3 Hopper RV (7/14/2015)
We updated our Hopper system yet again. We’ve come full circle — we started with one Hopper & 2 Joeys. Now we have one Hopper 3 and two Joey 2.0s.
But there’s a big difference between the two — see 1 Hopper 3 RV.
This July we upgraded our RV to three DISH Hoppers — each of which is connected to a TV: one in our Living Room, another in the Bedroom, and one in the Basement.
We started with 1 Hopper and 2 Joeys, then upgraded to 2 Hoppers and 1 Joey, and finally 3 Hoppers.
Why 3 Hoppers?
- Lots of tuners — 9 of them with 3 Hoppers, plus lots of DVR recording space (6 TB) and that’s without all the possible external hard drive space.
- Cost — though the monthly cost of a Hopper is more than a Joey (or a Super Joey), it’s not much more: a Hopper costs $12/month and a Joey costs $7/month to lease. That $5 difference gets you 3 additional tuners and a DVR.
Here’s how we did it . . .
The system is designed to “switch” between our rooftop Winegard Travler and one of our portable dishes (a three-LNB 1000.4 or a four-LNB 1000+):
3 HOPPER NETWORK PANEL
The upgrade to 3 Hoppers requires using two DPP44 switches (or one DPP44 and one DPP33 switch). This requires a significant amount of space, so a 2-sided panel was created that would fit in the cabinet behind our living room TV:
A = AB switches (used to switch between rooftop Winegard Travler and portable 1000.4 dish).
B = Solo Node (connects 1 Hopper).
C = Duo Node (connects up to 2 Hoppers).
D = DPP44 Switch (each switch can connect to a Solo or Duo Node).
E = DPP44 power supply connection.
F = Connection between Solo and Duo Nodes (creates a single network for all 3 Hoppers).
The two power supplies for DPP44s were attached to the cabinet wall:
WHAT’S BEHIND THE LIVING ROOM TV
In our original Newmar Mountain Aire RV, there was a old-style CRT TV which the previous owner replaced with a flat screen TV. The old CRT TV was housed in a huge cabinet that was no longer needed because the new flat screen TV was hung on the cabinet face.
So we filled the old CRT TV space with this (click on a photo to enlarge) . . .
BASEMENT TV INSTALL
We already had a basement TV but decided to replace it with another flat screen that was brighter as outdoor TVs should be as bright as possible.
We also wanted a different TV. Our last TV mount was fixed . . . it held the TV flat. However, outdoor TVs should be able to move in order to avoid glare.
Though the first TV mount, a Sanus, was fixed, it was high quality and we looked at other mounts by the same manufacturer. This time we wanted a movable mount, but it had to be very thin — the RV basement compartment that housed the TV was very narrow.
We settled on the Sanus VFMF408 full motion mount which was a thin 1.125 inches deep. Sanus not only supplies install manuals, but also engineering drawings and even install videos. Very impressive.
Using their engineering drawing, a mock-up was created with Adobe Illustrator on how the new TV and Sanus mount would fit together:
Photos of the actual Sanus/Samsung basement install . . .
After successfully testing the 3 Hopper Network Panel with two of our Hoppers, it was time to hook up and activate our third Hopper (which we bought on eBay).
Our other two Hoppers were activated by DISH technicians, so we were a little apprehensive about activating the 3rd Hopper on our own.
Nevertheless, we did it.
After powering up, a new Hopper uses a “Wizard” to set itself up. If all goes well (and we had a few glitches), the whole setup should take an hour or so. These are the Wizard’s main steps:
- Satellite Check — the Hopper checks for a valid sat connection from a dish like a 1000.4, Travler, etc.
- Download Software — the latest software is downloaded automatically.
- Pair Remote — the handheld remote control is paired with the Hopper, TV, DVR, etc.
- Name Location — you name your Hopper (“Living Room”, “Bedroom”, etc).
- Set Video Resolution — the TV’s video resolution.
- Connectivity — Internet or phone line. This section caused some problems as it was difficult to set up a wireless broadband connection. This may have been caused by the fact that our other two Hoppers were connected during the 3rd Hopper activation process. However, after repeating this part of the setup a few times, Connectivity became green.
- Authorize Receiver — we thought this would be the scary part because we had to call a “special” DISH phone number to activate the Hopper. Well, the “special” phone number lead to a menu-driven system that sounded just like DISH’s general phone number menu. Anyway, after speaking with a DISH rep, we read them the Receiver and Smart Card numbers, and 15 minutes later our Hopper was activated.
Photos from our activation process . . .