Johnson Outdoors has filed a patent for a watercraft pedal drive system that allows for both manual pedaling and on-demand pedal assistance. The system includes a manual drive train with pedals and a crankshaft, as well as an assist drive train with an electric motor. The motor can provide varying levels of assistance to supplement the user’s pedal force. The system also includes a thrust unit and a coupling arrangement with both manual and assist modes. GlobalData’s report on Johnson Outdoors gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
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Pedal drive system for watercraft with manual and assist modes
A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230174210A1) describes a pedal drive system for a watercraft. The system includes a manual drive train with pedals attached to a crankshaft, an assist drive train with a motor, and a thrust unit. The system also features a coupling arrangement with a manual mode and an assist mode.
In the assist mode, a one-way clutch allows the first gear to rotate at a greater speed than the crankshaft, providing additional power to the thrust unit. In the manual mode, the coupling arrangement fixes the crankshaft to the first gear, causing them to rotate at the same speed. The system allows for backpedaling in the opposite direction while the first gear is driven by the motor in the assist mode.
The coupling arrangement includes a coupler that can be engaged or disengaged from the first gear. In the manual mode, the coupler connects the crankshaft to the first gear, allowing for rotation in both directions. In the assist mode, the coupler is disengaged, preventing torque transfer to the first gear.
The patent also describes an electrically powered coupling actuator, such as an electromagnet, for transitioning the coupler into or out of engagement with the first gear. The coupler remains fixed to the crankshaft in both the assist and manual modes.
The thrust unit of the pedal drive system includes a propeller, which generates thrust for the watercraft. The system allows for output of thrust in different directions depending on the rotation of the crankshaft.
The patent also mentions the use of a one-way clutch between the first gear and the crankshaft, allowing torque transfer in one direction but not the other.
The pedal drive system described in the patent can be mounted to a watercraft hull, providing a means of propulsion for the vessel.
Overall, this patent presents a pedal drive system for watercraft that combines manual and assist modes, allowing for efficient and versatile propulsion. The system includes a coupling arrangement, a one-way clutch, and an electrically powered coupling actuator, providing various options for controlling the power transfer and direction of thrust.