Funicular, inclined elevator, trolly DIY

Thread Starter

max makes

Joined May 30, 2023
2
New to the forum a general electrical novice but have done a few home automations around the house.

Im looking to build a Funicular in my back yard to help my elderly parents up and down our hill. I have tracks designed, a backup catch ready, but I need help wiring the motor to pull the cart up and down. I bought a (similar) single phase boat ramp winch, it currently just has a toggle switch to go up or down. How would I wire this to make it go down until I hit a limit switch and then go up until I hit a limit switch. I would also like to add a remote and have it function similar to a garage door opener where you can stop it at any point or hit the button twice to stop it and then reverse directions.
TIA

Max
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,237
Welcome to AAC.

Your best bet is to get a module like this one. Because this is a potential life safety situation it is very important that it is designed failsafe at every step—mechanically and electronically. You also need to make sure you put a bit emergency stop button or even more than one.
 

Thread Starter

max makes

Joined May 30, 2023
2
Welcome to AAC.

Your best bet is to get a module like this one. Because this is a potential life safety situation it is very important that it is designed failsafe at every step—mechanically and electronically. You also need to make sure you put a bit emergency stop button or even more than one.
Thanks for the quick response Ya'akov. That could be exactly what I need however do you know of one that works like the photo below but has larger relays and area already in the US. Also how do I know if the motor input voltage is isolated from the switches? this one look like it's not which means I would need 120v limit and trigger switches? (That sounds like the best option to me.)

Are wireless emergency stops a thing? I planned on one at each end but was going to leave it off of the cart. They would just have a speed limiter and a manual brake if it really goes wrong.

1685477260712.png
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,237
Well, there's this. But it's very important that you provide actual kill switches of the emergency stop variety that lock off and have to be reset. Were is my project I would also have a solenoid brake that activates when power is cut so that hitting STOP means actually stopping and doesn't rely on someone to operate a brake.

The big stop button is for panic situations where there isn't going to be time to think or react properly. Like someone caught in the works or under the car. It may seem unlikely but the cost-benefit falls heavily on the side of insuring a way to just stop everything immediately.

Also, consider the wireless unreliable, and make sure there are easily accessible wired controls as a backup. I assume you are going to put call switches at top and bottom so if the car is on the wrong end you can call it to where you are.
 

sghioto

Joined Dec 31, 2017
5,421
Also, consider the wireless unreliable, and make sure there are easily accessible wired controls as a backup.
If you don't use wireless and want the people in the car to be able to control the UP/DOWN plus STOP then the control wires will need to be carried with the car as it moves, similar to an elevator.
Here's a suggestion without getting too complicated that has the control switch in the car plus momentary switches at the TOP and BOTTOM of the rails to "call" the car when needed. The control switch in the car is also wired in parallel with the control switch that comes with the wrench as a backup if the relay module fails.
1685496107378.png
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,237
If you don't use wireless...
The TS does want wireless, and well—OK. But the rest of your scheme will work with the second module I linked which has on-board 433MHz wireless and wired controls.

I do think that having certainty about being able to command the car is important.

Also, just to be sure my description was clear, this is the sort of emergency stop button I was referring to...

1685522551063.png
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
19,030
The only safe control scheme if wireless control is used will be that it requires a signal to move and with no signal no motion. That means holding the button pressed for the duration of the move. I would have that arrangement even if it were a wired system, because then there is no mandatory emergency stop in the car, although that could be a second wireless channel for an "Enable Motion" signal. And all of those control functions are included for commercially available LIFT installations, which are similar to elevators but cost much less.
Unfortunately, in most of the US there will be all sorts of local inspectors making crazy safety demands and horribly expensive inspections.. That may not apply if the area is adequately secured so others may not enter.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,770
The standard E-stop is a good idea, but often the hardest to find in an emergency!!
I would also interlock it with a switch-operated Operator bar, IOW, one of the chair occupants has to physically clasp the bar to the frame in order for the chair to move.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
19,030
The standard E-stop is a good idea, but often the hardest to find in an emergency!!
I would also interlock it with a switch-operated Operator bar, IOW, one of the chair occupants has to physically clasp the bar to the frame in order for the chair to move.
That "grasp the bar" scheme is similar to the hold the button to move scheme that I suggested.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,770
The weak spot in having the motorizing unit stationary to the moving chair is that any E-stop in the said chair cannot be hard wired in the motor circuit.
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,237
The E-stop serves the purpose of a direct, last resort if the normal interlocks fail. I would’t remove it even if there was a deadman switch mechanism which is a good addition.

If not for the inconvenience, I would suggest scavenging a clip on deadman switch from a treadmill. But then it would also be a “good” idea to wear a helmet if not for the cost-benefit analysis making the “gamble” of not doing it very largely in flavor of not.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,770
Per post #10, Just that with the motorized unit separately controlled by RC, might be a bit of concern to do this electrically.
Probably require some kind of mechanical set up on the chair for safer operation...
.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
19,030
The way to safely integrate a reliable set of controls would use a (cat rack) style cable carrier and have the control cables ride in that. And have both up and down modes controlled by good quality button switches.
And, once again, using the control assembly made for a "lift" system could comply with all of the safety considerations.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
28,770
I have wired a few freight elevators up, and similar to the human carrier variety, the cable that moves with the car has a stranded stainless steel cable through it's core for any eventual strain relief.
Per regulations.
.
 
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