[Moon-Net] NC1I 432 Array Damage

Frank Potts frank at NC1I.COM
Wed Feb 15 04:20:14 CET 2017

After three winter storms in four days I arrived home from work on Monday to find my 432 array free spinning in the wind. Winds were very high during two of these storms but I have certainly experienced stronger winds many time over the 23 years the array has been up. I had parked the array pointing straight up due to expected snow and ice loading so that everything would remain balanced. The truss system also provides the most support when the array is pointed straight up. The damage was to the polarity drive. Had the array not been pointed straight up the torque from the wind would have been absorbed by the more robust azimuth drive system. Needless to say all of the flexlines and control cables were destroyed.

This is obviously a very discouraging setback after being off 432 for nearly a year while repairing and servicing the array. I had returned to 432 in November and the array seemed to be working better than ever and activity appeared to be on the rise again.

I no longer climb the tower (15 meters high) due to a bad knee so I need to rely on someone else to get up there and evaluate the damage and eventually complete the repairs. At this point I'm not sure when I can schedule someone to at least survey what went wrong and what is damaged. Obviously we are in the middle of the winter so that makes it even more difficult to schedule. Once I know what occurred I will have a better idea of what needs to be done and how long it should take to make the repairs. At this point it's safe to say it will be several months before I return to 432.

I took a look (from the ground) after work today and I could see that the prop-pitch that is used for polarity rotation was sitting at angle from the polarity mast. Based on the way the prop-pitch is mounted either the hardware came lose or there was some extreme perpendicular force that I can't envision.

Since getting back on 432 I have been neglecting 1296. I guess I won't be neglecting 1296 over the next several months!

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