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stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #1 
An auto vent door actuator was mentioned in another thread, and it sounded interesting. It's electric and has proportional operation which should come in handy, so I ordered one for experimenting. In the meantime I downloaded what info I could find on it. Yesterday it came in so today I got to work.

Short answer, don't bother.

I wired it up according to the online wiring diagram, which wasn't as easy as it looks because I didn't have the special connector.
Connected it to 12v per the diagram, it ran for a couple seconds and stopped. No amount of messing with the control leads would do anything, so I took it apart to have a look.

Inside were a small motor, gears, and a circuit board with about 3 resistors and a printed potentiometer, Nothing else. No solid state devices at all. Poking around with the ohmmeter disclosed that the pins designated were not the right ones, aside from the power leads. I did discover that reversing the leads would make the motor run in reverse, but that's all I could do with it.

It's an interesting gizmo with a lot of possibilities, IF you have the appropriate diagrams and skill set. For the average guy, not worth the trouble.



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gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #2 
So...

Is the actuator dead, as in you fried it? 

Greg in MN
stmbtwle

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Hi Greg,

No it's not "dead". There's really nothing in it TO fry, as far as I can determine. The motor runs fine and all the bits go back and forth when I reverse the wires. However it does NOT operate as the diagram would indicate. While it does have a feedback potentiometer the actual control must be external as it doesn't appear to be inside.

This is a Ford actuator. It's my guess that over the years they have changed, and while most of them LOOK alike, internally they do not appear to be, and the generic diagram I was able to find was not correct for this unit. So getting it to work (if I ever do) will be a time consuming matter of trial and error. Even if I get it working and post the results, there's no guarantee the one you might get would be the same.

For about the same money I could assemble an Arduino Nano and a model airplane servo, and I'd have a programmable unit for which diagrams and programming are readily available. My vote is for the Arduino.

That will be one of my next projects, to build an Arduino servo, and I'll share my findings.


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gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #4 
I wonder if you could use a servo to open up an emergency vent on the top of a collector. The servo would have to keep the vent closed as long as it has power. But should the power fail, the vent would open and vent the stagnating collector.


Greg in MN

stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #5 
A servo wouldn't do that. Servos use power both ways (as does the vent actuator). The door lock actuator would work, if you can keep it from burning up. So would a solenoid.

HOWEVER: hobby servos and the vent actuator draw very little power and might be powered by a small pv panel, so in case of a mains or fan failure they'll still work. I'll work on that.

You might also look into something like this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/BRIGGS-And-STRATTON-THERMOSTAT-593208-790830-OEM-READY-START-LAWN-MOWERS-WASHERS/322241993456?

It's been discussed before, I don't know if any has tried it or if it works.

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Rick H Parker

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Reply with quote  #6 
I wonder if you could use a servo to open up an emergency vent on the top of a collector. The servo would have to keep the vent closed as long as it has power.

A Push-Pull Solenoid rather then a servo might be better suited for that application.

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Rick H Parker
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LAT39

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Reply with quote  #7 
Just an FYI:

While I assume most door lock actuators are just solenoids, some are motors that quickly turn the "plunger" in or out.  I used one from a Lincoln Town Car in the mid eighties to add a power lock to the passenger side door to an old Bronco I owned at the time (reaching over to unlock the passenger door was a hassle.)

The control of them is the same as a solenoid, just a DPDT momentary switch wired to reverse the polarity.
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #8 
That's what I have, it's a small electric motor geared to the plunger, with about a 3/4" throw. It's quite powerful for it's size and almost instantaneous.

But it's not made for "continuous duty" and pulls right at 5 amps. If left on in a "hold" mode I think it would melt down in short order. I've tried it with a 50 ohm, 10 watt resistor and it works more slowly and with less power, and probably would last a while longer. I still wouldn't put much faith in it.

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LAT39

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Reply with quote  #9 
No need for continuous duty as I recall. It held either position it was set to and only needed a brief current pulse to change positions.

Adding enough electronics to automate that current pulse may be more work or complication than most people want though.
Rick H Parker

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Reply with quote  #10 
Latching solenoids use magnets to stay in place no "continuous duty" required. The solenoid just pushed the plunger into latch position or pulls it out of latch position.
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Rick H Parker
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