Hope this may be of some help to other G-5500 owners out there.
The controller box uses a set of 4 relays to control rotor motor movement (up, down, CW, CCW). This works great for the weekend satellite chaser but it is not the best design for a 24x7 duty cycle with automation and precise tracking. Physical relays suffer from arcing and contact wear and over time will end up failing.
Here is a drastic example on the left, and one where the damage is more visible under a magnifying glass on the right.
I’ve posted before about working on a solid state design but events of this year have preempted a ton of things for me. Lacking that, I reached a point where I needed to replace some relays yet again. Fearing that at some point the desoldering and resoldering of relays would ruin a pad, I went looking for sockets. Thankfully there are options out there (digikey is where I found these here).
Relays and their new sockets installed.
The relays are a very tight fit in those sockets so getting them out will be a bit of a challenge - but I still see this as less of a risk than changing them out with solder for the 4th+ time. Plus, you wouldn’t want a loose fit where the small vibration of the relay shaking it free.
And while I was in there, both AC light bulbs for the meters were burned out and I replaced them with a cool blue LED glow. It does not make the meters anymore visible, just looks cool.