Actuator question

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jself1982

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Apr 15, 2006
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With my 10 footer, today I was going to do some scanning on Pas 9 and Intel 8, however when my dish got just past AMC 6 I got an actuator error. This dish and actuator looks fine but I have no clue to what has happened to cause this error. I have a brand new 18" superjack something, I haven't had any problems at all with going all the way to Intel 805 until today...can someone tell me why?


I have the worst luck, not sometimes, but all the time! :(
 
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GrumpyGuy

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Jun 17, 2006
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Northeast Ohio
This typically means the receiver is (or thinks it is) sending power to the actuator motor in hopes of making it move, but is not seeing a steady stream of pulses coming back from the actuator.

Check for poor connections at both ends of the actuator cable.

If there are no obvious problems it's time to break out the multimeter.
 

jself1982

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GrumpyGuy said:
If there are no obvious problems it's time to break out the multimeter.

What's that?

I am hoping that sending it to its far limits wouldn't or didn't bend it.....
 

GrumpyGuy

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Jun 17, 2006
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A multimeter is an electrical measurement and troubleshooting tool, sometimes also known as a VOM (Volt-Ohm-Meter, although most also measure amperage.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimeter

I am hoping that sending it to its far limits wouldn't or didn't bend it.....

Me too. That can happen if the east limit is set too far east. How far is too far varies with different combinations of dish/actuator/location. If any part of the actuator other than it's mounting points comes in contact with any part of the mount, you are definitely too far east.

Does anything look bent?
 

Hermitman

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Jul 2, 2006
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Check the clamp holding the tube part of the actuator. If that clamp is a little loose, the actuator will slip through the clamp and throw off the dish positioning. Especially if your moving a 10 footer with an 18 inch actuator. That can be a lot of pressure on the actuator clamp. Have fun.
 

jself1982

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Nothing looks bent, (or at least not that I can tell) only about 12 inches will come out of the tube, nothing appears bent at all.

Also checked, no part of the actuator is touching the mount at all. As I had said I don't see why I could get all the way over to Intel 805 no problem, with my east limit just after that. And got as low as AMC 8 at 139degrees west. Tried going back to Intel 805 and just as it got a few clicks past AMC 6 I got an error. I am puzzled! Would you all suggest I redo the wiring on the back of the receiver and in the actuator casing? As far as I know, no one (me) hasn't touched anything or tinkered. Just happened all of a sudden.
 

jself1982

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Hermitman said:
Check the clamp holding the tube part of the actuator. If that clamp is a little loose, the actuator will slip through the clamp and throw off the dish positioning. Especially if your moving a 10 footer with an 18 inch actuator. That can be a lot of pressure on the actuator clamp. Have fun.


Checked that too. Its very tight. This is a new actuator and moves the dish rather quick and without problems. Not had to touch it. Does it matter where on the actuator the clamp has to go? (Example: 1-2" from the tube opening? or 1/2")
 

GrumpyGuy

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Northeast Ohio
Hermitman said:
Check the clamp holding the tube part of the actuator. If that clamp is a little loose, the actuator will slip through the clamp and throw off the dish positioning. Especially if your moving a 10 footer with an 18 inch actuator. That can be a lot of pressure on the actuator clamp. Have fun.

Good tip.

I had that problem when I first installed my 12' Orbitron w/24'' actuator. The factory clamp is too wide and smooth to get a bite on the actuator tube. No matter how tight the bolts, the clamp would slip with the first strong wind.

The problem was solved by installing two automotive muffler clamps on the actuator tube - one on each side of the factory clamp - just tight enough to bite into the metal of the tube, but not tight enough to begin crushing it. This modification has held up trouble-free for 15 years or so ... the only thing I would do differently next time is to degrease and paint the clamps prior to installation.
 
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GrumpyGuy

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jself1982 said:
Does it matter where on the actuator the clamp has to go? (Example: 1-2" from the tube opening? or 1/2")

The actuator should be clamped so that it is almost fully retracted when the dish is pointed at your westernmost satellite.
 

jself1982

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Can I go pop the actuator off and use my hand and unwind it out to almost 18 inches to see if anything is wrong with the tube itself? Or is this a NO NO?
 

GrumpyGuy

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Jun 17, 2006
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Northeast Ohio
I would try to avoid pulling the actuator if at all possible.

Is the actuator's movement limited, or does it not move at all?

If not moving, does it make any noise when told to move? (...any noise at all, even a brief hum.)
 

Hermitman

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Jul 2, 2006
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Limestone, Mi
I wouldn't try turning the actuator by hand unless you really know what you're doing. There are mechanically operated limit switches in the motor assembly. If you start messing with the actuator like that, you're going to throw off the limit switches and that might damage your motor or step-down gears. If the actuator was working fine and picked up all the satellites and now it won't, you just need to figure out what has changed. Has the dish itself started to bind someplace? Are the wires going to the motor catching someplace and being stretched? Did the dish mount swivel on the pole? Is the motor installed properly with the drain hole on the bottom so water won't get into the switches? Is the actuator installed so both ball swivels are moving freely and not binding at the actuator limits? Just some ideas. Good luck and have fun.
 

bryansr

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Jan 21, 2005
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S. D. co. CA.
You can hook up a 12 volt car battery to the actuator to move it VERY SLOWLY to help with the troubleshooting. Remember to reverse the wires to reverse the direction.

BryanSR
 
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