Adjusting C-Tech Joystick Controllers

Unlike OEM products, C-Tech joysticks ship pre-configured to equipment specifications. This means that our joystick controllers should not need to be adjusted during installation, making our products truly “plug and play”.  However, not every scissor lift or boom lift is the same and due to a variety of reasons from loose or dirty electrical connections to sticky valves, you may need to adjust your joystick’s trim potentiometers for optimum performance of your equipment.  In this blog entry, we will discuss joystick controller trim potentiometer terminology and offer a brief overview of trim potentiometers. 

Boom Lift Circuit Board

Joystick Controllers for Aerial Work Platform equipment typically have 15 turn trim potentiometers labeled Threshold or Thresh, HI or Max Out, LO or Dual Range, and Ramp with a ratcheting device incorporated to keep the trim potentiometers from being over tightened. Clockwise rotation of trim potentiometers will increase output and counter-clockwise rotation will decrease output. The adjustments will affect the current/voltage output or “duty cycle” of the device and it is always best to check these while the machine is operating. On DC powered machines, make sure that the batteries are fully charged. Minimum voltage needs to be that of the operating voltage of the machine. On Internal Combustion powered machines, voltage should be 12 to 13.2 volts.

Threshold: controls joystick “dead band” and adjusts the initial current flow, affecting the function response when the controller handle is moved from the neutral or off position. Move the handle, slowly, to the position where the controller first turns on and an LED light on the circuit board will illuminate. Adjust the trim potentiometers so that the function just begins to operate. This will allow full use of the proportionality of the controller and allow smooth operation of the equipment. 

HI or Max Out: controls the maximum output of the joystick and the maximum function response or speed when the joystick is fully stroked or deflected.

LO or Dual Range: controls the maximum output when the machine is in an elevated and/or extended state. It reduces the total maximum output of the joystick by approximately 80% while still maintaining proportionality. In a travel situation, with the platform elevated, usually above 6 feet on a scissor lift, the maximum drive speed of the machine should not exceed 1ft/second or about 0.6 mph. (This is equivalent to a slow walk). On boom type machines, this will be used when the platform is elevated or extended beyond a certain amount. These parameters may differ by manufacturer, so always check the manufacturers’ specifications. The higher the lift height, the slower the machine will operate when elevated. This is an option on many machines and can easily be detected by the presence of an “R” terminal on the circuit board. If battery voltage is present at the “R” terminal, full output will be permitted. If there is no voltage at the “R” terminal, speed will be restricted. The presence of voltage is normally supplied through a limit switch.

Ramp Up: This adjustment sets the time the machine’s functions increase (accelerate) from off (neutral) to full on.

Ramp Down: This adjustment sets the time the machine’s functions decrease (decelerate) from on to full off (neutral).

C-Tech offers free Technical Assistance for help installing and maintaining your C-Tech joystick controllers.  Please contact us at 1-888-755-7311, email us, or chat with us on our website.  Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is standing by to help!