So this summer I got the privilege of meeting a really nice Minnesota Wakeskater names Kyle Mehrkkens. We meet because I was selling some older wake gear on craigslist.com and he wanted to buy some new boots for a younger cousin of his. Anyway when he was over he was telling that he has this vision of converting an electric golf cart into a winch that will be totally electric and automatic so you can use it alone. I was skeptical to say the lease on a number of levels about his vision. I didn’t think it would be possible to convert a golf cart, get enough torque to pull a boarder, and that it could be automatic so there is no need for the winch driver. I told him to keep me posted on his progress.
I have been in contact with Kyle a bit over the summer on and off and this morning I get this email entitled, “wakeboard machine.” I opened it up only to find out that Kyle made it work and has been using his “wakeboard Machine” successfully. I am floored!!!! This thing is Genius!!!
Without divulging all the details on how it works, here are the basics. Drive the golf cart into the position you want to have the which in (no more carrying the winch, yes this might cause limitations to the spots you can shred) once your where you want to be you chain the cart up, jack up the back end (or remove the wheels) . This is where it gets cool, you pull the rope out just like a normal winch once your set and your board is on you give the rope a sharp tug and it engages the clutch which gets the electric motor going and presto you are riding. Once you hit the slider or gap and do something amazing you toss the handle with the tension is off the rope for a few seconds the clutch disengages and the winch stops. Then repeat!! I am amazed at this, basically green wakeboarding or skating.
Kyle is looking for people interested in taking this idea to the next level if you’re interested in learning more and getting in touch with Kyle PM me. Way to represent the Minnesota wake scene Kyle, thanks for letting me share this!!!
Last edited by wakeworld; 09-23-2010 at 11:08 AM.
Reason: Photo removed at the request of the photo owner.
Is the normal battery set-up being utilized? Did the maker of this say how much shredding can be done before recharging? Maybe a way to disengage the wheels so you dont have to jack it up... or it looks like he might have a scissor style jack mounted to the cart(similar to a whats found on a camper)??
Kyle should come on here... this thing is very interesting!!
Hey everyone! Glad to hear that you like the concept.
First, let me say that the project took a lot of research. The basic idea was this, "Wouldn't it be cool to have a machine that can pull a boarder to get around finding spotters, getting the boat ready, and come off the water when YOU want to, not when the sun sets?" I planned different styles, but the electric motor really caught my eye.
Yes, it could probably be used in the winter, but I'd have to do research on how to store the batteries. I'd imagine the winters are hard on those expensive batteries.
To answer the question about batter life, let me put it this way. Add up the weight of the following, one golf cart, two 6' solid built guys, and two sets of golf clubs. Then send them out for 18 holes of golf. The work done by that motor for that 18 holes of golf is much, much less than 30 seconds of pulling one wakeboarder/wakeskater. The batteries last a long time before recharging.
Yes, the golf cart is heavy enough and doesn't need to be tied down. That's super, super cool. It takes 15 mins to set up, probably less than 10 if you had an electric drill with a socket attachment. Lift it up, tires off, sprockets on, and you're set. When you're done, put it all back together and lower it down. Drive off to the next spot.
It has a ton of torque. More than I could have imagined. If you were on the snow, wow, this thing would pull you so, so easily- even with the huge spool.
I can't describe the feeling of having a machine that you designed pull you automatically from 1000' away. All the time and research that went into that made one huuuuge smile. Then to watch it shut off like I wanted- perfect.
Flat out amazing. It's somethign almost every wakeboarder has dreamed about, being able to ride whenever you want without a crew. No, it's not as fun without all the boys there but still. To make this invention work is just so cool. Definitley Innovtaion of the year in my eyes.
That is an impressive spool of line.
even more impressive of an idea/ machine.
i once thought that it would not be too much trouble to modify current winches to have the motor power the wheels you would drag the winch around with for easier moving, especially on rugged terrain. i suppose it is still a good idea, and i want to think i saw a video somewhere where this had been done.
The reason it is part of a golf cart is that the batteries alone are over 400 pounds. That and I could have sold the golf cart if the entire project were a flop.
I appreciate all of your comments! Lots of positive vibes on here.
The machine is on the lake where watersports were born, Lake Pepin. Thank you Ralph Samuelson. If you haven't been down to Lake City, you should pay your respect somtime with a session on this lake.
Obviously there are always improvements that can be made, but I'm quite happy with the way it is now. A stand alone machine would be nice, but I'd rather just drive the cart around than hauling it everywhere.
I promise you guys a video. If it can stop raining around here, I'll get a nice one.
You should take note of Bryces tip and try to figure out some sort of a quick "stand" for it like a camper uses on a pick up bed so that you can just pull up, drop the stand legs down and take some pulls..
That's unreal man.. We might have to cruise down from the Cities one of these weekends and take a few pulls..
Cool setup. I wish I had a pond to play on with something like that.
Keeping the wheels on may have unintended consequences (Maybe positive, negative, or both). They will add rotational inertia to the assembly and act as fly wheels. That might be a good thing for maintaining speed when you pull harder against it. It might have an affect on battery life too to keep that extra mass spinning.
You could put rotating trailer jacks with the flat feet on the corners to stabilize it and lift the rear.
The only negative I would see with someone wanting to sell this is the liability. Think about it. You would be promoting someone to go sliding across something hard with potential of knocking themselves out in water. All of this being done by them self. How long would it take before a family member comes home to their kid floating face down in the pond. So, I don't think I would go through the trouble of a patent. You might could look at just selling the plans to whoever wants to build one on their own. Or maybe contact a winch company and sell them the idea. That way you are not responsible.
With all that being said I think this is the coolest idea since the system 2.0
Here is another pic of the machine from tonight's session.
Again, all these ideas on here aren't something I haven't already thought about. For sure it needs some sort of supports rather than the jacks I'm using, but jacks were much faster and cheaper. Keeping the wheels on would be sick, but the shape of the rim doesn't allow for that in this setup. I went through a bunch of revisions. With cost and time as the main variables, this is the end result. That doesn't mean I won't improve it.
Thanks again for the posts. Absolutely sick to ride alone!!
Last edited by wakeworld; 09-23-2010 at 11:07 AM.
Reason: Photo removed at the request of the poster.
I wouldnt look at this as a solo thing where one could ride alone but more of a way that a crew could all ride together and not have someone controlling the winch.
That is exactly how I looked at it. I hate when we are winching and I get stuck spending an hour operating the winch. Everyone is usually jonesing to ride and we usually have to play paper, rock, sissors to decide who gets stuck on wich duty. This completely eliminates that.
Kyle, patent this asap! before someone beats you to the punch. This is a genius idea, like Nintzel said, no more needing to run the winch, means more riding time for everyone, and nobody gets stuck operating the thing. plus no gas needed! Someone gets a pull, next person grabs the handle as soon as its done, starts walking out. I'm still not completely understanding how it works though. So it just has sprockets that connect to the axle of the golfcart, a quick tug, and you're on your way? Is that just how golf cart electric motors work, the clutch engages and it starts pulling until its disengaged?
after you walk the rope out how is the start initiated? usually there is slack in the line so yanking it seems weird. i definitely want to know how it works and could you do it with a gas engine? if you don't patent it i will. na i won't, but if it were my idea i certainly would.
You better patent that Now & take down the pictures from the back angle. Just looking at the picture I figured how it works.
Thanks for the heads up Dave. If you figured it out, pm me. There are more than a few ways to accomplish this. I will eventually post video of it working.
Also, for everyone else out there, I worked on the idea a heck of a lot. I can't even begin to describe the pitfalls I came across, nor the amount of testing/research I had to do. Any free time I had, I pretty much thought about it. It all goes back to my first post, when this worked, I had a huge smile on my face for quite sometime. The reward was perfect for all the ups and downs of the project.
Things like this start as an obsession. You pretty much convince yourself that it will work, then you dive into it financially only to find a bunch of obstacles that get in your way. You start to lose sight of the goal and worry about how much money is in it and how much more it could possibly take to get there. In my case, the obsession got me to where I envisioned, but it could have also just been a waste.
That's why I'm so pumped at all your comments. I don't want to let the community down because watersports are pretty much the best sports out there and progressing them is everyone's goal, but I've started to really think about taking everyone's advice and am doing what I can right now.
I can't imagine Ralph Samuelson's face when waterskiing was born. Think about that! How huge?!?!?
First you make a winch by yourself that doesn't need someone to sit and run it. Then you make a video by yourself of you winching by yourself. You seem like a lone wolf. HAHAHAHA I'm just messing! I'll join your wolf-pack
Yea man, you know it. Sometimes you just want to get out and take a few pulls and not worry about anyone telling you it's time to get the boat or jetski off the water. And sometimes nobody is around to drive anyway- and if you're from Minnesota, you know that summer doesn't last forever. Live it up while you can.
I wish we had a cablepark up here. Man, it's the best to be around everyone who is pumped up about riding and the sport. There is a 2.0 somewhere around here, but my machine is much cheaper and closer to home!!
Obviously the machine is just my idea that I made work, but the next model will have the features that weren't so important in the first prototype.
That is unbelievably cool!! That would be awesome if it was just a stationary unit that you could use by yourself, but with the ability to drive it home at the end of the day? I love it!!! How much rope do you have on there? It looks like a lot.
David- absolutely! It would be cool if it were more compact, and I know exactly how to accomplish that. A compact version has its advantages, but so does the weight of the cart- no need to worry about pulling the cart in the drink. Block the tires and you're set. (see pic). There is 1000' of rope on there. Note: do NOT use a coated rope when temps go below freezing. It will crack into pieces and fly everywhere.
I just chose to keep the neighbors happy during late night riding by using an electric motor. With that came about 400lbs of batteries that I would need to charge once in awhile, generator, or a really long extension cord. So the mobility really helps with the batteries. Maybe I should go winch a few golf courses?!?!
Oh, and I mounted a car stereo on the golf cart with some speakers, so now I have tunes while I ride- it's kind of like my mini cablepark. I love the feel of a cablepark, and www.wasserskipark-pfullendorf.de is my favorite one!!! It's nice to have electricity at your disposal to make music rather than engine noise.
And here is a pic I like from using the machine in November. Temps were in the 30s.
Exactly what I thought for people who live on a lake. You could rip a few sessions when you want!! Or can you imagine teaching someone with one of those mounted on shore? I think it would be awesome to stand there and say, "just pull when you're ready." They could get so many licks at deep water starts in a very short time.
Just curious, do you guys really care if a winch is electric or gas?
And if possible, how many of you would spend the extra time setting up your winch to a two pulley system instead of just winching normally if it gave you down and back riding?
depend on the initial cost difference I don't think most would care if it was gas or electric. it would depend on intended use too. if someone wants to go rig something up at a remote spot. gas i think would be desirable, otherwise electric
bi-directional would be AWESOME. i've tried to imagine ways a winch could be made bidirectional, but most people thought it would be better to just make a device similar to sesitec 2.0, but with this kind of operating inovation, i think it would be great and worth extra set-up time. again, i think it would depend on the $, especially compared to one of the portable cable systems out there
also another idea, maybe you already thought of it, what about an automatic brake to make the spool slow down even quicker so a rider wont have to swim but a couple of feet to the handle.
p.s. here is a link to a thread a while back that i started about trying to brainstorm ideas for a bi-directional winch that i mentioned above, not sure if it will have anything inspirational or not, because what you got going on is just that i think. haha http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=751579
Last edited by wakerider111; 12-28-2010 at 10:35 PM.
I wouldn't care if it was gas as long as it shuts down when not in use. For example, when I'm hiking 1,000 feet to my starting spot, the engine shouldn't be running or that would get annoying and use a lot of gas. If it just starts when the rope is yanked and shuts off when the rope is dropped, that should be fine.
Thanks for the input guys. Yea, I would not have the gas engine running continuously. It would shut down when not in use.
As for the brake, I have thought about it and decided that the first go around didn't need one. When I fall in the water, the handle dragging through the water slows it down quite a bit. Dry land has less drag and the rope winds more than when in the water. I know exactly what kind of brake I would use that would be cheap, cheap, cheap- found at your local bike shop.
For converting the winch into a down and back ride, I think it would be very feasible to do and not that expensive. The nice part about the 2.0 is that it's up high- allowing for riding on both sides of the cable. But hauling those stands around isn't exactly ideal- nor is its price point. On top of that, 3-phase electricity near a water source isn't all that common, but you can buy converters to get around that. A gas generator would cost you big bucks if no electricity were there, too.
I like the electronic controllers of cableparks and the system 2.0, but I'm not sure that is needed for riders like us and our backyard setups. It adds a cost and to mention a skill that inhibits people from fixing the rigs on their own.
So I'm thinking of a system with lower cables/ropes that the rider chooses a side to be pulled from. In my mind, I think I could take a lot of the same ideas from my machine and apply them to this setup for solo riding. I'm sure a big cost to the 2.0 is their insurance policy, so I'm not sure how much of their price is covering that portion, but I still think it is possible to develop one that is a lot cheaper and more portable than that. I'm not knocking their idea- it's great, but c'mon I could buy a super nice car for about the same money.
Jeremy- nice idea on the double-winch thing. I think people are right that it would be tough to get both winches operating in synch. And no doubt one motor would be strong enough to power the whole thing. I'm thinking an over/under cable setup like the 2.0 would be fine. No need to reverse engine direction- should be able to do it without reversing it, after all , one side of the cable goes a direction you want, and the other side of the cable goes the other direction.
Not sure why I did not think of it before.
This could make a really nice personal/ portable rope tow ski lift for snow skiing/boarding/tubing/sledding
there are portable rope-tows that already exist of course, but i think a better system could be done up with this kind of operation you got going.
i found this example among others of a personal ski lift. just had to share,... IT IS HILARIOUS!!!... speaking of the 70's demo/advertisement video that is. HAHAHAHAha.
Jeremy- that video was cool! It definitely has the over/under cable concept going that I was talking about. If that thing can be setup so quickly, I have no doubt my idea could be as well.
I thought more about your idea it really made a lot of sense, too. If you could figure out how to drive with only one side and disengage the other, then switch them for the opposite direction, I think that makes a lot of sense. Only downside I see is two motors.
I originally wanted to do a two pulley setup back in late 2007. The price of the cable alone deterred me from continuing- not to mention the weight of it to span a gap as long as I wanted. It was looking more and more like a unit that wouldn't be taken down all the time, which proposed another problem in not owning both ends of the land where I'd have to anchor the pulley and motor. But the project was to accomplish the same task- no operator needed. So taking those concepts and combining them with my one-way winch should result in a delicious system.
I really like everyone's comments on my winch here. I totally agree with everyone that solo riding isn't as fun, but dang, it's really cool to just go take a few pulls when you want- especially when it's already setup. I've only winched with a crew a few times, but the owner of the winch operated it because it was his baby. No need for rock/paper/scissors at that point! My winch does eliminate that part though.
Thanks for all your interest. If any of you are into snowboarding, feel free to comment. I just do it to pass time and am not that into it. It would be good to hear how you'd use something like for that. My guess is for flat slopes with rails and things to jib- not at the ski resort.
The one problem I see is that if you were coming off of a kicker and pulled to advance yourself for a three or any other trick that you pull hard on the handle for that it might temporaily disengage the clutch and stall in midair causing a fluctuation in speed.
Gene- That was an issue at the very beginning, but since then I have added a piece to prevent that and have other ideas noted to accomplish the same thing. I chose the cheapest and easiest for this model.
there was another layout idea i pondered at the time of the thread i did a while back, but i thought it was a more inferior idea, but now i am not so sure. it might work out.
a drew up a super quick and crude pic on paint. there is one wheel with a motor (grey box) and one wheel that is just a free-spinning wheel) my picture shows the wheels spinning vertically, but they could be turned on a horizontal if it was better
If the each of the wheels/spools had only one end of the axle mounted that would leave the other end open for the rope to go around. basically it would be similar to the cables at the park but would be near the ground and not up above the rider in the air. This would be inconvenient in comparison since you could not surf from side to side without tangling up the other line (except when the top part of the circuit is being used) or having to jump over it.
... But then again. maybe this could be rigged up high in the air. but some sturdy towers would have to be constructed for height and to get tension
not sure if the dirty pic and description make sense or help inspire other/different/better ideas
Last edited by wakerider111; 01-06-2011 at 11:15 PM.
Wait. I am having trouble wrapping my brain around this (not the most mechanically inclined here)
If a rider must pull on the line to engage the motor, how then could the necessary tension be maintained to allow a circuit riding path when there seems to be a need for the line to go in and out of tension for stop and go?
Jeremy- your picture makes sense. I can see the gears turning in there!
I got you covered. Answer: Study a cablepark a bit and you'll see something interesting.
unfortunately all i know of cable parks is what i see on videos and pictures... except for the sesitec 2.0 I and my dad were lucky enough to see the 2nd instalation of the red bull wake lab in Tempe AZ. it was A W E S O M E !
My website has been up for awhile but it's looking better now. It's nothing special, but it's functional. Feel free to direct people with interest to the site! If people are getting huge lags, let me know so I can deal with the hosting provider. http://lakepepininnovation.com/
If anyone knows who would like to sponsor the next generation prototype, let me know.
Anyone know the best snowboard forum? I'd like to post on there to see what snowboarders think.
Epic. So awesome. It's gonna be soo difficult to keep myself convinced that I already have too many projects in my garage and that I shouldn't start scouring craigslist for a salvageable cart! This thing single handedly took away a great deal of the drawbacks/PITAs that I saw in gasoline winches. I used to work at golf courses over the summers and I had always thought about something like this because those things can put out a truly impressive amount of torque, I just can't believe someone actually made it happen and it works so well!
Dave- you're exactly right. Electric golf carts have a lot of torque. The motor doesn't even have a high HP rating. But in the end, it's all about gearing. What kinds of drawbacks and PITAs do you think gas winches have that electric ones don't? I hate the noise personally.
Jay- for how it works, you pull the rope when you want to go. No controls needed on the handle, nor a special handle.
The video hit a 1,000 views today! Thanks everyone for showing your interest!