MiniTioune

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The MiniTioune USB receiver project consists of software (MiniTioune )and hardware (MiniTiouner) and is developed by Jean-Pierre F6DZP for receiving digital TV transmissions.

It can be used to receive DVB-S QPSK and DVB-S2 QPSK, 8PSK, 16APSK, 32 APSK from broadcast and amateur TV transmissions with symbol rates (SR) from 30 Msymbols down to 120 Ksymbols per second enabling it to receive satellite broadcasts, "normal" DATV signals and Reduced Bandwidth (RB-TV) transmissions.

Definitions

The following terms should be used when describing this project - note "MiniTiouner" is the French project name but maybe pronounced "Minituner" in English.

  • MiniTioune = PC software
  • MiniTiouner = The complete project hardware with USB interface - this can be prefixed with the type of tuner eg "Sharp Minitiouner"
  • Serit FTS4335 NIM = Current version of NIM sold by the BATC shop. Note the project also worked with an earlier Serit tuner (SP2246) but none were sold by the BATC
  • NIM = Network Interface Module. A little metal box that we can find inside most of Satellite Receivers. We can find 2 chips : the Zero Tuner and the Demodulator. RF Signal is sent to the antenna connector "RF input", it is amplified by a transistor "booster", the zero tuner selects the frequency asked and the demodulator extracts the data (Transport Stream) that goes outside the NIM on a digital parallel output.
inside a NIM

Hardware

Minituner.JPG

The Minitiouner hardware is designed for home construction and consists of 3 major components – the Tuner or NIM, the USB interface and power supply components.

When used with the Sharp, Samsung or Serit SP2246 NIM component, frequency coverage is from 650 MHz through to 2600 MHz. (DVB-S and DVB-S2 QPSK and 8PSK).

When used with the Serit FTS4335 NIM component, frequency coverage is from 143.75 MHz through to 2450 MHz. (DVB-S and DVB-S2 QPSK, 8PSK, 16APSK and 32APSK) This extended frequency coverage gives greater flexibility when working with up converters from the VHF bands and enables the 10 GHz band, including Es'HailSat-2 down link, to be received on a standard domestic PLL LNB.

The tuner (NIM), pre-programmed USB interface module and a blank PCB are available from the BATC on line shop https://batc.org.uk/shop/hardware-and-kits – all other components are available from normal suppliers.

Full details on how the build the MiniTiouner including a "how to video" and a zip file containing circuit diagram, layout and build instructions can be found on the MiniTiouner hardware wiki page.  Please note the “full kit” mentioned in documentation is no longer available.

Serit FTS4335 NIM tuner

As of February 2017 the Sharp, Samsung and Serit SP2246 tuners are no longer available and the project will use a NIM tuner from Serit FTS4335 which cover from 143.75 MHz right through to 2450 MHz without the need for any upconverters.


FTS4335Vopen Eng.jpg

This makes building a receiver for 146 or 437 much easier, although you will need a pre-amp followed by lots of filtering for each band, just like the Sharp did, and probably followed by a Satellite line amp from ebay as the Serit has less gain than the Sharp.

However, due to a different pinouts from the Sharp NIM, the Serit FTS4335 NIM tuner will also need a simple adapter board to enable it to be plugged in to the MiniTiouner standard hardware - Brian G4EWJ has designed a board and they are currently being made in China.

The board and a full set of components plus the Serit FTS4335 NIM tuner are available from the BATC shop. Full details of this board and using the tuner are available here.

Band Pass filters

Receive upconverters

The new Serit NIM FTS4335 covers 143.75 - 2450 MHz and does not require any external frequency converters.

As mentioned above, the Sharp tuner component (also called NIM) used in a MiniTiouner covers a maximum of 650 to 2600 MHz.

Whilst this is fine for the 23cms (1.3 GHz) and 13cms (2.3 GHz) amateur bands it does not provide coverage of 146 (2mts) and 437 MHz (70cms) where the majority of ATV operation takes place. Therefore we need to use an upconverter in front of the tuner which converts 146 MHz and 437 MHz up to an L band frequency that the MiniTiouner will receive.

A separate section on the wiki gives details of these upconverters.

Software

20160507 Walbury GW8VPG.jpg

The system uses free to download DVB-S receive and analysis software called "Minitioune" written by F6DZP. The Software is hosted on the VivaDATV forum. You need a log-in to download, but here are the links:

The latest (28 February 2017) version of MiniTioune V0.6d: Minitioune v0.6d download

Noise Power Measurement Software: ( included in the Minitioune software package)

Software Installation

 There is a "readme.pdf" in the Minitioune software package that gives the latest information and a step by step guide

For a step by step guide on how to do this, see the paper written by W6HHC - http://www.w6ze.org/DATV/InstallingMiniTiouner_onWin10.pdf

  • Install the D2XX drivers 2.12.24 found at http://ftdichip.com/Drivers/D2XX.htm. There's a link in the right column for a setup executable. This stage is missing from W6HHC notes.
  • Install the FT2232H USB driver for the MiniTiouner board
  • Inspect the FT2232H USB-controller module (preprogramed by BATC for NIMtuner) for correct internal memory programming
  • Install LAVfilters CODECs and test the HW board and test the DirectShow filters
  • Look in the Minitiouner folder that you've just copied to C:\ for the small program "Install_usrc_ax_winXP" and run this to install the link with the decoder.
  • Run the MiniTiouner_v0.6d executable & perhaps adjust the decoder filters being used.