The Trip part1

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The broken LNB

I haven’t posted for quite some time, mainly because we had to go south for my youngest son , Oliver’s, wedding. We had decided to do the trip in our motorhome ‘Badger’ and to take our time heading down so that we could perhaps find some light fittings for the house. Because of a large storm arriving within the next few days we decided to leave Orkney a couple of days early just in case the ferry was cancelled which would then mean a rush to get to the wedding, a deadline that we just could not miss!

The crossing was nice and calm which suited me, in fact whilst on the ferry our builder Ross greeted us as he was on his way to meet up with his wife as they were about to fly to Tenerife for a holiday. Whilst we and Ross are away the decorators are going to finish off with a final coat and the plumbers and electrician would do a few of the final jobs that needed doing. Well that was the plan anyway! This enforced break was caused simply because of the delay we had previously experienced and so these pre-booked holidays should not have affected the schedule, but these things happen and in the end it worked out quite well to have this ‘hiatus’ in the work whilst we were away as well.

Although we were in the middle of hosting our annual Children in Need Bridge Simultaneous event the motorhome is equipped with satellite internet and we can do everything from it or so we thought! A month or so previously the LNB at the end of the dish fell off! A combination of high winds and salt air had corroded the bolts on its bracket and it had come apart. “Never had anything like that before” was the half expected answer I got when I rang the excellent Nathan at Conrad Andersons in Birmingham, the people who fitting the dish nearly three years ago. “Never mind it is still under its three year warranty just bring it in”. Now that was a problem and it was decided that as I’m fairly handy in the electronics department that it would be fine for me to remove the LNB myself and send it back for replacement. Trying to do this on top of a 3.2m motorhome with every connection covered with heat shrink sleeving was not the easiest of tasks but careful use of sharp knife and pointed pliers the job was done.

The part was sent off for replacement to the importers who then sent it to the manufactures in Germany and then we heard no more until I started chasing it. Eventually the new LNB arrived with a completely redesigned bracket assembly, as they claimed that they had never had a problem before, I’m not sure what prompted a redesign, but I was glad to see it. As the winds had stared to get up and I didn’t fancy trying to fit the LNB in 30mph winds we took Badger over to Catherine and Neil Corsie’s place where they let me drive into their barn to do the work under cover. The job went well and a quick test showed the dish found the satellite and the TV worked, foolishly as time was advancing, I thought that was it and didn’t test any further. It was only when we had made the ferry crossing and we camped at the first site in Culloden that I discovered all was not well with the Satellite internet system. It would not lock on to the Internet although it was receiving some TV channels. A series of phones calls along with various trials and tests followed over the next few days until I managed to get the system to a state where it would not even receive TV! It was decided that there was something quite serious with the system and so a stopover in Birmingham would be required. However because of where we were and the deadline of the wedding we could only be in Birmingham that weekend and of course the workshop is closed at weekends! So we booked an appointment for our journey back in a few weeks and carried on using a combination of Wi-Fi on the campsites where available and our mobile phones tethered as a hot spot. Because of this we both galloped through our monthly allocation of data but we struggled by.

On the way back after the wedding and a stop off in Bristol to see Catherine, Mark and Grandson Sam we finally got to Conrad Anderson to get the Satellite system looked at, this we all thought would be a job of no more than a couple of hours. Two days later, which involved us sleeping the night in Badger in the secure car park on an Industrial estate in darkest Birmingham we were up and running again. The problem? Well let me start; first the roof had delaminated because of the strain placed on it by the dish in some high winds. This was glued back but would take time to dry. The mechanism was removed for testing and it then transpired that the new LNB required a different driver board which was not supplied. After a series of phone calls to Germany Nathan got the manufacture to agree that this should also be under warrantee, phew! Then it looked like our modem was not working as it should which would be another £300 but after a lot of swapping of bits around and a connection remade, it was got to work. As we hadn’t used the system for nearly 18mounth the actual satellites that it should point to had changed so that also needed programming in and so at the end of day two we eventually were able to drive away with a fully working Oyster Satellite internet system. We were very impressed with the efforts and the standard of service that we got from Conrad Anderson but it was a bigger job than anyone had expected, still at least we are ready for the next trip!

More about the wedding in the next posting…….




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