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Comparison of residential automobile turntables.
3, 2009. Matthew Clark
I decided to write this article after shopping for an
automobile turntable myself. I found
there was a lot of variety available, and the function and price differences
were substantial between different models I considered. In some cases, different models are more
suitable to different applications. Which one did I choose? Well,
if you want you can jump to the end, but first let's
look at the features and mechanical differences you are likely to encounter.
An automobile turntable has three parts that are pretty much mandatory, and are present in all models. These are
Many units have other options and features, including
perimeter lights, different surface treatments, and even pumps and float
switches for the pit type in wet areas. Almost all units come with a remote control similar to a garage door
The turntable surface is usually comprised of 8 to 10 pie shaped wedges. They may or may not interlock, and may be
made of a variety of materials, usually aluminum or steel. . Higher-end units may have stainless steel
turntables so they won't rust, or even polished mirror finish designed for show
cars. In some instances, the turntable is a layered composite of different
materials. Turntables also come in different sizes, which will be important
when ensuring you have chosen one that will fit your vehicles.
The support system is very important, as any one section may hold a quarter of the weight of the
vehicle at virtually any point on its surface. At the pointed end the turntable sections usually attach to a hub which
may or may not be a weight support, and the outer end of each pie section is
usually on wheels. Better units have
more wheels, or high quality rollers to evenly distribute the weight.
The drive mechanism is another element that is very important, but varies widely between different
units. Drive units may be manual (no drive, car is pushed by hand), gear
driven, hydraulic, or friction wheel. Power supply may be plug-in, 12 V, or 220 V. Larger units may demand three-phase
electricity. Seeing as this thing is out in the yard in the rain, my preference
is to have as little power to it as possible. I preferred the low-voltage units, simply from
the safety and conservation standpoint. Also, if it is low voltage or plugs in to a standard
output, then you don't need a building permit to install it.