do not use one more than 60cm long. Do not use one in which the video leads are unscreened. Gold plating is a waste of money unless your *socket contacts* are also gold plated.

>I got hold of a s/h decoder which looking at your pages appears to be an
>old Phillips BSB converted one. the problem now is it doesn't like my
>cards. I have three - a 2pic, an rb6 and an rb7. Canal plus is ok with the
>rb7 but tv1000 is a nightmare - if it does unscramble the picture it can
>take up to 5mins to do so and then can go off at any time . I've tried
>different software to programme the cards but to no avail. I know d2mac is
>not your speciality but do you have any pointers please?
>Many thanks again for taking time out to reply to me..Alan

The symptom you describe suggests to me that the BSB receiver has not properly been converted to a D2Mac decoder. A very common problem!


>I am having a problem with the position of the image on my TV from a
>SCART connected D2MAC IRD.
>It is too far left, leaving a white quarter inch band on the right
>hand side of the screen.
> Looking at a test card, the image looks to need to move about 3cm to
>be central but then would be slightly too wide (I can live with that !).
>I've tried fiddling with the SCART cable -
>Disconnecting 19 : no effect.
>Disconnecting 16 : picture better position, but still not correct.
>Do you have any thoughts how I can get the image to move to the right >?
>Some info ...
>Satford MSR400 D2MAC integrated receiver decoder, directly 21 pin
>SCART connected to a Sanyo CB5957 on the AV1 connection
>(Composite/S-VHS/RGB capable) >
>Thanks for any help you can give.
>Paul Walton

Answer by Nigel Goodwin:

Pin 16 is the line which forces the TV to RGB. Removing it cures the problem by setting the set to composite video - not RGB. I don't know how to cure it, but I know the reason:
For RGB it's common to use the composite video for its sync connection, but the composite signal has been through RGB-PAL encoding. This takes time and results in the composite signal been out of phase with the RGB signals. This gives the picture shifted problem. Actually I do know how to cure it - buy a new Sony TV, you must have noticed all the Sky digital demos use Sony TVs - the picture on these is correct!

>Martin, I got a Pace 1000 from a friend. It's working OK on PAL pictures but,
>when a D2Mac decoder is in line, it just comes up with "no signal" as if it
>does not see it. I can't see any bad joints or dry joints. Any ideas?

You don't give me any clues here.

  • What do you see on the screen when you turn off the Blue Screen "No Signal" message by pressing "F" then "Store" ???
  • Do you get a picture when you simply route the signal out of the Pace decoder Scart and back in again with a piece of wire?
  • Has the decoder *ever* worked with this particular receiver?
  • Does the decoder work with any other receiver?
  • Is the decoder *compatible* with the MSS1000?
  • Is the Scart lead the correct type and short enough, screened/unscreened?
  • Have you set the menu options correctly both on the MSS1000 *and* the decoder?
  • Do you see a stable but scrambled D2Mac "picture" without the decoder?

>Dear Martin

>I have a Nokia 1800 Satscan and Philips Visiopass 916
>(2 card) D2Mac decoder. It has 3 basic mods already done -
>grainy picture (56Pf), PAL baseband and S2 stations. My
>problem is twofold:
>1. When changing from TV1000, only when adult films are on,
>there is a loud crackling noise for 10 seconds, then it
>disappears. Or on changing from another station sometimes
>it goes, sometimes it doesn't. I am using an 88cm Triax
>dish, fully wired scarts, Sony TV and Grundig universal LNB.
>2. The picture is still very grainy. There is some info on
>your site about video gain, but it does not explain where
>it goes also some other alterations are mentioned. Could you
>please explain these more thoroughly.
>I know you say use a Nokia D2Mac decoder but I can't buy one.
>What do you think of Optimac or Macab 400? for use with Nokia?
>Worth the money or can the Philips be brought up to a better
>standard? Many thanks for a great site. Will send you some
>stamps in post.
>Gary Monaghan

Unfortunately I can't give you much help on this because

1. I didn't write the CTU900 FAQ and

2. I don't handle D2Mac repairs

I know enough to be able to say with reasonable confidence that your problems stem from a mismatch between the SAT1800 and the CTU916 cable box.

The only real answer is the one given (above) which is to test the receiver and decoder working together before you part with cash.

I think that the Optimac and Macab are both made by RSD Communications in Scotland. This is a highly reputable company and should be able to tell you about any compatibility problems. If they can't then don't buy!

I'm really sorry that I can't be more helpful but this is inevitably the problem with this sort of "mix & match" situation.

From Joe King

>I have a question,can you help please?
>I live in the U.K. and have a Sky Digibox made by Grundig. Are there any
>d2mac decoders compatible with this type of receiver or with any sky
>digital receivers?
>I ask this because from all the sites I have been to none say if this is possible.

I guess this is a bit like asking "is my honda 90 motorcycle compatible with my JCB excavator?" The question simply makes no sense, which is why no web site would mention it.

A Digital receiver is designed to receive and reconstitute the digital transmissions sent in a special format called "MPEG" which refers to a method of squeezing many programmes into a single channel or "bouquet".

An analogue receiver is designed to receive analogue transmissions in which each programme uses its own individual channel. Each channel is in a format which allows the original sound and picture to be transmitted and reformed for the TV set. Several formats are in current usage. In the UK and Europe we tend to use PAL (or SECAM in France which is similar apart from the way that colours are handled). In America the old standard is NTSC and in Scandinavia it is generally D2Mac. You need an analogue receiver which is compatible with the standard that you want to receive. In most cases it is possible to add an external box to receive a different standard. So, for example, a Frenchman wanting to get colour from UK transmissions with his SECAM receiver could plug a PAL transcoder into it, provided the two were compatible. Similarly, an Englishman wanting to watch a D2Mac transmission with his PAL receiver could plug a D2Mac decoder into it.

However it is impossible for a digital receiver to make any sense of an analogue transmission, any more than a DVD disc player could play a 78rpm Long Play record!

So a D2Mac decoder plugged into a Digital receiver is as much use as a banana plugged into a light bulb socket. ;o)

... and Joe king showed his gratitude for my twenty minutes spent in typing this reply, and his lack of understanding of "emoticons", by answering as follows:

>There was no need to take the piss because I didn't know about it, I wouldn't
>have bothered asking you if I had known you were such a F***ING C*NT!!!!!

And my message to his Service Provider was:

"I object to the swear words used in the following reply from Mr King after I spent 20 minutes typing him an informative and amusing technical answer to his question. My children use this computer and I don't want them to read filth like this.

I answer between 30 and 50 questions a day from people who really want the information and appreciate the humour. Thankfully, sad, stupid people like Mr King are very rare."

>I have a Sky Analogue system comprising a Pace MSS1000 receiver and a
>Churchill Decoder, with two dishes connected. one to Astra 19.2 and one to
>Eutelsat Hotbird. Everything was working fine with this set up and I could
>receive D2Mac signals through the Churchill.
>Just before Xmas I had Sky Digital installed with a separate digidish, and
>had the Digital receiver connected through the MSS1000 (to the AV1 socket)
>so as to retain the Dolby surround sound.
>Ever since then I have been unable to receive any D2Mac signals and I don't
2>know whether the Digital connection is over riding the D2Mac or what the
>cause is.
>I can receive a perfect picture in clear Pal on the Eutelsat satellite on
>all channels but as soon as a D2Mac signal is transmitted I get no signal
>although the screen appears to be trying to receive the signal ie I get a
>fuzzy scrambled clear screen as opposed to a fuzzy scrambled green screen
>with a D2Mac signal.
>I assumed the problem was dish related but I have had the dish alignment
>checked and it is receiving a really strong signal.
>Could you suggest any other cause, for example could it be the Churchill
>decoder that is at fault?
>I'm not convinced the Digital installation is the cause of the problem for
>if I disconnect the Digireceiver from the MSS1000, which in effect reverts
>back to the old setup, the problem is still there.
>Yours sincerely
> Mike Andrew

January 10, 2000

The last time someone reported this problem to us, it took a full SIX
months to determine the cause. What was it?

Well, he'd been given a gold-plated Scart-Scart lead TWO METRES in length
for Christmas. He'd used this to connect the Churchill and it had not
worked since. However, he omitted to tell us this. In fact he told us
that *nothing* had been changed and that the system simply stopped
He called out an installation engineer from the shop where he'd bought
the system FOUR times before the guy realised what the cause was. A 0.5
metre Scart lead cured the problem and the expensive gold-plated one was
consigned to the waste basket. Needless to say, it cost him a fortune for
the call outs.

So, may I recommend you look at your Scart lead first? Use the one that
it always worked with. Some of these have to be connected a certain way
round for the later Churchills because pins 10 and 12 determine the PAL
or MAC input requirement and are specially wired at the Churchill end.

It's essential to determine whether your problem is caused by the Scart
lead, the decoder, the MSS1000 or the Digibox. Start by disconnecting the
Digibox entirely and replacing the original connections as they were.

If you can't get the decoder to work by yourself, all I can suggest is
that you take it to a specialist shop and pay them to test it.

>Dear Martin,
> Thank you for your prompt reply to my E.Mail
>yesterday, and more importantly thank you for solving the problem.
>It was as you suggested the scart lead that was the cause.
>My original Churchill scart lead always appeared a little flimsy and on
>occasions would come loose from its socket, so when there was a nice new one
>spare when I had Digital installed I made use of it -obviously wrongly. I
>did mention this to the installer when I was trying to solve the problem and
>he assured me that it would not be the cause - it just shows what he knows.
>Anyhow thank you once again.
>Kind Regards
>Mike Andrew

Identifying your box:

BBD-900 has no card reader at the rear ---->

Philips FilmNet BBD-901

PhilipsFilmnet D2Mac decoder BBD-901


Europlus D2Mac decoder

Europlus internal view

(separate power supply at left side)

Echostar D2Mac decoder

Philips Visiopass

(Blue buttons on front panel)

Visiopass D2Mac cable box decoder

Philips STU902 (BSB receiver)

(Metal "bridge" bar over DMA I.C.s)

Philips STU902 converted BSB receiver D2Mac decoder

Decca (Tatung) BSB receiver

(Metal screening cover removed for clarity)

D2Mac decoder

Churchill Multimac D2Mac decoder manufactured by Alfaglade Electronics near Manchester.

Alfaglade Churchill D2Mac decoder

Philips CTU916 Cable TV box


Philips CTU900 converted cable box D2Mac decoder

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Copyright ©1997 SatCure

Version 1.3updated on April 16, 2000

  • This file may be downloaded for private and personal use but NO part of it may be published in any form without the prior permission of the author.
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