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Old 10-21-2009, 09:15 AM   #1
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Problem with KVH R5SL Satellite System

I need help with my KVH TracVision R5SL satellite receiver? I purchased it last Jun in Tucson AZ and it is installed on my 1997 Monaco Windsor motor home with a Dish Network receiver.

After installation, there were a number of problems. The check switch routine was taking hours and not locking onto the satellites. Working with the KVH tech department, we traced it to an outdated RF software version. After updating the software, the problems continued. The system continuously dumps the Dish Network satellites and loads the Direct TV DSS satellites. The KVH technician recommended we replace the Dish Network 311 receiver with a new mobile Dish VIP211 model. We also installed a grounding block in the RF 1 cable and grounded it and the switch plate to the chassis. The problem continued. We next installed a new KVH 15V power supply vs. powering it from the motor home 12V system. We also ordered the new service keys and tried satellite installation using service keys verses a laptop computer using the KVH Flash Wizard software. The system still continues to dump the Dish Network satellites and install the Direct TV DSS satellites on its own.

My understanding of the problem seems to be the KVH system senses a slight polarity shift and immediately reloads the Direct TV DSS satellites and of course my Dish Network system requires the Echo Star satellites. KVH tech support continues to insist it is a grounding problem. Sometimes it will work for 2 days, and sometimes it will only work for 2 minutes before reloading the satellites (usually right after turning it on and completing the limit switch test). I have double checked the grounds with an ohm meter and even replaced the ground block just in case, but the problems continue.

Does anyone use a KVH system with a Dish receiver?
Do you have problems with it reloading your satellites?
Thanks for any advice.

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Old 10-24-2009, 10:01 AM   #2
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Sorry to here you are having problems with your KVH.I feel your pain I spent a week trying to trouble shoot mine. The tech told me to check everything that you have been told. This was New on a new coach The dealer told me to bring it back so they could trouble shoot it. After three solid days the dealer gave up and replaced it with a new one from KVH, no problems since. I am using the Bell bird. Sorry forgot to mention mine would work for a hour or so then not at all, sometimes it would not even move. I personaly think it was a board problem.

Good luck...
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Old 10-28-2009, 09:26 AM   #3
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Thanks Dennis. I think mine has a board problem also, but the KVH techs insist it is a grounding problem. I may just box it up and ship it back to them.
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Old 01-17-2010, 01:56 PM   #4
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I went thru most of the above mentioned troubles and steps with my KVH TracVision LF, and my most logical conclusion was there was something wrong with the board. I removed it and had it checked by my DISH network technician; he thinks the board is fine.
I am not strong in electronics, and I wonder how can you be 100% sure.
Best choice is probably to get a new KVH like you guys did. Thanks.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:38 PM   #5
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I am also having trouble with my KVH. I was told by their technician that my software version needed to be updated and that I needed to bring it to a KVH dealer to be re-flashed. I called the nearest dealer who is about 500 miles away and he gave me a link to the KVH wizard software and the new flash. Unfortunately, this set my satellite controller to European sats. When I contacted KVH tech support to get help they were quite upset that I used their software and insisted I drive to a dealer to get it re-flashed. I am in northern Ontario and cannot find any RV dealers that service KVH anymore. The several I have contacted have recommended switching brands. Lokks like I will have to take a long drive into the U.S. if I can't find a local solution. Any suggestions?
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Old 03-16-2010, 02:40 PM   #6
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I recently had my old KVH replaced by the in motion R5 satellite.
I use DISH. It works perfectly well.
I found a technician/dealer well connected with KVH in Atlanta, GA and they are also in Lakeland Florida.
May be he could help. SGB
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:41 PM   #7
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If one tech gives you a hard time, just call back the next day. Some of them are more friendly towards do it yourself folks than others. Make sure you have studied as much as possible about the KVH system so he does not have to deal with trivial matters.

I have been talking to one of the KVH techs about mine. He says another customer is experiencing the same problems. I sent him some logs showing how it reloads the Direct TV satellites on its own.

I am going to try connecting the Dish receiver through a new coax cable just run through the window and up to the KVH unit on the roof. The current coax is routed through the "attic" area bulkheads and then sealed where it exits the roof to the KVH, so it is the one constant in my troubles. I have installed new connectors on it, but if I use an entirely new cable that should narrow it down to the KVH satellite receiver.

For the last several months, I have just been using a Dish 1000 dish on a tripod. It works flawlessly and receives three satellites without re-aiming. But of course it will not work on the road. I have less than $100 invested in it and well over $1200 in my KVH. It sure is disappointing.

If you need some help, I am learning more than I ever cared before about the R5SL. If you have the wrong software/firmware, just reload the correct version.
Best of luck!
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:10 PM   #8
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You may just need to reset the satellite programming. To do this you need a laptop with hyperTerminal installed (or equivalent) and a serial cable. Here's the procedure:

Installing Satellites for KVH R4/R5

Occasionally we hear that people cannot get their KVH R4/R5 domes to lock onto a satellite – the Owner’s Manual that came with my dome says that the North American satellites are already programmed into the system, but I could not get my system to lock on to a satellite until I performed the following operation using my laptop computer. The process is quite simple, and the required serial cable should have been supplied with your system. If not you can get a serial cable at any computer store, or office supply store. If your laptop computer does not have a serial port you will have to also get a USB-to-serial adapter, also available at the computer stores.

Equipment Needed:
PC with HyperTerminal or equivalent – Windows XP has HyperTerminal installed – Vista does not, but it does have an equivalent program called “telnet”. Telnet is not installed into Vista by default, but it can be installed easily – use the “Help” feature of Vista for more information.
Serial cable

1. Connect PC to dish using serial cable connected from the serial port of the PC to the serial port on the dish panel. This panel is where the power switch for the dome is located – the port is in the middle of the front panel, right next to the power switch.

2. Open HyperTerminal and make sure the following settings are set (I haven’t used telnet but there should be similar settings available for it):
a. Bits per second: 9600
b. Data bits: 8
c. Parity: none
d. Stop bits: 1
e. Flow Control: none

3. Power up the dish and wait about a minute for the initialization process to complete. There should be some data scrolling on the PC monitor, reporting any errors found during the power-up process. If not, check your connections.

4. Once the data connection has been made you can assign specific satellites using the following commands:

a. HALT <ENTER> - this places the dish in idle mode
b. SATINSTALL, <sat_a_name>, <sat_b_name> <ENTER> - the names of the various satellites are in the table, below.
c. ZAP <ENTER> - sends the commands to the dish and restarts the system.

DSS 72W DSS_72
DSS 101W DSS_101
DSS119W DSS_119
EchoStar 61W Echo_61
EchoStar 110W Echo_110
EchoStar 119W Echo_119
EchoStar 148W Echo_148
ExpressVu 82 Expressvu
ExpressVu 91 ExpressTV

5. Example: to assign DirecTV 72 and DirecTV 101 use the following commands:


Once this is completed the dish should be able to locate, and lock onto, the specified satellites. It worked for me when my RV dealer could not get my dome to work on my b rand new motorhome.
Alan Hepburn - San Jose, Ca
2007 Bounder 35E being pushed by a 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (JKU) Sport
Good Sam Member #566004 * FMCA Member #F431612
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:18 AM   #9
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Thanks for your reply. Yes, I am very familiar with the KVH satellite loading procedures, but your very good description will help others. I usually use KVH flash wizard on my laptop and an IO Gear USB to serial adapter.
I started working on my R5SL early last year when it dumped the Echo Star (Dish Network) satellites and automatically loaded the Direct TV satellites. At first it would only do this occasionally, then it became once a week and now it only lasts a few seconds.

I ran a new RG6 cable from the Dish Network receiver inside the coach to the KVH R5SL on the roof last Saturday. I then went through the loading procedures and loaded Echo Star 119 and 110. Right after the KVH system restarts and performs the limit switch test, it automatically reloads the DSS Direct TV satellites. I then loaded the TriSat Dish satellites, (119, 110, and 129) and right after the limit switch test it reloaded the DSS satellites and starts looking for DSS 119. I went through this procedure several times, but I am very sure there is a problem with my KVH system.

The KVH techs insist it is a ground problem, but I have purchased their KVH ground block, their KVH 12V power supply, and run ground wires to various places in the coach with no differences. I reloaded the software/firmware in the KVH main board Saturday and this did not help. I then attempted to reload the RF board, but noticed that Flash Wizard could not recognize my board. I suspect my RF board is bad and inducing voltage changes into the RG6 which the system interprets as a Direct TV receiver satellite load signal.

I am ready to start a big fire with my KVH satellite system!
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:40 PM   #10
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Hi Vito, I don't know if this will help you but I had the same EXACT problem a few years ago and Alan's help is correct but possibly incomplete. When I contacted KVH I was told that the location of the satellites had changed and the tech walked me through a process similar to what Alan is quoting but it included entering some info that pinpointed the exact location of the now moved satellite. Problem solved. See if you can find someone at KVH to help you with changing that info. After thatI switched to DirecTV and have had NO problems but that is another story
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