A Portable Belt Winch That Can Be Used for Search, Rescue, and Assistance




About: The BCAMRL is a Mechatronics Research Lab, founded in 2014 on the campus of Bergen County Academies, a magnet high school within the Bergen County Technical School District. Students create innovations base...


The innovation, in essence, is a portable belt winch that can be used to rescue and assist people in the course of their everyday lives and escapades. It is comprised of a relatively low capacity winch (with respect to car winches) made from a strong motor with high torque that is strong enough to lift a person and any possible cargo therein. The mechanical parts are mounted on a reinforced belt attached to a harness to keep the device secure and the user safe. Should the need arise, the harness can be removed from its operator and secured to a stable anchor to pull or lower an object on the mobile end of the winch. The electrical system of the winch is powered by a sealed lead acid battery that is recharged through mains power or in the case of an emergency, hooked up to the solar charging station. The battery is directly connected to the winch via wires that are detachable for recharging. The controls for the winch are located on a plate mounted to the hip to make controlling the winch more user-friendly. There is a spool of cable/cord attached to the winch that is the main line in use and that is where the length is stored. The winch motor, spool, battery, and control panel are all mounted on plates to keep them sturdy and unobtrusive. There are multiple different attachments for the end of the winch for different uses. Examples include a heavy duty clip, another harness, a loop for threading rope through, and a grapple hook. Other accessories such as gloves and helmets are essential to proper operation of the innovation.

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Step 1: Scavenge Motor

Obtain a 24 volt DC motor geared to have high torque with a spindle attached

Step 2: Spindle Attachment

Cut aluminium spindle holder to same depth as base of motor so they can be level with each other

Step 3: Baseplate

Attach the motor to a strong plywood baseplate with nuts and bolts through the already made anchor holes

Step 4: Attach Wire Rope

Attach wire rope to one end of the spindle by drilling a hole through the spindle, threading the wire through, and crimping it onto itself on the other side

Step 5: Handles

Attach 2 x 2 wood blocks to either side of the base plate

Attach handles to the wood blocks on either side

Step 6: Attach Controls

Solder DPDT switch to motor wires

Cut switch mount from metal casing to attach to the top of one of the wood blocks

Step 7: Wire Attachments

Attach wire rope to a heavy duty carabiner by looping it through and crimping/locking it back on itself

Step 8: Harness

Get 2” webbing approximately 20 feet long to tie a harness

Step 9: Attach Harness

Attach metal straps to the back of the baseplate to thread the harness through when in use

Step 10: Battery Pack

Make holder for 2 × 12 volt batteries to power the motor and attach the batteries to the harness

Step 11: Testing and Onwards

Test the innovation and make appropriate adjustments towards the safety and comfortability of the user



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    3 Discussions


    1 year ago

    The carabiner shown does not look like a rated carabiner rated for rock climbing.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    I'm sure it was meant as a proof of concept, and that safer materials would be utilized for initial tests


    2 years ago

    Is there a breakdown handle so you can manually wind or unwind if it breaks down?