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General Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach that are not covered in other Mechanic's Corner categories (ex. refrigerators, water heaters, and compressors).

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  #1  
Old 09-01-2008
gcyeaw's Avatar
gcyeaw gcyeaw is offline
Gardner
 
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Location: Ridgewood
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Default TV antenna

Recently I tried the TV antenna on my coach. The mount raised up fine, but the reception was practicaly non-existant. The rotation control lit up, but no sound came from the unit, and it never went to the 'end of rotation'. Yesterday I took the module down to investigate. (It is the flying saucer shaped one).

Once opened up it was clear that the unit needed some TLC. A couple of rusted screw parts fell out, and the antenna band was hanging on by a thread.

The unit is made up of a motorized rotator and a 15 or so inch diameter styrofoam disk about two inches thick. The disk is attached to the rotator in the center (duh). There are several paralell elements (metal rods) of diminishing length glued to the styrofoam as well as two metal plates which are connected to a circuit board. Leaving the circuit board is a coax cable which is circled around the center post to allow the antenna to rotate without binding. Another set of leads connect the circuit board to a circular band that wraps around the circumference of the disk. The circular band is attached to the styrofoam disk with sheet metal screws. How come this seems like a 'not too bright 'design??

The condition of the setup was not too good. Three of the screws attaching the band to the disk had fallen out. The holes in the styrofoam were elongated and basicly wouldn't hold anything. The band had been bouncing around and the wire connections had broken off.

I decided to fill the holes with a hardening sealer and install new screws to hold the band in place. Unfortunately the sealer I used disolved the styrofoam and left me with bigger holes. I resorted to Mystic tape. It sticks pretty well, better that duct tape. It is non-metalic.

I tried to remove the nut holding the styrofoam to the rotator so I could clean the gears and motor up. It seemed to unscrew, but in reality it snapped the stud off. Fortunately there was enough left to thread a new 8-32 nut on, after removing about 1/8 inch of styrofoam to allow the washer to set below the remaining threads.

So all fixed I remounted the antenna. It worked much much better, but didn't rotate. I had connected it up inside to the control box to test and it worked there. After chasing the line through the coach I found the (someone elses fix) place where the cable had been repaired, and it was a mess. I fixet thet, and amazinf as it sounds, the antenna rotates, the reception is excelent.

Now to deal with the digital broadcasts????

I know, pictures would have been great, but the camera batteries died.
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83FC35 SB $IXTEEN TON$ SOLD
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2008
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NH Bill NH Bill is offline
1983 FC 35 "Casa Billisa"
 
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Gardner,

My antenna is exhibiting similar symptoms and this little project was nearing the top of the list. Your excellent description will surely be a help.

Good post and great timing... for me.

Thanks - Bill
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  #3  
Old 09-01-2008
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gcyeaw gcyeaw is offline
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NH Bill,
If you do take it apart I would suggest not trying to unscrew the bolt holding the styrofoam to the rotator. I thought this was the only way to get to the motor until I realized that the four threaded mounting connections actually unscrew and release the drive plate from the housing. You can get to the gears without separating the styrofoam disk from the rotator.

Also the three rotator power connections were rusted badly. I actually used a peir of vice-grips to carefully loosen them. Why a manufacturer would use ordinary non-stainless connectors on an outdoor device has always baffled me.
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86 PT-36 Golden Memories
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78 FC 33 Happinest (Sold)
Ridgewood, New Jersey
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  #4  
Old 09-02-2008
wanderlodge3208
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Gardner,

Good luck with this project! I'm using the same factory antenna. You mentioned the switch to digital.. I'm fully digital in the bird' with 2 LCD flat panel HD Displays, all works fine with factory wiring and the white 'saucer' antenna. Digital broadcast definitely good here! I get 26+ channels on digital and 16 on 'old' analog system. Digital perfect picture, no more ghosts, shadows and snow!!
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  #5  
Old 09-02-2008
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thomas_sorrentino thomas_sorrentino is offline
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Gardner,

My antenna does the same thing, up and down works, but doesn't rotate. Also as close as I am to NYC I think my reception should be better. What would it take to get you over after work to look over my shoulder to repair this? Dinner?
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  #6  
Old 09-02-2008
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gcyeaw gcyeaw is offline
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Tom,
A little X12 loan time would be fine. I need to replace the rusted beauty rings on the rear duals.

It sounds like this is a pretty pervasive problem. I'll bring the camera so we can document the antenna fix.

Gardner
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78 FC 33 Happinest (Sold)
Ridgewood, New Jersey
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  #7  
Old 09-02-2008
pgchd
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FYI sites you may find helpful if your equipment is beyond repair like mine was:

MFG
http://mini-state.com/

One of their vendors I purchased from online over a year ago
http://www.starkelectronic.com/allant.htm

Also I think I saw where Steve Birtles had in a recent post he had a couple left as well if memory is correct

fyi I bought one last year and the digital is Awesome on the LCD's I have in the coach..... and most populated areas areas have a .1 24 hour local weather channel......very helpful, good luck!
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  #8  
Old 09-02-2008
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Gardner,

You got a deal! Private e-mail or call me, I'll bring the coach to my shop if you want.
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  #9  
Old 09-02-2008
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I got a replacement 'flying saucer' antenna from Steven Birtles last year. It works great. I was able to just replace the antenna 'head' as the wires were OK.

As for digital, there's no difference in the antennas. Radio waves are radio waves. The encoding, digital or analog doesn't matter to the antenna.

It is possible to be "too close" to the source (like NY) ... ghost rejection doesn't seem to be a real strong suit for this antenna (for analog reception) but digital should be better.

----
On the road at Idaho Springs, CO (where I have cable anyway...)
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  #10  
Old 09-02-2008
Stephen Stephen is offline
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there are no more original ministate antennas left the new one does not have the wired remote. It has an rf remote all else remains the same except the price went up about 10 dollars. The new antenna looks the same as the original and the bolt pattern is the same.
I will have them in stock by wednesday sept 3
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