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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Product Reviews => Topic started by: boburtz on November 10, 2013, 01:51:57 pm

Title: DuraTruss DT-PRO5200 tower lift
Post by: boburtz on November 10, 2013, 01:51:57 pm
I was on a quest for a tower lift along the lines of a Global Truss ST180, but maybe a little lighter weight. I researched all of the usual suspects and narrowed it down to the Applied L-16m on account of its self-weight and lifting capacity. It seemed like a viable "one man" option at 135 pounds and a rated lifting capability of 500 pounds. Then I looked a little closer and realized that its 81" folded height would require it being transported lying down, as I wouldn't be able to stand them up on the tail of my truck with the door open. I stumbled across the "DuraTruss" DT-PRO5200 crank-up lift online. It is distributed by Global Truss in the U.S., and based on the specs, looked like it would be perfect for my needs:
1. It weighs 110 pounds
2. Its folded height is 6.08 feet
3. It is rated to lift 440 pounds (same as ST180, at half the self-weight)
4. It cranks up to ~16 feet
Their unique design feature is the rack and pinion lifting mechanism. They don't utilize a cable for lifting, thus omitting one potentially vulnerable failure point in the system. This also helps them keep a low profile appearance. Also, there are no pins to place or pull during the lifting procedure. The two rising sections rise simultaneously, with the topmost mast rising slightly faster than the second section. The masts have graduated height markers on them so you can easily see the height of the system. This also makes it a snap to raise multiple lifts to the same height, providing they are on level ground.
Of course, this design just appeared on the scene in August of 2013, so it's only been around two months. The only reviews or info that I could find were sales and marketing related propaganda, which is tough to go by in this day and age where you can usually get real, unbiased user reviews on just about anything. I needed something relatively quickly, and talked to the folks at Global Truss a bit about these lifts before deciding to make the purchase on a pair.
I received them the day after I ordered them (I live in CA, they drop ship directly from Global Truss, also in CA).

My first visual impression was good. They are well built with good welding and a nice paint job. They look a little more polished and a little less industrial than some of the other lifts I've seen around. The outriggers are a heavy gauge steel, through-bolted to the aluminum upright. They are sturdy and confidence inspiring. They (outriggers) snap into their deployment position with ease yet authority. One thing I'm not sure if I like yet is that the leveling pads share the same crank as the lifting mechanism, which removes with the press of a button. So far it works quickly, removing it from one pad and clipping it onto the next. I can see the day where that is removed for an event to keep unauthorized people from messing with any adjustments, and then somehow misplaced... I don't look forward to lowering these with a crescent wrench, although it could certainly be done. Also, there is a bubble level built into the mast for easy plumbing of the system.

When cranking the lift up, the first thing I noticed is how loud the clicking of the gearing is. They are loud. So much so that you're going to want to make sure it's not "quiet time" while cranking them up. By contrast, lowering is dead silent. They crank up easily and smoothly, and come down the same way. I put about three hundred pounds on them (a pair of KF650Zs on an Applied Electronics hanging speaker adapter) and cranked them all the way up to their maximum height, which, according to the graduated marker, is not the 16.4 feet that is advertised, but 15.5 feet. There are actually two marks, one indicates the top of the lift, one indicates the top of a truss, which assumes you use a 12" box truss.
One point of interest is that the specs say they are rated at 440 pounds, yet the lift has a sicker on it that specifies 450 pounds. Yay!  A free 10 pounds!

My initial assessment of these lifts is that they were a good purchase. They transport easily, deploy quickly, feel safe and sturdy, and look nice. We'll see how they hold up over the next year or so.
Title: Re: DuraTruss DT-PRO5200 tower lift
Post by: TJ (Tom) Cornish on November 11, 2013, 01:25:00 pm
I'll be curious to see how these hold up for you.  I have a pair of Hercules lighting stands with a worm-gear drive and the rack and pinion style lifting system.  The worm-gear setup was apparently under-spec'ed, and mine have failed due to extreme wear from only a few shows.  They were designed to be lighter-duty than your new stands, but I never maxed out their weight capacity and had failures anyway.