Saturday, June 11, 2011

SageTV HD Theater 200 External IR Mod (Part 2)

By: Clift

Okay this post a little later than I thought it would be. But better late than never, right? Sorry for the delay.
Last time we were talking about the mod instead of doing the modding. This part will focus on the actual mod, with lots of pictures to help along the way. When we're done, what we'll end up with a stock looking IR jack.

So, again, here's the list of parts you'll need (slightly modified from part 1):
  • IR receiver (I used a Hauppauge one)
  • 3/32" stereo Jack (radio shack part number 274-0245)
  • 3 pieces (about 6" each) of 20-22 gauge wire (optionally different colors)
  • solder
  • Electrical Tape
This is the tools list:
  • Hand held drill, with 5/32" drill bit
  • Number 1 philips screwdriver
  • anti-static wrist strap
  • Soldering iron
  • Wire stripper/cutter
  • pen/pencil and paper to take notes
The first step is to get everything you'll need within arms reach. Then you'll want to start warming up the soldering iron. Begin the mod by disassembling the HD 200. There are two screws on the bottom and one in the back:

Once you've got those off, just slide the upper portion of the casing off. Now you will be looking at the HD200 internals. You may want to ground yourself at this point if you haven't done so already. Remove the four screws holding the main board to the casing:

This is what the IR receiver looks like (The connections we will tap are on the underside of the board):

!! WARNING: Warranty Voiding Point of No Return !!

So now you have to solder the 3 leads to the board underside. We'll call them pin 1, pin 2, and pin 3, as shown below (important: click on the picture to enlarge):

I electrical taped over the solder points, just to be sure that may soldering skills didn't leave too much of a bead that would ground anything out.

Screw the main board back into the HD 200. Take the stereo panel jack and attach the other end of the leads to it, but do not solder. Make sure everything is in the correct order.

At this point it's a good idea to connect the external IR receiver to the jack, put some electrical tape over the HD 200 IR sensor, plug in the HD 200 and check to make sure the unit will power on with a remote control command directed at the external IR receiver. Make sure you have the built in IR sensor covered and turned away to avoid any false positives. If everything works, then it's time to move on to the next steps. If not, troubleshoot what you may have done wrong: check the solder points, connections, and wire order.

Okay, now we have to remove the four screws holding the main board and remove it again. Set it in a safe place. On the back of the HD 200 casing, measure approximately one quarter inch from the top of ethernet jack. Drill a 5/32" hole as shown:
(disclaimer: this hole is 1/4". I used a 1/8" panel jack and IR receiver jack instead of 3/32").

The next step is to solder the wires to the panel jack, if everything checked out okay during the test. After that's done, unscrew the retainer ring from the panel jack as shown in the next picture, insert through the hole in the back of the HD 200 casing, and screw the retainer ring to hold the panel jack in place.

Screw the main board back into the casing, and test the IR receiver again, to make sure everything works. If it does, then put the casing back together and screw everything together. Clean up, and you're done. Now it's time to congratulate yourself and figure out where you will relocated the HD 200 to if you haven't already. Here's a video demo:

See this thread on the SageTV forums if you have issues.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Ceton InfiniTV4 Price Drops All Around

By: Clift

From Missing Remote, Ceton InfiniTV4 prices are dropping all across the web. The InfiniTV4 retailed just recently for $399. But now, the internal Multi-Stream CableCARD four tuner PCIe card can be found for around $250-$285. Here are the prices around:
  • eBay (seller bid$buy) - $282
  • Amazon (seller ANTOnline) - $265
  • - $285
  • Erwin Computers - $256

Now might not be a bad time if you're a Windows 7 Media Center user with Cable, or if you're a SageTV user with a cable provider that only flags premium channels with "copy once" or "copy never."