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Emergency crank for elevators

When the power goes out, the passengers don't need to wait for rescue
  [vote for,

I was reading the news about the power failure hitting much of the N.E. United States and S.E. Canada. One of the things that was mentioned was the number of people stuck between floors in elevators that needed to be rescued.

My idea is that there would be an access panel in the elevator. Behind the access panel would be a crank (the crank could be either a hand operated crank or a foot pedal crank). Large elevators might even have multiple cranks to allow more than one person to crank at a time.

When the power goes out, instead of being stuck until someone comes to the rescue, the passengers just turn the crank (which has a very low gear ratio so that a lot of turns but not much strength are needed) until the elevator reaches the closest floor, and then turn another crank that opens the door (on elevators where the door can't be simply pushed open once the elevator reaches a floor).

mwburden, Aug 15 2003

Pedalvator http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/Pedalvator
Similar idea, but used to solve a different problem [mwburden, Oct 05 2004]


       Well done. + from me.
stormo, Aug 15 2003

       Great Idea. But why not have elevators 'crank-only' and forget the electricity althogether - each passanger takes his/her turn in cranking, the lenght depending on which floor they are going to. A +from me
PaddyPat, Aug 15 2003

       Mostly because an elevator that takes 5-10 minutes to go from floor to floor isn't very useful :)   

       The idea here isn't to turn the elevator into a workplace gym, it's just to get people out of a jam.
mwburden, Aug 15 2003

       This would be good on escalators, too.
FarmerJohn, Aug 15 2003

       <Steven Wright>The other day at Macy's the power went out. Fifty people were stuck on the escalator for half an hour.</Steven Wright>
mwburden, Aug 15 2003

       excellent, M.   

       will it go up as well as down?
po, Aug 15 2003

       Yes, that would simply mean turning the crank in the opposite direction. This is obviously necessary in case the elevator stops closer to the floor below than the floor above.
mwburden, Aug 15 2003

       In fact, going down is going to be a lot easier than going up. The operator(s) will need some way to determine they're at a floor, but that can be done mechanically via the access panel.
phoenix, Aug 15 2003

       There's no need to be able to crank the car upward. Down is all that's needed, to drop the car to the next available floor.
waugsqueke, Aug 15 2003

       <more Steven Wright>A man got on an elevator with me, I said, "Where are you going?" and he said, "Phoenix." So I pushed "Phoenix".</mSW>
jivetalkinrobot, Aug 15 2003

       Depending upon passenger loading, going down may be easier or more difficult than going up: if the elevator is lightly loaded, going up will be easier than going down; if it's heavily loaded, going down will be easier.   

       The problem I see with this approach, though, is that publicly-accessible access panels tend to be attractive targets for vandals.
supercat, Aug 15 2003

       When an elevator is stopped between floors, you pull the doors open, and climb up or down to the nearest floor. No big deal, no extra equipment and it's not an eventful "rescue".   

       People who need rescuing may have trouble turning cranks anyway. You'll have more elevator problems, even on ordinary days, due to impatient riders.
Amos Kito, Aug 15 2003

       For a large number of lifts (elevators) there is a whinch in the hoist room at the top of the building that the fire service use to lower stopped cars to the next floor down. Even with the gearing involved, this is a very strenuous activity and the fire fighters have to take turns at it. Nervous, unfit people trying this in a hot car may well end up needing medical as well as phyisical rescue.
oneoffdave, Aug 15 2003

       Another solution could be to attach bungee cords to the top of all lifts and springs on the bottom. When the power is out passengers can simply pull a release cord and bungee to the ground floor.
silverstormer, Aug 15 2003

       Now you're talkin'!   

       Elevator Operator: "S'cuse me ladies and gentlemen. Monthly test. hehehe."
Amos Kito, Aug 15 2003

       Yeah, I was thinking earlier about idle hands making mischief with the crank. The best idea I've had for that is a bolt that is held in place by a selenoid. As long as the power is on, the access panel is bolted shut. When the power goes out, the access panel unlocks. Checking the proper operation of selenoid lock would need to be added to the routine maintenance schedule for elevators.
mwburden, Aug 15 2003

       The thing about a lift (elevator) is that all the moving parts - motor, gears, pulleys, brakes, etc - are in the plant room at the top of the shaft. The lift car is effectively fixed to the cables so there's nothing in there that can be cranked.   

       However maybe you could build a length of emergency slack cable into the lift car which gets let out slowly in the event of a power failure so that the car sinks to the next available floor. The slack could be wound back in once power has been restored.
7snottyorphans, Aug 15 2003

       Considering the additions and suggestions, I'd say, "Yeah, this looks both good and viable."   

       Yeah, this looks both good and viable. There.
galukalock, Aug 15 2003

       You'll also need some mechanism to release the electromagnetic brakes that get automatically applied when power fails. Of course once you let the brakes off, chances are, the elevator will move either up or down on it's own, depending on how fully loaded it is. Now if you could just devise a clever mechanical arrangement to delay putting on the elecromagnetic brakes in such a way that the elevator always stops at a floor, it would be a much nicer than making the passengers crank themselves around.
scad mientist, Aug 15 2003

       Sounds good to me!
gnomethang, Aug 15 2003

       //What would be powering the device that lets out the slack?//   

supercat, Aug 15 2003

       being a claustrophobic as well, this idea gets a nice fat + from me.. although with the discussions here, i would think the best way to approach the situation would be a completely mechanical system at the top of the shaft - the cable pulleys on an electric clutch that keeps it engaged to the winch motor while power is present, but if power is lost, have the clutch disengage and apply a mechanical brake to the cable drum - just let gravity slowly lower the car all the way to ground level. Similar to the locking mechanism in car seat belts - the brake pulls harder if there's more weight in the car.
gothgeekboi, Aug 16 2003

       Elevators should be included in the back-up power supply of the building. I expect when the secondary power kicks in, security would have the option of sending all cars directly to the base floor.
FloridaManatee, Aug 16 2003

       Isn't "Crank" illegal?
thumbwax, Aug 16 2003

       //Isn't "Crank" illegal?//
Nope [Thumbwax], that's Muffin' the Mule that you are thinking of. Or possibly Dobbin' the Carthorse.
gnomethang, Aug 16 2003

       Just gas everyone stuck in an elevator with a tranquilizer until help arrives. No silly mucking with the mechanism.
oxen crossing, Aug 16 2003

       // Down is all that's needed //   

       Unless, of course, you're in the basement.
RayfordSteele, Aug 16 2003

       Well, at least this will ensure that waugsqueke won't ever be unemployed again. Oh, *that* kind of crank...
DrCurry, Aug 19 2003

       I've just re-read all these annos and seen them in a whole new light. Especially the bit about idle hands making mischief with the crank...
egbert, Aug 19 2003

       <Hangs head in shame>
I shall not absent myself from the bakery
I shall not absent myself from the bakery
I shall not...
egbert, Aug 20 2003

       I wonder if a deep cycle marine battery backup could provide enough power to lower the elevator to the closest floor and open the door?
grahamhgreen, Oct 07 2003

       Good Idea- EXCEPT the elevator mechanism is at the top of the evelvator shaft, not in the carriage itself.   

       The manual override would have to be in the machinery room, and it would need to be as strong as the elevator mechanism iteslf.   

       Clearly the cost of a manual overide to duplicate a sophistiacted electronic control system and motor is ridicoulus compared to a backup generator!
xylene, Oct 07 2003

       Its called a rescuvator http://www.gal.com/controllers_rescu.htm
ariha, Jan 03 2004

       maybe instead of pulling the rope up, the crank should move the elevator car up the rope.
-----, Jan 10 2004

       maybe the speed governor on an elevator should not have the pawl lock onto a ratchet, but a drum brake pad press against a drum. If the elevator is stuck, you release the electromagnetic brake, and you coast down at a steady pace to the closest floor, rather than being abruptly stopped by the governor.
-----, Jan 10 2004

       simply awesome!   

       Amos Kito, what about express elevators? I agree, that on elevators that open on all floors, it's really no problem. However, when you are stuck on the 30th floor and the closest floor that this elevator services is the 50th (or 1st), you are stuck, until someone from the outside can help you.
bspollard, May 27 2004

       I was just envisioning a manual crank like this for airplane landing gear. That way, if the pilot pushes the landing gear button and nothing happens, he can instruct all the passengers to lower their tray tables, behind which each person has a little hand-crank. These cranks, when turned together, slowly let down the landing gear.
phundug, Oct 09 2005

       "Where's waugsqueke when you need him? Ah, this elevator has an emergency crank!"
DrCurry, Sep 14 2006

       This would be good for a private house too. An elevator takes less space than a staircase, but you don't want to also have a stairway for emergencies.
dadsfave, Dec 29 2006

       "Oh, so ya wanna get out of the lift now, do ya? Idiot, you know what the power's like round here, shoulda taken the stairs. Why should I dig you out of this mess? If I had my way you'd stay in here and stew. If I save your ass you'll not even stop to thank me. When I was younger we respected our elders."
david_scothern, Dec 29 2006

       + the brains of bakers past...
xandram, Oct 21 2010


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