January 2020

Idea Files :: January 2020

DIY auxiliary motor switch, electric panel protector, and best idea of 2019.

Written by Sam Geise | 0 comment


jan20 idea files 01Removing and hanging chairs on a fixed-grip lift can be a laborious chore—but an unavoidable one, given B77 requirements for annual non-destructive testing. To make the job easier, the mountain ops crew at Camelback, Pa., came up with the idea to use a winch, as shown here. The portable machine they crafted consists of a winch mounted on an old hanger arm from a Doppelmayr chair. The hanger arm is attached to a bracket that is held in place by a ratchet strap and secured to the terminal frame above the haul rope. The hanger arm positions the winch directly above the chair and haul rope. The winch takes about 10 minutes to install, and operates on standard 120 volt electric. The entire package “makes hanging triple chairs all day a lot easier on your back!” says Camelback lift maintenance manager Ryan Abel.


jan20 idea files 02With many older lifts, it’s possible to chain up the auxiliary motor without disabling the main electric drive, or to keep the APU chained up while trying to restart the electric drive. This can damage the equipment and lead to staff injuries. To prevent this, Snow Snake Ski & Golf (Mich.) mechanic Ron Price and owner Jeff Brockway used an old golf cart ignition switch, a section from an old extension cord, and a wire to lock out either the APU or the main drive, so that it’s impossible to run both at the same time. Wally Shank of insurer Safehold explains: “This is an interlock, in B77 terms. When the wire is between the sprockets, only the electric motor runs. You can only hook up the chain when the wire is out of the sprocket, and then, the electric motor is turned off. To get the electric motor on, you have to turn the key, and to get the wire back between the two sprockets, you have to remove the chain. It’s brilliant for its simplicity.” And for its low cost.


jan20 idea files 03The flat top surface of a 480-volt drive panel is a tempting place to set a drinking cup or coffee mug. But spills happen—cups get bumped, or unfinished beverages are left overnight, and the liquid freezes and breaks the mug. Electricity and fluids don’t play well together, so these incidents can lead to all sorts of trouble. To prevent anyone from giving in to temptation, Roy Lowe, the former mountain maintenance director for Winterplace, W.Va., placed an angled top piece/message board on the drive panel. Mischief managed, with the added benefit of creating a prominent sign board.