Vol. 4 - No. 12



According to the manufacturer, four out of five U.S. households have a can of WD-40.  While it has many uses, I wonder how many people actually use it for the purpose it was created.

In 1953, a fledgling company called Rocket Chemical Company and its staff of three set out to create a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for use in the aerospace industry in a small lab in San Diego, California.  It took them 40 attempts to get the water displacing formula worked out. They must have been really good, because the original secret formula for WD-40 which stands for Water Displacement perfected on the 40th try—is still in use today.

Convair, an aerospace contractor, first used WD-40 to protect the outer skin of the Atlas Missile from rust and corrosion. The product actually worked so well that several employees snuck some WD-40 cans out of the plant to use at home.

A few years following WD-40's first industrial use, Rocket Chemical Company founder Norm Larsen experimented with putting WD-40 into aerosol cans, reasoning that consumers might find a use for the product at home as some of the employees had. The product made its first appearance on store shelves in San Diego in 1958.

You might ask "What does this have to do with my satellite dish?"  Unlike homeowners, who have their dish mounted on a house and set up only once, RVers continually set up and adjust their satellite dishes every time they move to a new site.  It is important that all the adjustments of the dish operate smoothly to fine-tune the signal.

The water displacing character of WD-40 makes it an ideal product for this application.  When you spray WD-40 on the moving adjustment parts of the dish, it easily penetrates between the adjustment plates and displaces any condensation that may be there and leaves a film that both lubricates the surfaces and prevents corrosion.  Even when the WD-40 dries, that protective film is still there protecting the surface.

Your TV4RV Heavy-Duty Tripod is made almost entirely of aluminum and requires almost no protection with WD-40*.   The one exception is the clamp on each leg of the tripod.  You can put a tiny bit of WD-40 on each of the cam lever surfaces but nowhere else.   Be especially careful to avoid getting WD-40 on the leg surfaces as this will cause slippage. 

*Aluminum is very resistant to corrosion under most conditions.  Salt water is one exception, however.  If you set your tripod up near the ocean for extended periods, you should make a practice of rinsing off the aluminum with tap water about once a month and drying it down with a soft cloth.  Sea air tends to leave deposits of salt on the aluminum which will cause it to "pit" over time.  Periodic rinsing with tap water will prevent these deposits from building up.


In our February, 2012 newsletter RVing WITH DIRECTV's SWM DISH, we recommended using the DirecTV ASL-1 Alignment Signal Locator Tool with a standard satellite finder to setup a DirecTV SWM dish.  We recently learned that this tool has been discontinued by DirecTV and is no longer available.  It seems the remaining inventory was purchased by Excess Supply and is available for $23.00, +S&H.  I am assuming that once the supply runs out, we will be out of luck on this option.