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MarkVA
11-18-2011, 01:39 PM
The title describes the strange problem I'm experiencing. I have disconnected the GBox from my AZBox Premium+ and am running both units stand-alone because I got tired of the DiSEQC problems. Recently, I started getting the "E---2" error, so I reset everything. I find I can directly enter the position number of a satelite and the movement doesn't take too much longer than the connected positioner and Premium+ to move automatically (when it works!)

So, after resetting everything, I positioned the dish on AMC-3 and tuned in the NASA HD channel, so I could reprogram the GBox on a known strong signal. When I turned both boxes on this morning, the GBox counter read "-1927" rather than the "252" which is my normal position for AMC-3. I turned the GBox off and turned itback on a few minutes later, and the counter had increased to a higher negative number. After a few more on/off cycles, the number is now up to about -2200. But, the dish is still on AMC-3. It hasn't moved an inch, even though the counter changed by ~2450.

Does this sound like a loose wire or a short somewhere? I should note that I have an underground splice, thanks to an "Attack of the Killer FiOS Fiber Optic Cable Trencher" which completely severed my entire cable, including all positioner wires and coaxes. At the very least, I will dig them up and re-splice the connections this weekend. I water-proofed the original splices as best I could. I may even solder the wires together this time.

Or, should I be worried about something else?

Magic Static
11-18-2011, 03:32 PM
Sounds like a stripped out actuator. See if you hear the motor run with out movement.

ke4est
11-18-2011, 03:41 PM
When I turned both boxes on this morning, the GBox counter read "-1927" rather than the "252" which is my normal position for AMC-3. I turned the GBox off and turned itback on a few minutes later, and the counter had increased to a higher negative number. After a few more on/off cycles, the number is now up to about -2200. But, the dish is still on AMC-3. It hasn't moved an inch, even though the counter changed by ~2450.



Sounds like the Gbox has gone crazy.

MarkVA
11-18-2011, 08:14 PM
Sounds like a stripped out actuator. See if you hear the motor run with out movement.

That's what I'm afraid of -- the actuator is the original from 1994.

Cham
11-19-2011, 05:57 AM
Sounds like a bad connection somewhere to me... Maybe check the continuity between the sensor wires; disconnect both ends, short one end and measure resistance at the other end... should be less than 10 ohms. You can do the same with the motor wires but ohm reading should be less (heavier wire). If you are still able to move the dish the actuator is likely ok. Usually if the sensor goes, the count will not change. Cable trenchers are great for make-work projects... Should have made them run new ribbon cable for you!
-C.

Lone Gunman
11-19-2011, 11:40 AM
Sounds like a bad connection somewhere to me... Maybe check the continuity between the sensor wires; disconnect both ends, short one end and measure resistance at the other end... should be less than 10 ohms. You can do the same with the motor wires but ohm reading should be less (heavier wire). If you are still able to move the dish the actuator is likely ok. Usually if the sensor goes, the count will not change. Cable trenchers are great for make-work projects... Should have made them run new ribbon cable for you!
-C.

Yeah, this would be my course of action too as the count moving just from turning the Gbox on and off and the dish is still in the same place has nothing to do with the nut since nothing has run nor has he tried to even move the dish. I'm betting that there is a connection problem due to that trencher cut.

FYI, there is a real good spice kit available from your electrical supply house that has some gooie wax like stuff inside that will seal that thing off after you do the splices again. You slide it over the cable, make your splces then move it over the splice and use a heat gun to seal it off. We use it when splicing underground power cables and it works really well.

cracklincrotch
11-19-2011, 01:38 PM
They're called Scotchloks and they're made by 3M. Slip in your wires and crimp with pliers or channel locks and you have a weatherproof splice.

Don't know about them being buried directly.

MarkVA
11-20-2011, 05:32 PM
Guys -- Thanks very much for all the advice. I dug up the splices and found the underground box to be completely clean and dry. I re-spliced the two motor wires and two sensor wires with solder and underground wire nuts. Once again, the GBox continues to run away in the count without the dish moving.

So, I'm pretty well convinced I have a actuator problem. After 17 years, the ol' actuator owes me nothing. I figure I will do a check of the wires, just in case. I have enough 4-conductor thermostat wire I can run directly from the AzBox to the actuator to conclusively verify I don't have a wiring problem.

Assuming I do not have a wiring problem, can I buy an actuator motor that will work with my old actuator? There's nothing mechanically I can determine that is wrong with the actuator itself unless there are gears on the actuator unit itself. I guess that's the next step in my troubleshooting.

As always, I'm grateful for any advice and suggestions!

waylew
11-20-2011, 11:28 PM
The motor is attached to a gearbox that then attaches to the ram tube.Since your count changes(the motor IS turning) but the dish doesn't move,most likely you have a stripped gear.Remove the (usually) single bolt that holds the gearbox to the ram and pull the assembly off the ram.The output shaft of the gear box should have a cross pin that engages a slot in the end of the drive screw in the ram.If either the pin has sheared off or the slot of the screw has ground off ,there's you're problem.If the pin and the slot look good then something has broken in the gear box.
With the age of the actuator it might be time to start looking for a new or good used replacement.

MarkVA
11-21-2011, 09:09 AM
The motor is attached to a gearbox that then attaches to the ram tube.Since your count changes(the motor IS turning) but the dish doesn't move,most likely you have a stripped gear.Remove the (usually) single bolt that holds the gearbox to the ram and pull the assembly off the ram.The output shaft of the gear box should have a cross pin that engages a slot in the end of the drive screw in the ram.If either the pin has sheared off or the slot of the screw has ground off ,there's you're problem.If the pin and the slot look good then something has broken in the gear box.
With the age of the actuator it might be time to start looking for a new or good used replacement.

Thanks for your explanation. I haven't pulled the motor yet, but I will either tonight or over the long weekend. An interesting thing on Sunday was that the dish did, in fact, move a few degrees east by itself. I had to nudge it back west to get back on Galaxy 14. I wonder if some, but not all, of the gear teeth are worn or stripped? I recall I had to replace the plastic gears on my garage door opener because they had essentially shattered.

Reigster at SatelliteGuys