Power Base - Heavy Duty Ball Winders by NKK

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Power Base


The most common upgrade for the Ball Winder is the Power Base. No other manual ball winder in the World has the ability to be upgraded to a motorized unit except for ours.

In order to have the ability to upgrade to a motorized unit, you must first start wth a sturdy platform. Our Heavy Duty Ball Winder is such a platform. We designed it to be tough with heavy duty Swiss gears and large diamter shafts in key areas (3/8" and 10mm). You then need to add a robust motor control system and a motor with enough torque to wind large balls but also not tear the yarn in the event of a jam, etc.

Our Power Base and professionally designed electronic motor control unit have the following features:

  • 10 forward speeds (Run)

  • 3 Jog Speeds forward

  • 3 Jog speeds reverse

  • A "Save" button which saves your preferred speed  

  • Electronic Yarn Meter Interface connection

  • Foot Pedal connection

  • Wooden Safety Guard

  • Auto shutoff feaure to protect circuit

  • Sturdy clamp system that secures the power base to tabel and ball wider to power base

  • Front mounted control panel (membrane switches)

  • Rear mounted Input/Output Panel for cables

  • 24 Volt DC Power Supply 100-240 VAC 50/60 Hz Worldwide Power Supply

  • Front mounted "Power On" LED

  • Maple Hardwood dovetail joint housing with custom 5/16" dia. L Bolts and clamp blocks

  • Effective RPM at Spindle Arm approx. 650 RPM based on a 5X gear multiplier, 100 Ounce/Inch Torque (135 RPM at motor shaft)


NKK Power Base with electronic control panel and simpler Power Base Lite with power switch and speed dial.

We designed the unit to be used manually and with a motor from day 1 (even though it was 2 years after we launched the manual unit before we motorized it). We knew that most users, especially commercial users like yarn shops, would want to motorize their ball winder if they could. But we also knew that they should not be required to purchase another ball winder.

Looking back, in many ways, the project was easy to design. We just had to come up with a motor drive system that could access the main handle shaft on the ball winder. Electronics, control systems, and clamping methods came next. We ended up designing a very sturdy system that not only safely supported the heavy ball winder but also housed all the cabling and electronics in an intuitive hardwood housing.

Our Motorized ball winder will not break your yarn no matter what!
At trade shows, we demonstrate how we can literally grab the yarn in mid-flight going from a swift to the motorized ball winder at high speed and the ball winder stops turning and the yarn remains intact! It is almost like a Las Vegas magician trick. We designed the system to have the belt automatically slip on the motor pulley whenever resistance was sensed by the system. Once the resistance is removed, the belt no longer slips and rotation resumes.

Who uses the motorized systems?

Yarn shop owners - The motorized unit essentially serves as an employee for the shop. The staff gets addicted to having it around and will never go back to manually winding!

Professionals who make a living with yarn
- Anyone who winds a lot of balls and/or wants a machine to do the winding while they do much more constructive tasks prefers to have this unit on their team.

Knitters at home
who can afford it or who have an infirmity such as a bad shoulder, etc., use the motorized ball winder.

Production operations
- we have sold systems to knitters that make knitting kits for re-sale or for good causes. Since they wind so many balls this machine takes the workload off of their shoulders and allows them to get other things done.

Our motorized ball winder is the workhorse of the knitting industry, day in and day out since 2008.
Once you go electric you will never go back to manual winding!

Update Summer 2014 - the Power Base can now work with our Electronic Rotation Counter (ERC) which is mounted on our Skein-winders. When you unwind yarn from the skein-winder to the ball winder the ERC on the skeinwinder can be set to a certain quantity of yarn and it will signal the power base to turn off when that quantity has bee reached. There is no need to get our Electronic Yarn Meter if you have our skein-winder with ERC

  • Footprint for the Power Base:  6.5" wide x 12" deep
  • Power cord length on power supply:  total of 12' (6' + 6')
  • As of mid-2013:  approximately 500 shipped Worldwide (mostly NKK Power Base)
  • Started shipping: Fall 2008

Motorized units - how long do they last?

The motor inside a Power Base has an estimated life of 2,000 operating hours. That means that if you ran your ball winder for 1 hour per day, 7 days per week, the motor would last 5.5 years. During that time, you will have wound 15 -20 million yards of yarn.

The motor has brushes that wear and when they wear too much, the motor eventually loses torque (power). But all that you do at that point is call NKK and we sell you a replacement motor for a reasonable price and you install it yourself! You can then wind another 15-20 million yards of yarn. I often tell users it is like a set of brake pads for your car. Once you replace them, the car stops properly again. The replacement motor will allow your ball winder to work just like new.

The unit uses special drive belts. We estimate that busy yarn shows need to change these about every 6  months or they will become stretched and will not work properly. You simply call us and we sell you some new belts for a nominal fee and you are all set again. Think of these as vacuum cleaner belts but much more reliable (they generally do not break but they do stretch). 3 Belts come with the unit (enough to go 1+ years).

Other than that, the power base needs no other servicing.

The ball winder itself needs periodic maintenance which is covered under the maintenace section.

The biggest reservation we hear from potential new users is that they are afraid the unit will break their yarn. It won't happen and we guarantee it. Our automatic slip design will cause the belt to slip on the drive pulley as soon as it sees any resistance caused by a jam, a knot, whatever. The ONLY time I saw the unit break yarn was when I was winding a SINGLE yarn (non-plied) which was so fragile that if you picked it up in your two hands it would pull apart easily. That yarn could not be wound by any machine.

Power Base Liteā„¢

We no longer offer the Power Base Lite version


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