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Reviews Categories | Antenna Rotators & Accessories | Idiom Press Rotor-EZ Kit - HyGain Help


Reviews Summary for Idiom Press Rotor-EZ Kit - HyGain
Idiom Press Rotor-EZ Kit - HyGain Reviews: 96 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $149.95
Description: Provides RS-232 control for Tailtwister rotators
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.idiompress.com
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You can write your own review of the Idiom Press Rotor-EZ Kit - HyGain.

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W4ZN Rating: 5/5 Jul 17, 2012 19:25 Send this review to a friend
Great addition to the shack!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the Idiom Press Rotor-EZ with the RS-232 option in kit form at the Dayton Hamvention this year. I've been a ham for over 45 years and have built everything from small gadget boxes to big HF amplifiers. I say this,since the Rotor-EZ kit does take some careful attention to detail, patience, and a very nice pencil soldering station. I think a brand new kit builder would be OK assembling the unit, but if you are an experienced builder, the success rate of the final assembly would be improved. I took my time and assembled it over three evenings. I have a CDE/HyGain control unit running a HAM IV rotor. I also drilled small holes in the control unit to mount the four LED's as an added visual convenience. I also use Ham Radio Deluxe as my logging software which talks to the Rotor-EZ via a COM port.

After building up the kit and following preliminary testing, I connected the rotor to the control unit here at the test bench. (The rotor was refurbished and is going up on the tower in a few weeks). With the rotor at the test bench, it was a dream to get everything calibrated and tested. Once that was accomplished, I plugged in the RS-232 cable and assigned it to COM 4 on the PC and the software found the unit effortlessly. Sure is nice to click on a direction with the software and watch the rotor do its thing! I really like the idea of the five-second brake delay and anti-jamn feature too.

I have several friends who are contest and DX hounds who use it in their shack and recommended it to me for a nice addition to operating convenience. I must say it is a fabulous little unit and it does exactly what it says it will do, and does it effortlessly.

If you want to add a nice operating convenience to the shack, for a reasonable price, this is it.
 
K5MLC Rating: 5/5 Apr 25, 2012 12:33 Send this review to a friend
Awesome Kit!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the kit with RS232 from Idiom Press. (Rob worked with me through some banking issues and he was finally was able to ship me the kit!) Shipping was quick! I also ordered the LED illumination kit and assembled it first. The chassis and front panel drilling was done first and was completed without incident. The rotor box I was converting was an older one that had the large meter lugs, so rather than file the board to enlarge the meter attachment holes, it found a home on the underside of the chassis behind the direction/brake switches. I followed the board assembly instructions closely and did not have any problems. The board went together without a hitch. The board tested correctly the first time. Since this was an older control box with the screw terminal attachment for the rotor control wires, I decided to add an AMP plug modification at the same time to allow for quick disconnect from the box. Some attachment points were moved from the screw terminals (now AMP plug) to the switch terminals since wire attachment to the AMP plug is limited. I'm happy with how that mod turned out. Upon completion, All RotorEZ functions work properly and well. The RS232 control took some extra time to implement. It would not work until I found the proper COM settings (I had to dig into the hardwire details to find the correct settings), but once done, it works beautifully now. It is incredible to be able to rotate to the proper direction with a tap of the keyboard within your logging software. I definitely recommend this product, but be aware that this is a modern kit with small parts (a magnifying glass was needed to identify some smaller components!) and small solder pads and your assembly and solder skills should be up to the task, or buy the assembled version.
 
WA8A Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2012 08:34 Send this review to a friend
Really impressed!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ordered one for my Ham IV rotor. Shipping took about 10 days.
Just finished building the kit version. There were a couple of moments when the instructions were less than ideal and the circuit board printing a tad confusing but a quick check of the supplied schematic easily cleared everything up. I then was happily back to soldering.
It worked the first time. This thing ROCKS!! To be able to turn your antenna from the keyboard is just way too cool!

 
K3AJ Rating: 5/5 Feb 28, 2011 15:44 Send this review to a friend
Waaaay cool - but not for faint of heart  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Very nice modification - I love the way it works. I had no trouble building the kit and modifying the rotor control box - it worked the first time - but this is NOT a beginner project. This is for experienced kit builders who can build a dense PC board and have the confidence to figure out how to connect things when your rotor control deviates from the instructions (as mine did). Also, installation requires gutting the original circuitry, and it would be very difficult to put Humpty Dumpty back together again if you wanted to remove the kit. My rotator control box is a late model version without a meter lamp socket, so I had to figure out how to locate and connect the transformer and meter lamp wiring - very simple but not for a complete rookie. One item in the instructions was very confusing - referring to "clockwise" and "counterclockwise" potentiometer lugs. Don't over think this - just go with "right" for clockwise, etc. and everthing will be fine. Also, my late model control box has the Cinch Jones connector - it was quite difficult to add wires to the lugs. My HyGain instructions did not inlcude a wiring diagram for the control box that reflected its actual circuitry - it showed the orginal, "dumb" wiring without brake delay, etc. (!!) Also, be careful when doing the "demolition" phase - make sure you only remove the wires that you are supposed to. If you read the instructions through several times, study the control box, and trace things out carefully before you start, you will be fine. If none of this scares you off, then go for it - it's a great product and project. BTW, I built the orginal Idiom Press keyer from a QST article many years ago and still have found nothing better.
 
N0MN Rating: 5/5 Jan 26, 2011 14:47 Send this review to a friend
Works Great!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the assembled Rotor-EZ w/RS232 interface to install in my brand new Ham-IV rotator. The instructions were very simple to follow and I had it ready to test in about an hour. I fully expected to have problems because of past experiences with electronic gadgetry but, much to my delight, everything worked perfectly. I tested it with Logic 8 and once I changed the default 2 stop bits to 1 stop bit, it worked great.
 
NA1P Rating: 5/5 Dec 21, 2010 05:22 Send this review to a friend
Great product Great support  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the Rotor-EZ kit plus RS-232 and the LED kit. It went together in about 3 hours. It took much longer wiring it up to the box then it did building the board. I had some problems with it and e-mailed Rob. He got right back to me and the support was great. We narrowed it down to the pic chip and he sent me a new one, at no cost, that arrived, cross country, in 3 days. That took care of the problem and the unit works great.

When I purchased the kit, I had questioned the support I would receive after viewing some of the reviews here. He said he did have some problems after taking over the company and assured me it was resolved. He sure was there when I needed help. Thanks Rob, great product and great support.
 
WA7KGX Rating: 5/5 Oct 16, 2010 10:22 Send this review to a friend
Really cool  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ordered one at the Seaside convention this summer.
The sale was delayed because the board had to be redesigned to avoid a part that had gone out of production. I've been on the receiving end of a chip EOL myself so I can appreciate the pain.

I installed it into a CDE HAM II control box. The meter's binding posts were too big for the board. I rearranged the box with the board ending up behind the switches. I also got blue LEDs for the directional indicators. They look really cool with red illumination on the meter.

This is not a beginner's Heathkit by a long shot. The board went together and worked the first time. I have been using it for some time now. I plan on using the RS232 part any day now.

I would not hesitate to get another if got another rotor. Hopefully I will be neater with the front panel next time.
 
K5DL Rating: 1/5 Oct 15, 2010 16:31 Send this review to a friend
Great until it breaks...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own two of their products and they work as advertised. The Rotor-EZ works nicely but obviously like many things built today the current owner of Idiom Press must believe his products to be throw away. It's design is lacking in the protection provided the PIC chip from transients on the leads that read the rotor position pot. I have a well protected station with a grounding system close to cellular spec's. The rotor cable is protected at two points with ICE protection blocks. A near by lightning strike damaged the PIC chips ability to determine position due to this lack of transient protection. Nothing else in the shack damaged. I have been trying for three months to get a response from Idiom Press to purchase a replacement PIC chip at all the published numbers with no luck. It appears it's a sales only company. I am back to using my spare stock rotor control box. People complain about MFJ/Ameritron. I can call them and get a part for anything they make and have it within a week. Poor customer service is inexcusable. I will spend no more money with Idiom Press and can't at this point recommend their products.
 
N1NCO Rating: 3/5 Sep 14, 2010 12:00 Send this review to a friend
Great Kit. Easy to build, but their service is bad.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I modified my HyGain rotator controller using the Idiom Press Rotor-EZ Kit. The instructions were very good and the kit was easy to build. As an antenna rotator it worked first time. The only problem I had and still have is getting the serial line connection to work. I have performed all the diagnostic checks suggested in the documentation, including removing the processor chip and joining together the serial input and output pins at the chip socket. It all works and I can loop back data by doing this showing that the intervening level convertors, wiring and cable are correct. This leaves the microprocessor chip itself, which seems to work in all respects except it's serial line interface. It's either the chip itself or a bug in the code that accesses the chips UART.

I have tried multiple times to contact Idiom Press, by phone - never any answer, but I left several messages - no response. Also by email a number of times, but no response whatever. I have given up at this point. I now have a very fine anntena rotator controller, much better than the original, but since the main purpose of buying this kit was to be able to contol the rotator from software, I am very disappointed.

Bottom line: It's a great kit, well thought out and easy to build and add on the and existing HyGain controller, but don't hold your breath about getting any help from Idiom Press, if something goes wrong!

If anyone from Idiom Press reads this, please feel free to contact me at n1nco@arrl.net , I'd love to get it fixed!
 
WY3X Rating: 5/5 Jul 27, 2009 18:49 Send this review to a friend
Echo everyone else  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The kit contained less parts than most QRP kits. Took me around 6 hours between numerous incoming phone calls to get it all assembled. It probably would have taken only 4 hours if not for the interruptions. The circuit board is well-engineered, although mis-marked. They apologized in the documentation for a silk-screening error that could cause you to install some diodes backwards. All I can say is that I wish I had done this to my vintage 1979 TailTwister rotor a LONG time ago!!! I really have a slick setup now! I got all options; LED lighting and RS-232 interface. You may as well too, since you have to admit, it's a major undertaking to remove and re-install those 8 wires on the rear panel of the rotor control box! The factory bulb was not bright enough for me to be able to read the degree scale. No problem after installing the LED kit and setting it for medium brightness! It's really a winning combination!
 
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