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Releasing Tension on Dock Wench Crank

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  • Releasing Tension on Dock Wench Crank

    My dock is a floating dock that is connected to the shore by cables at the shore-side corners of the dock. We let the dock out and bring it in with rising and lowering lake levels through winches attached to the cables. A couple of weeks ago, I was attempting to let the dock out. When I released the locking mechanism on the winch crank handle on one side, there was so much tension on the cable that the crank handle spun out of my hand, came back around, and nearly broke my right hand.

    I've got to believe there is a way to handle the tension on a cable like this without the winch crank handle spinning out of control, but I don't know what it is. Would appreciate any insight anyone has.
    Last edited by ATLX30; 12-05-2021, 08:55 AM.

  • #2
    I’d want nothing to do with that manual setup for reasons you described. Suggest motorized winches. How much cable are you hauling/adjusting throughout the season?

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    • #3
      The lake gets lowered 20 feet every winter for flood storage. There is a lot of movement in the spring and fall, but not much in season. I had a service doing it, but it got pretty expensive. I might just need to suck it up and go back to it. I read that some of the tension is caused by not lowering it frequently enough.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ATLX30 View Post
        The lake gets lowered 20 feet every winter for flood storage. There is a lot of movement in the spring and fall, but not much in season. I had a service doing it, but it got pretty expensive. I might just need to suck it up and go back to it. I read that some of the tension is caused by not lowering it frequently enough.
        That only makes sense. I think if you stay manual DIY, you need to lower it at the frequency of need to keep tension off the cable. That could be every day, every other day, twice a day...etc...

        On a similar note, a boat launch with hands near a winch can do the same thing. I darn near lost a finger earlier this year by having my hand at the winch handle and the driver of the tow vehicle did not stop to allow me to remove the hook from the bow eye (as I expected). Boat took off right on off the trailer (tension) and wound that handle out really fast. I severed two fingers but did not cut them off. The handle had me before I could blink an eye. I got lucky.

        .
        93 190
        (safe click)

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        • #5
          Worm gear winches are slower but transfer no force to the handle. You can get them with a hex drive for using a drill to operate. Make sure you get the size recommended for your dock or trailer. https://www.dutton-lainson.com/prodd...php?prod=11001

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          • #6
            I have the same kind of dock setup and have also experienced high tension on the winch cables. I've never had it slip out of control before, but have still had trouble getting it pulled in or out. I found one little trick you can try, although if your tension is extremely high it might not be enough. Anyhow, with shoes on, stand on the cable with all of your weight. The cable should sag a bit under your weight. Quickly jump off, releasing the tension, and you should have a window of a few seconds where you can easily reel in or out your winch. It sounds a bit silly, but it's worked well for me! Good luck!

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            • #7
              Easiest answer is yes, adjust more frequently. Also maybe invest in a winch with a manual brake. Something like this. The lower arm is a brakeClick image for larger version

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              • #8
                "Releasing Tension on Dock Wench Crank"

                My preferred method is a couple of margaritas. Sorry... couldn't resist...

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                • #9
                  worm gear is a great idea because of how the load is transferred.

                  on a side note a good friend owns a small local amusement center mini golf, batting cages, go carts, etc... anyway they raise and lower the nets each year on the batting cages over the winter they are down and it uses the same crank system. it has been a few years back now but the same thing happened to him but his result was much worse. broken wrist that drug him into the path of the spinning handle which then hit him on the face and knocked him unconscious causing a concussion and a few broken teeth to boot. pressure on those types of cranks can be scary.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by h_2_o View Post
                    worm gear is a great idea because of how the load is transferred.

                    on a side note a good friend owns a small local amusement center mini golf, batting cages, go carts, etc... anyway they raise and lower the nets each year on the batting cages over the winter they are down and it uses the same crank system. it has been a few years back now but the same thing happened to him but his result was much worse. broken wrist that drug him into the path of the spinning handle which then hit him on the face and knocked him unconscious causing a concussion and a few broken teeth to boot. pressure on those types of cranks can be scary.
                    ^ ^ Agree.

                    I haven't used a winch in years and the worm gear is a good idea indeed. Best on the replacement.

                    .
                    93 190
                    (safe click)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ATLX30 View Post
                      My dock is a floating dock that is connected to the shore by cables at the shore-side corners of the dock. We let the dock out and bring it in with rising and lowering lake levels through winches attached to the cables. A couple of weeks ago, I was attempting to let the dock out. When I released the locking mechanism on the winch crank handle on one side, there was so much tension on the cable that the crank handle spun out of my hand, came back around, and nearly broke my right hand.

                      I've got to believe there is a way to handle the tension on a cable like this without the winch crank handle spinning out of control, but I don't know what it is. Would appreciate any insight anyone has.
                      I don't know your current setup, but just thinking about releasing tension on a cable - it seems like a come-a-long (come-along? I don't know how you're supposed to spell it) might fit the bill. Allows you to winch, but also a controlled release.
                      The question is not whether life exists after death, but whether you were alive before death - Osho

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