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Winch Wiring Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by stonylaroux, Nov 12, 2020.

  1. Nov 12, 2020 at 6:36 PM
    #1
    stonylaroux

    stonylaroux [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm looking to have a cradle mounted winch that I can use at my front hitch and my rear trailer hitch as needed. I would like to have an Anderson quick connector at each spot to facilitate this. I am no electrical engineer and don't want to see my rig catch fire because I did this wrong. Below is what I was thinking in terms of a schematic diagram:

    upload_2020-11-12_18-14-16.jpg

    All wires would be 2 gauge (updated to 4/0) thickness. I would be doing the connections myself. I plan on getting a winch rated to around 12,000 lbs so I'm looking at 400-500 amps during maximum pull. Am I missing anything?

    Is it okay to do a 3-way split on 4/0 wire where I have it shown? Or should I look for a switch that can just send the current to the front or back for me to act as the split?

    I am unsure of the rating the circuit breaker needs to be. Is a breaker in the 400-500 amp range what I'm looking for? This is similar to what I was thinking (https://www.amazon.com/0-GAUGE-CIRCUIT-INDUSTRIAL-GETWIREDUSA-FX313-500A/dp/B01CIZ9SD4) Any advice here greatly appreciated!

    Alternatively, I have considered getting this Warn cable (https://www.warn.com/winch-quick-connect-booster-cable-26769) or similar and just connecting the clamps straight to the battery when and if I need the winch. Could this be achieved with a cheaper jump starter cable that I cut off the clamps on one side and put connectors instead?

    Let me know our thoughts or if there is a simpler way of doing this that I am not thinking of.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
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  2. Nov 12, 2020 at 7:21 PM
    #2
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    2awg wire is nowhere near enough to run a winch. Especially not with a 20-25ft wire length. You need to be looking at 2/0, possibly 4/0.

    there will be a roughly 22% voltage drop with that load at that distance. This will drastically decrease winch performance and increase amp draw, making that small of wiring even more dangerous.
     
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  3. Nov 13, 2020 at 4:06 AM
    #3
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    To bad your across the country .Just what winch model do you have??

    I used 2/0 welding cable to install my receiver Hitch winch .

    If your going Low Budget maybe a temporary set up making cables long enough to reach the rear with a quick disconnect that attaches to the battery this also gives you the option of using the winch on any vehicle with a receiver hitch

    Quick Disconnects I bought off McMaster -Carr. No problems after a few years

    A Circuit breaker and switch could be combined to save money The breaker you linked would not hold up if your truck sees more then the far reaches of the Mall
     
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  4. Nov 13, 2020 at 4:24 AM
    #4
    rnish

    rnish Well-Known Member

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    I run my winch through a Blue Seas switch, no breaker.
     
  5. Nov 13, 2020 at 1:07 PM
    #5
    stonylaroux

    stonylaroux [OP] Well-Known Member

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    This is where my lack of deeper electrical knowledge comes in. I'll look to move up to 4/0 size for the lead to the rear and maybe 2/0 for the front. Your input is much appreciated!


    I haven't purchased a winch yet. Waiting on these coming sales to see but in the 12k lbs area. Budget isn't really the main concern. I prioritize ease of use and reliability. Also, I'd like to do it once and not regret it.

    I do like the idea of being able to use it in other cars and it being not so permanent in my car. Are you talking about installing a quick connect like this to my battery (https://www.warn.com/quick-connect-power-28in-36080) and then using a separate cable to the winch that plugs into that previous cable? Or would it be better to just use clamps or some other sort of connector other than the Anderson at the battery terminals? Other cars may not have an Anderson end to hook the winch into so a clamp or similar might be more universal. Would clamps similar to a pair of jumper cables handle this current for the potential duration?

    Are there off the shelf products you could send a link to? Also, could you recommend a better breaker? I have found few in the 500 amp range.

    Thanks again!
     
  6. Nov 13, 2020 at 2:33 PM
    #6
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    Yeah, 4/0 is the way to go if there’s a chance of you maxing the winch out. In my experience (back in my Jeep days) you either needed a winch for 3 minutes, or 30. No in-between. 30-min at 400-500A is a lot. You don’t want a fire, especially while your truck is stuck.

    As far as quick connects go, I wouldn’t put too much time into that aside from Anderson connectors at the front and back of your own truck.
    Clamps like the ones on jumper cables won’t be good for that amount of current draw for that length of time. And, the likelihood of someone having a 2” receiver on the front of their truck is pretty slim. Plus, you’ll need 30+ feet to reach from a battery back to the rear hitch. That’s 50+ pounds worth of 4/0 wire.

    when possible, just pull them out with the winch on your truck. When not possible, find a different solution. Trying to get the winch on their truck isn’t worth it.
     
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  7. Nov 13, 2020 at 2:49 PM
    #7
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    That suggestion for being able to move your Winch is for when you might want to use the Wench`s Truck for a Road Trip cross country and think hay lets drag the Winch along just for fun Use it to skid unprocessed firewood out of the yard.
     
  8. Nov 13, 2020 at 2:50 PM
    #8
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    Well then just throw some wire and 4/0 with Anderson connectors on her ride as well lol. Or if it’s just for firewood and stuff, grab a little 3,000lb atv winch from harbor freight lol
     
  9. Nov 13, 2020 at 2:53 PM
    #9
    stealthmode

    stealthmode Well-Known Member

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    Don't use the cheap circuit breakers that have the switch style disconnect.

    I would suggest a fixed style ANL fuse.
    https://www.amazon.com/Baomain-ANL-...HPCFNAQY6RY&psc=1&refRID=BH9Y4B5WVHPCFNAQY6RY
     
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  10. Nov 13, 2020 at 3:10 PM
    #10
    3JOH22A

    3JOH22A Cunning Linguist

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    Those no-name chineseium breakers are garbage - no moisture sealing and they trip at half the rated current. The name-brands (Blue Sea, Bussmann) don't have products in the 400-500 amp range. Since you already have a switch in the system, just get a fuse holder like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Thor-THANLFB-500-ANL-Fuse-Block/dp/B01M2DF03H/

    You don't need to do a 3-way split. Just clamp two wires on the same terminal stud on the switch: https://www.amazon.com/Ampper-Battery-Disconnect-Isolator-Vehicle/dp/B07PN9DR6C/
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
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  11. Nov 13, 2020 at 4:01 PM
    #11
    maineah

    maineah Well-Known Member

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    # 2 is good for 94 amps your start current will exceed that by a factor of at least 2. Motor start current draw 225% greater current than run current can you get away with it probably, but efficiency will drop hence your winch won't have the power it's rated at then add wire length into the mix your asking for motor issues.
     
  12. Nov 13, 2020 at 6:08 PM
    #12
    stonylaroux

    stonylaroux [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I've updated to 4/0 throughout.

    While I am at this, do any of you know where to get 4/0 welding wire for cheap by the foot?

    I'm seeing that most of Warn's quick connects are rated to 175 amps. Shouldn't that be higher? Anderson offers one up to 500 amps (#SB-350) but the plug itself is also bigger in size (not necessarily an issue for me) than the typical winch quick connects you see around. Just curious why the 175A quick connects are so prevalent.
     
  13. Nov 14, 2020 at 2:58 AM
    #13
    Wyoming09

    Wyoming09 Well-Known Member

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    Your on the wrong side of the country all my sources are East Coast Shipping would eliminate any savings

    Any Industrial Salvage companies close by one can sometimes get some great deals.
     
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  14. Nov 14, 2020 at 4:38 AM
    #14
    deanosaurus

    deanosaurus Caveman

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    Take a cruise through https://www.ebay.com/str/acdcwireandsupply - I've used them before.

    In particular, they sell several winch kits, like this one: https://www.ebay.com/itm/4-GAUGE-24...WIRING-KIT-TRAILER-MOUNTED-WINCH/303026731472

    But you can cruise through their inventory and see if it's the best deal for you.
     
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  15. Nov 14, 2020 at 4:40 AM
    #15
    maineah

    maineah Well-Known Member

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    You need to find out your winch motors current draw. I'm kind of thinking it's not outrageous because of the gear reduction of the wench. Welding cable is expensive because the wires individually are very small lot of them that makes them very flexible so a standard 4/0 wire run and maybe a couple feet of welding cable on the winch motor. Harbor freight has a clamp on amp meter for like $15 not exactly high quality but close enough it's a simple device with a "claw" that loops around the wire maybe a friend that has a winch installed to check what a working winch draws for current.
     
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  16. Nov 14, 2020 at 10:22 AM
    #16
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks I used to fix people's crappy stereos

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    You’d be pretty surprised. Most 8,000-12,000 pound winches have a max amp draw between 400-500A. That is a ton of power.
     
  17. Nov 14, 2020 at 11:40 AM
    #17
    maineah

    maineah Well-Known Member

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    The entire truck weights less than 5,000 lbs! OK at 400 amps a #4/0 is marginal at 380 amps thinking a battery both ends if you want to recover your truck from the bottom of a pit. Shoot I pulled a Ranger half way up it's doors in mud out with a 3500lb electric winch chained to my tractor because I didn't want to make the road even worse! Guess I have never tried hard enough to get my truck hopelessly stuck!
     
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  18. Nov 16, 2020 at 2:08 AM
    #18
    06Tacooo

    06Tacooo Earth Czar

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    Mine's a little different. My Terra 45 (max 9000lb.) winch and a 4"X4"X4" pvc weatherproof electrical box are mounted on a short piece of square steel tubing that fits the trailer hitch. The control box contains the solenoid, fuse, port for my wireless control receiver, and plus and minus battery studs mounted one on each side. This allows me to connect it with jumper cables to the truck's battery. Works great, properly fused, portable, use on any vehicle with a 2" trailer hitch and a battery.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
  19. Nov 16, 2020 at 2:50 AM
    #19
    norsea

    norsea Well-Known Member

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    I have not seen any comments about your diagram. I have seen lots of good advice in this thread.

    My concern is that you want to ground your winch when on the rear to something other than the battery; that's what I see in your diagram.

    That could be a recipe for disaster. Everything I have read about heavy amp draw states that it is imperative to have the ground at the battery.

    I suspect this is part of the reason someone warned you about the weight of the cables you will need to run to the rear of your vehicle. Two cables required; one each for positive and negative from the battery.

    That being said, I have this setup on my truck. I can plug and play my Anderson connectors at the front where the battery is such that I am connected to the rear cabling or to the winch when it is in the front; impossible to have juice on both sets of wires at the same time. For what it's worth, we are not rock crawlers. We travel (a lot) and live in the truck for months at a time when we do. My point being that I have no desire to be doing vehicle repairs when we are out and about. I want bullet proof electrics and spare little to no expense to see that we do never have electrical problems. Never cheap out on electrical systems. Repeat after me, "It's only money!". And for anyone who cares, work your backside off until you retire and you will be able to do this in your old age too! The snail logo reflects our style; move slow and carry you home on your back. We dislike freeway travel and much prefer dirt roads, or two lane blacktop when dirt is not available. Boondocks camping is the bomb!

    This configuration also allows me to use the cables to the rear of the vehicle to provide power to my battery bank in the rear of the vehicle to keep them charged. I use Anderson connectors there as well so I can switch between them (charging) and powering the winch when need using the trailer hitch for the winch mount. The power for the winch comes from the truck battery because the engine needs to be powering the alternator so the battery is getting good solid amperage when the winch is in use.

    When using the winch in the rear, I have a jumper in the front that has to be changed (Anderson connectors) so the wiring is no longer going through an isolator and circuit breaker that is utilized when connected to the camp batteries in the rear. SAFETY FIRST!

    Doing things this way keeps the winch out of the weather/water and also allows for a great deal of flexibility; we mostly travel alone and do not have the luxury of having other vehicles around when/if we need to extract ourselves from the stupid zone.

    Good luck with your build...

    Regards,

    Jim
     
  20. Nov 17, 2020 at 10:07 AM
    #20
    BigWhiteTRD

    BigWhiteTRD Official thread killer (only crickets remain)

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    Recommend running ground all the way up to the battery...
    I personally use 300 amp MRB fuses for circuit protection... They can blow under very strong pulls, but that's fine with me

    I didn't 'split' my wiring to go forward and aft. I located an Anderson connector in the engine bay connected to the (aux) battery. When I use a front winch (on front receiver) I plug it into the connector under the hood. When I want to use rear winch (on rear receiver) I plug in cable that is permanently in the truck into the front Anderson connector, and then plug the winch into the rear.
     
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