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[TowerTalk] Tailtwister Start Problems at Low Temps

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Tailtwister Start Problems at Low Temps
From: (Scott Bullock)
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 12:10:36 -0500
Hi Dick, I have had the same problem here for abt 1.5 months, mine is a
rebuilt tailtwister, it worked fine for about 2 weeks, then it started
doing the same thing, I can hear the solenoid click when I release the
brake, but after it sits for a while, it won't move right away. I've tried
holding the cw and ccw levers, sometimes it starts up, other times not. It
seems to work ok if I click on the brake release several times before I
turn it, but even that doesn't work every time! I haven't done anything
about it, as I had seen a message here some time ago about this problem
saying it was a typical tailtwister rotor problem. I would be interested in
hearing what others have to say about this, and if there is a good solution
available. And no, it's not the thrust bearings tightening up, as I can
turn the whole array by hand if I loosen the rotor up.
Happy Holidays,

At 11:15 AM 12/16/97 -0500, you wrote:
>Hello and happy holiday season to all.
>I installed a brand-new Hy-Gain Tailtwister rotor for my U.S. Tower 70'
>base-rotated tubular tower back in late September. I bought the rotor and
>digital control unit (DCU-1) as a package.
>After ironing out a bunch of problems with the tower's rotation (unrelated
>to the T2X), the rotor worked quite well until the temperature began to
>drop. Now, after sitting idle for a while (the time varies with
>temperature), the rotor will not start until after two, three, or even four
>commands to move. Once it starts moving, however, it turns smoothly and will
>start with no problem as long as it hasn't been sitting idle for too long.
>For example, after sitting idle all night, when temperatures dropped as low
>as -3 F, it took four start commands this morning to get it going. After
>that, it's been rotating fine, even after sitting for an hour at 15 F.
>So far, it hasn't flat-out refused to move, but I'm worried that it's going
>to do that when some rare DX I need comes up or just before the next big
>contest! It can get down to -30 F here in the dead of winter.
>Since my cable run (gauge: 2-14, 6-16) to the tower is long (260'), I tried
>moving the starting capacitor from the DCU-1 control box to the tower (it
>was real easy to do this -- the capacitor is designed to be removed from the
>box and I happen to have a weatherproof cable termination box next to the
>tower with an easy tap-in at the Polyphaser rotor cable lightning suppressor
>no more than 8 feet from the rotor.) This didn't help at all.
>I called Hy-Gain and they said that Tailtwisters typically have this
>problem. They said that one solution is to "rock" the rotor back and forth,
>which loosens it up enough to start moving. Unfortunately, the DCU-1 does
>not have any manual controls (i.e., no CW and CCW levers), so the only thing
>you can do is tell it to move in one direction or the other. It tries for
>eight seconds and if it detects no movement, it shuts off. Basically, all
>you can do is keep pushing the "Start" button. As yet, I haven't tried
>"rocking" by setting the target on either side of the limits to make the
>start commands alternate direction. Possibly that will get it started a
>little quicker. When I pointed out that my Tailtwister is nearly brand new
>(the marketing literature touts improved low-temp operation and the manual
>says it will work down to -32 F), they said that even the new ones have this
>Are others out there experiencing this kind of problem with the Tailtwister,
>especially new models running with the DCU-1?
>Since the rotor is base-mounted and very easy to access, I've considered
>putting some heat tape around it (I've got 110VAC on a pedestal right next
>to the tower.) It looks like the best place to wrap it would be around the
>lower (fixed) portion of the rotor. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of
>room down there, and I'm not sure I can get enough tape around it to make a
>difference. I'd rather not have the heat tape riding around on the movable
>portion. Of course, I'm not wild about having heat tape running all winter.
>Anybody else tried this?
>Thanks for any help,
>73, Dick, WC1M
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