Satellite System Repair

Satellite signals can deliver television and Internet signals to your home. This Fix-It Guide on satellite system repair tells how a satellite system works, what often goes wrong, how to identify a satellite system problem, and what you can do to fix it. Your owner’s manual is your best resource because many systems include self-diagnostics.

How Does a Satellite System Work?

Satellite System Repair

Most satellite descramblers cannot be worked on except by authorized service centers. The only exception is if the unit has a fuse inside, typically located near the power cord.

A satellite system consists of a dish antenna that captures radio waves, a cable that delivers the signal to a descrambler, the descrambler that converts the signals into audio and video for your TV or computer, and satellite speakers. Of course, the descrambler first makes sure that you are a subscriber in good standing to the service. At the other end, a television station transmits the signal to the satellite. Cable TV companies, too, use satellite feeds, but the delivery is via a cable to each subscriber’s home.

A few old home satellite dishes are as large as 12 to 15 feet in diameter, while the newest models are small and easy to install with the manufacturer’s directions. You can buy equipment and a subscription to download–or even upload–digital computer data such as Internet access.

What Can Go Wrong with a Satellite System?

If you experience a problem, first contact the programming service to be sure the signal is okay. If it is, the problem may be with the receiver or the descrambler. In either case, refer to the owner’s manual for guidance or contact the manufacturer for repair. Don’t attempt to repair a descrambler.

Fix-It Tip

Snow, ice, or heavy rain can interfere with a satellite dish’s incoming signal. If you live in an area of heavy snowfalls, you can install a dish cover that will shield the equipment from snow or ice. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop interference from a heavy rain.

How Can I Identify a Satellite System Problem?

Fortunately, satellite systems include various diagnostic programs and relatively comprehensive owner’s manuals that will walk you through most problems. In addition, the descrambler’s manufacturer and the signal subscription service will both have online and telephone assistance.

Fix-It Tip

Need assistance from your satellite network provider? Contact Dish TV customer service at 855-318-0572 ( or DirecTV at 800-531-5000 ( or check your bill for customer service options.