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The instructions are provided without warranty of any kind.
Please read this whole document to avoid unnecessary problems and potential damage to your equipment. The basic procedure described here is to tune up a satellite channel, verify the communication is ready with the VCR because the red lamp on the UM front panel is flashing once per second, and setup and begin recording in the usual way using the record button on the VCR or its remote.
Items not covered
This document does not cover the set up and operation of a satellite reception system,
the operation of the Unity Motion STB, the operation of the PV-HD1000 deck, or the
particulars about the channels and programming that are the target of the recording
Don't damage your Unity Motion STB
Don't damage your Unity Motion STB
These suggestions to avoid damage to the UM STB are based on more than two years of experience using and servicing these machines. These tips have nothing to do with the Uma in particular, as these suggestions apply to the UM STBs whether the Uma is installed or not. However, with the Uma installed, your UM STB is that much more valuable, so suggestions to help it surivive are well worth consideration.
Use the right splitter- Any splitter or switch connected to the UM STB satellite antenna input or used anywhere in the antenna system must block DC power from other sources from appearing at the UM satellite input terminal. If you're not certain about a particular device, don't make the connection. If only one LNB connects directly to the UM STB's satellite terminal and no other equipment connects with that one cable to the LNB, this section about splitters doesn't apply as no splitter is needed.
Most TV splitters do not block the DC power and are NOT suitable and could permanently damage your UM STB if used.
The Radio Shack splitter part number 16-2578 that is the same as the RCA D800 does block the DC power and is okay to use with the UM. The RCA D800 splitter is offered for use with the small dish satellite systems and may be found at stores besides Radio Shack. They've been seen offered at some Walmart stores for example. This splitter allows the UM to power the LNB, but prevents power from coming from other sources. This is precisely the protection needed. By inserting this splitter as the final device connected to the UM antenna terminal, damage from other DC power sources is blocked. There are two outputs on this splitter. Connect one of the outputs of the mentioned splitter to the UM satellite input terminal to use this protection. The other output of the splitter may be connected to other satellite receivers, while the input is connected to an LNB or amplifier that connects to an LNB.
Use a DC Block- If another power source is available to power the LNB and other equipment in the satellite antenna system, such as an auxillary power supply or other satellite reception equipment, use a DC block such as Radio Shack 15-1259 to prevent the UM STB from powering the satellite antenna system. The drawback to this is that the UM will not be able to select left / right polarization via the control voltage used for small dish signals. This drawback doesn't apply to Horizontal / Vertical LNBs as they do not vary the voltage and the H / V selection isn't performed by the UM. The advantage to this is that the UM will run cooler and thus be more reliable, as well as blocking damaging DC voltages from the unit.
Disconnect STB Power- Always disconnect the AC power to the UM STB before making any wiring changes anywhere in the satellite input system.
Use surge protectors- Use a surge protector on AC power and on the satellite
and OTA RF inputs. If lightning storms in the nearby area are anticipated, disconnecting
the antenna and power terminals will reduce the possibility of damage from lightning surges
that may be too powerful for a surge protector to stop.
Supported Firewire connections
The Uma adds two each of the four pin IEEE1394 connectors to the UM STB's rear panel. A cable with a mating four pin male connector may be plugged into either or both of the two connectors. The opposite end of the cable may be plugged into devices from the following list of supported connections:
It is intended that the firewire ports may be plugged and unplugged while the STB
is powered up, though this isn't guaranteed. Thus, it is suggested that changes
in the connections of the Uma's Firewire ports only be made when the UM STB is in the
stand by mode or when AC power isn't applied.
Front panel status lamp - The blinking red light
The stock unmodified UM STB's has a red colored status lamp that is
labeled "STAND BY" on the front panel about 4" from the left side. The lamp
is inside the red tinted panel just to the right of and behind the words "STAND BY."
Click here to see a front panel view showing the location of the status lamp.
When AC power is applied to the STB and the unit is inactive, the numeric display shows "----" and the red lamp being discussed here is lit. This is the "STAND BY" mode of the UM STB. When the front panel power switch is pressed and the unit becomes active (video monitor output turn on), the numeric indicator displays the selected channel and the STAND BY lamp is extinguished. That lamp does flash on momentarily when an IR remote control command is received. That is how the lamp works on a stock UM STB that doesn't have an Uma.
This very same red lamp, herein after referred to as the LED (light emitting diode) is also used by the Uma as a status indicator. With the Uma installed, the lamp retains its original functions described above and also provides several additional indications that signal the status of the connection and operating mode of a connected DVHS deck.
Here is a list of the conditions the LED signals when a Uma is installed.
To prepare for recording ensure the following is done:
Recording is initiated by pressing the record button on the remote or by pressing the record button in the left front panel of the VCR while the VCR is in the stop mode. This means that the LED is flashing briefly once per second prior to the recording being initiated.
While recording is in progress, the LED on the UM flashes on and off steadily at 2 cycles per second and the OFF duration of the LED is the same as the ON duration.
Note 1- If the satellite signal is lost for a more than a few seconds, proper recording may cease. In this case the deck may display "Snf" on its front panel. The "SNF" means "Signal not found." Some decks do not display the "SNF" indication due to apparent manufacturing differences from one PV-HD1000 to another. Even if the signal is restored, proper recording may only resume if stop is pressed and then record is again pressed while the satellite signal is steadily present.
Note 2- The only reliable way to initiated recording with the DVHS VCR is to first be in the stopped mode. The controls of the VCR do permit the user the enter the recording mode through several other ways that are not supported. In particular, it is possible to press record while the VCR is playing back a tape, or press record while playback is paused, or enter a pause mode while recording. Each of these methods to enter the recording mode may lead to an error condition where the VCR reports that it is recording where in fact it is not correctly recording the digital input signal.
As an attempt to prevent this erroneous condition where the VCR is not really recording, the Uma will automatically detect this condition and attempt to stop the VCR rather than let it continue to report that it is recording when in fact it isn't. Thus, in all these three aforementioned alternate methods to attempt to place the deck in the record mode other than while stopped, the Uma will instruct the VCR to Stop.
To avoid this error and automatic stop of the VCR, it is
suggested that the deck always be "Stopped" before pressing
the record button. Use the stop button rather than the
pause button to suspend recording.
Timer recording is accomplished using the timer function built into the DVHS VCR. Connect an NTSC compatible monitor or TV to the VCR's output and use the VCR's remote control to set the clock and timer in the way described in the VCR's documentation.
The NTSC monitor / TV is used to view the "on screen" display produced while the setup is made. Tune the satellite system to the channel that will be recorded and leave the satellite system turned on or otherwise programmed to be on during the duration of the recording. The UM STB has no built in recording control feature, though external remote controls sold by some other companies could accomplish this. The simplest solution is to leave the UM STB turned on and tuned to the channel.
Make sure to select the Digital channel as the source for the timer recording, and set the HS mode and make all other preparation checks for recording as if the recording were about to be started now.
The final step to enable timer recording is to turn the VCR off. The
AC power continues to be connected to the VCR, and it will turn itself on
when the timer recording is to begin. Even though the VCR is turned off,
the LED will continue to flash once per second since the Uma stays in
communication with the VCR while it is turned off.
Playback of recorded tapes with the Uma and PV-HD1000 is possible though there are some limitations. The simplest use of the playback feature is to rewind the tape and press play on the VCR to then view the playback video. So long as the UM is tuned to the same channel that was recorded and the satellite RF signal is still present, the tape will play back provided that the satellite signal could be viewed during recording and that the signal recorded was compatible with the PV-HD1000.
Some of the limitations of Playback with Uma include the following:
Even though no STB is a "do it all" playback decoder machine, a DTC100
equipped with the 169Time HDVR-100-2 device, or so called DVHS option 2
is the most versatile playback STB for playing DVHS tapes recorded from
most satellite or OTA sources that can currently be recorded. The robust
decoder in the DTC100 plays tapes without stutter and without audio
dropouts, and automatically senses the channel PID information.
Use as a hub
The Uma device has two Firewire ports. One of several benefits of using the Uma as a hub comes into play when another STB is used for playback and recording with the same VCR that is used with the Uma, while being able to do so without the need to unplug and plug in the Firewire connections. Currently a RCA DTC100 with the 169Time adapter or a Panasonic DST-50 STB are suitable for this configuration. In the case of the DTC100, it is more advantageous to let the DTC100 act as the hub. Instructions for using the DTC100 as a hub are in the instructions that support that product. Therefore, the subject of these instructions is the particular configuration where a DST50, a Uma, and a single PV-HD1000 are all interconnected.
Connect the DST-50's Firewire port to one port on the UMA. Connect the PV-HD1000's Firewire port to the other port on the UMA. When playback or recording with the DST50 is desired, leave the UM STB powered on and the Uma will pass through the communication between the DST50 and PV-HD1000 as if this two were connected directly. In this mode the Uma is acting as a hub and the LED will not flash once per second. When recording or playback with the Uma is desired, use the front panel power switch on the DST-50 to power down the DST-50. The Uma will recognize that the DST-50 is no longer active and will flash its own LED once per second to indicate that it is ready to play and record.
Thus, the power switch on the DST-50 control whether the DST-50 communicates with the deck, or the UM communicates with the deck. In either case, the UM STB is powered up. When neither STB is recording or playing back, energy may be saved by turning both STBs off. The goal achieved by the Uma's feature to act as a hub is to permit either the DST-50 or the Uma to interoperate with the DVHS deck without the need to unplug and plug the firewire connectors.
Another benefit of having two firewire ports is discussed in detail on the
section describing the usage with two or more decks.
Use with two or more decks
This feature is now being shipped and may not be in a particular unit previously shipped. It can be added as an update. Contact us for further information.
The Uma can be used with two or more decks. This may be used with two DVHS decks, each connected directly to a firewire port on the Uma without any additional hub needed. Two or more decks and other supported firewire devices may also be connected using additional hub units.
When the Uma has sensed that two or more decks are connected, it does not output the satellite signal on the firewire port. Thus, it can facilitate playback from any connected deck, or the playback signal being recorded by a connected deck. See the Front Panel Status Lamp section for the Blinking Lamp's display for this mode.
When more than one deck is connected, only one deck should be in the playback mode, otherwise it is unpredicable which deck's playback signal will be displayed.
When doing deck to deck recording, pay careful attention to the Uma's blinking lamp status display. It is possible that when stop is pressed during deck to deck playback / recording (known as dubbing), the decks may be left in a mode where they are not properly communicating with each other. The Uma attempts to sense whether the decks are correctly communicating so that dubbing may begin. The two blinking rates for multiple decks are either 3 times or 4 times per second in rapid succession. If the display is wrong, the playback signal may not appear, and the signal may not be recorded to the dubbing deck.
Our testing shows that the most reliable way to ensure that dubbing and monitoring
of the dubbed signal occurs correctly is use the following steps.
Recent Web Page Updates
Added info regarding using two or more decks for dubbing or playback (December 3, 2001)
Added info on DC block and Status LED photo (November 19, 2001)
END of Usage Instructions for HDVR-UMA