Actuator noise

johnnynobody

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 2, 2009
2,580
303
42N 103W
I'm wondering if my actuator is about to fail or is there a way to quiet it down. The actuator is Venture brand and it's only 2 years old. I don't see any grease fittings.
 

johnnynobody

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 2, 2009
2,580
303
42N 103W
I probably should buy a spare actuator but I'd hate to have such an expensive piece of hardware laying around. Besides, if you don't install until after the warranty expires you might find that it doesn't work.
 

johnnynobody

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 2, 2009
2,580
303
42N 103W
Yep, gotta keep the economy going.......I was hoping that something could be regreased. Anyway, the actuator must be wearing out too soon because I have a really difficult time getting the antenna to go back dead on target so I have to pan the thing a LOT - especially for the high FEC signals or weak transponders. The control unit (Gbox) says it's on target. Every nut and bolt has been checked and tightened without stripping them. I wish the manufacturer had provided torque settings - but then I'd have to go buy a torque wrench. Anyway, the only thing I can think of that would be a problem is slop in the actuator itself or it's possible that I'm not aimed at the center of the box (everyone knows that satellites do a figure-of-8 pattern don't they? - use to be referred to as a box). Center of the box was much more critical for Ku birds. But, I've had this problem on different dishes and several different actuators for 20 years now - even when I used the DSR922 I had to re-pan the dish a lot.
 

arlo

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 4, 2016
269
122
North Eastern
Johnny you didn't really say where the noise was coming from.
In this day and age I'd accept either planning on replacing your actuator every so often or doing a periodic teardown of the motor to clean and lube it properly. I hear the Venture is pretty robust and well made. I've never had one or seen photos of the inner working of one.
I did a bit of a detailed write up on what I found with a Super Jack that had given me nothing but troubles.
If the actuator arm needs lubed it surely isn't much of a job to carefully drill a hole in it and screw in a Zerk.
Motor slop is another thing. If the gears are toast or the coupling is worn where the motor meets the actuator, that's a good place to look at for your positioning error. More on that if you really want.
Reed switches have a finite life. They can make for "dirty" signals back to the motor control.
One bad or misformed pulse every time a sat is selected adds up. Bumping the dish motor to peak signal...the same.
I've been a little quiet on this because since going to a hall trigger my positioning errors are very minimal.
It took some work mechanically and on the oscilloscope to iron-out what was driving me nuts.
Lately I've spent most sat switching on 2 or 3 several degrees apart. But when I go to one across the arc 20-30 degrees apart, it stops pretty much spot on.
You don't need a torque wrench although one in the tool box is what every good mechanic should have.
As long as you know the difference between too loose and pulling threads on hardware, you'll be cool.
 
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Need2learn

SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 13, 2018
44
10
USA
What type of noise is it a grinding noise? Do you have a boot on the shaft? Do this extend your actuator arm it as far as your limit will allow you, if you have a boot on it take off one end, now with some axle grease put as much as you can get on it, now put the boot back on and move it all the way and back a couple of times, see if that solves your problem.
 

johnnynobody

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 2, 2009
2,580
303
42N 103W
I don't want to be trying a thousand things to solve this "problem". I'll just live with it until it totally breaks and then spend another $200+ for another so-called quality actuator. Or live without satellite TV. When I got into satellite TV I was impressed with the video and audio quality but I was looking for a way to save money also. In theory, the satellite system should have paid for itself within 5 years. That never happened. I should've bailed out a long time ago. But the money and time and effort has been spent so I'll just plug along until I can't. If there was a lot more OTA here, I'd be out of satellite.
 

johnnynobody

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 2, 2009
2,580
303
42N 103W
I just got a quote for a Venture actuator. $275+shipping+taxes. Actuator #MA-834118341-24. I have one of these on my KTI-12. Probably overkill because the load rating is 1200 lbs. I have a Venture MA-810-24 on the Paraclipse-12 that's rated for 750 lb loads. I should get a quote for that one (which is probably cheaper). I probably should go even cheaper since my Gbox can't supply the rated current for the actuators (6A and 4.5A respectively) The Gbox is rated for 3A. Looks like the ASC1 is rated for 5A. Are there any actuator controllers that can do 6+ Amps DC?
 

primestar31

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Mar 15, 2005
8,825
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I've owned a couple 24" Venture ball-screw actuators over the years, and neither of them can even be heard moving from a few feet away. Though they are older versions, and perhaps newer ones aren't the same. IF you have a high average wind load like I do in my area, I highly recommend spending a little more for the ball-screw version over the Acme nut.

As for a higher amperage rated power supply, you can always build a sub-box with a higher powered transformer from an old-school receiver. Then the G-box controls THAT, and the relays in that control the actuator arm.
 

johnnynobody

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 2, 2009
2,580
303
42N 103W
I've owned a couple 24" Venture ball-screw actuators over the years, and neither of them can even be heard moving from a few feet away. Though they are older versions, and perhaps newer ones aren't the same. IF you have a high average wind load like I do in my area, I highly recommend spending a little more for the ball-screw version over the Acme nut.
I've requested a quote for a ball screw. Not sure if I want to upgrade to the hall effect sensor even though it's suppose to be somewhat immune to noise that messes up the pulse count.

As for a higher amperage rated power supply, you can always build a sub-box with a higher powered transformer from an old-school receiver. Then the G-box controls THAT, and the relays in that control the actuator arm.
I guess I'll have to put on my engineering cap.
 

MikeI

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 25, 2004
3,218
241
Sounds familiar. Stay far away from venture. My new one sounded like that day 1. Got a replacement. Same thing. Threw them both away .

Sent from my LM-G710VM using the SatelliteGuys app!
 

arlo

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 4, 2016
269
122
North Eastern
Dude. That's just geartrain whine. A good clean out and greasing up with some low temp synthetic grease will quiet it right down.
And what the other guy said about extending the actuator shaft and wiping on a coat of grease. Nah. Drill it for a zerk.
I swear. Trust me.
 
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johnnynobody

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 2, 2009
2,580
303
42N 103W
Sounds familiar. Stay far away from venture. My new one sounded like that day 1. Got a replacement. Same thing. Threw them both away .
I wouldn't throw away a $275 device because it's noisy. I'm not that rich. I'd try selling them first. I don't know but maybe a ball screw is quieter. The ones I have now are acme screw.
 

johnnynobody

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Pro
Aug 2, 2009
2,580
303
42N 103W
Dude. That's just geartrain whine. A good clean out and greasing up with some low temp synthetic grease will quiet it right down.
And what the other guy said about extending the actuator shaft and wiping on a coat of grease. Nah. Drill it for a zerk.
I swear. Trust me.
I don't know if I want to attempt adding a grease fitting. I would imagine that an expensive device like this would've already had a grease fitting if it was necessary to periodically lube it.
 

arlo

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 4, 2016
269
122
North Eastern
I don't know if I want to attempt adding a grease fitting. I would imagine that an expensive device like this would've already had a grease fitting if it was necessary to periodically lube it.
In an industrial environment where they are designed to be out of the weather, perhaps.
Saginaw, name your actuator...ball screw...acme...they all need greased.
Since you're not doing anything at all to remedy the problem short of tossing the whole schlamiel out in the dumpster, try the zerk and pump some fresh grease in it. You may even be a little surprised to see how much rust and crap pumps out.
For the motor. What you clearly recorded is gear noise in the motor. Don't want to, or lack the skills to do it. Get yourself a can of white lithium grease with the straw and ease the straw in the gear cavity and spray it in while someone inside punches the E-W button.
Now. Again. Spend a couple hundred every few years on a new actuator. I really don't care.
That's what people did back in the heyday of C Band. And installers loved it. I know. I have a pile of old actuators here that just needed cleaned out and lubed.
Do it, don't do it. For the want of a 39 cent grease fitting and a buck two-ninety-eight can of white lube.
Like I mentioned before. The first -30 winter where my dish actually moved without motor errors on my ASC-1.
Ok, like the cute biker chicks shirt said.
"It won't lick itself".
 

arlo

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 4, 2016
269
122
North Eastern
In an industrial environment where they are designed to be out of the weather, perhaps.
Saginaw, name your actuator...ball screw...acme...they all need greased.
Since you're not doing anything at all to remedy the problem short of tossing the whole schlamiel out in the dumpster, try the zerk and pump some fresh grease in it. You may even be a little surprised to see how much rust and crap pumps out.
For the motor. What you clearly recorded is gear noise in the motor. Don't want to, or lack the skills to do it. Get yourself a can of white lithium grease with the straw and ease the straw in the gear cavity and spray it in while someone inside punches the E-W button.
Now. Again. Spend a couple hundred every few years on a new actuator. I really don't care.
That's what people did back in the heyday of C Band. And installers loved it. I know. I have a pile of old actuators here that just needed cleaned out and lubed.
Do it, don't do it. For the want of a 39 cent grease fitting and a buck two-ninety-eight can of white lube.
Like I mentioned before. The first -30 winter where my dish actually moved without motor errors on my ASC-1.
Ok, like the cute biker chicks shirt said.
"It won't lick itself".
 

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Comptech

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 26, 2006
2,514
1,860
Travelers Rest SC
I run 2 venture jacks and both are noisy, but one has been going for 10 years and the other for 2 years, just kep them lubed and I do what others do, a coat of synthetic greast on the shaft extended run it in and you are good for another year.
 

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