Many of you have enquired about my brief holiday so I thought you might like the opportunity to read about it. It was nothing special and, thankfully, not very expensive!
Well, I'm somewhat red-faced at present - literally. I managed to avoid the sun all week then stupidly sat outside for four hours, at the airport, waiting for the return flight! I thought I was shielded from the overhead sun by my cap but I was wrong - as I found out later.
We went for a quiet week on the island of Gomera (next to Tenerife) but it turned out to be the noisiest trip I've ever experienced. The island is nice, people are nice, no problems with flights or ferries. Unfortunately, nobody bothered to tell us that it was carnival fortnight. And those Spaniards REALLY know how to carnival!
The noise begins at 7pm and doesn't abate until the sun rises at 7am. Luckily, I had some Blu-Tack and I was able to stuff that in my ears and get some sleep. So I'm red-faced, bald and blue-eared. Very sexy.
But the holiday was mostly good fun. On one day we got on the local "gua gua" (pronounced waa waa and referring to a bus) and took a trip to the other side of the island. The road became progressively worse until we reached the point where they were still building it! But the bus carried on past excavoators and workmen, through mud, gravel and rock falls until we finally reached Vallehermoso ("Beautiful Valley"). This is a small town between the mountains just 2.5km from the sea. We had a snack, wandered around the town, then walked down to the sea and panted back up again to the bus stop. I was aching all over by the following day!
On another day we booked a coach trip which involved an hour's climb to the top of a (smallish) mountain from which can (usually) be seen almost all the Canary Islands. Unfortunately, on the day, the mountain was cloud-covered and we trudged up a damp track in drizzle until we reached a point which our German/Spanish guide assured us was the top. In the mist, I could see almost as far as my shoes. Then we walked down again into the sunshine and took the coach to a visitor centre then to a village where we were wined and dined in a restaurant. It was very Greek - or gave that impression. I guess the Greeks and the Spanish have similar tastes and grow similar foodstuffs in similar climates. The orange coloured stuff made from goats' cheese and various spices was nothing short of disgusting, however. It looked like orange "cous cous", smelt and tasted like baby puke. I took a mouthful but was unable to eat it. Definitely an acquired taste!
Anyway, I got to try out my very limited Spanish, which improved as the days went by. I also read about 6 novels, which must be a record for recent years.
Gill wouldn't let me take my laptop computer and I wasn't tempted to use any of the Internet Cafes. So, from that point of view I had a rest. I also didn't talk to anyone about satellite TV until we were waiting for the return flight. So that must be a record!
Would I go again? Well, not during carnival time and maybe not ever. It's a small island and I didn't find a lot to interest me. I'd like to visit other places such as Crete. That will have to wait because we're hoping to have a week in France this June. And we've been invited to stay in Spain. So we have lots to fit in but Gill doesn't have enough holiday allocation and, between us, we can't justify too much expenditure because we really need to replace the ancient central heating system and finish the garden.
Now you can read my wife's account here:
First I would like to thank Satcure for the excellent catalogue. Through it I found that I could repair my Panasonic satellite receiver for 95p which I duly did. I also fitted your heat sink while the lid was off.
I just want to comment on the bolts Satcue supplied with their T and K bracket. Basically they were rubbish. As they came with no washers they almost went through the brackets bolt holes but more worrying was the fact that one of the bolts snapped in two when it was still a good inch from touching the bracket despite drilling the recommended 10mm hole. A quick trip to B & Q to buy 5 quality bolts sorted that issue out.
Thanks for your feedback, which I'll pass to the warehouse that supplied the items. I'm aware of the washer problem, although I thought the brackets were sufficiently well held without. I'll think again! (We used to supply washers but sometimes the warehouse had stock and sometimes not. Basically it became a pain to keep track and orders were being held up just waiting for washers, but I'll ask the warehouse to review the situation).
I'm surprised that you broke a bolt. I've used lots of them and never come anywhere near breaking one. I assume you drilled the hole deep enough (sorry!). The bolts are the same as those used by independent professionals so I've always regarded them as the best - and a lot cheaper than B&Q.
Please accept my apologies for the problems.
March 19, 2004 update:
We can now supply bolts with washers and individual washers (if you ask nicely).
Granada have moved to tp 54 (10906 vertical).
Tp 54 is by far the weakest of the vertical transponders in northern regions and some Scandinavian viewers may be unable to receive it now.
(Thanks to "Huffin the Puffin" for pointing this out. I think the move occurred some weeks ago).
Pace "Javelin" Minibox
Those of you with caravans or motorhomes will be disappointed to hear that Pace allegedly will not be producing any more of their little Sky Digibox "Javelin" model. It was ideal because of its small size and 12 volt power supply. Unfortunately, supplies have dried up. None of the warehouses have any left and we are unable to supply them. I suppose Pace's decision is not surprising. The original design was for Sky and the profit margin must have been very low. It's not viable for them to manufacture a batch of less than 100,000 and I guess they don't forsee that much demand for what is really a "niche" product. So I'm afraid we are back to 12 volt inverters and standard Sky Digiboxes since redesigning the internal power supply of a different Digibox is not viable.
Stop press: Topsat TV have some left in stock!
No audio from Sky+ BSKYB 3100 to DVD/VCR
Sky+ installed yesterday and connected to TV via AV2- all OK. System is connected via Scart to a LG DVD/VCR combi home system 5.1 etc. which is connected to TV through AV1 via Scart When we try watching a Sky movie with DD through the home system we get a good picture but absolutely no sound i.e. we set the channel on the DVD/VCR to AV2. (We didn't have this problem with our previous Sky Digibox). By juggling the connection we get sound but then no picture.
Peter, I'm not familiar with this model but I know that the only way to get DD5.1 is via the optical output. You'll need a Toslink connection.
I would have expected this to be explained in the User Instructions (but I don't have a copy).
If this doesn't help..
I recommend you put your question in the various discussion forums where you'll find users of the same equipment will be able to help you. Be sure to specify the model number etc. again.
Martin, have now fitted an optical audio cable and changed the settings in the systems setup/audio set up menu on the Pace box to accept Dolby D output but unfortunately without success. I have managed to get sound through the home system but only through connecting between units with RF cables and at a considerable loss of picture quality which kind of defeats the object. Awaiting a response from Sky - will probably access a user forum for suggestions.
It does seem as though your Digibox is faulty. :-(
Check with Pace.
Since you have been so helpful only fair to provide some feedback though not sure of the value........
still awaiting any kind of response from Sky or Pace - surprise, surprise
Based upon some feedback in another forum and to cut a long story short I eventually connected up throughout the system using RF cables which gave sound but still a poor quality picture when viewing through the VCR. Having previously removed the scart between the Sky+ and VCR I replaced this and subsequently got sound but no picture (rather than the other way round as before). Switching the Sky to standby and then back on again I then got an excellent picture with sound! From subsequent reading etc I suppose this is related to the pin 8 issue on the scart cable where the system is receiving conflicting 'signals'? anyway, bottom line is that it now works just fine if I switch the Sky to standby and then back on after I have switched the VCR on.
Now to push my luck........... and I have tried looking for this in your technical info.........
our TV is a Hitachi C32WD2TN2 widescreen which seems to be well rated in your compatibility tables. When viewing Sky through this in standard 4:3 we get a well proportioned picture. However if I switch the picture to 16:9 to take advantage of the widescreen the picture takes on a wider aspect as you would expect but fills the screen in the vertical axis as well i.e. the black bars we would expect to see when watching the same programme e.g. the news on terrestrial TV through an aerial have disappeared and the faces etc look stretched. Why is this? Is there anything we can do. (If we are watching a movie and switch the picture to 16:9 we get the black bars etc and everything looks well proportioned) This just seems to happen with 'standard' made for TV programmes.
I have tried playing with the different aspects which can narrow or widen the picture but nothing seems to affect the vertical aspect?
thanks again, Peter.
Peter, thanks for the feedback. It sounds as if it might be an idea to get a really cheap Scart lead and try the effect of cutting pin 8 out. This would give you full manual control without the Digibox interfering.
The Digibox only gives 4:3 or 16:9. If you try to fill the screen with a standard 4:3 picture, the TV will stretch it to try to make it fit, but of course that's impossible without distortion.
If you check out the forums below, you'll find experts who can give you a better explanation. You could also put your question in our SatCure forum. Chris Muriel pops in about once a week and he understands this stuff!
http://forum.digitalspy.co.uk/board/ http://www.avforums.com/ http://pub52.ezboard.com/bsatcureforum
Having read your below comments I have a very old scart cable lying around with just an 'out' and 'in' end on it i.e. a one-way cable with only 6 pins connected at each end. I cut the 8 pin in the 'out' end and hey presto problem solved!
Once again many thanks Peter
SLXlink problem in GDS2000
I bought the extender to allow me to use my digibox in a cabinet (properly force-ventilated by your excellent fans).
I carried out the instructions faithfully and enabled the RF2 socket on my Grunig Digibox. The light on the extender came on and the sensor on the extender flashes when a signal is sent from the remote control. The first couple of times I used it it seemed to work but thereafter - nothing. The remote works properly when aimed at the Digibox but not when the path to the Digibox is obscured.
I connected the extender via the uhf lead supplied. I have read your Faq's but nothing suggested there seems to make any difference. As the RF2 output does not terminate at a TV (but rather at the Remote extender Unit) I cannot try the 'Decoupler' test suggested. Can you suggest a cure?
Unfortunately, it seems that either your SLXlink or your Digibox is faulty.
If you can try the SLXlink on another Digibox, that would obviously prove the point. Or you can post it direct to me for testing (see below). Otherwise, please arrange for Sales to give you a refund or a replacement.
Tried the Link in another box - it works!!! Now all I have to do is fix my
box!!! Ebay here I come
Ah, well that's good news from the point of view that you've narrowed down the cause. I'm sorry that it wasn't simply a faulty SLXlink. But they are fairly reliable, otherwise I would simply have exchanged it without question.
The Grundig units have a reputation for bad capacitors in the power supply. I'm reluctant to suggest that this is the cause because, even if it's faulty, I'm not convinced it would create this symptom. But you might like to inspect it for bulging capacitors.
Sky has released the latest EPG software version 3.2.11 and already we've had reports of problems with various models. It is undoubtedly the case that some problems are simply a matter of coincidence as the onset of the fault coincides with the new software. Quite often the owner "reboots" the Digibox and this will show up an existing (but hitherto unkown) power supply fault.
My Pace BSKYB2500B is still on 3.1a.5 but my Panasonic TU-DSB40 has updated to 3.2.11. It seems as if the updates are being staggered. Also, some Digiboxes are switching to standby, which suggests more than one update is being sent. Or maybe it's just a fault - who knows!
The update has provided a few new features. I'm not quite sure what they are - conflicting reports! So I'll update this web page when somebody lists them for me (thanks!)
I've had a number of requests for the Panafix2D filter to fit the TU-DSB40. So far I haven't seen a faulty TU-DSB40. I tested my own on a SkyWare LNB and it is fine. But several people have reported the need to change LNBs in order to get reliable viewing of the low-band channels. So we now supply a version of the filter for this model. It has been tested and works OK. You'll find it on page 12 of our online catalogue.
Hi Martin, Just to report that I did not have a single mis-fire with the digibox since the fix Friday night. As the box is pretty fast, there is no noticeable pause when you switch between channels. Thus, based on my experience, I think we can conclude that the filter is valid for the Panasonic DSB 40 and that you can market it as such. I bought a DSB35 for my mother on eBay last week and she reports that it is working perfectly. Maybe the fault affects only certain batches, and maybe because she is in the UK (rather than Belgium), the signal might be stronger.
All the best and good luck for the future.
Thanks for the feedback, Alec. My own DSB40 seems unaffected. I think it may be a batch problem or a tolerance problem. Now I'm wondering if it affects the later models 45 and 50!
Panasonic TU-DSB31 owners have been reporting problems with pictures "breaking up" when RGB is selected. This doesn't seem to occur with Sony TV sets but is prevalent with Panasonic TVs! The simple answer is NOT to select RGB! But now a fix has been devised which requires the ENA67A10C3 tuner module to be exchanged with a modified version. It's not cheap, so you might like to stick with PAL composite video.
Don't forget that TopUp TV is supposed to start broadcasting on March 31st.
We can still supply the Nokia 221T but I don't know if fitting a SECA CAM in it will make it compatible with the viewing card.
There's an article about TopUp TV on pages 52 - 53 of "What Satellite TV" magazine (April 2004 edition out today).
I live in a flat so only have only dish input connection from the communal receiver. I have seen several products that claim it would be possible to get sky plus by using an amplified signal splitter. Is there any trith in this and if so how do you go about it, ie/ what equipment would I need.
We sell the Johanssen Stacker/destacker for sending two LNB signals down one cable. This works fine in a house where a twin- or quad-output LNB is mounted on the dish. However, in the case of an apartment block which uses an IF Distributions system, the jury is still out. I'm waiting for feedback from a customer who bought one and currently can't get it to work.
If anyone has one working with an IF distribution system, I'd love to know the details!
Note that the Stacker unit must be installed at the top end of the cable and the Destacker at the bottom end.
Some people are subscribing to NASN or ZEE TV to get a card which also provides ITV, CH4 and FIVE. I haven't looked at the subscription rules for this so I don't know how much or for how long but the minimum Sky subscription is about £160 for (minimum) 12 months so it may well be significantly cheaper!
Alpha Punjabi stand alone £71.88 a year (or £5.90 monthly plus a one-off £12 connection fee). This sounds as if you might be able to sign up for a month for £17.90 then cancel!
NASN Pricing Information: NASN is £9.99 per month when you subscribe for 12 months. Additionally, a one-off connection fee of £5 will be added to your first payment.
From Radio Bullet ( http://radio.mediabullet.co.uk ):
From Sky Digi Online ( http://skydigital.mediabullet.co.uk ):
Since the last newsletter, the following eBooks have been updated. Your original download link no longer works, so please contact me (with proof of purchase).
- "Lazyman's Guide to Making Big Money"
(Was "Run Your Own Business")
- "Installing Sky Satellite TV"
More about trees.