Friday, February 15, 2013

Solar-powered tower winch

Here are some photos and commentary from N0SAP about his recently completed tower project.

I modified my Glen Martin tower from a hand winch to a Solar Powered Electric Winch.

This is the electric winch installed in place of the hand winch.  The winch has a 2000 lb capacity from Harbor Freight.  Normally costing $99.99, I had a coupon for half off.  Harbor Freight always has these winches on sale, so just keep watch of the sale bills.  I needed to drill new holes to mount the winch.  After getting the antenna back in the full and upright position, I used nail polish to mark the full extension of the antenna.  That way I do not have to stop the operation during raising.

 Using an old scrapped out homebrew rig someone made, the cabinet was made with aluminum.  I had cut some pieces off from other projects so all I had to do was use tin snips to notch each side to slide over the tower rung.  The weight of the battery keeps it in place without having to anchor it any further.  The battery is a 125 amp hour gel cell which is plenty enough power for the winch.

 Using another piece of scrap aluminum angle, I formed it to fit the tower and drilled the holes to use the extending holes holding the rungs to the tower.  Then cut the bottom half which fanned out to mount a flat piece of aluminum to mount the solar panel.  That put the solar panel at the right angle to the sun to trickle charge the battery so it is always ready to work. 

 This is the solar panel after mounting.  Another sale priced item from Harbor Freight I purchased a while back for another project I do not use anymore.

 Here is the complete setup now ready for action.  All the wiring, boxes, and switch that comes with the
electric winch is waterproof.  So using some ty-wraps to strap the control box to the tower and to keep the excess wires wrapped up and tucked away.  All this for under $75.00 was well worth the investment for now and in the future.