Replacing a remote with a switch -- voltage drop problems :(

In summary, Tom wired a switch in a reverse polarity configuration to the wireless remote to regain the speed of the actuator. The actuator draws between 10 and 15 amps at 12 volts dc. He needs thicker wire to carry the current and a switch that is rated for DC operation with a motor load.
  • #1
german_cargo
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I have a linear actuator that raises and lowers my snow plow blade and the wireless remote stopped working. Rather than order a new one for $200, I decided to splice into the wiring and put a momentary switch in my truck. I didn't like the remote anyways.

I grabbed some wire and wired up a 6 pole switch in a reverse polarity configuration and it works BUT it's really slow. The data sheet for the actuator didn't mention anything about voltage drop, it just said what kind of switch to use and to use 14 gauge wire. https://www.grainger.com/ec/pdf/Warner-Electric-Linear-Actuator-Data-Sheet.pdf

Obviously I need thicker wire. The online wire gauge calculator I used says I should use a 10 gauge, or even as low as 7 gauge if I want less than 1% loss.

My question is this:

The radio signal receiver / solenoid was only about 20 cm of wire from where it connects to the battery, and was thus a small gauge. Do I need to redo all the wiring straight from the battery posts? Or can I keep the existing infrastructure and splice into the smaller, 20cm long wires in order to regain the speed?

The actuator draws between 10 and 15 amps at 12 volts dc. It only has to lift the plow blade which weighs about 250 pounds. The data sheet says its rated to lift up to about 600 pounds which draws about 25 amps but there's no scenario where that would actually happen so I'm saying 10 to 15 amps is the operating range.
 
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  • #2
german_cargo said:
can I keep the existing infrastructure and splice into the smaller, 20cm long wires in order to regain the speed?
Yeah, that should work, IF you:
Either solder the connections or use screw-type connectors.

Even an extra 1/10 of an Ohm resistance will drop 1 to 1.5 Volts.

Also be sure to use a switch that is rated for DC operation with a motor load. At the instant of power application, the motor will draw well over the 25A full load current, I wouldn't be suprised to see 40A or 50A at startup. The switches available at you local hardware store won't handle that for very long before the internals melt and either act like a blown fuse or weld the contacts together. It could prove "interesting' if the contacts weld and you can't shut off the actuator.

One possibility is to open the existing controller and see if you can find the wiring to the relay(s)/contactor(s) that drive the actuator. If that is still functioning, maybe you can wire your remote switch to control the relay and not worry about the remote. The drawback of course is the down-time required could cost more than a new remote.

Cheers,
Tom
 
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Related to Replacing a remote with a switch -- voltage drop problems :(

1. What is the difference between a remote and a switch?

A remote is a wireless device used to control electronic devices from a distance. A switch is a mechanical device used to control the flow of electricity in a circuit.

2. Why would someone want to replace a remote with a switch?

Some people may prefer the simplicity and reliability of a switch over a remote. Switches also do not require batteries or charging, making them more cost-effective in the long run.

3. What is the voltage drop problem when replacing a remote with a switch?

When a remote is replaced with a switch, the wiring and circuitry may not be designed to handle the increased voltage and current. This can result in a voltage drop, where the voltage decreases as it travels through the circuit.

4. How can the voltage drop problem be solved?

The voltage drop problem can be solved by using a switch with a higher amperage rating, using thicker wires, or adding a voltage regulator to the circuit. It is important to consult an electrician or follow the manufacturer's instructions when making any changes to electrical wiring.

5. Are there any safety concerns when replacing a remote with a switch?

Yes, there are safety concerns when working with electrical wiring. It is important to turn off the power to the circuit before making any changes and to follow proper safety precautions. If you are unsure or uncomfortable working with electrical wiring, it is best to consult a professional.

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