The most common winch type is the Electric winch

by:JPSK     2020-08-17

A simple gearbox arrangement reduces the high speed of the electric motor (similar to a starter motor) to a low speed high torque rotation of the winch drum. A set of electrical solenoids supply power from the battery to the electric motor and the cable can generally be driven in or out of the winch. Clutch arrangements allow for free spooling the cable from the winch, reducing battery drain and rapid deployment of the cable.

Most low mount winches have a brake assembly, which by design is engaged during the outward drive of the winch - in other words when driving the cable out the brake is on. The idea is that when you are driving the cable out you would be lowering yourself backward down a hill, so when you stop winching the vehicle will stop. The down side is that the break assembly will wear with continued use, so driving against the break should be limited to the times it is required.

The best set up for providing power to your electric winch is a dual battery set up, with the winch running off your main/cranking battery. The engine should be run during the winching operation in order to recharge the battery and if you have a fast idle switch or throttle then this should be used to increase the revs and in turn, your alternator power output. The alternator can go into a heavy cycle and push out 100A when the winch is under heavy load. This can cause the alternator to heat up. A good indication is the voltage meter on your dash. If this drops by a few volts it is a good time to give it a couple of minutes rest. The alternator will stabilise and drop back to supplying 70A or 80A back to the batteries ready for the next winch assault.

Hydraulic winches are powered by fluid pressure from a hydraulic pump that's powered by the vehicle engine. These winches offer more reliability and endurance than an electric winch and the power of a PTO winch. The majority of these are of the drum type and are usually mounted at the front or the rear of the vehicle.

Most hydraulic winches available use the existing power steering pump in the vehicle. They are generally slower in their wind in speed but offer higher winching capabilities for prolonged periods. As most of the hydraulic winches utilize the power steering hydraulic pump of the vehicle a valve system is incorporated to provide the hydraulic fluid to either the winch or the steering, so steering and winching cannot be operated at the same time. Because of the steering system modification, it would be wise to confirm if the system would be acceptable to the vehicle manufacturer regarding warranty, your insurance company, and acceptability with vehicle licensing authorities.

All travellers should be capable and equipped for winching so in this article we will discuss the various winching methods and equipment on the market. Written in conjunction with one of Australia's most noted experts in winch gear, we will also discuss some important safety issues along with providing some practical tips to suit everyone from traveller to competitor.

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