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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philips antenna rotor works perfectly
Works exactly as represented. In retrospect, I can't imagine how I expected to receive the 14 stations I now do in my way-remote mountain location without the biggest possible antenna, a good pre-amp, and this rotor. It was a bit of a hassle installing all this stuff, but now my only problem is the crocadile tears I shed for the TV sattelite providers I did out of their...
Published on February 22, 2010 by James Hartzell

versus
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Died During Setup
If there was ever was a good example of why you should always read the instructions, this rotator is it. According to the instructions, the rotator must be synchronized and it is recommend this step be performed on the ground prior to installation. If you are going to buy this rotator, make sure you do this step. The motor in my rotator died during this step. I got maybe...
Published on September 16, 2008 by Telecom Pete


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Died During Setup, September 16, 2008
By 
Telecom Pete (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Philips Sdw1850/17 Antenna Remote-Controlled Rotor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
If there was ever was a good example of why you should always read the instructions, this rotator is it. According to the instructions, the rotator must be synchronized and it is recommend this step be performed on the ground prior to installation. If you are going to buy this rotator, make sure you do this step. The motor in my rotator died during this step. I got maybe 6 or so rotations before it died. I'm so grateful that it died on the ground, before I had spent considerable time on the roof mounting the rotator and antenna and permanently wiring everything.

Other reasons to reconsider purchasing this model:
1) The contol box showed the antenna position moving even though the motor had burned out. This indicates that there is actually no reliable feedback from the rotator to the control unit, essentially making the antenna position indicated by the control unit meaningless.

2) I expected to see a larger motor. The motor size may in fact be adequately sized but to me, it does look a little "toyish." For those that remember "LPs", let me just say that most turntables had motors that looked more substanstial than the one in this unit.

3) The universal remote control that comes with this unit is a primitive TV/VCR only. I don't why Philips didn't change the remote with this product to a TV/DVD remote years ago when DVD players pretty much killed the VCR. Once the digital transition occurs, this remote will be pretty much useless with TVs because you won't be able to punch in digital channels.

Philips generally puts out solid 3.5 star products - this doesn't appear to be one of them.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Own three, two are dead, March 31, 2009
By 
Joseph Somsel (San Jose, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Philips Sdw1850/17 Antenna Remote-Controlled Rotor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I've bought three of these units so far. One is up and working now for 4 months. One just died after about 6 months, and one was dead on arrival. I've traced the failure to the drive motor; it's not in the controllers.

I do drive big FM antennae but in coastal California with a mild climate.

At this price, they are not worth the repair bills and there is ZERO customer service or support from Philips or Magnavox.

I won't buy another so learn from my mistakes!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid, failed after 4th use. Now made overseas, not in the USA., February 4, 2009
This review is from: Philips Sdw1850/17 Antenna Remote-Controlled Rotor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
After purchase the initial test steps specified in the manual showed that it was working OK so it was installed on a TV antenna mast, but on the next day it stuck at zero degrees (north) and would not turn anymore. Had to take it down and check the wiring - control cable, connections, and voltages to the rotor housing were good, but I replaced the cable anyway to be sure, and triple-checked wire polarity. The control unit worked but the motor was dead. A look inside revealed that a motor wire had burned apart, and no wonder because the wire used for the motor windings is no longer the large size formerly used in USA-made rotators (years ago I repaired one of those, so I'm sure), it is now a very small and cheap size near the thickness of a human hair. With the insulation on it appears to be a reasonable size, but with that removed the wire itself is tiny, too small to last long. This size of wire used to be found only in very small electrical devices, like toys.

I then searched the Internet for user comments, and found that failures of this brand seem to be widespread. Users say that rotator quality in general has sunk since production was outsourced to China, so much so that many only function for a short period, less than a year, sometimes in weeks. In fact, pictures of various brands show that some look the same except for the brand name on them, so perhaps they are now all made at the same factory in China and all have the same problems. That in general is what users say in numerous tech forums on the Internet, and that good rotators are no longer being made.

Phoned Philips for a warranty replacement, but they said I would have to pay return shipping costs and wait a month for it. They also said they did not have a headquarters address to which consumers could mail written complaints. Hmmm?
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There's hope, September 2, 2009
By 
This review is from: Philips Sdw1850/17 Antenna Remote-Controlled Rotor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
This is not specifically about the product under the Phillips name. But the identical unit is sold under numerous brand names, including Magnavox, Zenith, and others.

Two or three years ago I bought a Zenith TV antenna rotator to replace the Radio Shack unit that had worked flawlessly for over fifteen years before finally quitting. The new "made in China" rotator (not the inside controller) looked in all points to be identical to my old Radio Shack unit. It also looks like the pictures of most of the rotators sold under various brand names that so many customers are complaining about.

The new one worked perfectly just barely long enough for the warranty to expire and then quit. Seeing the huge number of similar complaints by purchasers of other similar looking units carrying a number of different company labels, and seeing that a great many of them seemed to say basically the same thing, I decided not to purchase another, but rather to take apart the Radio Shack unit for practice and then tackle the Zenith just to see if I could identify the problem.

In the process I found that the Chinese unit not only looked like the Radio Shack rotator on the outside, but was identical on the inside too, in every particular, including the quality of the components. The gears, which are often blamed in stories of failure, were in excellent condition. When disengaged from the motor they operated perfectly. They frankly don't have the look of likely candidates for failure. I'd be willing to bet that the frequent "the gears got stuck" explanation to customers is often the result of bad guesswork. Trouble there can't be ruled out, however. Crud such as the one reviewer found in the gear area could and would cause problems. In my case the gear area was immaculate.

The problem was in the motor, and, despite the fact that the rotator had quit working, was not a serious one. There were no signs of overheating. Everything looked like new. I noticed that the motor shaft didn't have the usual end play, and the motor's rotor could only be turned with difficulty. Something was obviously stuck. Fortunately the motor is easy to remove for thorough inspection. A little squirt of oil at both bearings freed the shaft. Easy rotation and free end play were both restored. Despite that I disassembled the motor so I could check the bearings and the shaft where it ran in them.

There was absolutely no scoring. The shaft surfaces were shiny and clean. The bearings looked good too. My notion is that the lubricant used by the manufacturer changes properties with time, perhaps hardening, and finally serving to impede rotation instead of making it easier. The fact that so many people report failure after about a year of use is consistent with the deteriorating lubricant idea. I applied some penetrating oil via a saturated Q-tip to hopefully help clear clogged pores in the oilite bearings and added some regular oil to the packing to keep lubrication happening when the volatiles in the penetrating oil evaporate.

The unit is working like new again.

Over three years later--

The freed-up motor shaft referred to above took care of things for about another year after which time the relationship between the direction the antenna was actually pointing and what was indicated by the controller started to disagree, unless the latter was reset every few days. I finally bought an identical looking replacement rotor--at Menard's, I believe it was. It worked with the old controller, proving that the problem lay with the rotor referred to in my original evaluation and not the controller.
The replacement has worked perfectly for about two years by now. Since the old controller--which was identical to the old-- seemed to work with the new rotor, I never got around to connecting up the one that came with the rotor replacement. So far so good.

Bob S. Omaha, NE
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Works after I fixed it, July 23, 2009
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Philips Sdw1850/17 Antenna Remote-Controlled Rotor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
This rotator is relabeled by several famous name companies. So far, I've bought one "from" Philips and one "from" Hygain. In the case of the "Philips" unit, as others have found, it worked about 10 times and then jammed. I metered to see if it was getting electrical drive. It was. Also I could hear it humming. Took it home and disassembled it. Found lots of manufacturing debris inside, such as a thin plastic spacer, solder splash blobs, and a blob of what appeared to be epoxy. Naturally, all this junk was mixed into the grease and that's what caused the gears to jam. Once I cleaned it out it worked fine. Perhaps this is what happened to the folks who had the motor burn up. It's fairly easy to take apart. Pull off the plastic weather seal at the top and then remove four bolts out the bottom. It then all slides out.

The annoying part is the controller. As others observed, this level of rotator does not have a feedback potentiometer. In other words, the controller has no idea what direction the antenna is pointing except that there are two hard mechanical end stops and it knows how fast the rotor is supposed to turn. Directional indications are strictly by timing. This is very common in low-end rotators and it works well enough, I suppose. The manual that comes with the unit is rather vague about how to calibrate the controller to the rotator. The old-fashioned manual controllers were much more obvious. In the modern microprocessor-controlled unit, it's too easy to punch the wrong button and send the unit into a calibration cycle. I bought this rotator for my senior in-laws and they have a difficult time with it. Unfortunately, there isn't much to be done without going to a vastly more expensive rotator with position feedback. Perhaps I'll brew up a controller of my own someday and make my fortune.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars freeze up, March 14, 2009
This review is from: Philips Sdw1850/17 Antenna Remote-Controlled Rotor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
my unit does not work below 32F degrees. the motor freezes up. i called phillips in NC and they agreed to replace it. they asked if i would sign for the fedx delivery, i said yes, but they never sent it.

ForGetAboutIt they can sit on it and rotate when its warm!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Junk product, October 9, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Philips Sdw1850/17 Antenna Remote-Controlled Rotor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I bought this product for my father-in-law. It looks good on the outside and reads like a great product but is sorely lacking. While removing the unit from its packaging it rattled. I discovered a loose bolt freely pinging around inside. After securing the bolt, I tested the unit which appeared to work okay. But once I got it mounted with the antenna attached, it had a mind of its own. Whether using the remote or the control panel, it would not properly respond. And several times it would begin to rotate unsolicited. The unit failed to react properly while following instructions during setup as well as attempting to aim the antenna. I would have to turn the unit off once I got the antenna aimed toward a 'hot spot.' I am returning it for a full refund and seeking another rotor by a different manufacturer, careful not to replicate the same problem.

In all fairness, I bought this same model about 2-3 years ago for my personal use and I have never had a problem with it. I'm still using it today...no problems. There are a few features that I don't like, but overall, it works great and was easy to setup. If you are considering buying one, read ALL the other reviews prior to making a decision. Personally, I would not buy this product again, even though I have no problem with the one I have used for several years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philips antenna rotor works perfectly, February 22, 2010
By 
James Hartzell "MountainMan" (The boonies of S. Colorado) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Philips Sdw1850/17 Antenna Remote-Controlled Rotor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Works exactly as represented. In retrospect, I can't imagine how I expected to receive the 14 stations I now do in my way-remote mountain location without the biggest possible antenna, a good pre-amp, and this rotor. It was a bit of a hassle installing all this stuff, but now my only problem is the crocadile tears I shed for the TV sattelite providers I did out of their ever-recurring monthly charges. Boo-hoo!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent antenna rotator - I would recommend it, January 23, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Philips Sdw1850/17 Antenna Remote-Controlled Rotor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I am very pleased with this antenna rotator. Everything worked as expected. I calibrated it on the ground to verify functionality. Everything was fine there. I did read the directions so I wouldn't miss anything, and they are easy to understand and follow. I mounted a large directional antenna (10' L x 7' W) on a 2' pole bracketed to the rotator, as the directions indicated. I mounted the rotator to the top of a pole that is bolted to the side of the house and extends to the top of the roof.
I performed many rotations while trying to find out which channels I could pick up, so it did get quite a bit of use after being installed. Still no problems. I would recommend this rototor and control unit to family, as I find it quite useful and quite good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Keeps changing ten degrees when used, December 5, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Philips Sdw1850/17 Antenna Remote-Controlled Rotor (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
Calibrated for zero degrees . Upon using it to about 210 degrees
and back to 60 degress it has added ten. Initialed back to zero ,
back to 60 - OK. Changed to 210 - back to 60 . Added 10 degrees .
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