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Shaft Encoder with Pulleys/spring/spool

  1. Jul 18, 2010 #1
    Alright I am trying to measure the "instantaneous" velocity of a swimmer at around 400Hz.

    I plan on attaching the swimmer to some nylon rope or something similar and having the rope go into a "box" that will use pulleys, a wheel mounted to a shaft and shaft encoder that will rotate freely between two bearings, and a spool that will feed the line.

    My big problem is maintaining tension in the line that is fairly constant and negligible (probably 1lbf or less would be nice), but consistency is most important for testing.

    I have found out there are constant force springs out there. So I figure I could attach a pulley to one of those to maintain tension on the line, but with constant tension on the line(which is needed) the line will always be unspooling from the spool faster than it needs to be...

    The swimmer's velocity will fluctuate between around 3m/s and 0m/s at the most extreme situation and velocity fluctuations can be expected up to around 10Hz.

    Any ideas on how I can make this work?

    Here is what I have so far

    Also, I tried looking up belt tensioners for car but couldn't find anything to show how they work. Could a belt tensioner help me?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2010 #2
    Just searching around google, would a fishing reel work as my spooling mechanism? It has a reel already attached and perhaps the drag can be used to maintain tension and once the tension is achieved it lets out line and if too much tension persists to build up perhaps the constant force spring could be used to prevent excess tension while the line unspools from the fishing reel.

    So maybe the combination of a fishing wheel w/drag and a constant force spring?

    So here is a reel that looks good. It seems like a baitcasting reel would be best and here is a cheap one I found http://www.kmart.com/shc/s/p_10151_...003a&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=089V002609844000P

    Not sure about the open faced and closed faced reels though. I suppose I ought to set up the measurement wheel/shaft and see how the fishing reel works in the device and I can always add constant force spring(s) to help keep the tension constant.

    The only possible problem I can see is the fishing reel requiring too much tension or providing inconsistent tension with it's drag setting.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
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