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Motorised steadies for leveling

  • Fyko van der Molen
    Fyko
    Fyko on

    In all cases you start with the caravan standing on 3 points – the main wheels and jockey wheel with the nose below horizontal. If you cannot get the nose below horizontal you are going to fight the jockey wheel and you’re going to have a hard time. You must be able to lower the jockey wheel enough to get the nose low, or choose a different way to park.

    You then extend the front steadies until they both touch the ground – and then continue to extend them evenly until the caravan is level in the front-to-back, or longitudinal, plane. You can use the built-in ammeter on the screen as well as the motor sound to estimate equal loading of the motors. The motor current is electronically limited to 25A so as not to overstress anything.

    With the phone lying on a table and aligned with the length of the caravan you will see the  caravan is level in the longitudinal axis and the longitudinal cross hairs will look like this:

    The longitudinal axis will now be centred and level but the lateral axis will show an error either to the left or the right. In this case the left side is low, since the top of the phone points to the front of the caravan.

    You now extend the rear steadies until they both touch the ground lightly.

    Using the same principles of equalising as above you now extend the 2 steadies on the lower side until the lateral cross hair shows zero error.

    Job done.

    At no stage was any twisting force applied to the chassis, and the wheels still carry as much of the weight as possible. If you are using very low-powered steadies you may find that you have to lift the low-side wheel by some other means, like a jack or some kind of wheel ramp that you see all over the Internet. Our motors can lift about 250Kgs each, which is enough for most applications.

    If you had started with the nose high because the jockey wheel would not go any lower you would have had to lift much of the weight off the wheels by raising the rear with the steadies alone. This is a bad idea – better to start with a parking where the nose is low.

    Simon Tasman
    Simon Tasman
    Simon Tasman on

    Very clever having those X and Y crosshairs rather than the traditional bubble level. It tells you exactly which steadies you should be working on.

    It seems to me this part of the app works without any additional hardware. You just download the app, install it and it works without needing any other device connected?

    So I could be sitting in the caravan drinking a well-deserved beer and yelling to the wife which steady to crank?

    Fyko van der Molen
    Fyko
    Fyko on

    You’re right – the whole app is mahala and the crosshairs don’t need anything connected to work. Some phones now have cameras that protrude out of the back surface, which means the phone won’t lie flat on the table but rest partly on the camera lenses. You can eliminate the resulting error by laying the phone on a known horizontal surface and double tapping on the app title at screen top. This will zero the crosshairs and eliminate the levelness error.

    But I must tell you while you were drinking that last beer your wife was emailing me about motorising your steadies 🙂

    Jaco Erasmus
    Jaco Erasmus
    Jaco Erasmus on

    Good morning

    Perhaps another solution would be to look at Linear Actuators. They are DC powered and have various lift capabilities and stroke lengths.

    Please visit our website: http://www.linact.co.za for more information. We are a local South African Company based in Cpt.

     

     

    Fyko van der Molen
    Fyko
    Fyko on

    Hi Jaco,

    Lots of guys would just love to have motorised levelling, but the price puts them off.

    The lowest cost gearmotor costs around R4500 for each one. On top of that you have some work to do on your steadies, but not much more money to be spent.

    Currently we modify 2 types of Winterhoff steadies – the genuine AL-KO type as well as the knock-off made out of angle iron (which is a actually easier to implement). Both types require moderate tool skills and several hours of home garage work. We  put together a tutorial video that briefly describes how to achieve the desired result without going into laborious detail – we expect a certain minimum level of resourcefulness.

    I think the linear actuator idea has potential, but it is not enough to just throw the idea out there – you need to provide a price plan as well as a proven procedure for implementing the idea to a working and reliable model, which is to say a step-by-step plan that can be executed by an average guy in his home workshop.

    I am most willing to assist in any small way that I can.

    Best regards,

    Fyko van der Molen

     

    Jaco Erasmus
    Jaco Erasmus
    Jaco Erasmus on

    Hi Fyko,

    Thank you for your response. Looking at the price points that you have supplied with other solutions the Lite Duty linear actuators most probably be around 1/2 [half] that pricing. It all depends of course on the stroke lengths [retracted and fully extended lengths]. We supply from 700N [70kg] to 1200N [120kg] in these lite duty linear actuators product.

    I have attached the product brochure to this message.

     

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