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Re: [TowerTalk] Preventing tic ring motor from freezing

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Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Preventing tic ring motor from freezing
From: <>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 20:25:39 -0500
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TIC has changed their design numerous times, perhaps eliminating or creating 
problems along the way.  With my six rotators, I have never had a problem 
with alignment or with the gear slipping on the shaft, although with that 
small of round shaft it is certainly possible.  I have had moisture related 
problems with the potentiometers, and an occasional burned up motor, hash 
filter and potentiometer from direct lightning strikes.  I am curious what 
the bypass filters do on the potentiometers.  None of my units have them and 
I have not had an RF related problem with the pots.  I had considered 
installing MOVs on the potentiometers and motors to possibly minimize 
lightning damage.

John KK9A

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Preventing tic ring motor from freezing
From: "Bill N7VM"
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 07:59:22 -0700

Summary of mechanical failure modes for TIC Ring Rotor and solutions:

1. Motor shaft rotating within first external gear (rather than turning the
gear).  This gear is connected to the motor using two small (#6 I believe)
set screws.  On one of my rotors, the set screws simply bear on the round
motor shaft.  No way can these be tightened up enough.  Both of my rotators
experienced this failure mode.  Solution: Remove gear and machine two flat
spots onto shaft for the set screws to bear against.

2. Mechanical interference between rotating parts of the ring and the fixed
parts on the tower.  There are several different pieces and places that
things can hang up - too numerous to try and describe here.   Solution:
Remove motor and check for free rotation through all 360 degrees.  If
anything is found hitting, correct the leveling of the unit, adjust the
various rollers, or simply remove offending structural material (if

3. Lack of proper gear engagement between motor unit and gears on ring.
Solution: This is an installation problem: loosen the motor and slide it to
provide tighter gear engagement with the ring and retighten.

4. Motor too tighly engaged with the ring.  Either due to tolerance problems
with the design/manufacture or due to installation problems, the ring gears
are not at a constant distance from the motor mount throughout the full 360
degrees of rotation on one of my units.  Thus, I believe it is possible to
mount the motor too close to the ring gears (e.g., at a point in the 360
degree rotation with a large ring-motor spacing) that will then cause the
system to bind up (e.g., at a point in the 360 degree rotation with a small
ring-motor spacing).  This is a theoretical failure mode - I have not
actually observed this...  Solution: Try moving the motor to provide looser
gear engagement with the ring.

Temperature changes could certainly aggrevate any of the problems, as
various pieces change size subtly with temperature.

It is extremely helpful to have someone in the shack operate the rotator
while you are on the tower (safely attached by your fall arrest lanyard
positioned where it does not interfere with the rotor) so you can watch.  Of
course, you need a comm link to the shack... avoid using FRS radios, as once
you are 100-feet in the air every bozo within 20 miles will be able to hear

On the electrical side, I would mention that I had a pot fail with open
center tap.  When repairing, I noticed that only the ends had bypass caps,
but not the center tap.  So I added another 0.01 uF bypass cap on the center
tap.  The replacement pot is  Bourns 3590S-2-501L available from Digikey for
about $10.

Good luck...

73 de Bill N7VM 


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