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cheap power for your boatlift


BillP

Question

If you are tired of cranking the hand wheel on your boatlift you have probably checked out the power adaptors that turn it into a power lift. STICKER SHOCK!!! Ok, they are a bit spendy. So what; back to the hand wheel? Not necessarily, what if you could do it just as well for less than $150?

I just replaced the hand wheel winch with a power winch like you use on an ATV. A little over $100, and it works fine. My neighbor insisted I rig one up for his pontoon boat but I refused. In an emergency, I can always just pull my boat up on the beach but he would be in trouble with a dead battery and a storm kicking up.

Then I thought, Why not put the power winch on one end and just leave the other end attached to the hand winch? ! So that’s what we did and it works great. You will need a winch that is “power in + power out” and adequate in power with plenty of cable. Mount the winch high enough that it is not subject to being splashed too much. If possible align it with the cable or add a pulley so the cable feeds directly onto the drum. If that end of the cable fastens on the boat platform rather than the frame of the lift, you will need another pulley to route it back up to the winch.

You don’t need a really powerful winch unless you have a heavy boat. I did notice that for a couple more bucks you not only get more power but bigger and longer cable. My neighbor used one of those portable winches that are made to drop onto a trailer hitch. It looks nice with it’s plastic housing. Mount the switch where you can reach it and hook it up to a battery. I use a larger deep cycle battery and charge it again mid season just to be safe.

Be careful, there are too many variables in a project like this to give directions that will result in a safe and serviceable conversion under all circumstances. If you don’t have the experience necessary to complete a project like this, get help. The idea works, the execution is up to you.

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