1. Can I use a Ham-2 rotor control box with my T2X rotor? Are the Ham-2, Ham-3, Ham-4 and T2X control boxes interchangeable?
Yes, for the most part, all of the 8-wire rotors except for the TR-2 series are interchangeable. You can use a TR-44 series 3; Ham-M series 3, 4, or 5; CD-44/Ham-2; CD-44/Ham-3; Ham-4; or T2X control unit with any of the listed rotors or vice versa. However, the Ham-M and TR-44 series 1 and 2 rotors were wired differently and are not interchangeable with anything else. So trying to use a series 1 or 2 control on a newer rotor will destroy the rotor pot instantly.
To be sure that you have one of the interchangeable controls, verify that the motor start capacitor is across terminals 4 and 8. To verify that the rotor is one of the interchangeable models, look for the 500-ohm pot resistance across terminals 3 and 7. If your rotor and control unit pass these inspections, they are interchangeable with others which also pass.
2. Which is better, the 51465 terminal board, the Amp plug, or the Cinch-Jones plug, directly wired to the rotor on my Ham-4 or T2X?
The 51465 terminal board supplied by Hy-Gain uses plated terminal screws which will often rust within days of installation. At Norm's Rotor Service we supply the same terminal board with stainless screws. These boards have survived very well for years with little or no corrosion. This is highly recommended; it is available as part number 51465S. The Amp/Cinch plugs that Hy-Gain and CATS are supplying are okay, but they are not rated for the solenoid current. These must be totally waterproofed to prevent water from getting into the connectors. They also make servicing of the rotor much more difficult.
3. What is the difference in the Ham series of rotors?
The Ham-M rotor was released in 1957 and there were 5 series with the last rotor being produced in 1973. The Ham-M rotor would have the series number, 1 - 5, followed by 3 digits which indicated the week and year of manufacture. For example, a rotor with the series number 5 322 would be a Ham-M, series 5, manufactured in the twenty-second week (the '22' in '322') of the year 1973 (the '3' in '322')
A Ham-M has a single-levered control box with a meter. In 1973 the mold for making the Ham-M control unit shell was destroyed in a fire. So rather than spend the money to replace the mold, the Ham-2 was born. The rotor was the same as the Ham-M, but the control unit was replaced with a three-button unit with a continuous meter reading.
In 1977 the Ham-3 rotor was released. The Ham-3 supported a new motor with an internal brake, as well as a brass motor gear. The brake wedge was redesigned, as was the brake housing, which gave the new unit a capacity for more wind surface area. The control unit for the Ham-3 supported a new PC-board-mounted meter.
In 1978 the Ham-4 or Ham-IV rotor was released. This rotor had a new steel ring gear and a reinforced upper mast support. The only changes to the control box were the addition of a new face plate, plastic top and bottom covers, and a new meter with reversible meter scales. Also in 1978 the TailTwister rotor, commonly refered to as the "T2X," was introduced. The T2X is a Ham-4 with an even heavier upper mast support, a heavier brake wedge and brake housing, and 40 additional ball bearings. And the TailTwister control unit has three LED's that the Ham-4 doesn't have.
4. What is the color code for the cable connecting my rotor and control box?
The colors vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. But it really doesn't make any difference, as long as you make sure that you're connecting terminal 1 on the rotor to terminal 1 on the control box, terminal 2 to terminal 2, and so on. Also, on the HAM series and T2X rotors, you need to be aware that the heavy wires must go to terminals 1 and 2. After that, a lot of people (including Norm) like to use the resistor color code, just because it's easy to remember. If you want to do this, you can just use the wires in the order of the resistor color code: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, grey, white.