Motorized Pack Wheel Testing — Hiking Speeds With High Torque

The DIY Hunter and his boys testing a walking speed high torque motorized Pack Wheel game cart.

In the summer of 2015 I tested a couple variations of a bike hub motor on the Pack Wheel. I found them to be very high speed with low torque or in other words they were geared for going 20 plus mph offering little assistance unless I was already near running up the mountain myself. Yes, they assisted but didn't have enough torque to carry the load on their own. I felt that I could go up the mountain easier without the "assist" of a hub motor and haven't used the hub motor since the two trips I took with it in 2015. 

This year I have been testing different motors and batteries using a chain drive system. By using the chain drive I am able to gear down the speed into walking speed power and power it is. My current prototype will operate from 0 to 6 mph controlled by a thumb throttle. Even just barely moving the motor will carry all the weight of the load right up the mountain. Although going up steep inclines did place some weight on my arms because of the steep angle, the torque of the motor, and I mounted the battery on the back side of the handle, but other than a small portion of this weight being held in your arms the motor will power the entire load right up the mountain, no need for any operator assistance in pushing the load.

When I tested the hub motor back in 2015 it was clearly a motor that offered assistance when you were already moving. This motor system has the power to carry the load right up the mountain entirely on it's own power. Low hiking speeds and tons of torque in this chain drive system.

I found that I operate the Pack Wheel a little differently for crossing obstacles. Typically without a motor when I need to go over a rock or log I would lower my arms to take some weight off the wheel so that I could bump the wheel up and over the obstacle. Doing this technique with the motor can make the wheel spin out by not having enough traction. So, to go over obstacles with the motor I don't lower my arms but instead push the wheel up against the obstacle to give the wheel extra weight to give it the traction needed to climb over the obstacle. Butting my waist up against the back of the handle and leaning into the Pack Wheel provided me the best solution for getting the traction to climb over deadfall and rocks. 

Some other cool features of this motorized system. Without any tools and in less than a minute you can slide the battery off, slide the motor off and remove the chain for a non-motorized system. Say you were deep in the backcountry and the motor seized of for some odd reason you can just disconnect the motor or remove it and still be able to use the Pack Wheel.

I'm still working on how long the battery will last. I need to run the numbers on paper as best as possible for number's sake, however, I trust in the field use over numbers on paper. I have more testing to do. I can say that on the first test with the 28 lb motorized Pack Wheel (see video below) we hiked up the mountain for a few hours using the motor stopping to check cameras along the way. I would guess that the motor received a solid hour of use and after the trip, the battery power level indicator LEDs still show full power.

All-in-all I really love this motorized system I still need to tweak the gear ratio and other components but am getting close to offering this as an option for the Pack Wheel.

Below are a couple videos from testing the motorized Pack Wheel this summer.

 

 

The DIY Hunter testing a motorized Pack Wheel game cart with high torque that operates at hiking speeds.

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