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The Definitive SkyLink Magic Eye Guide

Discussion in 'Sky, Sky+, Sky HD & Sky 3D' started by MartinPickering, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. MartinPickering

    MartinPickering Active Member

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    The Definitive SkyLink Magic Eye Guide

    PLEASE READ THE GUIDE. ANY QUESTIONS SHOULD BE POSTED IN A NEW DISCUSSION - NOT HERE. BE SURE TO STATE "I HAVE READ THE GUIDE" AND INCLUDE ALL RELEVANT DETAILS (Digibox make/model, magic eye make/model, how connected, tests results, etc.)

    Definitions

    SkyLink - Refers to "Sky magic eyes" such as tvLINK, SLxLink, DigiLink, Digital Link, VisionLink, Triax Link and all the rest.

    Secondary TV set - Any remote TV set, with an analogue tuner*, connected by RF coaxial lead (other than your main set, which is connected via a Scart or HDMI lead to your Sky Digibox).

    * A set with only a digital tuner is not suitable for use as a secondary TV set. The Sky RF output is analogue.

    Decoupled cable - a cable in which the outer screen has been disconnected to leave a tiny gap part way along its length.

    Double-screened cable - coaxial cable having a metal foil screen and a braided copper screen. (Aluminium foil screened cable is perfectly OK for short runs indoors.)

    What is the purpose of a SkyLink magic eye?

    The purpose of any SkyLink "magic eye" is to send remote control signals back down a coaxial cable to your Sky Digibox. It allows other TV signals to pass through to your secondary TV aerial socket, unaffected. (If you think it IS affecting those signals, simply remove it and connect the cable direct to the TV, as a test.)

    The SkyLink device passes all RF signals straight through without affecting them, including the selected Sky channel (and any terrestrial aerial signals if an aerial is connected to your Sky Digibox aerial input).

    How do I connect a SkyLink?

    Connect it to the RF2 output on your Sky Digibox using double-screened cable with soldered plugs or screw-connection plugs. It is essential to have a good connection because the Sky Digibox provides power to the SkyLink.

    A little silicone grease on the plug and pin connections will make it easier to remove without damaging the RF2 socket (common problem!) without affecting the electrical connection.

    Note that the RF2 socket is male so you will need to use a female-female adapter unless you have a female TV plug fitted. (Female TV plugs can not be soldered so ensure that it is the screw connection type.)

    The SkyLink module should never be connected directly to a TV aerial socket as the strain could damage the socket and/or SkyLink. You should preferably use a double-screened "decoupled" cable" to connect the SkyLink to the TV aerial socket. This cable does NOT need to have soldered plugs because it is not carrying any power. However, there is no problem if the plugs are soldered. If space is a premium, a right-angle TV plug can be used. If you need extra flexibility and a less obtrusive cable, ultra-thin double-screened cable is available. (Not to be confused with so called "low loss" aerial cable, which should be avoided.)

    (If you can change Sky channel when the SkyLink is NOT connected to the TV but you can't change Sky channel when it IS connected to the TV, then you MUST use a decoupled cable.)

    A little silicone grease on the plug and pin connections will make it easier to remove without damaging the TV aerial socket (common problem!) without affecting the electrical connection.

    Some "magic eyes" are a little more tricky to connect than others. Here's an example:
    [​IMG]

    As all TV sets radiate interference, which might interfere with the operation of the SkyLink, you may need to position the device away from the TV. In the case of some large screen TV sets, a distance of up to three metres may be required. Please bear this in mind if your SkyLink does not work reliably.

    Similarly, if your main TV prevents the Digibox from acting on remote signals, you must ensure that:
    The Digibox is as far from the TV as practical
    All cable is properly screened and short as possible
    Wall sockets are screened
    Try shielding the Digibox completely from light by wrapping it, temporarily, in a black bin liner

    The SkyLink "magic eye" unit does NOT need to be connected to a secondary TV set in order to send your remote control signals back to your Sky Digibox. (For example, it can be used as a simple remote extender if your Digibox is in a cabinet.) However, it MUST be connected to your secondary TV set if you want Sky picture and sound on that TV or Freeview programmes. (Your Digibox passes Freeview signals from its aerial input to its RF outputs.)

    Do NOT run coaxial cable alongside any mains power cable! The interference from the mains can stop the "eye" from working, or make it unreliable.


    Will the SkyLink work with any Sky Digibox?

    Later models have NO RF output at all, and will not work with a SkyLink "magic eye" unless you also buy a "Sky IO-Link Module". An alternative is to buy a tvLink-Plus and a power supply.

    All earlier Sky Digiboxes (Standard, Sky-plus and Sky-HD) and later ones fitted with a "Sky IO-Link Module" are theoretically compatible with all SkyLink "magic eye" devices. In practice, however, variations in tolerances can cause unreliable operation with some combinations and with some cable lengths. In addition, some Digiboxes may be less tolerant of poor installation (i.e. those incorporating the wrong type of coaxial cable, poorly fitted plugs and/or unshielded sockets.) At the time of writing there are some good examples of useless wall plates here: Another TV-Link problem :( | AVForums

    The Pace BSKYB1000 minibox "Javelin" has only one RF output. This is "RF2" and works fine with "magic eyes".

    Some Sky Digiboxes have problems with specific conditions of cable length and "discontinuities" caused by additional connections (in-line connectors, wall plates, Y-splitters, amplifiers). In many cases the solution is as simple as adding an extra metre of cable somewhere in the run or removing the problem connector. In other cases, the specific configuration will work only with a different Digibox or SkyLink.

    However, the most common cause of problems is that the "magic eye" needs to be decoupled from the TV so I recommend in all cases you try this solution first. You can make or buy a decoupled cable (see SatCure site for details).

    Some Sky Digiboxes can not power more than two "magic eyes". In this case you must use an amplified splitter with a separate power supply.
    (If anyone has experienced this problem, please post your Digibox make and model number here!)

    What settings must I change on the Digibox?

    The Sky Digibox RF2 Outlet power must be set to ON in the on-screen menu.
    To access this secret Installer Menu, connect your main TV set to the Sky Digibox with a Scart lead (if not already so.) Make sure you can see a Sky programme.

    Press the following sequence quickly on your Sky remote control:

    [services] 401 [select]
    or [services] 001 [select] in later HD EPG.

    Then press 4 to access the RF Outlet menu.

    Set the RF Outlet power to ON and set the UHF channel to an unused channel* between 21 and 69. Save the settings then press [backup] repeatedly until you see the picture on your main TV.

    *A UHF channel that is not already occupied by a Freeview transmission or other signal (including interference). If you don't understand this, it's time to do some research because it's a really important concept, which is critical to success. Setting your Sky RF output channel to a UHF channel number that is occupied by a Freeview transmission will usually result in "snowy" or "grainy" Sky pictures and missing terrestrial Freeview channels.

    Tune your secondary TV set to the same UHF number (or find it by autoscanning in the TV analogue menu). Note that some TV sets can not tune to 69.
    If you see intererference or a grainy Sky picture on your secondary TV, you have chosen a UHF channel number that is already in use. Return to the secret Installer menu and try a different number.

    Can I use more than one "magic eye"?

    Yes but Magic Eyes can not be "daisy-chained". Connect RF2 to a SkyLink compatible splitter or amplifier (see below). Connect the outputs directly to the "magic eyes" via double-screened cable.
    [​IMG]

    Can I use an amplifier?

    If your Sky RF2 Outlet signal passes through any amplifier or splitter, these units must be SkyLink compatible, otherwise reliable operation may be impossible to achieve. If you use wall plates, make sure they are "DC pass" versions (not "isolated") and fully screened, otherwise you could get interference and unreliable operation. Note that the amplifier amplifies the RF signal from RF2. It also amplifies the signal coming back from the "magic eye".

    What's the maximum cable length?

    With good quality double-screened cable a length of 20m should be fine and 50m is often possible. However, if you plan to run a long length, be sure to test it (loose on the ground) before plastering it into walls.

    What's the best SkyLink?

    It's really a personal choice. From feedback we've had, I would currently recommend the "VisionLink" because it has proved to be reliable, less prone to interference problems and the "eye" part is tiny.

    What's the best cable?

    To minimise problems with interference - especially close to the TV and other equipment - you should use only double-screened cable. An ultra-thin white double-screened cable is available for use where you need extra flexibility and lower visual impact.

    What if I have problems after installation?

    Buy from a reputable supplier. Ask your supplier for troubleshooting information.

    Troubleshooting isn't too difficult when you understand that the "eye" requires a 9 volt DC supply from the Digibox (or from an amplifier) and also sends a signal back to the Digibox.

    Anything that blocks DC on the way out or blocks (or interferes with) RF on the way back, will prevent reliable operation. Hence the need for good connections and screening of everything, especially near to any TV set or electronic equipment (including "energy-saver" bulbs and fluorescent lights).

    Since the "eye" itself can't be screened, move it well away from the TV set and other sources of interference if you have a problem.

    How do I power the SkyLink amplified splitter?

    Normally it gets its power from RF2 on the Digibox. However, some Digiboxes can't supply enough power for more than 2 "magic eyes" so the SkyLink amplifier will require a separate "plug-top" power supply. If you can't access mains power for a power supply unit near the SkyLink amplifier, you could try fitting a DC1 in-line DC inserter near to RF2 and feed a 9 volt DC power supply into that.

    There's no sound from the Secondary TV set!

    Assuming the picture is OK, make sure the TV is set to "PAL-I" audio.

    Will a magic eye work without being connected to a TV

    Yes, it can, for example, control a Digibox in a cupboard.

    What if my Sky Digibox has no RF Output?

    If you need an RF Output (and "magic-eye" facility) on a later Sky Digibox that has no RF output socket, the Sky IO-link does the job but it can be problematic.

    You might have assumed that when Sky removed the Digibox RF1 + RF2 + Aerial sockets, they'd have designed a module that duplicated those 3 sockets. Unfortunately that's NOT the case so the IO-Link module by itself is not the perfect solution. You might have to add more parts. Read on...

    The IO-LINK module is designed to feed a single tvLINK magic eye and remote TV only. (Other makes of magic eye should work but have not yet been tested. Please let us know if you use a different type and find it works reliably - or otherwise.)

    This system can also be used to control the latest Sky Digibox in a cupboard. (Digiboxes with RF2 need only the "magic eye".)

    Many People will already have a magic eye system installed from the previous Digibox, which had an RF1 and RF2 output. The IO-LINK module has no RF1 output and this causes a problem if you want to pass the Freeview aerial signal to the main TV. In addition, it provides only enough power for ONE tvLINK "magic eye" and this causes a problem if you need to feed, for example, a SkyLink amplified splitter.

    If you have a SkyLink amplified splitter (such as an F140) the Sky IO-Link module will not be able to supply enough power. If this affects your installation, you can power your F140 directly with a plug-top PSU such as the Global GLO76A power supply, which is suitable for "magic eyes", SkyLink amplified splitters, etc.

    If this solution is inconvenient because the amplified splitter is tucked away in a loft or cupboard without a power socket, you can fit a DC1 Inserter and PSU next to the IO-Link, instead.

    The module has no RF1 output so, if you need to feed signal to an adjacent TV, you will need a SkyLink splitter. The aerial cable connects to the MALE input of the splitter. The FEMALE outputs of the splitter go to the FEMALE Aerial IN socket of the module and to the FEMALE aerial input of the TV. You'll need suitable adapters and/or cables.

    © 2011-2014 SatCure "The Definitive SkyLink Magic Eye Guide".
    Posted on AVforums for the benefit of AVforums members.
    May not be copied or posted elsewhere without permission.
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    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  2. Stevenage Neil

    Stevenage Neil Active Member

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    Excellent description, and will hopefully be "pinned".

    However the cynical side of me says, (even though we see the apocryphal "I have done a search.........."), will we see a reduction on "Eye" queries?:laugh:
  3. MartinPickering

    MartinPickering Active Member

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    No because nobody will search for "SkyLink". But at least you have somewhere to direct them, now. :)
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  4. Keithist

    Keithist Member

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    Im using a different box as mine didnt respond too well to the update ( loosing picture and sound and not continuous recording)

    So i need to turn the rf2 port on but the instructions above no longer work. Does any one know how to access this function in the new software thanks.
  5. Stevenage Neil

    Stevenage Neil Active Member

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    It might have helped if you had told us what box you had and what box you now have!

    For Sky+ it is Services/4/0/1/Select

    For Sky HD it is Services/0/0/1/Select.
  6. Keithist

    Keithist Member

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    Well as it doesent mention that there is any difference in the sequence depending on manufacturers it didnt seem necessary.

    And as i said those methods didnt work

    Its sky hd
    I had Pace TDS850NB
    I now have an Amstrad DXR890-R (i assume thats it since it doesnt say much underneath
  7. MartinPickering

    MartinPickering Active Member

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    The instructions (in bold) in the main article (above) are still correct for early and late EPG. Just push ALL the listed buttons in sequence.
  8. Stevenage Neil

    Stevenage Neil Active Member

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    Where does it fail/go wrong?
  9. Keithist

    Keithist Member

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    I finally got those instructions to work. I got it turned on. But it hasnt enabled the eye to control the sky box. Nothing else has been changed in the way the skylink was installed. Il have to have another try wen i get home
  10. Stevenage Neil

    Stevenage Neil Active Member

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    So, you have picture and sound but no remote control?

    When you turned the RF2 Power On, you did remember to "Save Settings"?

    Are you absolutely sure the eye is connected to RF2?
  11. Stevenage Neil

    Stevenage Neil Active Member

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    It's nice to have a closure on a problem, eh?
  12. Getinthehole!

    Getinthehole! Member

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    just installed a new 2TB box from SKY which only cost me £65 and set up 2 magic eyes using this thread. :clap:

    Just a small note of thanks happy HD Christmas all!
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  13. Istanbul_Kop

    Istanbul_Kop Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone tell me why sometimes the remote does not work with the magic eye? I can always get picture/sound, but the remote simply does not work, and requires movement at the back of the box to work again.
  14. logiciel

    logiciel Moderator

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    What box are you referring to?
  15. MartinPickering

    MartinPickering Active Member

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    I think this question is well covered by the guide, above, and by the downloadable SatCure Guide in more detail. Bad connection, interference, wrong cable, faulty eye, etc.
  16. maggo87

    maggo87 Member

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    I have a query for you, I have run my coaxial cable, got my sky eye in the back of my tv (it's a tvlink, don't know if it makes a difference) got the cable plugged in and the light comes on on the tvlink as it should so i can change channel but this doesn't work I can't control my skybox and I haven't a clue why? Any advice?
  17. MartinPickering

    MartinPickering Active Member

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    Did you read the the Guide (above)?
    Is the cable between tvLink and TV aerial socket decoupled and is the tvLink well away from the TV?

    You probably need to work through the troubleshooting sequence in the complete SatCure Guide to Magic Eyes.
  18. maggo87

    maggo87 Member

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    I've tried these apart from moving the tv link further away from the tv, ill try this today
  19. MartinPickering

    MartinPickering Active Member

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    If you worked through the list in the troubleshooting section of the guide, it would automatically lead you to the cause of your problem.
  20. zapata

    zapata Member

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    I have a loft distribution box running 6 tvs around the house and each has a TV Link magic eye, every so often I cannot change channel in another room, it's a bit odd but if I pull out the aerial cable from the tv and connect it again it seems to work, any idea what would be causing the initial problem.
  21. Stevenage Neil

    Stevenage Neil Active Member

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    Read the two posts above yours.
  22. zapata

    zapata Member

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    No problem, it's just odd that it can work fine for ages and then nothing, I take it you need to purchase the listed guide.
  23. Stevenage Neil

    Stevenage Neil Active Member

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    Read the whole thread..........
  24. MartinPickering

    MartinPickering Active Member

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    Only if you want to read the comprehensive PDF version. Otherwise, this simplified version that you've just read provides the answer. I'm assuming that by "aerial cable" you actually mean "connection to magic eye"? In which case you probably haven't decoupled it. You can either buy a decoupler, buy a decoupled cable or modify a cable yourself. The latter is not difficult if you are able to use scissors and sellotape. ;)
    [ame="http://www.google.com/search?&q=decoupled+cable"]decoupled cable - Google Search[/ame]
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  25. zapata

    zapata Member

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    Thanks for the reply, I take it I would need to do this for all 6 tvs that have a TV Link.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2013
  26. MartinPickering

    MartinPickering Active Member

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    Well, I would start with the problematic ones.
  27. TVGirl

    TVGirl Member

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    Yes, it is connected to the TV by a Chord HDMI cable which we used with the previous box. I didn't bother to unpack the HDMI that came with the new Sky box.
  28. MartinPickering

    MartinPickering Active Member

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    As this clearly has nothing to do with "magic eye", could it be split off to its own independent thread?
    There's no point in having a "Magic Eye Guide" if you permit random posts to be tagged on.
  29. logiciel

    logiciel Moderator

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    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  30. dedlus

    dedlus Member

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    anyone who has their sky box connected to the internet and has a iphone can use the app - no need for magic eye anymore

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