IMPORTANT: If you use a SWM32 you also need a polarity locker.

There are several reasons we don’t recommend the SWM32 for home use. It’s expensive, it doesn’t work as well in a home environment as other multiswitches, and it’s hard to set up. Still, there’s one reason that keeps getting lost in the shuffle, so it’s time to really highlight it, drive it home for those of you who are installing SWM32 multiswitches in a commercial environment.

You really need a polarity locker. Yes you do. Seriously. There’s a simple reason for it… the SWM32 does not power the dish like other multiswitches. There is a way to do it through the SWM, but DIRECTV doesn’t recommend it anymore. If you don’t add a polarity locker, you’ll get no signal from the dish, period, and your install won’t work.

For commercial installs, we recommend the 4SATPL from Sonora (if you’re doing a 4-wire install) or, if you’re really going to do it right and run the full six wires, you need the Sonora PI6-T. Either way, the polarity locker should be placed closest to the dish and it does require a power source. In addition to powering the dish, the polarity locker also makes sure that each line carries only one type of signal which helps eliminate wiring problems and could potentially help identify degraded signals. Yes, it is an extra expense, but if you’re opting for the SWM32 instead of the much less expensive SWM32KIT which does the same thing (and doesn’t need a polarity locker) then cost probably isn’t the issue.

Commercial installers like the SWM32 because you can cascade it (meaning you can connect one to another for a clean-looking 64-tuner setup) and because its power output is quite a bit higher, meaning you could potentially go another 50 feet with your cable runs. However, the high cost of entry combined with the need for a polarity locker prices it out of the range of many entry-level DIRECTV installs and certainly it has no place in the home because it really doesn’t work as well with whole-home sharing.

If you’re out in the field and you can’t get a signal from the dish to the SWM, and all your lights are flashing red, chances are you forgot to power the dish. It’s ok, we’ve all done it at one time or another. Pick up a polarity locker from Solid Signal and it will all be good.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.