The Manual Chandelier Winch

Why would you use a Manual Winch?

With the onset of electric specialist chandelier winches on the surface there does not seem to be a place for the manual lighting winch. Electric winches have been developed with some great features like the contact plate system, which means that the light is just lowered on a wire rope alleviating the need for a separate lighting flex. This example of a lighting winch is now state or the art and can be easily installed out of the box and you could almost categorise as ‘plug and play’.

Lighting WinchThere are however a couple of drawbacks which whilst normally not an issue can be problematic for certain installations. Firstly the winch has a contact plate system which mean that the red disc has to pass through the ceiling through a hole of approximately 90mm diameter. Secondly the motorised lift unit is fairly large with dimensions of around 350mm by 350mm albeit that the thickness is just 80mm. A combination of these factory means that in some lighting applications then these factors restrict the use of the electric lighting lift.

Types of Manual Lighting Winches

Manual systems in there basic form are like the winches used on boat trailers. There is a geared mechanism to wind the cable in and a ratchet brake to prevent the winch from unwinding.  The level of sophistication above this will have a double braking system for safety which is really essential of lighting application where a heavy light is being suspended above people. Clearly any failure of the system is likely to result in personal injury which must be avoided at all costs. For this reason we always recommend the use of a worm gear model as shown below.

Worm Gear Lighting WinchThe advantage of the worm gear mechanism is that it can be turned by the handle to lift the light or to lower it but the inherent engineering design aspect of a worm gear stop it from rotating in the reverse direction. This is because the frictional force on the worm gear is so high when it is being operated from the winch drum end that it simply cannot be turned. This means that the worm gear inch is a natural choice for lighting installations where clearly safety is of paramount importance.

A Typical Installation using a Worm Gear Winch

The example featured below needed a winch to be slotted between 2 joists which were just 175mm apart.  Even this was too narrow for the worm gear winch but by chiseling out the width to 200mm and providing additional support for the thinning of the joist then the worm gear winch fitted perfectly.

worm_gear_winch_250kg_03The operating  handle is removable so this means that it could be taken off and stowed away, allowing for a neat hatch to be constructed over the unit. The hatch is not pictured as this was completed by a joiner after our winch installation was complete. The winch is also very high load rated at 250kg which  is generally more than adequate for all but the largest of chandeliers. As you can see from this then all lighting winch installations have there own specific requirements so it is important to keep an open mind and select the best type for the job.