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My latest daft project.

Started by: dtuxcomp
On: 10/05/2016 | 15:26
Replies: 3474

by: tuneintestaccount
on: 26/11/2018 | 12:22

@dtuxcomp wrote:

It started out about 4 years ago, I'd had one of the SD tuners for ages and just used it on the laptop when there was a conflict so we couldn't record something on the freeview box. Then we had a run of gear packing up, in 18 months we had 2 TV's, 2 VCR's , 3 STB's and a couple of HD PVR's all died. In the end I was using my laptop constantly to record stuff and running it back and forth on flashdrives to an even older laptop in the main room for playback. I got a second tuner just in case the old one suddenly died and then when I plugged it in to test it, it dawned on me I could use two and not just record two programmes, but two multiplexes as the recording software will happily grab the whole stream from the tuner and spit out recordings for any show on that multiplex. Then I got a cheap refurb'd desktop pc so I could have my laptop back and bought a 3rd tuner meaning to keep that one for spare. As you can imagine, I didn't leave it alone so in the end worked out at that time I needed 5 tuners, one for each SD multiplex at that point. Then they added another so wound up with 6 tuners.


As it has worked out so well we've decided not to bother replacing any TV gear that dies and instead use the PC setup as it's modular so if anything breaks it can be swapped out. I've ended up splitting the aerial feed a fair few times now Smiley Wink I've even canibalised an 8 way booster I got cheap online so I've now got, hang on need to count up, 14 to 15 potential feeds coming off the one aerial lead from the roof Smiley Wink Smiley Happy I've got some pics of the carnage I'll post where I hard soldered the cables straight into the booster to cut down on the amount of cables and plugs / sockets in the loop Smiley Happy


Ive got one of those cheap tuners with the MCX connector I think it's called, tiny little plug, I originally bought a pigy back adaptor but as the tuner comes with one of those useless aerials I cut the cable off of it and soldered that into the booster, no adaptor needed Smiley Happy I've binned all the aerials but kept the leads as they're a lot easier to solder and still carry the signal well Smiley Happy


Next time I see one of those cheap tuners I'll post a link for you.



That sounds like a good project that you had then, starting with one tuner and turning it into a full PVR/recorder with one tuner per multiplex. I think they now do up to 9 TV multiplexes, though it depends whereabouts you live / what transmitter you are on. Most transmitters do the main 6 multiplexes, with some of the largest ones also doing two more (using the HD codec). There are also some transmitters that do "local" TV multiplexes but they don't have a large viewing audience.


You must have had a right string of bad luck there, as I've never heard of all that equipment dying in such a short space of time! The only things that we have had go wrong are the DVD drive of a TV/DVD combi failing (and just after the warranty had expired!), the power supply of the same TV packing up on me (hence, the whole TV got junked), and the HDMIs of another TV not working very well / being intermittent. The latter TV is being used as the monitor for my gaming PC, and unfortunately, it cannot be utilized very much at the moment, due to (a) the HDMIs taking a good 10 minutes to work properly, and (b) the graphics card not having a legacy VGA port.

Though think of it as an upside, at least you now have something that is fully modular, and can be easily replaced, as supposed to something that you have to either take apart to find the fault (which may not be repairable, and/or cause further damage), or have to dispose of at the local recycling center...

Yeah I can see why that wasn't ideal, you don't want to be running backwards and forwards with laptops and flash drives!


Cheap refurbed desktop PCs are always a good purchase, assuming that you get one with enough power in it (e.g. an i3 or better). I'd never recommend getting anything with worse than an i3, for whatever reason, as performance is just poor even for basic tasks. I like desktop PCs as they are fully upgradeable in the majority of cases, with room for expansion as required. For example, with my gaming PC, it didn't arrive with wireless network communications, though we don't use Ethernet (due to huge long cable trails), so I purchased a PCI-E wifi adapter for £20 (with Bluetooth), and it works Smiley Happy
You can't do that with a laptop...
It also gives me room to add additional hard drives (or even an SSD) if required.


Haha, yeah I see why cannibalizing an 8 way amplifier would work out for you; I personally wouldn't recommend hand soldering plugs straight onto the booster as it's by no means the most efficient way of transferring the signals; but then again, if it's connecting those horrible micro Coax (or mini Coax, or whatever they are called) cables, then that's your only choice without buying one of those adapterss to convert it to a standard Co-Ax plug. Those micro Coax cables, by being rather thin, are also likely to be quite lossy, which again doesn't help with signal transfer.

That'd be good to see, and of course the less connections there are in the system, the better. 


As I mentioned, the little table top aerials that come with those things just aren't designed for TV reception. Ok it will work in a strong signal area, but only whereby the signal is very strong, such as Hunstanton (good line of sight) or The Gransdens/Little Gransden/St Neots area etc (can see the transmitter - very strong signal). Though where I work, we've got various buildings that are varying in height. Some of them only go 2 or 3 floors up, yet one of them is 8 floors and one of them 11 floors! I might buy one of those things, with the MCX aerial, just to check the signal levels on each building and how they perform, since I know we've got some very strong signal buildings and some that are quite weak. Should make for an interesting experiment.

But if anything else, if those aerials had a proper coax socket then you could have at least used them on an FM radio receiver instead, so that the aerials weren't completely to waste. Or another use, assuming that they have a megnetic base, is to stick them on the top of your car and use an adapter to whatever the radios in cars use nowadays - as that would be an improvement in FM radio reception compared to those horrible in built "windscreen / on the glass" aerials that most car manufacturers are going towards... They might look nice and unobtrusive, but the radio reception is miles worse, I can tell quite easily - and it makes a big difference to usable radio signals if you don't keep the radio stuck on BBC Radio 1/2/3/4...

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Message 3241 of 3,475
by: dtuxcomp
on: 26/11/2018 | 12:28
@sypamele Without wanting to make anyone nod off Smiley Wink The short version is, the HD tuner will pick up all the current SD Freeview channels, and a couple of dozen others that the SD tuners can't see. Most of those are not Hi-Def transmissions though, and several were just +1's so not really a channel gained. So I only really ended up with 8 channels I couldn't already get and most of those were of no interest to me. But as I mentioned it's really only a small step towards ensuring if they shut off the SD transmissions, like they did with analogue a while back, I'm not left with no TV.
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Message 3242 of 3,475
by: dtuxcomp
on: 26/11/2018 | 12:36

@couly2018 wrote:

lol i have an old school VAX vacume cleaner and ran out of paper bags so i attempted to cut the cardboard pipe slot off the bag and slotted it in a sock and it works perfect if not makes my vac more powerful and all these years i was paying like 7 quid for 5 bags.

@couly2018  Great bodge job !!! Well done, and welcome to the thread Smiley Wink Smiley Happy  Do feel free to chip in with any other mad projects, random ideas or just have a natter, we tend to do off on a lot of tangents here, well maybe that's just me Smiley Wink Smiley Happy


We've ended up with 4 hoovers and a carpet sweeper Smiley Surprised Thankfully none of them need paper bags, we did have an upright previously that took paper bags but fortunately before we ran out of bags it, ummm, caught fire Smiley Wink Smiley Happy


Quick tip :-


A sock over the end of the hose is a great way to pick up lost earing backs and other small items such as the many, many, many small screws I've managed to drop on the carpet without losing them inside the hoover, but do make sure you keep a good grip on the sock, I did end up once having to dig through the contents of the hoover to rescue a sock it had "eaten" 'cos I let go of the sock before turning the suction off Smiley Surprised Smiley Surprised Smiley Surprised

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Message 3243 of 3,475
by: dtuxcomp
on: 26/11/2018 | 12:42
Masking tape is great for fixing small tears in paper hoover bags, and if you carefully cut open the end farthest from the nozzle hole, you can empty the bag out and then use a couple of binder clips to re-seal the bag Smiley Wink or a length of that plastic strip you can use to clip pages together Smiley Happy I've made throwaway bags last ages like that, although when the do then give out they tend to do it in style Smiley Wink Smiley Happy
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Message 3244 of 3,475
by: dtuxcomp
on: 26/11/2018 | 12:43
@sypamele I'm glad you said it was a clean sock Smiley SurprisedSmiley Surprised Smiley Surprised
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Message 3245 of 3,475
by: dtuxcomp
on: 26/11/2018 | 13:13

@tuneintestaccount  To be fair most of the gear that died on us was donkey's years old and had been bounced about a lot over our many moves before we got into this flat, it was only two years ago we got our first flatscreen TV Smiley Wink ( £5 from a charity shop and it makes a great PC monitor ) we're still using one portable CRT and have 1 or maybe 2 spares in the cupboard Smiley Happy


Yes the transmitter here is the same 5 main SD + 1 local & 3 HD. As the PVR only has 8 USB ports that could get interesting when I get up to 9 USB tuners Smiley Wink I'll have to run 4 of the SD ones in two pairs via hubs I think, should be ok as long as the hubs are decent quality. I'm using a trio of Dell SFF Optiplexes so there's not a lot of expansion options other than swapping in a larger HD. They are all dual core 4Gb mem bar the server one which I got for £20 drive-less that's only got 2Gb mem but doesn't struggle.


The canibalised booster again is a test rig to see if I could get away with daisychaining the boosters, once I get to the point of going all in I'll swap it out for a better quality one and use proper cables, but as all the soldered cables are 1 - 2 foot at the longest there's not any issues with interference, although I do have to go back into it at some point and resolder one as it's not working very well Smiley Sad Thankfully with 8 to chose from there's no urgency as it's not shorting. I'll dig out some pics when I get round to it.


As I don't drive a car aerial's not really high on the wish list, although I do remember back in the days of car CB's the insane aerial setups they used to do, when one lot was banned there was a trend for hiding the aerials so it didn't draw attention, my Dad ran his own garage and used to run a thin aerial wire into the door lining and round the edges of the window frame, that way you had quite a run of aerial but nothing visible Smiley Happy Smiley Happy


Here you go, the cheapest I can find with a quick search, I've not used either of these so can't vouch for how well they'd work especially on Windows or Mac as I only run LInux.


Ebay :- £5.99  - Tongue


Amazon :- £6.91  -


The Ebay one has a standard aerial connection, the Amazon a MCX or whatever it's called, and ignore the bit in the blurb that says it does HD TV, it's a standard def tuner, but they can get away with it because in other countries they transit HD over the DVB-T standard, but not here in the UK.


I'm sure you could find plenty of similar ones in that sort of price bracket, I've not been keeping an eye out as I have not only the 6 in use but a couple of spares just in case Smiley Wink

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Message 3246 of 3,475
by: dtuxcomp
on: 26/11/2018 | 13:29

So I figured before I started in on anything else I'd give the mancave a long overdue tidy up as it was getting a bit chaotic.


I'm sure you'll all agree it's looking sooooooooooooo much clearer now Smiley Wink Smiley Happy Won't last tho Smiley Wink




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Message 3247 of 3,475
by: frenchielove
on: 26/11/2018 | 13:39

Oh that is so well organised @dtuxcomp well done you 🤗

Message 3248 of 3,475
by: dtuxcomp
on: 26/11/2018 | 13:54
@frenchielove Thank you Smiley Wink As I said, it's not going to last, my new printer is only 10 drops ( 45 mins-ish ) away Smiley Happy Smiley Happy Smiley Happy

If you hear ranting and swearing in about an hour, that'll be me trying to set it up Smiley Wink I've gone for one of the HP instant ink ones which are supposed to be really easy to set up, so I expect mayhem Smiley Wink Smiley Happy

The old printer sadly packed up last week, one of the cartridges I'd refilled coughed ink all over the insides of it, and oddly it just stopped working right Smiley Wink So until I've got time and the patience to strip it and clean it all out, I've had to buy a cheap and cheerful replacement Smiley Happy
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Message 3249 of 3,475
by: andyslc
on: 26/11/2018 | 15:27

@dtuxcomp A place for everything and everything in its place...until the next time multiple projects collide Smiley Sad

Veni vidi dormivi
Message 3250 of 3,475