Tuning Adapter Lag --> "No Signal" on Recordings

Ask fellow members about Ceton's infiniTV tuners here.
Forum rules
Ceton no longer participate in this forum. Official support may still be handled via the Ceton Ticket system.
Post Reply
tardyturtle

Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:23 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

Tuning Adapter Lag --> "No Signal" on Recordings

#1

Post by tardyturtle » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:42 am

I seem to be having a problem where the tuning adapter lags when trying to tune for a recording. When trying to record on a SDV channel, WMC will detect "no signal" and the program will fail to record. It will do the customary number of retries. Sometimes it will eventually be successful and record the program; other times, it will fail. I will then get the multiple errors that the recording failed. If I manually tune to that channel, it will tune, but it takes a few seconds for the picture to appear.

My suspicion is that the tuning adapter is just slow. I have tried a new tuning adapter which did not fix the problem.

Is there any way (e.g., in RegEdit) to force WMC to wait a few more seconds before declaring tuning failed? Alternatively, most of these recordings are on the same channel--is there a way to force one of my tuners to sit on this channel so I keep receiving it? I have plenty of tuners so that isn't an issue.

Space

Posts: 2102
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:44 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#2

Post by Space » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:10 am

This post has similar problem, but no real solution.

I'm not sure how you have the Tuning Adapter (TA) connected, but it is best to use a good quality cable splitter and connect the tuner and TA to the splitter rather than connecting them serially, since the TA often has a poor pass-through signal. This should give you a much better overall signal, although may not fix the specific problem you are experiencing.

icepick

Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:23 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#3

Post by icepick » Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:45 pm

I had an issue like this a few years ago that came down to line noise from a squirrel chewed cable at the pole. It made it worse when it rained but was accompanied by pixelation as well...

tardyturtle

Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:23 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#4

Post by tardyturtle » Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:12 am

Space wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:10 am
This post has similar problem, but no real solution.

I'm not sure how you have the Tuning Adapter (TA) connected, but it is best to use a good quality cable splitter and connect the tuner and TA to the splitter rather than connecting them serially, since the TA often has a poor pass-through signal. This should give you a much better overall signal, although may not fix the specific problem you are experiencing.
Thanks for posting. I am currently using it with a good splitter and not using the pass-through. Too bad there is no good solution :(

5N4R35

Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:42 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#5

Post by 5N4R35 » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:54 pm

I'm a cable technician. What are the levels on some frequencies? I would need the MER or Signal to Noise Level and the uptx level. If your uptx level is high you may be making the signal worse. THe proper way to setup the cable box is from the wall to the tuning adapter and from the tuning adapter to the ceton. No splitter. Some systems need the USB to be connected too. I'm not positive if the Ceton requires this but won't hurt anything to connect it. If you give me those levels I can tell you if you have a problem outside or not. Give me a good sample the more the better throughout the spectrum.

Space

Posts: 2102
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:44 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#6

Post by Space » Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:52 pm

5N4R35 wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:54 pm
...
THe proper way to setup the cable box is from the wall to the tuning adapter and from the tuning adapter to the ceton. No splitter.
...
This may be the way you were trained to do it, but it is not necessarily the "proper" way. It is just one of the ways to do it, and the most prone to having problems if the splitter built in to the tuning adapter is of low quality. There have been many people who have had it set up the way you describe and had signal quality problems, then changed it to use a quality splitter and the problems were gone.

Note that there is no "magic" to having the TA connected directly to the cable device (Ceton in this case), it is essentially the same as using a splitter. The only difference is that the splitter built in to the TA may be of a low quality and you are more likely to have signal problems.

So, I guess you can set it up through the TA first and if it works, fine, otherwise get a good quality splitter and an extra cable and hook it up that way to see if it fixes the problem.

5N4R35

Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:42 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#7

Post by 5N4R35 » Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:19 am

But of you're at 48dB uptx and you add the splitter it will bump you up over the 50dB threshold and then you won't be able to communicate on the return. I've been doing this 10 years and every time I see the 2-way splitter I remove it. The proper way is no splitter because it lowers the signal to the TA by 3.5dB and increases your return by 3.5dB.

You keep saying "built-in the TA". Are you opening up the TA and making modifications? That will cost you $500 when you go to return the TA. If you're talking about putting one before the TA then the signal still goes through the same stuff when it geta to the TA so if it was bad before it'll be bad after.

DSperber

Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:35 am
Location: Marina Del Rey, CA

HTPC Specs: Show details

#8

Post by DSperber » Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:24 pm

Just wanted to chime in here as I, too, have occasional issues with the Ceton/TA/USB/coax world of my own two-WMC setup in a Spectrum/LA environment. This used to be a Time Warner (Motorola infrastructure) cable system before Charter/Spectrum took over Los Angeles a few years back.

First, I am NOT using a splitter going into either of my HTPCs. My primary outside Spectrum cable arrives in the "network closet" and feeds a PCT Multimedia-Pro amplifier (PCT-MA-B1010-1A) provided by Spectrum, which has three connectors for coax-in, coax-out and wall power. The output of the amp then goes into a splitter, one output feeding each of my two HTPCs. Both HTPCs have 6-tuner Ceton InfiniTV devices, one being an internal PCIe card and the other being an external ETH box, and both HTPCs have Motorola MTR700 tuning adapters to support SDV. Both Ceton devices have Motorola cablecards inserted.

In the case of both HTPCs, the coax goes directly into each TA and then coax out of the TA goes into each Ceton device. For the (primary) HTPC with the internal PCIe Ceton tuner card there is also a USB cable going from the PC to the TA. For the other (backup) HTPC with the external ETH Ceton tuner device there is a USB cable going from the ETH to the TA.

And I must say I don't know that I have EVER noticed any situation where WMC running on the backup HTPC (using the external ETH Ceton tuner with its own direct USB connection to the TA and no USB connection to the PC) failed to tune an SDV channel, or for that matter ever "lost contact" in some anomalous way such that I had to re-boot either the TA, ETH tuner, HTPC, or any multiple combination of re-boots in order get things working normally again. This setup has simply run essentially 100% forever and probably speaks to the rock-solid nature of the USB interface between ETH and TA, and the absence of any USB interface between PC and TA when using the Ceton ETH.

In contrast, over the nearly 2 years I've been using my current primary HTPC with the internal 6-tuner Ceton PCIe card, I have had MANY situations where I lost tuning access to SDV channels via the TA. The "solution" has occasionally been to re-boot the TA, but more often the "solution" is to re-boot the HTPC (often multiple times until things finally return to normal) Sometimes re-booting both TA and HTPC seems necessary in order to stabilize things, eventually re-establishing stable connection between TA and head-end as well as a working stable USB connection between Ceton PCIe and TA. In some extremely frustrating situations I've reverted to actually reinstalling the Ceton software/drivers, which has its own degree of success.

In frustration I've also replaced the TA twice, which may seem to provide initial more successful performance only itself to again eventually be part of one of these "loss of tuner" situations, and once again involving assorted re-boot scenarios before things eventually return to normal.

My own experience, judgement and intuition tells me it is not the TA itself which is at fault on this PC. Nor is it the 6-tuner Ceton PCIe card itself which is at fault. It is an intermittent (i.e occasionally dropping-out) USB connection between PC and TA which is truly at fault. And all of the device re-boots are accomplishing is an effective reset of the related USB connectors and resulting USB connections, which themselves don't just re-establish themselves instantly (so that the Ceton drivers now see the TA via a 100% working USB connection) but sometimes seem to take a few minutes after re-boot of the HTPC before returning to an operational "locked" state.

My experience is that I have tried moving the USB cable (connecting PC to TA) from one port to another. This seems to kind of kick-start Windows to reinstall the drivers for the TA, and that almost always (but not 100%) seems to work. Sometimes I pull out the USB-to-TA cable out of the PC before re-booting, so that the machine comes out with no USB cable connection, wait 5 minutes or so for the Win7 desktop to settle down (with the Ceton drivers unable to establish a USB connection to TA), and then plug in the USB cable. This very often seems to work and the Ceton drivers now establish contact with the TA and things work fine again. Sometimes is still doesn't work.

In all cases I can tell when this failed USB connection between PC and TA (which I KNOW is 100% behind the failure of WMC to find a working tuner for any SDV channel) is failing, by running the Ceton Diagnostics Utility, and looking at output of the Devices tab. If USB problems are happening the last lines of output are "InfiniTV responding" and "InfiniTV temperature OK". If that's the last line shown, you're in trouble. And if you go to your browser and look at 192.168.200.1 you will see that it is unresolved and not locked, and clearly "in trouble".

However if everything is working properly there is one more line of output shown by the Ceton Diagnostics Utility, namely "Enough Tuning Adapters are connected to handle all InfiniTV tuners". And if you go to your browwer and 192.168.200.1, now you will see "TR status READY", all resolved and locked, etc., which is how things look normally when everything USB-related is 100% operational.

In other words, for me the explanation for the TA/SDV/tuner failure is 100% caused by a PC-based USB intermittency, preventing the Ceton drivers on the HTPC from seeing the TA and controlling it. This only seems to happen for me on my HTPC with the internal Ceton PCIe card that needs a USB cable going form PC to TA, where some kind of flakiness of the USB hardware on the PC is responsible for all of the intermittency. It's not the USB hardware on the TA which is at fault here, it is the USB hardware on the PC which is at fault.

In contrast the USB hardware on the Ceton ETH seems 100% bulletproof, and there is NEVER any dropoff or issue communicating with the TA. Hence the backup HTPC NEVER HAS A LOSS OF TUNER symptom, because of the 100% reliability of the USB interface from ETH to TA.

So, any "exotic" or "extreme" methods I might have tried (e.g. reinstalling Ceton software/drivers, re-booting without USB cable connected, even calling the cable company tech support to have them "reset" the TA, etc.), these aren't really accomplishing something on their own. They are simply ways to try and coax the otherwise still-not-working-properly USB interface to the TA to come back to life in a 100% stable and operational way.

It is the USB interface from PC to TA which is truly (for me, anyway) ALWAYS the cause of "loss of tuner". Any technique you use to kick-start that USB connection and/or driver interface to the USB port and/or TA adapter... that is what works.

Space

Posts: 2102
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:44 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#9

Post by Space » Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:11 pm

Perhaps there is something wrong with your USB drivers or BIOS?

I was having problems with my USB 3.0 ports in that they were not reaching the higher speeds that USB 3.0 should achieve.

I had the latest drivers installed, so that was not the problem, but I didn't have the latest BIOS.

After I updated to the latest BIOS, the USB ports started working as they should.

So your problem with the USB ports may be a driver/firmware issue, and you may want to look in to upgrading the drivers or the BIOS (if there is a later version available).

DSperber

Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:35 am
Location: Marina Del Rey, CA

HTPC Specs: Show details

#10

Post by DSperber » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:49 am

It's very intermittent. I can go for weeks without a hiccup. And then one day I'll be watching recorded TV in the kitchen via extender, and I will notice the popup message indicating that a scheduled recording couldn't be made because of a tuner issue. So the TA just "dropped off" sometime before that moment but I never knew about it since I wasn't trying to tune to an SDV channel (either to watch live or to record from) until that moment.

That's about how often this happens... maybe every few weeks or even less. No, it's not a BIOS or driver problem. Everything's right up to the minute with those. I believe it's really a hardware issue with USB ports on the PC (very new, and USB 3.0) and the Motorola TA's USB port (USB 2.0). Just some kind of intermittency here.

The real issue is not that this happens however infrequently. The real annoyance is that I have to jump through hoops to re-boot and get the TA/Ceton connection working normally again. But I think I've recently got the trick figured out now, which is to pull the USB cable out before powering up the PC. Let the PC boot without connection to the TA, until things "stabilize".Then a few minutes later plug the USB cable back in and be sure the "new hardware detected" sound happens. From that point on there's a very good chance it will come up properly. I've got a good record going with this method.

Post Reply