Troubleshooting a MotoSat Satellite Internet System
Are you having trouble getting your MotoSAT Satellite Internet system online? Does your MotoSAT go up and search and search, but never finds a satellite and eventually stows? If so, you’re not alone! In fact, because we were a MotoSat dealer for many years, we get so many calls about this! So many calls that I’ve decided to write this down so I’m not repeating it all on the phone several times a week and in hopes that it will assist MotoSAT customers with getting their systems back up and online! You can always contact us if you wish!
First, there are a few different reasons that a MotoSAT system will fail to lock onto the satellite including:
- Line-of-site: A tree, building, power pole, etc. in the way!
- Satellite footprint: Are you using a satellite that covers the area you are in?
- Outdated satellite tables in the MotoSAT controller!
- Outdated SBC file in the HughesNet modem (if powered by HughesNet)
- MotoSAT controller cannot “talk to” the Modem via the router!
- Failed transmitter/LNB assembly on the mount
- Failed mount, modem or controller
- Loose or bad cable or connection between the mount, controller, and modem
See below for details!
Obviously, if something is blocking your view to the satellite, your system will keep searching and searching until it eventually stows! Try moving to a better location with a clear line-of-site!
Satellites have a specific coverage area, and sometimes there holes within those coverage areas where service is not available! Make sure you are in a covered area!
If you are not, you can ask your service provider if you can change to a different satellite that services that area!
Outdated Satellite Tables
The bad news is that when MotoSAT went out of business, they destroyed any ability we had to update satellite tables in their controllers in the future! Fortunately, a third-party company made up of former MotoSAT engineers came up with a new controller firmware, software, and satellite tables so that MotoSAT customers could get back online by sending their controller in and having it upgraded or by purchasing a new controller! The upgrades were around $750 and a new controller was around $1500. Sadly, they stopped providing these upgrades and new controllers in October of 2017, so if you still have an original MotoSAT controller that has never been upgraded, you might be out of luck unless you can find one that someone has for sale! Contact us as we might know of a few customers who are might be selling theirs!
If you are one of the fortunate ones with a new or upgraded controller, then you will want to visit the RF Mogul site and download the latest Satellite Tables for your controller and install them and then try searching again!
If you can’t find one, it might be time to consider replacing your MotoSAT system! We do offer some refurbished MotoSat units as well as newer mobile products including a portable satellite internet system starting at $899 and the new fully-automatic RV DataSat systems powered by iDirect starting at $6500.00!
Outdated SBC file in HughesNet modem
If you have a HughesNet Modem that you use with your MotoSAT system, then the issue could be that your SBC file is outdated and no longer has the correct frequencies for the MotoSAT system to use to go up and lock onto the satellite! The fix for this is a tricky one because although you can update your SBC file in the modem when the antenna isn’t pointed and online, you will need to have the antenna pointed in order to recommission the modem so it will be able to share the new information with your MotoSAT controller!
So, we recommend logging into your MotoSAT controller and going to “Search Settings” and change the setting from “HughesNet” or “Modem” to “Generic” and then selecting the satellite that you use to get service! After changing that setting, search again and see if the system will go up and lock on to a satellite! If it does go up and stop and show locked, you can log into your HughesNet Modem, update the SBC file, and proceed through the “Registration – Installer” process. Once you get to the signal strength page, you may have to adjust the antenna manually using the manual controls in the controller menu to get it adjusted enough to get good signal and pass crosspole tests!
Once you have a signal and are passing crosspole tests, you can proceed with recommissioning the HughesNet modem to get back online! If this is too much for you, you can also ship your modem to us and we will update it and recommission it and send it back to you for $100 so it’s ready to go! If you don’t know the satellite you are using, try logging into your HughesNet modem and going to the System Info page. Your satellite longitude will be listed on the right side column!
Once you have your modem commissioned, it has restarted and came online, you can log into the MotoSat controller and change your search settings back to the “HughesNet” or “Modem” setting! You should then stow your system and hit search to see if it will go up and lock on once again! If it does, great, if not, chances are that your satellite tables are outdated or something else is wrong!
MotoSAT controller cannot “talk to” the Modem via the router!
If you do not have connectivity between the modem, router, and controller, your controller cannot see the modem to know which satellite or frequency it is supposed to search for, so usually, it won’t even go up and start searching if this is the issue! You should try logging into the controller, then the modem, then maybe even the router from your computer! If you can get to all of them from your computer then that should not be a problem, but if you can’t pull up the controller or the modem status, then you may need to reset or replace your router. Obviously, you’ll want to check the network cables and so on as well!
Failed transmitter/LNB assembly on the mount
Unfortunately, the transmitter/LNB assembly was the weakest component in the HughesNet systems and they often failed after just a few years of use! Even with the systems powered by iDirect, they were also susceptible to getting moisture inside of a cracked feedhorn or failed o-ring and into the LNB and transmitter, corroding the components and causing failure! The original transmitter/LNB assemblies for HughesNet are very hard to find, but we do offer some good used ones for sale at www.montanasatellitesupply.com! There is a way to use the newer, better, HughesNet Rembrandt Transmitters on some of these mobile systems as well… contact us for details! We offer iDirect components as well if you need them! Usually, a failing transmitter/LNB assembly will work in the cooler parts of the day, but fail when it’s hotter or vice-versa sometimes! If you do not see the signal changing as your system searches the sky, there’s a good chance that you have a failed transmitter/LNB assembly!
Failed mount, modem or controller
Obviously, if another component has failed, that will also cause issues, but in our experience, if the system goes up and searches for the satellite, it’s usually more of a configuration issue than a mount, modem or controller failure issue! When a HughesNet modem fails, there are usually one of 3 symptoms: 1. It won’t power up at all! 2. You can’t log into it! 3. It won’t transmit. We offer new modems and we also have some new and used MotoSAT mount parts available! When a MotoSAT mount fails, it’s usually just a sensor! The entire upper control board can fail as well! Contact us if you need replacement parts for your MotoSAT system!
Loose or bad cable or connection between the mount, controller, and modem
Loose cable connections can cause issues as well as corroded cable fittings/connectors! Be sure to check out all of your cables and connections to make sure they are clean and tight!
We are happy to assist you any way we can with getting and keeping your MotoSAT system online! We were MotoSAT dealers/installers from the beginning and are fairly familiar with them! We also offer some refurbished systems for sale, and we also offer the newer RV DataSat systems that have replaced many MotoSAT systems over the years! They are designed and supported by some of the same engineers that created the MotoSAT systems and they are built to last!