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Old 05-15-2019, 11:06 PM   #1
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RV TV antenna mast sensor

So, I have a 33 foot 1998 Fleetwood Pace Arrow that had an old Winegard standard definition analog TV antenna on it. I ended up pulling apart the old antenna and modified the top bracket to fit the 1 By One HD antenna that I purchased from Amazon. I am still able to raise and lower the antenna with the crank inside on the ceiling. When working on this though, I noticed that there is some kind of sensor or something attached to the antenna mast with a 2 wire cable that goes in to the coach somewhere, not sure where. Does anyone know what that sensor is for and how it works? My best guess was that it was some kind of sensor to tell the person in the coach whether the antenna mast was elevated or not. If that was it's purpose, it is not functioning at the moment. Regardless, I would like to add that functionality back into the antenna mast. Whether I use the sensor currently on the mast or not will depend on whether or not that sensor is for the mast position, and whether or not it works. if it doesn't work, I'd like to add that functionality.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:19 PM   #2
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just so you know, that old Winegard antenna would’ve received digital TV signals just fine. you might have needed to replace the coaxial cable since that can wear out or maybe added the UHF Wingman or a new amplifier but otherwise that old batwing would’ve been fine. antennas are engineered to receive electromagnetic waves of a particular frequency. the decoding of the mode of the transmission is done by the receiver, not the antenna.
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Old 05-16-2019, 04:53 AM   #3
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Without looking at it, I'm pretty sure from your description that it is the tilt-sensor for your antenna. I had to replace mine last year too. The insulation on the wiring where it goes into the antenna base had deteriorated.
I looked at my Amazon and eBay orders but can't find the part number or where I got it, so I'm guessing I must have googled it directly. Hopefully you still have the number on your sensor.
Hope this helps
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:00 AM   #4
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Oh well, The old antenna has been replaced and the old antenna was tossed out. The new one works fine though.

My main concern here is that I want a sensor to tell me when the mast is raised so that when I try to drive, I am not driving with it in the air. I drove it the other day to get my propane filled and I was coming up on an underpass that had an over height sensor that detected the antenna being up and flashed road sign lights to tell me that I couldn't go under the underpass. I knew at that point it was the antenna and pulled over and lowered it. but I wouldn't have been in that situation had I had some kind of sensor like this.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:25 AM   #5
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on a previous MH we used a low tech solution involving a clothes pin to remind us to lower the batwing. while in camp the clothes pin was attached to the batwing crank handle. while driving the clothes pin was clipped to the gear shift. and use a written check-list before breaking camp. we’ve used one for the last 33-years.
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Old 05-16-2019, 06:22 AM   #6
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I have forced myself to walk around the motorhome twice just after starting it before I move. It is just habit now. I start the rig, retract the jacks then start my rounds. I check under and that all compartment doors are closed on the first trip around. I have my wife do a quick light check on the toad (turn and brake) using the sound from the rear camera as I walk, then check toad hitch. I check to see that the load in the truck is secure. Second trip around I stand back so I can see roof area to visually check everything is in place. That second round gives me a good overall visual of everything.
My wife checks the inside of the motorhome for departure.
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:32 AM   #7
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The antenna sensor on our coach activates a red light over the speedometer when the ignition is on and the antenna is raised.
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:25 AM   #8
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I found it! I found it!!

I dug thru all of my rv purchases for the past year (I didn't realize there was THAT many! ), and found the tilt sensor order.
Mine is an Assemtech (Comus) S1016 15 degree tilt switch. I got it thru Newark Electronics, and price was $13.60 several months ago.


Hope this helps
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Old 05-16-2019, 11:00 AM   #9
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I believe the sensor is a simple mercury switch. A glob of mercury rolls back and forth in a tube and shorts out electrical contacts attached to the two wires!
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Old 05-16-2019, 11:15 AM   #10
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You're right, Joe. That's exactly what it was/is.
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Old 05-16-2019, 03:33 PM   #11
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I believe the sensor is a simple mercury switch. A glob of mercury rolls back and forth in a tube and shorts out electrical contacts attached to the two wires!
Being a computer and electronics technician I am familiar with what a mercury switch is. Thanks for the post though. The ones I have seen are mainly a glass bubble with the two connections. The old dial thermostats for homes had them. My main reason for the question was to find out if the sensor that was attached to the mast was actually the tilt sensor for that. The sensor is old and weathered and I didn't see any marks on it indicating the manufacturer or model number on it, so I just wanted to be sure. I would like to trace the wire inside, but I am not sure where it is routed once it passes through the roof plate into the coach, otherwise I would have just put a continuity tester on it. I have a light on the dash that is labeled "Do not move coach" or something like that, but I have not seen that light work since I got the MH. Could just be a dead bulb which I will check tonight.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:30 AM   #12
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If it's a switch its either open or closed . If you can get to the plug or terminals . Bare the ends of a wire jump it closed. See what happens.
At work we failsafe everything open causes alarm ...not the norm . But unplugging it you may get the alarm as its looking fo closed most likely up closes switch ,that equates to one less relay that opposite would need.
You can look for power.
Run a chassis ground up to roof look for voltage at plug or switch with multimeter not test light, on this in case ,it might to separate electronic board don't want to ground something like that with low impedance test method AKA test light.
If it's a powered non magnet proximity switch. It may be harder to test. I kinda doubt it is they are not a cheap option.
Mercury switches are pretty rare nowadays the alternate replacements don't work as well or last nearly as long.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:13 AM   #13
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My Mobley is driving me nuts!

I have the Mobley on a timer that resets it every 2 hours so that takes care of the timeout, but several times a day it shuts off and I have to get up and move it to get it back on. There has to be some kind of motion sensor in there.
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:43 PM   #14
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If it's a switch its either open or closed . If you can get to the plug or terminals . Bare the ends of a wire jump it closed. See what happens.
At work we failsafe everything open causes alarm ...not the norm . But unplugging it you may get the alarm as its looking fo closed most likely up closes switch ,that equates to one less relay that opposite would need.
Part of the problem is that I don't have a wiring diagram to know how everything is supposed to work. I tried looking for the wire inside when I was working on installing the new antenna, but it did not appear to follow the path of the coax cable. So once it enters the MH from the roof, my guess is that it routes in the ceiling over to the drivers side area. My next plan with the wire to try and find it is to use my tone generator/tracer set to see if I can find the wire under the dash, but again, not knowing how things are supposed to be connected, I'm not sure how much that will tell me. Worst case, if I can find where the wire is under the dash, I may be able to disconnect it from the original setup and design my own sensor/indicator setup for it.

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Originally Posted by 153stars View Post
You can look for power.
Run a chassis ground up to roof look for voltage at plug or switch with multimeter not test light, on this in case ,it might to separate electronic board don't want to ground something like that with low impedance test method AKA test light.
Again, not having a wiring diagram to tell me how things should be hooked up, this might not tell me much. If it is in fact a mercury or tilt type switch, checking for continuity on the sensor would tell me whether that is working or not, but it would help to know what type of switch it is before testing. That was one of the reasons I posted the original question, to see if anyone in here may have known what type of switch it is.

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Originally Posted by 153stars View Post
If it's a powered non magnet proximity switch. It may be harder to test. I kinda doubt it is they are not a cheap option.
Mercury switches are pretty rare nowadays the alternate replacements don't work as well or last nearly as long.
If it was a powered type of sensor, there would typically be 3 wires, ground, power and sensor signal.
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