Friday, July 10, 2009

The Flaky TV Switch Box

The motorhome is equipped with a Winegard Video Distribution Switch. You know, the box that sits under the TV and lets you send satellite to the front TV and the DVD player to the rear or any other combination of cable, off air, DVD, VCR or satellite that you may want. Last year we had problems with the distribution system. The rear TV stopped receiving a signal from the box so I "fixed" the problem by doing a bunch of temporary rewiring and bypassing of components and built-in wiring to get the rear TV "sort of" functioning again. The result was a jumbled up mess of wires behind the switch box with nothing marked and me with no memory of what I did several months ago. It was a mess!

Today was the day to fix it. First I wired the StarChoice receiver directly to the front TV, bypassing the switch box and all the built-in wiring and tested it. I discovered that the receiver's 75 ohm output was cutting out intermittently! It seemed to clear by re-booting the receiver but this would be disastrous if it failed while we were in Mexico because Starchoice, as good as they are in allowing their signal to be used outside of Canada, will not ship equipment outside of Canada. I found a new receiver at London Drugs on sale for $99 which I bought and installed. It is a newer model than the one I had and has some of the newer features that are on the high definition receiver in the house. The old receiver went into the bedroom in the house where I can whack it when it acts up.

I also bought some contact cleaner spray and a couple of short 75 ohm cables. I sprayed a ton of contact cleaner into any crevice in the switch box that I could find and exercised the buttons like crazy. I then started by getting the front TV working with all the outputs and then moved on to the bedroom and outside TV hookup. It took all day but I finally succeeded in getting everything back to the way it was when the rig was new. We will no longer have wires running down the hall to be able to watch TV in the bedroom or the cable from the dish running through the driver's door.

While I was at it I hooked up a (very) small home theatre sound system to the front TV to improve the sound quality. It now sounds much better than the tiny built-in speakers did. The TV amplifier is still used as a pre-amp and is controlled by the volume control on the TV remote just to keep everything simple. A good day's work.

If there is anything left on my TV system wish list, it might be a larger TV for the front. The one I bought earlier this year is a 20' Wide Screen but there is room for a larger one. If prices keep dropping, I just might do the upgrade next summer. In the meantime, Life Is Good!


  1. Try some Caig De-Oxit. I read about it on Tioga George's blog. It's very expensive, but it sure works.

    Dan in Alamo, TX

  2. Thanks Dan, I also read this in George's Blog. I will pick some up next time we are in the USA. Thanks.