SWM8

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What is a SWM8?

SWM stands for "single-wire multiswitch" and the SWM8 is a single-wire multiswitch that can control up to 8 DIRECTV satellite tuners. That means a single SWM8 can control up to 4 DVRs total (2 tuners per DVR), up to 8 single-tuner receivers total, or a combination (eg. 2 DVRs and 4 single-tuner receivers). The SWM8 should not be confused with the SWM5, which is a SWM that has a smaller capacity than the SWM8.

What is a SWM16?

The SWM16 is the same as the SWM8 in concept but with support for more tuners, and a few other differences:

  • No Over-The-Air input for diplexing
  • 16 streams of stacked support (instead of 8 - but through two different ports)
  • 4 legacy ports
  • Separate power input (optional)
  • All compatible receivers connected to a SWM16 will be seen on the same multi-room viewing network

What is a SWM-LNB?

To make installations even simpler, DirecTV has come out with a SWM integrated right into the satellite reception LNB. There are two varieties - the SL3S (3LNB SWM) and the SL5S (5LNB SWM). Both work with slimline reflectors. Both still require power inserters, but can use the PI-21. Neither will support OTA or more than 8 tuners.

What are the requirements for using a SWM8?

There are two basic requirements: (1) you need a compatible dish, and (2) you need SWM-compatible receivers.

The only SWM-compatible dishes are the 5LNB dish (both slimline, and regular, both AT9 and AU9) and the slimline 3LNB from DIRECTV. The following is a list of SWM-compatible receivers:

HR20-100 through HR20-700
HR21-100 through HR21-700
HR21 Pro (all models)
HR22-100 through HR22-700
HR23-100 through HR23-700
HR24
HR34
H20-100 through H20-700
H21-100 through H21-700
H22-100 through H22-700
H23-100 through H23-700
H24
H25

THR22
R16-100 through R16-700
R22-100 through R22-700
R23-100 through R23-700
D12-100 through D12-700
D13-100 through D13-100

How do I connect the SWM8?

A SWM8 has six satellite inputs:

(1) 18V SAT99 / 101
(2) 13V SAT99 / 101
(3) 18V/22kHz SAT 103/110/119
(4) 13V/22kHz SAT 103/110/119
(5) Flex Port 1
(6) Flex Port 2

1) Connect the dish to the SWM. The four outputs from your 5LNB dish attach to inputs 1-4 on your SWM8. So long as the SWM is the only multiswitch that you are using with your 5LNB dish, it does not matter which wire from the 5LNB connects to which input on the SWM, but all four outputs from the dish must be connected to all four inputs on the SWM.

2) Connect the SWM to the PI-28 (sometimes referred to as a PI-29) Power Supply. We strongly recommend only DIRECTV-branded power supplies. Assuming you have one, your power supply (also called a power inserter) will have two coaxial cable connections—one labeled SWM, the other labeled IRD. Connect a cable from the red SWM connector on the power supply to the red connector on the SWM (SWM1 port). Be very wary of anyone trying to sell you a PI-21 (21V power supply) with a SWM8 multiswitch. The PI21 is used with the SWM ODU (dish with SWM built into it), and is not powerful or reliable enough to be used with the SWM8 multiswitch. We include a link to weaKnees below if you want one source for the SWM and correct PI.

3) Connect your receiver(s).

(a) ONE RECEIVER: If you have only one receiver to connect, simply connect the IRD output of the power supply to your SWM-compatible receiver. If you are using a DVR (HR20, HR21, HR22, HR23, HR24, HR34 or R16-R23), connect only ONE line to the SWM port (sometimes labeled FTM), which is typically the satellite 1 input.

(b) TWO RECEIVERS: If you have two receivers to connect, then you have two options: (1) connect one receiver as described above, and then the other receiver connects to the SWM2 port directly, or (2) connect a DIRECTV-approved 1x2 SWM splitter to the IRD port of your power inserter, and then connect one output of the splitter to one receiver, and the other output to the other receiver. NOTES: If you are not using the SWM2 port, be sure to keep the metal cap (terminator) connected. Also, NEVER use B-Band converters (BBCs) with the SWM.

(c) THREE RECEIVERS: Either use a DIRECTV-approved 1x4 SWM splitter in lieu of a 1x2 splitter (see (b)(2) above), or use a 1x2 splitter to connect two receivers and use the SWM2 port to connect the third. NOTE: If you are not using the SWM2 port, be sure to keep the metal cap (terminator) connected. Also, NEVER use B-Band converters (BBCs) with the SWM.

(d) FOUR RECEIVERS: Same as (c), above, but use two 1x2 splitters (one connected to the SWM2 output, the other connected to the IRD output of the SWM) or use one 1x4 splitter. NOTE: If you are not using the SWM2 port, be sure to keep the metal cap (terminator) connected. Also, NEVER use B-Band converters (BBCs) with the SWM.

(e) MORE THAN FOUR RECEIVERS: You can use two 1x4 splitters, or a 1x8 splitter, but remember that a single SWM8 can handle only EIGHT satellite tuners total, so if you have 5 DVRs, for example, you need more than one SWM. Also, NEVER use B-Band converters (BBCs) with the SWM.

4) Power on your receiver(s). If you are using multiple receivers, do not power them on at once. Rather, power them on one at a time, letting the first start acquiring satellite signal before powering up the next.

What are the Flex Ports for?

The SWM has two ports labeled Flex Port 1 and Flex Port 2. These are used in DIRECTV installations that have more than one dish (such as an international dish or, in certain markets, where a separate dish is required for local channels).

What is the “OFF-AIR” port for?

The SWM has an input for an off-air antenna. The SWM can carry both DIRECTV satellite signal and off-air antenna signal. If you wish to use an off-air antenna, you will connect the off-air antenna directly into the SWM, and then all outputs from the SWM will carry the DIRECTV and off-air signal. You must then use a special splitter, called a diplexer, to separate the two frequencies before connecting the output to a receiver. Please be careful with your selection of diplexers—not all work properly with a SWM.

How close do the receivers have to be to the SWM?

If you are connecting only one or two receivers to a SWM port (using no splitter or a 1x2 splitter), each can be as far as 300’ away from the SWM. If you are using a 1x4 splitter, the maximum distance is 250’. If you are using a 1x8 splitter, the maximum distance is 200’. Note that results may vary based on many factors, including the type/quality of cable you are using, and if you find that you are not getting a signal or that you are missing transponders or having other problems with particularly long runs, you might require additional equipment (such as an amplifier).

How close does the SWM have to be to the dish?

DIRECTV has put out wiring diagrams suggesting that the SWM must be within 40’ of the dish, although actual field testing suggests that longer distances are fine. Keep in mind, however, that the farther the SWM is from the dish, the more the signal loss. Thus, if you have a long run from the dish to the SWM, you may need a polarity locker to power the dish and lock the LNB polarities. If you have long runs from the SWM to the receivers (or a long run to just one receiver), you may need amplifiers to amplify the signal from the SWM to the receivers. There are DIRECTV-branded parts that can solve these problems. As of this writing, weaKnees also carries the amplifiers needed to run long distances.

How close does the power supply have to be to the SWM?

The power supply we recommend—branded by DIRECTV—MUST be indoors. The SWM8, on the other hand, can be outdoors or indoors. This means that you can install the SWM at the dish (outdoors) and the power supply in a central closet or at a receiver, where you have power.

Do I use B-Band converters with SWM equipment?

No. Never use a B-Band converter when connecting a receiver to a SWM.

What are the legacy ports and how do I (or do I have to) use them?

The SWM8 has three legacy outputs (Legacy 1, Legacy 2, Legacy 3). These three ports work like the output from a conventional 3LNB dish and allow you to use receivers that are not listed as SWM-compatible. In other words, if you want to continue using a DIRECTV TiVo or some other older receiver, you can do that. However, to use both tuners on a TiVo, you must have lines run from two of the legacy ports into Sat 1 and Sat 2 of the TiVo. A few notes about the legacy ports: (1) You cannot use any splitters to split outputs from the legacy ports. (2) We recommend that you not connect SWM-compatible equipment to the legacy ports. (3) This follows from the prior note, but the legacy ports do not transmit the signals from 2 of the 5 5LNB satellites, so only the content available from a 3LNB dish is available via the legacy ports.

Can I connect a multiswitch to the legacy ports to get more than 3 legacy outputs?

Yes, with a caveat. The legacy ports carry only the 101, 110 and 119 satellites, and really only the 101 is used now. If you take two lines from legacy 1 and legacy 2 and connect them to the 18V (99/101) and 13V (99/101) inputs on a 6x8 multiswitch, you will then have 8 outputs from the multiswitch that get the 101 satellite.

Do the legacy ports carry OTA?

No. The legacy ports don't carry OTA that has been attached to the SWM-8 OTA input. But OTA can still be diplexed in to the legacy output. So if you need OTA on a legacy port, just split the OTA before you attach it to the SWM, and then diplex it in to the output legacy port, then diplex it out again at the receiver end. It's a little more cabling, but it works just fine.

How many receivers can I connect with a SWM system?

Using a single 5LNB or 3LNB slimline dish, multiple SWMs and additional equipment, you can connect nearly limitless numbers of receivers. Using polarity lockers (power inserters) and amplifiers, you can run a signal for hundreds of feet beyond the dish. In addition, you can connect 2, 4 or 6 SWMs in a SWM chassis, and you can chain multiple chassis together. If you have a large installation of this type, we recommend that you contact the DIRECTV SWM experts, weaKnees.com, which carries a full variety of SWM equipment (although as of now, they don't list it on their website for some reason).

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