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Old DSS System?


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Well, the 2004 Holiday Rambler rebuild project is progressing.  I've now got 5 pages of things I have fixed.  Still waiting on some parts, but my help keeps reminding that "you are getting close".....LOL.  Sometimes it doesn't feel like it - 2 steps forward, and one step back.

Anyway, I am posting on a subject of which I have absolutely no experience and I'm seeking advise.  On my HR, there is a "dome", and I assume it contains a "dish".  I think this coach had the "DSS" option installed at the factory.  Inside the coach, I have found and identified all the coaxes except 2 black ones in the driver's overhead, that go to some kind of switch that is still mounted in the compartment.  In the back of the driver's overhead compartment, there is also a 3 port coax plate, and there is nothing connected to the front of it.  Behind it, there is a coax cable to the "dome", a cable to the passenger's side overhead (video selector box?), and a cable to the rear exterior coax connection located in the rear shore power connection bay.

And now the kicker - this is ALL that is in the coach.  No video selector, no receiver, no sat dish controller.  I've tested the bat wing and the amp works and I am able to get both the front and rear TVs working.  I've ordered a Magnadyne video selector box from our friends at Amazon.  So I've got all this covered.  But I'm not sure what to do with that "bump" on the roof.  My brother says it's obsolete and can't be used, and that I should just take it off and throw it away.  Is he correct?  I'm not even sure who made it.

Seeking your valued advise.  TIA

Edited by CorinthWest
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I think your brother is correct. I had a KVH in motion satellite dome installed on our coach when we bought it new in 07. A few years back I started having issues with it not locking on. KVH has great tech support but that satellite dish was obsolete and no longer supported. I removed it and my direct tv traveler ( the traveler still worked ) and threw them onto the ground. I then installed a dish network traveler and we are happy campers . Good luck. 

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So THAT is what those old "KVH" warranty papers are doing in the (messy) file I got with the coach - LOL!  Well, one mystery solved.  Thanks, Timothy!  Isn't there supposed to be some kind of a satellite dish "controller" box, perhaps also KVH, to go with it?

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In that same compartment, I found a little plastic door that went to the front of the "receiver" - I think it was the DVD player built into the front of the receiver because it looks just like the door on the picture of the unit in the guide.

Anyway, wife and I were just chatting about it and if I remember correctly, my brother said that these old sat dish systems are now obsolete entirely.  He switched to a ROKU unit  and is very happy with the streaming services it provides since they are now offering "live" feeds, and it was significantly cheaper than Dish or Direct.  The only down side was you have to have a WiFi signal. And since a cellphone can be used as a MiFi hotspot, this isn't a problem.  I have several ROKU units and I guess I will simply install one of them in the coach and call it good.  We have Dish in the house, and my wife has set up a Dish Anywhere account so that she can watch various channels on her laptop.  We aren't sure if the ROKU will be able to get to the Dish streaming service or not.  I'm going to give it a go and I will post back on my findings.

Bottom line - "bump" on roof needs to go to the dump.  Thanks, Timothy.

(going to shed to get ladder......)

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On a previous 2002 coach the dish on the roof wouldn't lock onto the new encoding method that Dish.com was putting out (around 2013-2014).  To fix it the "Kingdome" needed a $400+ upgraded PC board inside the dome which was only a single LNB (changing channels could cause it to hunt for a new satellite).  King Electronics wouldn't budge on the upgrade so I said no thanks and built a stand out of PVC for a 3 LNB home roof style dish.  About $100 all in.  Yes, I have to manually align it every trip but I also have the advantage of steering around trees depending where I set it. 

Our 2003 Holiday Rambler came with a similar KVH dish on the roof for DirectTV.  The manuals were ancient.  I didn't even bother powering it up.  I suspect the installer used the cable from the rear satellite input (for external connections, along with cable TV and phone) as I haven't been able to figure out where that external cable is routed to.  I'm using the CableTV jack for my "portable" satellite input. 

The worst part is that I've mostly run out of things to watch on satellite, but everywhere we go I set it up. 

- bob

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Our coach came in almost the same state as yours. I concluded that the dish was obsolete and removed it from the roof. We enjoy the TV at home but have decide to travel without one. Most of the time we don't miss it. On rare occasions we will stream something on the laptop.

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If you do decide to remove it, if the dish/dome is on a platform, keep the platform in place. That way you won't have to patch the old holes and if you decide to get another dish, you can mount it on the existing platform.

Gary 05 AMB DST

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Any KVH dome is totally obsolete and is only electronic junk.  I had a factory installed KVH in-motion on my 05 and it was obsolete within 5 years because of the digital signal tracking changes.  I upgraded to a newer one in 2013 and it was okay for about 3-4 years unitil the satellite systems were upgraded by Direct tv.  If mounted to the roof, just remove and make sure the screw holes are sealed.

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2 hours ago, Larry Laursen said:

Any KVH dome is totally obsolete and is only electronic junk.  I had a factory installed KVH in-motion on my 05 and it was obsolete within 5 years because of the digital signal tracking changes.  I upgraded to a newer one in 2013 and it was okay for about 3-4 years unitil the satellite systems were upgraded by Direct tv.  If mounted to the roof, just remove and make sure the screw holes are sealed.

Which is why I went with a basic dish on a homemade stand.  Other than the actual LNBs there's nothing to go obsolete.  Even the tabletop models have processors, firmware, tracking software, signal decoding . . . . it doesn't end. 

- bob

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Update #1:  I plugged in the old ROKU 480 HD I had laying around in the MH.  It's connected directly to the front TV (flat screen) using an HDMI cable for now, and it appears to be (mostly) working.  I can't get Amazon Prime streaming because it keeps saying something about "app needs to be updated".  But other than that, HULU and the free stuff works just fine (I like "FREE").  The reason this is a big deal is that this particular ROKU device (480 HD) has "composite out" (RCA jacks) that will plug into the new (soon to get here) Magnadyne video switcher coming from Amazon.  The video switcher has composite video "in" (RCA jacks) for the DVD input and will convert the signal to a standard channel 3/4 output using an internal RF modulator, and allow it to be switched to any TV (front, back, or patio).   I can then select "DVD" (I'll change the label) on the switching unit for either the front,  rear, or patio TV's, and get the ROKU signal on channel 3/4.  I like it.  It should work well, although the video quality will suffer.  But then who goes on the road to watch TV anyway?

Wife said she's thinking we will use the newer ROKU in the house (with HDMI) and tell Dish to take a hike.  It should save us something like $70 a month, she figures if we "dump the dish", and go with ROKU and a streaming service.  "DUMP THE DISH" - I love it.  We spend like $150 per month for basic Dish Network service, and we hardly watch it.  There is a lot more "Live" streaming options out there these days, which is pretty much the same as TV.

Update #2:  I found an old (mostly disintegrated) manual/handbook on the Winegard Roadtrip Minimax SatelliteTV Antenna (it even shows a picture of it).   The switch inside the driver's side overhead also has a label on it that says "Winegard Roadtrip".  Don't understand how "KVH" plays into all of this.    Perhaps they made the Wingard "Roadtip Minimax" for Winegard?  I dunno.  But I suppose it doesn't matter.  The general consensus is.....this thing is junk, and I agree.  Is there like a museum or something to whom I can donate this dinosaur?  Or perhaps someone has a boat that needs an anchor?

Thanks to everyone for your assistance and advice.  This has been a great place for information, and to meet and discuss our collective motorhomes and issues.

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9 hours ago, CorinthWest said:

Update #1:  I plugged in the old ROKU 480 HD  . . . . and it appears to be (mostly) working.  I can't get Amazon Prime streaming because it keeps saying something about "app needs to be updated".  But other than that, HULU and the free stuff works just fine (I like "FREE"). 

We ran into the same thing.  Some channels, like Netflix and Prime, have changed the way they send out data (kinda like Dish & Direct changing their satellite encoding) making our old Roku obsolete.  I'm not sure if it's technology or marketing driven (I don't like the way N & P preview their shows while I'm trying to read the description).  I'm sure other streaming channels will follow.  The old Roku is useless and is collecting dust waiting for an archeologist to dig it up and put it in a museum. 

Our new Roku Ultra has a Roku streaming channel.  There's a LOT of channels inside the Roku channel and worth surfing except no DVR (we go do something then come back 30 min later and skip over commercials).   

As far as distribution, I'm sure there are HDMI switchers out there, but HDMI has a maximum transmission length (40 ft?).  Maybe 2 switchers are needed.  One for OTA and that old DVD player for the bedroom TV and the other for Roku, Dish and Direct.

- bob

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I concur with your Brother. Today's TV's can select all the devices connected to the TV without a box full of coax. You might invest in one of those cheap coax signal  tracers. Try Amazon.  You will be able to identify all the cables. Those old domes are trash.t

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