International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum

General => Practical Knots => Topic started by: Atomic on August 20, 2011, 10:28:51 PM

Title: Used a capstan for the first time last weekend.
Post by: Atomic on August 20, 2011, 10:28:51 PM
We got called out on a storm last weekend and the ticket we pulled was a no access ticket. This means climbing poles. That didn't surprise me, what did surprise me was that it was a 50 KVA transformer. I was racking my brain trying to figure out how we were going to hang it. We don't have any 4-blocks, another crew lifted them and we never got them back. This is 600 pounds or more. By hand I've assisted in hanging a 25 KVA which is around 400 pounds. Wasn't easy but it's possible by hand. Our bird dog goes over to the buggy and says we'll need this and the capstan. YES!! We're contractors and normally this company is weird about letting us use their stuff but this guy was cool cool cool. We got the buggy gassed up and loaded the capstan, generator, 4-blocks and a pole jib in it. Drove it to the transformer pile and loaded the 50.

Out to the pole it's getting dark quick. We make our plan and kill the line out. My top lineman climbs up grounds it out. He hangs the pole jib and we send him the blocks. I check out the capstan. I only know the theory of how it works. We have never been blessed to own one, pulling up transformers with 4-blocks by hand. I've also got some really green hands that have never had to pull a transformer up so it's basically me and my top lineman. The capstan mounts to the pole so the running end is going to be coming straight down to the capstan. I fire it up and check the operation. It has a foot pedal which I didn't expect. I thought they spun the whole time but that was just my ignorance. I made two or three full turns around the capstan and lifted the transformer slightly so the lineman can loosen the bolts holding it on the pole. He gets that done and a lift once more and off the bolts it goes. Now I kill the engine on the generator and am holding 600+ pounds without the slightest effort. I did have a problem that when I would give slack towards the capstan it would bind just slightly and cause the load to jerk a little. Doesn't seem like much but the lineman on the pole was freaking out lol. Anyway the old came down and the new goes up really smooth. We had to tag it the whole way because of services and telephone drops in the way.

I've honestly never walked in a transformer or pulled it up by hand so easy.
Title: Re: Used a capstan for the first time last weekend.
Post by: Dan_Lehman on August 21, 2011, 04:48:28 PM
Wow.  Dangling 600# sounds plenty serious, to me
--and some "jerk a little" with that load is reason for concern.

What was the rope used?


ps:  Welcome to the forum!   :)
Title: Re: Used a capstan for the first time last weekend.
Post by: Atomic on August 21, 2011, 09:34:27 PM
Not positive about the rope. It was a braided rope comparable to what we use singled out in our jib lines on the bucket trucks. 5/8" I think. More than adequate on a 4-block. The pole was the main load concern. It was old, and while it thump tested good at the bottom there were places near the top where the hook hubbed up. Going faster, without stopping, proved smoother to the guy up top on the way down with the load.
Title: Re: Used a capstan for the first time last weekend.
Post by: TheTreeSpyder on August 22, 2011, 11:17:46 AM
Having the line straight down pole to capstan is good idea, in that forces on pole are inline; but, this would tend to put the ground work(er)s in the kill zone?

Self-tending Prusicks would be good safetys on 4 pulley rig for manual lift.  Also, hang on rope and '2 Hand' system, for less effort.

With just 2 pulleys available would consider lowering thru just 1 pulley, with raps around something (pole?) for frictions.  To lift, would have 1 pulley at top, 1 low on pole and use slow truck pull (also safest w/ self tending prussick).  Pulley at bottom would keep inline force on pole fairly, and only leverage across at low leverage point on pole AND not pull upwards on truck (causing possible traction loss).  If clear behind, could also pull with truck backwards, to watch works.

Title: Re: Used a capstan for the first time last weekend.
Post by: Atomic on August 26, 2011, 01:25:17 AM
Well the ground workers are never under a suspended load. All the set up is done and a tag line is put on the load to keep groundsmen away from danger.

For lowering we have rigged up a 2 block system. The handline shield is placed on the pole and the rope is ran through it and then through another shiv on the transformer. Muscle up a little and then let her slide down.

Wraps around something would be a good idea if something were available. One could pull and one could rest then swap.

Oh and I got to use the "If you can't tie knots tie lots" saying yesterday. We were pulling out wire and crossing a creek. They drove the wire to one side and I was on the other. Threw a rope across and tied it on my truck. The other guy tied it on the wire. I hopped in the truck and took off. The wire stayed.