The following informational article discusses the internal winch-system flagpole and recommendations for maintenance.
Flagpole Ball Ornament
Flagpole ball ornaments finish the top of the flagpole. They are an aesthetic choice designed to complement the tapered appearance of the aluminum shaft. They have no bearing on the integrity of the flagpole and are thus made with a thin aluminum held be a spring mechanism. Care should be taken during installation as they can break more easily than the other flagpole components. The ball ornament diameter should match the butt diameter of the flagpole. Flagpole ball ornaments come in a variety of colors and it has become more common to have the ball ornament match the flagpole finish for a more dynamic look. Make sure the threaded spindle (at the bottom) matches the female opening at the top of the flagpole truck.
Flagpole Internal Truck
The Internal Flagpole Truck houses the pulley which allows the halyard assembly to pass from the center of the flagpole up through the top and outside, where the flag, retainer rings, and counterweight are attached. This internal truck system can be revolving or stationary. We highly recommend revolving. The assembly for cam cleat poles is usually at a thinner diameter. if the truck is stationary, shifts in wind and even flag motion can wear the rope assembly quickly. The revolving truck minimizes this wear on the housing of the rope. Make sure the top of the truck female opening matches the spindle of the ornament. Also, the bottom threading of the truck should match the top opening of the flagpole.
For deluxe internal flagpoles with winch mechanisms, they use a stainless steel aircraft cable rather than traditional halyard (rope). This aircraft cable is much more durable and designed to fit well bound to the drum of the winch. Whether you have a flag arrangement or a snap assembly, the flagpole cable assembly functions to anchor the flag to the winch and is left open on one side (for the winch set screw) and finished with a brass crimped stainless steel thimble to attach counterweight(s) and retainer ring(s) as necessary for the flag size.
Flag Snap Hook Assembly
There are two ways to attache a flag to stainless steel aircraft cable. 1) Flag Arrangement - An assembly matching the length of the flag header is attached to the cable assembly and snap hooks are included in the quick-links at attachment points (grommets or thimbles) for the flag. 2) A snap assembly is attached to the cable assembly (pictured). The U-Bolt secure a looped piece of stainless steel aircraft cable to the cable assembly with the snap hook also strung through the looped cable. Both systems are effective for anchorage. The flag arrangement is slightly better as the U-Bolt has sharp edges which may result in minor flag fray.
Flagpole Retainer Ring
The retainer ring is a necklace-like divice with pearls made of plastic. Th beaded retainer ring should never be too tight around the pole. The idea being more relaxed the less stress. If the retainer ring is too tight, the pole will have no give and the stress will all go into the flag.
Internal systems conceal the rope. This adds security and a cleaner finish. But internal does not mean the ropes are all on the inside. Rope comes from the bottom anchor on the inside of the flagpole, up through the truck top pulley opening and out to the flag. To protect the flag, rope is used to hold the weight of the stress when a flag is flying in wind. In order for the flag to stay close to the pole, it has to be tied to the pole. The counterweight adds mimics the taught line on a classic external halyard flagpole.
Flagpole Winch (Stainless Steel Square)
The stainless steel square winch is bolted to the inside of the flagpole with an access door for easy maintenance and replacement. This is a self-locking device with a manually turning drum which houses the cable assembly. The square winch is geared while the M-Winch (another style of winch) is gear-less. This means that the square winch needs to be lubricated seasonally. When performing maintenance on the winch, check the winch for even winding of the cable. Also, take note if the flag starts to lower on it's own. This is a sign the winch is failing. Replace winch immediately once winch starts to show signs of failing. Locking mechanism may free, resulting in the weight assembly dropping.
Flagpole Removable Crank Handle
A crank handle is used to operate the winch mechanism. This is removable for security and to maintain the traditional deluxe flagpole look. While winch handles are fairly standard and easy to replace, it is important to keep the handle in a safe location where is will not be stolen or misplaced. It is impossible to operate the flagpole without a winch handle.
Flagpole Flash Collar Cover
The flash collar finishes the base of the pole, concealing the foundation. But in additional to concealing the the foundation, it also acts to protect and facilitate water run-off. Water is a critical component to a flagpole. The foundation should be designed to encourage water away from the base. There is no way to water-proof a flagpole. Bugs, water, and debris will find a home inside the shaft and parts. But hardware like the flash collar can help the system cohabit with these elements.
Flagpole Steel Foundation Sleeve w/ Lightening Spike
Many building codes require the foundation of a flagpole include grounding. The steel foundation sleeve is a clever way to incorporate a lightening rod into the foundation materials. The ID of the steel foundation sleeve should be at least three (3) inches larger than the OD of the flagpole butt (base) diameter. The length of the sleeve should be 10% the total exposed height of the pole (or larger). Steel foundation sleeves are highly recommended for all commercial flagpole installations and commercial locations.