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[TowerTalk] RE: TIC Ring Potentiometer Failure?

Subject: [TowerTalk] RE: TIC Ring Potentiometer Failure?
From: David J Rodman MD <>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 20:33:22 -0500
List-post: <>
I have 8 rings and have experienced many many failures of various items over the last 12 years. The potentiometers tend to last a few years then start to have eratic feedback problems, in my experience. There is not too much you can do with a component designed for indoor use placed outside for long periods of time. I have never had a pot fail from RF or lightning (as far as I recall), but I have heard of it too. A failed or dirty pot could be particularly bothersome if you are using digital controllers. I have analog controllers as backup in switchable parallel with my digital controllers. So if the pot gets dirty and it is daylight, I just keep my hands on the control and observe the antenna to advance the ring while the pot jumps like crazy. I have heard of people trying to replace the potentiometers on the tower after various failures. Personally, I do not recommend that. Even getting a motor off can be tedious by the time one plays with frozen bolts, wire terminations, dropped tools, bad weather, bees and general bad luck. Working with a small part like this is not what I like doing at 140' in the air. Because of my share of bad luck with TIC products, I keep four spare motors with electronics and two slaves at all times. If the motor fails, or gives me trouble I plan to exchange it and look at rebuilding it at a later time. I have lots of spare parts and Carl has been particularly gracious and helpful sending me needed items for my "stock". I have only experience with the first and third generation motors. At this time, I am replacing my older series of motors with the new generation in hopes they will be more reliable. Unfortunately, I had two new motors fail two days before CQWW. They were brand new in October. I also had to do a ring repair Saturday of CQWW. Damage was left over when a cradle broke on my 40m yagi last winter. That was my contest. I worked VU2WAP and the ring froze at 260 degrees due to a slipped motor which did not give contact with the ring. I blame the installer for not recognizing the problem. The ring was bent and separating under the antenna. Seven hours at 140' in two trips while the contest slipped by is not my idea of having fun. Barry, you were not the only one with a rotor malfunction during CQWW. I still think swapping out your motor is the best idea. Be sure you have someone on the ground to match the antenna for calibration to the motor when the new one goes in place. Don't assume the replacement and the old one will match perfectly. I found out the hard way that "calibration" is not always guaranteed and had to reclimb at least once or twice to fix things well in the air. You might consider jumpering the ring to keep it moving and visually stop it when necessary until you get it back to normal. I don't think moving the pot will clean it up significantly. Hopefully, you are a "daylight DXer" or the tower is close enough to watch in the dark. I hope you have luck with this and parts are easy to find and replace. Good luck.

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