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New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

faroutliving
New Poster

New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

I hope someone here can help with a very strange problem and save me from lighting a HughesNet bonfire in my backyard... Sorry for the length of the this post, but I am trying to be as detailed as I can. If I missed something important, or something is still not clear, please just ask!

A little over three weeks ago we had an HN9000 with a wall mounted .98m dish installed. Since installed, the modem regularly reboots itself (say between 7 and 90 minutes) and occasionally locks up such that it requires the power cord pulled. About 5% of the time that it is up, we have troubles accessing web pages (and get the web acceleration problem page "Web Acceleration Client Error (504) - Suspected Satellite Link Outage") but email, ssh etc works fine. I suspect that is simply a symptom of the reboots but can't be sure. The reboots are like a complete power cycle, and we initially even loose access to the modem status pages.

We have already had a repair technician come out twice. The first time, he suspected the wrong power supply and when he arrived it was supposedly the wrong power supply and replaced it with a higher capacity 73w YM-2071A and left. No change. The second time he had to realign the dish (strong winds here had pulled the upwind arm loose) and then replaced the modem, power supply, and parts of the tria/lnb/whatever you call it with this system. No change.

I say parts of the tria, because I saw the repair tech pull the funnel shaped part out from the old and insert it into the new one. When he came back in and powered it up, he mumbled something, powered it down and went back out and was back up on the ladder. I'm not so sure he didn't put the old one back up, but I don't think so. It took longer than reattaching a cable, but less time that it took him initially to swap the tria.

I mention the specifics on the tria, because he told me that "they" (Hughes) wanted the dish and cable replaced but he saw no need to do that, and even told the Hughes guy on the phone that he replaced everything. Maybe "everything" is understood to mean everything with a chip/resistor, I don't know. I find it odd he replaced the power cable and mentioned how that could be the cause, but said that the coax tested fine and no way that could be the problem...

The install was done with no grounding, in fact the original installer clipped the ground leads such that there is no way to attach it without cutting and putting new ends on the coax. He also took pictures of an unrelated pole in the ground and submitted that as "proof" of grounding. The repair tech tried to sell me that having it grounded was actually dangerous and caused serious injury to an old lady who was sitting near her equipment in a lightening storm. I didn't bother to refute any of that nor explain the purpose of the ground. I did run a 10ga ground wire up to the dish and attach it to the tria after he left, but the problem still remains.

Since he left, the dish came loose 3 more times and the final time I drilled and screwed the adjustable arm. Luckily he had realigned it with the arms fully compressed so I was able to find "home" again. It might be a a tad off (188 receive signal strength, 37 normalized power word) but it behaves the same as it always had.

So that leaves the one odd part out of our specific installation. We are on a generator (nearest power line is miles, and $250k away. Nearest neighbor is 9 miles away. Nearest tree is a lone tree 2 miles away :-) and that was the repair tech's bosses only suggestion. He suggested that the modem was very power sensitive, and it should be on a UPS.

So... I have a Tripp-Lite UPS which I have plugged the satellite in. No change. I unplugged the UPS from the wall and ran it on battery. No change. I have a much larger generator for welding etc and wired into that. No change. Prior to this, we have been here 7 years on WildBlue (and then almost a year on Exede) and never had a problem like this. I can believe that the UPS would not be ideal as it is not a pure sine wave source (since it doesn't really matter for switching power supplies), but the generators are. I even ran some heavy cycling equipment (toaster, freezer, etc) that cause the smaller generator to have to power up to supply the house electricity and _that_ never caused the satellite to reboot. I would expect that if the modem is that power sensitive that would cause a reboot but it does not.

Any suggestions? I would like to get some fresh ideas. I hate to call and schedule another appointment without something new. You know that definition of repeating the same thing and expecting different results...

Thanks,
Deron

43 REPLIES 43
C0RR0SIVE
Associate Professor

Re: New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

Things that could cause a modem to reboot...

Bad Coax connection or cable
Faulty modem
Bad power supply
Bad power

You are positive your generator is putting out a true sinewave 60hz 120v feed? Stepped Approximation UPS tend to cause issues with Hughes equipment, as does dirty power.  

Also, these dishes are supposed to tolerate I think it's 80mph wind gusts with out falling out of alignment... But that's provided someone decides to use the proper pole mount, and tighten the bolts properly.
Chris11
Alum

Re: New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

Hi faroutliving,

Welcome to the community and thank you for posting! Sounds like a long ordeal. Sorry to hear of your experience with us. I was thinking the modem itself may need to get replaced. Was that ever done? I do not see why it would reboot so often, at least from your explanation power should be sufficient. 

- Chris
faroutliving
New Poster

Re: New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

As I said, the UPS is what is commonly called a modified sine wave output (what you called stepped approximation, which is an apt description). Generators are (almost) always pure sine wave, and yes mine are. The power is generated much the same way a community diesel or even steam powered coal fired generator would be. Simply a series of coils are spun inside a series of alternating magnetic fields.

I can not however say without a doubt that the cyclic rate is an exact and unchanging 60.0hz, but the UPS is. The only time the cyclic rate would matter is if you are somehow using that as a timing device (for example, some plug in clocks use the 60hz cycle as timing). If the power supply outputs 48v and 13.5v _DC_ (it does not specify) then there can be no timing issue.

A modified sine wave AC causes problems with 1) motors because the power is not smoothly "pushed" from coil to coil and causes the motor to run hotter and therefor reduce the lifespan of the device and 2) simple power supplies that don't have sufficient capacitance to smooth out the ripples and devices can act erratic if they are very voltage sensitive.

Either way, the symptoms should be different between the generator and the UPS. Short of disassembling the power supply and hooking up an oscilloscope to the output of it I can't be 100% sure, but logic tells me that the generators should be fine and the problem lies elsewhere. My tests outlined initially provide a reasonable assurance of that also.

Since I am still using the original coax, can you tell me more about what symptoms to expect if it was bad? Mostly, has anyone had a similar problem that was resolved with replacing the coax or connectors?

Thanks for your time!

Deron
faroutliving
New Poster

Re: New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

You must have posted as I was still writing my response. As initially outlined (sorry it was so long, but I suspect the problem lies in some small detail); the modem, power supply and (most) of the tria was replaced. The dish itself, coax, and possibly some part of the tria have not been.

I suppose it is always possible to get two bum modems in a row, but I hope the QC would make that highly unlikely? You would be in a far better situation to know how unlikely that would be.

Thanks,
Deron
donsjgm
Junior

Re: New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

Hi Deron,
Since beginning with HN (over 2 years) I have had my modem connected to a UPS and the modified sine wave causes absolutely no issue. I suppose if you were taxing the capacity of the unit a voltage drop below certain levels might cause a re-boot but it sounds like either a bad modem or coax.
The system needs to be grounded!
Some inverters have a floating ground and if their output is earthed they will shutdown. I am assuming that the primary is earthed, though.

Don  Smiley Happy
Gwalk900
Honorary Alumnus

Re: New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

Any sign of the Modem over heating ?

Have all the exterior connections had dialectic grease applied to prevent moisture penetration that could lead to a momentary short ?

Have all the exterior connections been properly weatherproofed in addition to the above ?

 

faroutliving
New Poster

Re: New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

Hi Don,

Glad to hear your usage. I have properly grounded the system, no thanks to the original installer nor the repair tech. Usually it is neutral on UPS/cheap inverters that can not be bonded to ground, but that is not the case here. Thanks!

----

Hi Bill,

Did you have problems initially with your system until you put the modem on the UPS? Just curious what symptoms you had initially. Thanks!

----
Hi Gwalk900,

I asked about the modem overheating, and I was told that the unit will show a steady red light and lock up. I have an infrared heat sensor I use to check surface temps on electronics and the _outside_ of the modem does not show over 70F right now. Of course, it is good and cold in here (just got home from a long weekend). I've never noticed anything _hot_, just warm but I don't know how sensitive the system is.

Since the system has never run for more than 2 hours straight and we didn't get rain until last night I would say weather is not a factor. No dielectric grease, or even rubber boots, but I have some here from the first Wildblue installation that was performed as poorly. I guess anything to save a nickle... Thanks!
--------
Somewhere I have a short test cable from years ago that should work just fine. I have to run the cable through the window but for the day I can hook it up and give it a go. Hopefully it will resolve everything and then I can call them back out to fix their cable and check the dish alignment.

I'll post back either way with the results. Thanks for everyone's help.

Deron
BirdDog
Assistant Professor

Re: New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

I have lived off grid for almost 13 years. You can take or leave my reply, totally up to you.

1. Regular generators put out nothing close to pure sine wave, the output is loaded with harmonics.

2. I use inverter generators which put out much cleaner sine wave power.

3. I use pure sine inverters to convert my 12V system, no modified square wave.

4. A battery bank in between the generator and pure sine inverter helps to keep the power stable and clean. I have 5 deep cycle RV batteries in my system.

Again, regular generators do not put out clean power and any inverters need to be pure sine wave, not modified. 
BirdDog
Assistant Professor

Re: New customer who can't stay connected, random reboots

I have about 500 watts of solar which runs things fine during the day in RV sized place. Going back to grid power in the new 1500 sq/ft home.

Has been a learning experience but solar just doesn't do it under high loads especially off grid. Too many panels needed plus we are on north side of mountain, not much sun during winter, only 3-4 hours of good panel hit.

Off grid takes lots of batteries, panels and huge inverters to make a true system especially if adding air conditioning, stoves, refrigerators, well pump,etc. Yes there are things made for off grid but not the size and features of regular appliances.

I'm done with it personally, served me OK in what was supposed to be temporary living. Ready to get back to carefree power. Off grid solar is not there yet for many users IMO. If open flat space in the dessert then maybe yes.