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Workshop: Receive up to 64 satellite positions with DiSEqC 1.1

Workshop: Receive up to 64 satellite positions with DiSEqC 1.1

The DiSEqC 1.1 control protocol allows us to set up multifeed systems with which we can control up to 64 satellite positions. What sounds tempting in theory often causes headaches in practice when programming on the receiver or TV set.

This control protocol manages up to four satellite positions and is suitable for small multifeed systems. For example, if a bowl next to Astra at 19.2 degrees East should also receive the British Astra position at 28.2 degrees East, Türksat at 42 degrees East and Hotbird at 13 degrees East. The DiSEqC 1.0 parameters are to be programmed in the LNB or antenna installation menu. Which DiSEqC 1.0 port is to be selected for the individual satellite positions depends solely on which inputs of the DiSEqC relay the LNBs for Astra and Co. have been connected to. Their labeling provides information about which DiSEqC input is to be set. Under DiSEqC 1.0, either the numbers 1 to 4 or the letters A to D are provided in the menu interfaces.

DiSEqC 1.1

DiSEqC 1.1 is an extension of the DiSEqC 1.0 protocol and allows the control of multifeed systems with up to 64 LNBs via the antenna cable. DiSEqC 1.1 has been part of the standard equipment for years and is supported by almost every receiver. However, there are still extremely rare exceptions that only support DiSEqC 1.0 and can only receive a maximum of four satellites.
However, DiSEqC 1.1 is usually not found in today’s TV sets with multituners. They also only understand DiSEqC 1.0. If they are operated on a more extensive multifeed system, even with ultra-modern flicker boxes you only have access to the first four satellite positions. Actually proof that the multituners built into the TV sets are not a replacement for an external receiver. Even cheap entry-level boxes outshine the TV multituner. But this is another story.

Program DiSEqC 1.1

The menu interfaces of most receivers come with separate lines for setting the DiSEqC 1.0 and -1.1 parameters. This means that in the case of a small DiSEqC 1.0 system, only settings have to be made in the DiSEqC 1.0 menu line. However, this does not mean that larger DiSEqC 1.1 systems can only be programmed via the DiSEqC 1.1 line. The majority of receivers require that the correct entries are made in both menu lines from LNB 5. There may also be surprises if you discover that only 16 inputs are offered under DiSEqC 1.1. Where the switching protocol can manage up to 64 LNBs. The solution to the puzzle lies in the available DiSEqC components. DiSEqC relays are available with two, four, eight and 16 inputs, the latter from only a few providers. So cascades have to be built. If approximately 16 positions are to be received, a DiSEqC relay with two inputs is first required, to each of which another relay with eight inputs must be connected. Alternatively, such a system can also be set up with five DiSEqC switches with four inputs each. As an extension of DiSEqC 1.0, version 1.1 builds on groups of four. As a reminder: DiSEqC 1.0 can manage four satellite positions. They are usually marked with the letters A to D. DiSEqC 1.1 also uses these four letters. Which means that setting up the first four orbit positions does not differ from DiSEqC 1.0. However, the DiSEqC 1.1 command must be specified as an additional parameter. The input for the first four satellites is 1. From satellites five to eight, the letters A to D must be assigned in the DiSEqC 1.0 command line. They are assigned to Input 2 under DiSEqC 1.1. For satellite 7 you have to program under DiSEqC 1.0 Port C and DiSEqC 1.1 Input 2. The division into two groups of four can be used even if only a single DiSEqC relay with eight LNB inputs and one receiver output has been installed on the multifeed antenna.

Basic structure of a DiSEqC 1.1 multifeed system for 64 satellite positions. Several components connected in series are required

Problems with DiSEqC 1.1

Time and again you hear complaints from multifeed operators that their systems are not running as expected. Usually, several satellite positions can no longer be controlled via DiSEqC 1.1 overnight. The fault is usually located in a defective DiSEqC relay.
In our experience, at least, the fault is hardly a broken relay, but rather the inability of some boxes to handle the DiSEqC 1.1 control commands correctly. To get to the bottom of this, we tried to operate several set top boxes on our 8-satellite home system. The majority of the devices were programmed as previously described. The only difference: Under DiSEqC 1.0, there was not always talk of ports A to D in the menu interfaces, but also from “1 of 4” (instead of A) to “4 of 4” (instead of D).
At least one receiver really got us sweating. Only the creation of the first four orbit positions worked smoothly for him. So in a broader sense only what corresponds to DiSEqC 1.0. From satellites five to eight, we were only able to reliably get two more to work. However, only by trying out all possible combinations of the parameters possible under DiSEqC 1.0 and 1.1. A third position only worked occasionally and in the fourth we never managed to establish a connection between the receiver and the desired LNB. Ultimately, we had to admit that we couldn’t get this one box up and running on our 8 satellite system. We also tried our luck on a second multifeed system with 8/1 DiSEqC relays. With the same devastating result. However, the use of other boxes told us that all installed LNBs and DiSEqC relays worked perfectly.

Instead of an eightfold DiSEqC relay, one relay with two and two with four inputs can also be used

Keyword PC reception

Finally, we also examined the DiSEqC 1.1 multifeed reception with PC receivers and the DX software EBS Pro. Up to 16 satellite positions are supported. First select the type of DiSEqC protocol in the satellite LNB submenu, in our case version 1.1. The input on the DiSEqC relay must also be selected. For this, the numbers 1 to 16 are offered. To ensure that the DiSEqC programming carried out by EBS Pro is also carried out, it is not sufficient to save the settings. The new DiSEqC parameters only work after the software has been closed and then restarted. If you switch from one satellite to the next, you have to restart EBS Pro every time.

Image source:

  • DiseqC1_Galerie01: © Auerbach Verlag
  • DiseqC1_Galerie02: © Auerbach Verlag
  • DiseqC1_Startbild: © Auerbach Verlag / Thomas Riegler

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