Recycling an LNB from an old Dish sat dish

Is it possible to recycle old DISH sat dishes with LNB to use with receiver for outernet?

Absolutely. If i’m right these were intended for sat TV? If so, perfect, providing its big enough for your location.

Mine is intended for SKY TV in the UK. It works perfectly for Outernet.

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I agree with John - I am in North America (Canada, to be precise) and am using an old satellite dish and LNB from years ago - works great.

There are a number of ‘gotchas’ that people on the forum will point out (such as the size of the dish), but using older equipment has been successful in the past.

The one great reason to use new equipment is that you can be certain it is working. If you have an old dish, the dish itself would be fine (unless it is damaged), but it is hard to know if the LNB is working. Again, lots of clever guys on the forums to help out in that respect.

You will certainly learn a TON more about satellites and antennas/LNBs, etc., when you are trying to re-use older equipment … especially if it doesn’t work the first time and you have to do some troubleshooting!

My 2 cents …

Cheers,
Brian

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While the dish may work they are often times too small, the LNBF (the small device at the other end of the long arm extending from the dish) is designed for circular polarization on Dish and DirecTV systems. The Outernet satellites all use linear polarization, so you would need to change the LNBF to a linear type.

The Dish/Direct dishes were not designed to accept standard LNBFs, so you usually need to construct a mount of some type as well that positions the feedhorn in the same position as the original. I believe there are vendors on eBay that offer conversion brackets, and a linear LNBF can be had for under $20.

You can use dishpointer.com to see what direction and elevation the satellites are from you. It will also tell you what the minimum recommended dish size is for your location. For North America you would want Galaxy 19.

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Really?

Yes, really. I suspect that Brian used an old dish with a linear versus circular LNB, as some of the Canadian satellite providers (Shaw I think?) do or have used linear transponders. Dish and Direct are circular (although, again, some older dishes had a linear LNBF for local and international channels, the old “SuperDish” from dish network comes to mind). It may be possible to re-use these just for the linear LNBF if you happen to have one, but it would be quite a challenge to figure out how to align it since if I recall the linear feed was not on center. These dishes are designed to be skewed to pick up multiple satellites at once.

There’s plenty out there if you wish to google further, and feel free to experiment yourself, but I’m rather confident that in nearly every scenario it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to pick up the Outernet Ku band transponders with an old Dish or DirecTV dish/LNBF combo.

I happen to have a linear LNB and a DirecTV SlimLine that I’m going to attempt marrying together eventually.

Hi k8wtf-

I’m curious about your progress to getting an old DirecTV Slimline going…

I started the process of mating a linear LNB to the dish, but my research on the Slimline (and probably Dish 500 and 1000) dishes is that they multi-focal point dishes, designed to collect from multiple birds and focus to multiple LNBs.

While you should be able to find a focal point pretty easily, overall gain would suffer, and I’m not sure what you would expect.

Dave
ad0qe

Based on my testing, the big issue is dish size. I am using an 80 cm free-to-air (FTA) dish with a linearly polarized LNB on Galaxy 19 here in the Washington DC area. (I think Outernet specifies a dish larger than 60 cm on Galaxy 19.) If your dish is not motorized, you must adjust the Skew too (that’s the relative twist from vertical when the dish points to the satellite).

Old dishes of the appropriate size should work fine. Dish and DirectTV LNBs won’t work from my experience, so beware! Ken

Hi Dave - I just Macgyver’d a linear LNB to a slimline, using some information I found at the SatelliteGuys forum. I tried to get a lock on my OrxPi off of Galaxy 19 and was not successful.

I’m not sure if I have the LNBF positioned correctly - there doesn’t seem to be a lot of consistency to where people are mounting the linear LNB. I guessed by holding up the original LNB and roughing it in.

I also don’t have a lot of confidence in the signal strength/quality meter on the Outernet tuner settings page, I’m never certain that it is refreshing or how quickly.

I’ll try again soon with a FTA receiver to see if I can find G19.

HI all-

Good info to share around. It seems like any sort of conversion from the commercial DTV dishes isn’t going to be easy, or even possible.

I have a Winegard 76-cm dish on the way. They seem to be discontinued, but still widely available, and have the “universal” mount for most linear LNBs. These seem to be pretty cheap, and if I don’t use it for Outernet, I can use it as a 10 GHz dish (which I always seem to trash during contests)…

73s.
Dave
ad0qe

Ah, a microwave guy! You might know my dad, wa8wzg, he was big into ghz and eme back in the 90s.

I wanted to stop by and say that after a few adjustments I currently have a signal lock and receiving at ~90kbps on Galaxy 19 using the converted DirecTV dish, so it is definitely possible. I’ll post some pictures and helpful tips later. Maybe I can add a wiki page if anyone is interested. I still have some tweaking to do, but work beckons.

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This is great.

It’s not just the content over the satellite that’s educational!

OK, here is a brief write-up of how I completed the Slimline conversion. I suspect these directions will work for a reasonably sized Dish Network dish as well.

First, as mentioned previously, the LNBF (the thing at the end of the arm with a few circular plastic things) is not compatible with the Outernet satellites. You need to acquire a KU Band PLL Linear LNBF and a universal LNBF bracket. I purchased both of these items on eBay for about $20 from seller “ke4est” - however you can obtain them from whomever you like. The universal LNBF bracket looks something like this:

You will next need to make some adjustments to the Slimline dish to configure it for single satellite use. You can do these things while you wait for the parts above to arrive.

Your Slimline is probably set at an angle so that it can focus on multiple satellites at once. You will only be focusing on a single satellite, so we want the dish to be horizontal. To accomplish this, loosen the 3 bolts between the dish and the mount and set the angle to 90 degrees:

You will then want to set the elevation. This varies from location to location. Go to dishpointer.com and put in your address. Select the satellite you will be using for Outernet - in North America this will usually be Galaxy 19. Make note of elevation, azimuth, and LNB skew. You can also use the map to make sure there are no obstructions between the dish and where you will point the satellite.

On the side of the slimline mounting bracket, there is an elevation scale. You will want to set this to match the elevation you made note of above. You will need to loosen two bolts on the outside left and outside right, and one bolt on the inside left, of the Slimline mounting bracket to adjust elevation.

Elevation here has been set for about 39.5 degrees:

It’s now time to replace the LNBF. To figure out where to place the new one, I took a folded piece of aluminum foil, taped it to the support arm, and bent it to match the location and angle of the original center LNBF. I drew a red dot at approximately the center point of the LNBF.

I then removed the old LNBF and positioned the new one. I had to drill a 1/4" hole approximately 2 3/8" from the end of the support arm. I had to drill the upper part of the hole out a bit more to allow the square-shaped section of the universal holder’s included bolt to pass though.

I used the foil to line up the new LNBF with the original. Adjust the height to center the new LNBF to the center point of the original LNBF. I also had to bend the LNBF holder forward a bit to get it close to the original angle:

You will also want to set the LNBF skew at this time. Use the LNB skew angle you made note of before and turn the LNBF until the 0 line on the LNBF until it lines up with the correct setting on the LNBF holder’s scale. Keep the LNBF a little loose so that you can fine-tune this later. Note that the direction indicated on the dishpointer.com site is from the perspective of standing behind the back side of the dish.

The end result should look something like this:

Take the dish outside and sit it on the original pole. Don’t tighten yet. Use a compass to point the dish in the direction of the azimuth (magnetic) that you made note of earlier. Slowly swing the dish back and forth and watch the Quality graph on the Outernet tuner settings page. Note that “Signal Strength” is pretty much irrelevant - you will want to pay attention to quality. The indicator might be delayed by several seconds, so make very small adjustments and wait for the results.

Once you have peaked the signal quality by moving left and right, tighten the dish mount down. You can then fine tune the dish elevation. The Slimline has a nifty elevation fine-tune adjustment - it’s the long screw on the left of the bracket. Adjust this to best signal quality.

You can then proceed to adjust the LNBF skew, bend the LNBF bracket up and down slightly, and move the LNBF back and forward - doing each in small increments and waiting several seconds after each adjustment to see if the quality improved or not. Lock each thing down as you find the best quality.

If you can’t find a signal lock, check that the new LNBF is positioned as close as possible to where the original LNB was. Check your cables, connections, make sure the LNBF skew is correct, and that dish angle is 90 degrees and the elevation is set correctly. Double check everything against the dishpointer.com site for your location.

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Definitely would be interested in more info. I am going to attempt the same with old dish network and directly dishes.

I think I’ve provided enough to get you started, if there’s something specific you would like more information on though let me know.

I’ve done some additional tweaking and I am getting a 0.64 - 0.72 quality reading consistently now. This is very close to what I was getting with my 90cm dish. Judging from the satbeams.com coverage of Galaxy 19, I would think that this setup should work just about anywhere in the US and southern Canada. I haven’t tried Eutelsat 113 yet.

I just converted a Slimline by removing the original monoblock and installing a universal LNB, pretty much as @k8wtf describes. With this arrangement, I’m able to get 90% signal and 55-65% quality (depending on transponder) on my TV receiver, and 80% signal, 86% quality, and 90K bitrate on Outernet Lighthouse from Arizona, USA.

More details and photos here:
http://discuss.outernet.is/t/antenna-or-dish-to-buy/1236/17?u=barefoot_mike

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Great, i’m ordering the ku band lnb and bracket to get this working again.
Hope i have some luck with this in WI! :wink:
Will be back again when its all set up.
thanks!

Just so you are aware Outernet no longer uses the ku band. I didn’t bother reading the whole thread so you may be talking about something different.

What are they on now for North America?