NICE AND EASY: Can you power an external multiswitch with a Genie?

This one’s simple. Even though the HR54 and HS17 Genies do have the ability to power a dish, you cannot use them to power a multiswitch. You must use the PI-29Z power inserter. Then, make sure the Genie is connected to any port on the splitter but the red one. Even though the Genie should automatically turn off its built-in power inserter when it knows you have an external multiswitch, this is an extra level of protection to make sure you’re not overloading anything.

Why you need an external power supply

If you’re talking about just powering a dish, you really need 21 volts coming from the receiver. This is enough to power the internal SWM as well as making sure there’s enough voltage going to the dish’s low-noise amplifiers to distinguish between even transponders and odd transponders.

With an external multiswitch, you need to power that, power everything it’s doing, and then also the multiswitch powers the dish. So, you send 29 volts up the line which is generally enough to do all the work. You also send more amperage up as well.

What would happen if you tried to do this

It might work in the short term but what you’re going to do is cut the lifespan of the SWM, and introduce a whole bunch of weird errors into the mix. It may be weird channel changes, frozen picture, error codes… it’s hard to say. Electronics act weird when they don’t get enough voltage. It’s like if you skip a meal. All of a sudden everything is hard to figure out and nothing quite works right.

What about using a polarity locker? If you do that, can you power the SWM with a Genie?

This doesn’t work. Using a polarity locker (this is the approved one) does two things. It locks down the correct signals coming down from the dish so that you can have a more stable experience. This is more important in a commercial environment than a residential one. It also provides a source of power for the dish. So, if you used a polarity locker it would address some of the issues, but it wouldn’t address the fact that the SWM isn’t getting enough voltage and that means you would still have issues.

Honestly this seems like a really weird solution because a power inserter is much less expensive than a polarity locker and harder to install inline. But hey, people asked.

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.