- I'm still getting a lot of people describing symptoms and asking me "could this be caused by the power supply?"
The answer is always "yes it could" because a failing power supply can cause an infinite number of symptoms. After all the Digibox is simply a computer with a tuner or two. If your computer power supply starts to produce incorrect voltages and interference, what symptom do you suppose it will cause?
Anyway, if the PSU is more than a year old or if one or more capacitors are bulging, you don't need to ask. As far as we can tell, ALL Thomson PSUs made before 2008 have the poor quality "CapXon" capacitors.
The later model Thomson Sky+HD Digibox uses "Taicon" capacitors in the power supply. These also fail.
Note: if the internal fuse has blown, this indicates major damage which our capacitor upgrade kit alone will not fix. If your fuse has melted, order the RELKIT and the SATKIT, or order the complete exchange PSU instead.
As a general rule if the box comes on the PSU is repairable with capacitors. However, if it is totally dead the PSU may have blown up and might be repairable only with time-consuming diagnostics and additional parts.
Don't wait for the PSU to go bang - replace the capacitors before this happens!
NOTE: Obviously we can't guarantee that replacing/upgrading the PSU will fix every possible fault. The Hard Drive is a common cause of failure - typical life being 2 - 3 years - but it's easy to replace. (We can't recommend which current Hard Drive make/model is suitable so please consult the various forums. Please upgrade the PSU before replacing the Hard Drive.) Other parts also fail but are beyond the scope of a DIY repair so the Digibox should be sent to a professional repairer such as Digifix.
Here's a typical question:-
Q. "I have a Pace Sky+ Digibox and the picture breaks up continually on certain channels. My Thomson HD box is fine. The Pace Box is also fine unless the Thomson is in standby. The Thomson therefore can't possibly be faulty, can it?
A. Yes it can. In standby, its PSU is producing interference that is reaching the LNB and affecting other receivers connected there.
Q. "My Thomson Digibox does this, that and the other. Do you think the PSU is faulty?"
A. Yes. (Don't even bother to ask me about Thomson fault symptoms until you've upgraded the PSU. I will simply direct you back to this page.)
Q. How can I tell if the PSU is causing the problem?
A. Swap it with a known good PSU.
- NOTE: The new EPG is widely reported as causing various problems. If a reboot fixes your problem for a day or two, you can blame it on the EPG. Otherwise it's probably the PSU (or both). BskyB has given no time scale for fixing the EPG problems. If you have a problem, please write a letter to BskyB! Don't bother to phone or email. Use old fashioned paper. The more letters they receive, the sooner they'll fix the problems.
(A lack of bulging does not prove that the capacitors are OK. It merely proves that the signs are not yet visible. But if they are bulging, there is no doubt at all.)
Anyway, if one or more capacitors are bulging (as in the photo) i.e. not perfectly flat-topped, you don't need to ask. As far as we can tell, ALL Thomson PSUs made before 2009 (In Sky+ models and in DSi8215 models with "component" video outputs) have the poor quality "CapXon" capacitors.
Bulging is not always obvious as the internal pressure might simply push out the rubber plug underneath the capacitor by a millimetre. Bulging is the LAST sign before the end. Unfortunately, the initial signs are many and may be very subtle indeed, such as one channel (inevitably one that you never watch) exhibiting marginal picture break-up.
The only certain way to be certain is to measure each capacitor with an ESR meter. But, if you are going to go to all the trouble of dismantling the Digibox and removing the PSU, you might as well replace the capacitors anyway for peace of mind.
- Is my Digibox really faulty?
Before doing anything, test your dish system with a known-good Digibox!
I have a Thomson 4E3011 box, and was suffering from lots of intermittent faults, regular lockups, blue screens of death and crashing halfway through playback. I thought I was victim to the usual PSU failure.
My box was sat on my TV shelf on top of my blu ray player; plenty of air flow.
I recently received a virgin v+ box on the free size M TV package (just pay £5.00 per month for recording), and finally, being fed up with Sky, was going to move completely over to Virgin Media.
I didn't want to stack the v+ box on top of the Sky box. So I moved my Sky Plus box onto a table next to the TV unit. Every since the box has worked flawlessly. I think I've only had one lock up since.
So just wanted to let others know that, since I've had the box on its own not surrounded by other equipment, the response and stability of the unit has been great!
Thanks, Dave. Most people don't realise that the two worst enemies of electronic equipment are heat and interference. That's why I'm continually telling people to keep equipment well apart, in a cool place on separate shelves with plenty of ventilation, and to ensure that all leads and sockets are fully screened.
I'm having my Samsung replaced because the picture quality on SD and HD is so poor. It is nowhere as good as the failing Thomson box it has just replaced. I'm going to insist on a Pace or Thomson as I am totally underwhelmed by the soft picture produced by the Samsung. It almost looks out of focus.
Having got a new Samsung yesterday to replace my failing Thomson box I pretty much agree with this. While I would not describe the picture as "poor" it is certainly noticeably poorer than the picture my Thomson box provided. I would also say it is very sluggish compared to the Thomson.
As a general rule, if the box makes a noise or lights any LED, the PSU is repairable. However, if it is totally dead the PSU may have blown up and might not be repairable with the capacitor kit alone. Have a look at resistor R15. If it has blown, the PSU has had a major blow-up. (The fuse will be OK!) See below.**
There are two resistors on the primary side of the PSU. If either of these goes open-circuit the power supply will be dead but the large capacitor will remain fully charged to 330 volts. So beware - a dead PSU could be potentially dangerous even after a few days!
In some instances the power supply will run but there will be an audible noise coming from the transformer and the aluminium heat sink will be running at a much higher temperature than normal - usually too hot to touch. The power supply will also radiate interference and in a few cases this has found to interfere with wireless ADSL broadband connections. (At this point the PSU is not dead and requires only the RELKIT).
If you observe these symptoms, DO NOT reboot the Digibox as the power supply may die with a bang when you reconnect the mains!
**A supplementary kit SATKIT33j is available for repairing "blown up" (dead) PSUs. It must be fitted after RELKIT33j is fitted. It is not a cheap kit and this is why we charge you up to £25 extra to fit it if your PSU has blown up.
If you are certain that the resistor is o/c, the PSU will require both kits. There's a lot of work involved so, if you don't feel confident to D.I.Y. please buy an exchange PSU (+ £25) or get one of our recommended repairers to do the work.
Electronic equipment should never be stacked. Keep it well apart and keep the cables apart.
The later model Thomson Sky+HD Digibox uses "Taicon" capacitors in the power supply. Obviously we don't know whether they will be more reliable. Time will tell! (They aren't reliable. Several failures have been reported now.)
Here's a list of symptoms which frequently indicate a PSU problem, even if the capacitors look OK:-
- "No satellite signal" on one or more inputs.
- Failed future recordings.
- Remote control not working properly or intermittent (also a typical sign of HDD failure).
- Buzzing noise from inside Digibox.
- "Magic Eye" remote extender not working properly or intermittent.
- Other Digibox connected simultaneously to the same LNB not working properly.
Please email me any other symptoms that you come across which are cured by replacing the PSU.
Note: if R15 or the internal fuse has blown, this indicates major damage which our capacitor upgrade RELKIT alone will not fix. If your fuse has melted or R15 is burnt, you should order the RELKIT and the SATKIT as well. However, unless you are really competent, DON'T order the kits. Order the complete exchange PSU instead.
As a general rule, if the box lights up, the PSU is repairable with capacitors. However, if it is totally dead (no LEDs, no noise) the PSU may have blown up and might be repairable only with both kits.
Don't wait for the PSU to go bang - replace the capacitors before this happens; you'll save money!
NOTE: Obviously we can't guarantee that replacing/upgrading the PSU will fix every possible fault. The Hard Drive is a common cause of failure - typical life being 2 - 3 years. See our NOTES below. Other parts on the mother board also fail but are beyond the scope of a DIY repair so the Digibox should be sent to a professional repairer such as Digifix.
- There are many causes for problems - not only the PSU. We are now selling a larger dish to improve the signal. The standard minidish is too small for some areas away from London and the HD tuners seem very fussy about signal quality. In addition, the new HD EPG is causing many intermittent symptoms. Please read the various discussion forums for more information.
IMPORTANT: If you already ordered a kit or PSU, please click HERE for instructions.
- WARNING: There is some evidence to suggest that a faulty PSU can damage the Hard Disk Drive permanently. Replacing the PSU may not fix the problem without also replacing the HDD. A typical sign of impending failure is slow remote control response. If you have this symptom, you probably left it too late and you may have to replace the PSU capacitors (or the PSU itself) and the HDD.
Thomson Exchange Power Supplies and kits
As we mentioned in our continual updates on our discussion forum - because people were not returning their old PSUs to us, our stock available for exchange dwindled quickly to zero. Consequently, we are now asking you to pack your PSU in a sturdy box and post it to us as soon as you have received your order confirmation (see more info. below). We can not send a PSU in advance.
- For those people living outside the UK or in a hurry, we suggest you buy a used Thomson Sky+ Digibox. The price may currently be as low as £30. Use its PSU temporarily and send us yours for repair or else get its PSU rebuilt then fit that one into your Digibox. You can then, if you wish, resell the Sky+ Digibox (either as it is, or rebuilt).
Q. How do I remove the PSU and where do I post it?
A. As soon as you place the order, you'll receive a "Keep-me" message with a link to the instructions.
Q. How do I fit the kit?
A. As soon as you place the order, you'll receive a "Keep-me" message with a link to the instructions.
Q. Can you send me a PSU in advance or sell me one outright?
Yes, we now sell them "outright". No, sorry, stock levels are now too low.
1. Place your order and send us your old PSU immediately and you should receive a replacement within 3 - 5 working days after we receive it. We recommend you use Recorded Delivery or Special Delivery so you can check that it arrived. Example: you post it on a Friday, we receive it on the following Monday and you should receive the replacement within 3 - 5 working days after that (Thur - Sat). That's up to 7 days in total from the day you post yours, (but usually sooner) dependent on when we receive your PSU. Before asking "when will I receive it" please check on the Royal mail web site that we have received your old PSU and that a full 5 working days have passed since the day of receipt.
2. You can take your Digibox to a local repairer who may be able to give you a same-day (or at least same-week) repair service. Please note that we can not guarantee the work of these repairers but we welcome feedback on their quality of workmanship and service. Such feedback may be published in our monthly newsletter.
3. Or you can order a kit and get it "next day". You can then solder the parts yourself (see our instruction page) or you can take your Digibox to a local repairer. there's a list on our web site. See the link on our instructions page. Kits are also guaranteed for 3 years. We will send you a replacement for any capacitors that fail.
DO NOT SEND US THE MULTIWIRE CONNECTOR!
satkit33j sky+HD satkit33js
The connector plugs become brittle over time. (When you order, we will email you a link to the complete instructions so that you don't break the connector.)
I'm not sure what model I have.
Look on the label for the DSI number.
If the label is missing then it's possible that you have a stolen Digibox.
We guarantee to repair your Rebuilt PSU if it develops a fault (through no fault of yours*) within 3 years from the day of delivery to you. Proof of purchase required. Proof that you downloaded our instructions before you received the kit or replacement PSU is required. (Links to instructions are provided in the "Keep-me" email, which is sent automatically as soon as you complete your order.) The guarantee does not include the cost of returning it to our appointed workshop. (This is a standard "return to base" guarantee. Return the PSU to us or to our appointed repairer and we'll get it tested and repaired [if faulty] ASAP.)
*Exceptions. The guarantee is void if you failed to return your original faulty PSU to us under the original ordering scheme (i.e. if you did not honour the exchange agreement). The guarantee is void if the PSU or kit was not fitted in accordance with our instructions on the web page. (Access to the instructions web page is logged. You must download and read our instructions before you attempt to carry out the repair.) The guarantee does not cover damage caused by liquid spillage, overheating (lack of ventilation, fan not working, room too hot etc.) which causes the PCB to discolour more than usual. The guarantee does not cover any PSU or parts not supplied by us.
You can discuss the PSU here:
Please navigate to the last page to see recent updates.
We guarantee the 15 capacitors for 3 years (unless you fit them the wrong way round or spill liquid into the Digibox or make the PSU get so hot that the board goes brown!) We will send you a replacement kit for any capacitors that fail.
The capacitors we fit are better than the originals. They have been in use since 2001 and we've never seen a failure. This is why we can confidently give a 3 year guarantee on the rebuilt PSU and a correctly fitted kit. The large capacitor C14 is rated at 85'C. This capacitor does not suffer from the same internal heating effect experienced by the other capacitors which are seeing high-current pulses.
Any sticky orange stain on the aluminium top of the largest capacitor C14 is simply flux which has ended up there after the cleaning operation, when the unit is held upside down. You can wipe it off with a tissue if you wish.
- Q. Why don't you supply better capacitors with, for instance, a 5000 hour rating?
- A. The capacitors we supply are tried and tested and are the best we can find. We know that they will last for at least 3 years because they already have done so in similar equipment. If we change to a different manufacturer, we can not give a 3 year guarantee. Do you want to take the risk? (The original capacitors had a high rating - on paper - and look what happened to them.)
- February 2009. We are now offering a mk2 kit which has a couple of higher value capacitors that may help to buffer surges caused by Hard Drive start-up. The mk2 kit may also prove useful if you are using an LNB which takes more current than usual.
Q. My Digibox lights up but doesn't work properly. What should I order?
A. Start with the capacitor kit, RELKIT33J. This will fix most problems where the Digibox is not completely dead (no lights and no noises).
Q. My Digibox is dead (no lights and no sound) so what should I order?
A. Start with the capacitor kit, RELKIT33J. This will fix most problems but you may also need our supplementary kit SATKIT33j. If you wish, you may order both kits and return the supplementary kit for a refund if not required.
Q. I fitted the RELKIT but my PSU is still dead (no lights and no sound). What should I do?
A. You will need our supplementary kit SATKIT33j which contains another 15 primary-side components that might be faulty. This is an expensive kit because the parts are difficult to source and we had to buy a large quantity. It must be fitted after RELKIT33j is fitted.
Q. I fitted BOTH kits but my Digibox still wont work. What should I do?
A. Send it to Michael at Digifix for investigation and free estimate.
(The SATKIT is required only for a completely dead PSU where components in addition to capacitors have failed. The reason that PSUs die is that the capacitors fail. Therefore it would be utterly pointless to fit the SATKIT without first fitting the RELKIT (capacitor kit) because it would simply die again - probably immediately. Equally, there is no point in fitting the SATKIT if the PSU works OK after the capacitors are replaced.)
- The parts we supply in each kit should be as listed on the PDF sheet (download link in your "Keep-me" message). If there's any discrepancy, please contact Sales immediately with full details.
- Q. Should I replace ALL capacitors or only the ones that are bulging?
- A. We supply ALL necessary capacitors for a very good reason. Unless you have an ESR meter, you can not determine which capacitors have failed or are going to fail soon.
- Q. Why can't I simply buy the capacitors from somewhere like Maplin or eBay?
- A. You'll probably find that they don't stock all the values and they don't have the high-reliability types that we buy from America. Your power supply will work but may not last as long as you'd like and you'll have to do the job again.
- Q. I'm not sure if my PSU is completely dead. Will I need both kits or just the RELKIT?
- A. Impossible to answer but, if the RELKIT does not fix it, you'll need the SATKIT as well.
If you have questions about the capacitors, please read the forum discussion:-
(Kit purchasers please refer to your "Keep-me" email for more information links.)
In order to improve reliability, some capacitors have a higher rating than the originals.
All capacitors except C14 are rated at 105 degrees C (see note above).
- Q. I'd like to go the kit route but I can't solder! Who can do it for me?
- A. We are building a list of people who are willing/able to fit kits locally. Please check this list. If you are able to offer this service or know someone who can offer it, please contact us.
COPYCAT KITS ON EBAY!
Beware imitation kits and repairs on eBay and elsewhere. The PSU below was "repaired" by an eBay seller, using his own capacitors. It was sent to him with "intermittent reception" problems. When it arrived back it was completely dead.
Notice that the large capacitor doesn't fit and has been left "on stilts". Likewise some other capacitors. The 1200 uF capacitors have a gold stripe but they are not the Ultra High Reliability type used by us.