My gourds are stuck at the top and won't come down

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BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Is there a simple explanation and fix for this? I do not believe that I tightened it any more than I usually do cuz I'm always careful about that. It's only 1 year old and it was working perfectly fine a couple days ago when I brought it down and put it back up. No hint of any problems at all. If I leave some slack in the cable, is it possible it might come down (as much as the slack will allow it to) by itself or am I doomed? I finally have some purple martin activity and now this happens. If it's not sparrows, it's something else. Very frustrating. Thanks for any and all advice.
Billie from south central Wisconsin
mjfog
Posts: 234
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

Billie Jr,
Is your system on a winch? And when you disengage the winch, what happens? I'm wondering if your may have overlapped the cable on the reel and you have an old fashioned "backlash".
Mike
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Thanks, Mike. Yes it's on a winch. When I disengage it - the cable starts unrollling but the rack doesn't lower/move at all.
Billie from south central Wisconsin
mjfog
Posts: 234
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

Billie,
Sounds like a backlash - your cable has overlapped itself on the reel and unwinding is not letting your rack down. Question for you - when you try to let the rig down, does cable become loose on the reel while the rack stays in place above? If so, that's a backlash; the cable is bound up below on the reel. Is that happening?
Mike
johncanfield
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 pm
Location: Texas

How high is the pole? Any chance you can reach it with a long painter's extension pole to give it a tug? If it's critical you need to get the gourds down you can rent a man lift, the small ones can be towed with a vehicle.
John
JJ Ranch
Texas Hill Country
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Thanks, John, I believe there's an extension ladder in our shed. I believe the pole is 14 ft above ground.

Mike - yes - that's what's happening. When I unwind the winch, the cable unwinds on the winch but the rack just doesn't come down/move.
Billie from south central Wisconsin
Kegger
Posts: 117
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:58 am
Location: Awesome Florida
Martin Colony History: Newbie in 2020: 2 pair of SY with 4 eggs each in Troyer Horizontals
fledged a total of 7 Martins

could the cable have jumped off the pulley and got stuck up top? Careful!!
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Kegger, I don't know. I looked as best I could and couldn't see that it was off. I'm not climbing any ladder at my age and my son has a fear of heights so I am hoping to get my neighbor to come over tomorrow to take a look. He LOVES martins as much as I do and so he's always more than willing to help. lol! I have great neighbors. I'm very lucky. Thanks. :)
Billie from south central Wisconsin
mjfog
Posts: 234
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:40 pm
Location: Palm City, FL
Martin Colony History: 2018 will be my first try. 6 S&K B09s. 29 eggs - 8 fledged
2019 - 12 Troyer Horizontals with tunnels, 6 S&K B09s and 12 B011s all with tunnels. 43 eggs - 36 fledged
2020 - Rack 1 - 6 B011s, Rack 2 - 24 B011s, and Rack 3 - 24 Troyer Horizontals. All gourds have tunnels, porches and crescent/Conley 11 entrances; racks have predator guards. 161 eggs - 88 fledged

Billie,
Don't do anything with your rig until your neighbor discerns the problem. You don't want your colony coming down on your head and shoulders! First and foremost - make sure your rig is supported from below before you begin any attempts to free the colony. Something like a pair of tall ladders beneath the base of the colony. Put 2X4s across the tops of the ladders and under the colony to hold it up. You must create a support to hold the colony up with no reliance on the cable.
I hope your neighbor friends who help with your problem have "shade-tree" mechanic skills. In my estimation, the worst possible scenario is the cable is jammed up top at or near the pulley. This may require detaching the cable from the colony and manually lowering the colony. Let's hope your friend can see the reason for the jam, wind all the loose cable back onto the winch, fix the reason for the jam and then lower the rig with the winch.
Let's now say your winch has a backlash. With support beneath the colony, begin unwinding the cable from the winch. While one person unwinds, another must keep tension on the unwinding cable. That person, wearing leather gloves, should keep stepping back taking up the slack as the cable is unwound. When you reach the point of the backlash, there may be some resistance. The tension guy may need to give a little tug to free the cable from the overlapping winds (the backlash). Then, with tension, rewind the cable back on the reel by spooling the cable slowly back and forth onto the winch.
A shade-tree mechanic will know all of the above! Billie, be safe. Support that colony! No falling.
Mike
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Thanks, everyone, who gave me sound solid advice on getting the gourds down. My neighbor came over and we put up the extension ladder. He took a good look at everything before giving it a couple of good downward motion tugs and it came loose. While he was up there he sprayed the reel with silicone spray incase it needed it. He thinks it got caught on a bolt that was sticking out so I will be double sure not to let that happen anymore. Thanks again - life is back to normal. :)
Billie from south central Wisconsin
Joe W
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:04 am
Location: FL/Lynn Haven (near Panama City, FL)
Martin Colony History: 2020 10 pairs
2019 finally success! 8 pairs
Oct 10, 2018 Hurricane Michael
2018 visitors in April
2017 visitors in April
2016 visitors in April
2015 visitors in June
PMCA Member

Glad you have it down. I had a similar problem once, now I have a length of 550 cord (para cord) attached as a back-up so I can give it a slight nudge if I need to. The back-up cord is tied off at the correct length so it also serves to let me know when I’m getting close to maximum height when raising it. Best wishes, Happy Fathers Day too!

Joe
BillieJR
Posts: 677
Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:39 am
Location: Monroe, WI

Thanks, Joe - that's a great idea! And I hope you had a wonderful Father's Day. :)
Billie from south central Wisconsin
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