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Winch Wiring and Protection

 
 
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k16tomcat
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Joined: 09 Apr 2015
Odometer: 5




PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 9:15 pm    Post subject: Winch Wiring and Protection Reply with quote

Hi all,

I am very new to the whole off road game but I think I am progressing and learning as I get into it.

I know this is a controversial subject, some people go without fusing the winch line and others like to but finding a fuse that would be reliable with such high demands is often hard to find. Not to mention the inconvenience if it blows when you're in the middle of no where and you really need the winch.

I am in the camp that is all for protecting the live line and I have spent some time determining how I would like to isolate it when I am not using it and also to fuse it against any problems that may be caused by a short circuit.

What I am trying to gauge at the moment is how much interest from others there may be in setting up there winch wiring safely and what people would be willing to spend on a wiring kit.

I have achieved a system that will reliably power the winch with no worries of a surge blowing a fuse but that will isolate it from the battery before a short circuit occurs. It is easily resettable requiring no parts replacement after the cable has been visually confirmed ok and can be isolated to prevent it from triggering a second time if you're satisfied there is no danger.
It allows the winch cable to be isolated from the battey when it is not in use.
Provides a high level of protection for the cable minimising the chance of a short circuit in the first place.

I would like to hear as many different peoples opinions on this; good, bad or indifferent.

Carl
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RichardD
Marshall


Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Odometer: 22856
Location: State of Confusion



PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most serious/competition vehicles have their wiring set up the same way:
35mm2 earth back to the batteries
35 or 55mm2 cable for +ve from winch to an isolator (150A) in the cab, then to a BIG isolator to kill all power to the vehicle (including engine stop) and then back to the battery.

I've never come across anyone fitting an actual fuse on a proper win given the current flow it would need to handle is over 300A before blowing. Producing a kit is equally fraught with difficulty as everyone has their switchgear in different places.

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k16tomcat
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Joined: 09 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Richard,
I'd kind of considered the switch gear issue, only in the sense that the cable would be made to order especially since there is not just one make or model of vehicle that has a winch mounted to it. And with varying battery locations, bumpers, relocated solenoid packs and the like it would be impossible to say one kit will work for everyone.

Also, I think I would be aiming more towards the Recreational user or a Pay and Play type vehicle where the car could be in constant daily use.
The Serious winch challenge trucks I imagine would spend a great deal of time with the batteries in an isolated state while being stored waiting for the next event not to mention the regular maintenance that goes hand in hand with most of these vehicles an issue is likely to be spotted before it becomes a major concern.

I intend to use a 50mm² cable for both the power and earth terminated with a choice of either crimped battery terminals or crimped ring terminals depending on the application so it would make for a very tidy and reliable installation in terms of minimising resistances at connections and ensuring a good voltage supply.

A fuse won't work, or it may work with this system. There trouble with fuses and a circuit that operates as a winch does is that the fuse either will not stand up to the surge current and will blow even when there is no fault causing headaches and stress for the person stuck in the middle of nowhere because they've burned out the fuse and the 2 spares they had tucked away in the car.
Or the fuse will be sufficient enough to handle the surge but then you're adding a 500A fuse into a wiring circuit where the cables should only take 350-400A.

My system would simply turn it off for you automatically if it sees that the insulation in compromised and a short circuit to ground is likely.
You'd be able to reset it once it is verified to be ok and continue.
You would be able to continue winching even if the first insulation layer is compromised by bypassing the safety switch should you have to.

More comments and criticisms welcome Smile. I know it won't be for everyone but I'm trying to decide whether there would be anyone interested or not.
Also if anyone could say what they would think fair for a safe winch wiring solution ready made with real materials and quality workmanship.

Carl
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Xpajun
Mud Obsessed


Joined: 22 Sep 2008
Odometer: 3233



1988 Mitsubishi Shogun

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A winch on full load can draw around 500 amps - cheap chinese winches are always likely to be on full load - using a fuse in a winch circuit would be like using a fuse in a starter circuit...
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k16tomcat
Gate Opener


Joined: 09 Apr 2015
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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

As you have quite rightly pointed out 500A Is quite likely an everyday occurrence for some people. The highest current the circuit is likely to receive is governed by the user. If the winch is abused to the point it stalls you could be drawing upwards of 800A-900A down those cables. More if your batteries will allow.

There would be no fuse inline with the winch circuit. The proposed system would only be monitoring the Live cable for a short circuit to ground. If this occurs it is simply switched off. it would not be there to protect any overload of current on the circuit.

Carl
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RichardD
Marshall


Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Odometer: 22856
Location: State of Confusion



PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

k16tomcat wrote:
If the winch is abused to the point it stalls you could be drawing upwards of 800A-900A down those cables. More if your batteries will allow.


The problem you face when making a product of this type for public sale is one of liability rather than practicality. There is a reason why there are no kits currently available, only parts you can buy to make up your own system.

Your concept has merits but I think you are leaving yourself wide open to being sued when someone sets their car on fire, even though it may be their own fault. You describe taking a winch to stall out levels as "abuse". That isn't abuse, it is simply use and as a manufacturer of a product to use with that winch you are legally required to take reasonable misuse into account. This is why most products in this sector have safety factors of 3 or 4 times. The Warn 8274 fitted to the rear of my challenge truck (bought last year from a well known local competitor) used the crappiest thin wires for both +ve & -ve but he couldn't understand why the winch didn't work very well.

During a competition I will take my winches very close to stalling out, up to and including breaking Plasma ropes and strops. This is not abuse, it is express reason for fitting them but I (allegedly) as a competitor and off roader of 15+ years experience of everything from an SJ to a 6x6 Volvo know what I'm doing with winches - a "leisure" 4x4 driver will be MORE likely to fail to recognise something is going wrong and you need to take that into account.

Maybe producing a kit of components for the purchaser to put together into a system as they see fit might give you some comfort but I'd be sure to have a lot of product liability insurance.

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Poking the Grim Reaper with a stick then running away. The devil made me do it but God said it was okay with him.
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Xpajun
Mud Obsessed


Joined: 22 Sep 2008
Odometer: 3233



1988 Mitsubishi Shogun

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

k16tomcat wrote:
Hi,

The proposed system would only be monitoring the Live cable for a short circuit to ground.


With an overload, which many winches operate at, you would be causing a short circuit to ground through the motor - in fact the closer to stall the greater the short circuit.


k16tomcat wrote:
If this occurs it is simply switched of.

Carl


To be honest, a winch that switches off midway through a recovery could well be a disaster waiting to happen...
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RichardD
Marshall


Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Odometer: 22856
Location: State of Confusion



PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Karl
I know we're sounding very negative about your concept, I'm sure you've got some great ideas but I would point you towards making some switching or isolating products for others to wire in as they see fit.

There used to be an urban myth about vehicles being folded in half by the rope being pulled out and run over to the back of the car and a paper clip being used to shortcircuit the controls to winch in. It was one of the main reasons we all fitted isolators on the +ve in the first place.

My choice is to keep it simple and use mechanical isolators. If you use big enough cables then the motor will lose all its smoke long before the cables burn (ask me how I know that ..........)

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Poking the Grim Reaper with a stick then running away. The devil made me do it but God said it was okay with him.
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** GED **
Off-Road Guru


Joined: 18 Jun 2014
Odometer: 1962
Location: Scouser



PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

carl, before enthusiasts, especially seasoned ones will part with any money, they will want to know the pedigree of the product. as there isnt one, the next place they will look is at the manufacturer/designer.

what qualifies you to design such a system?

Ged

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cynic-al
Mud Obsessed


Joined: 14 Nov 2006
Odometer: 6025
Location: scunthorpe


1989 Suzuki SJ

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an interesting concept. The only way I've been able to think to do it is to look for a difference in current between the + and - line. If the + shorts in some way to the body then the indifference would cause the trip. I never took it any further than a passing thought as unless the cable is running against a sharp edge or dangling under the car there is little reason for breakdown.

The most likely fault I can see is if the solenoid sticks or something shorts the low current wiring or mud in the switch makes it stick. In any of these instances the above proposed safety device wouldn't trip and this is where an isolator in easy reach saves the day.

On my sj I had the isolator on the dash. This was criticised for not being outside so on the range rover I put it on the grill. This suffered constant failure due to mud and I'm not payout out for a marine one so I basically used an Anderson connector with a loop of cable that you can yank in an emergency. This gives you your emergency off if your using the outside controls. I also have 2 low current switches on the dash so that if one did stick on you have a second chance.

My next project is to make an air free spool so I guess that could be a third safety device assuming it was capable of unlocking with load?!

I think the biggest problem you have is competition people will pay big money for stuff but only if it's proven and pay and play people won't pay for anything. This only leaves the all the gear no idea set who will buy stuff so long as it's visible, big and orange and it doesn't matter if it works or not as it's never really used.

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k16tomcat
Gate Opener


Joined: 09 Apr 2015
Odometer: 5




PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All,

Thank you so far for you comments, this is what I am looking for

Richard,
I'm not worried that you're sounding negative. I am here to ask because I have have an idea therefor I will be biased towards it. you will look at it with what I hope to be an unbiased opinion but also draw on your experience as you have done which at the end of the day, whether I like to hear it or not is helpful.
There is no point me wasting my time and money developing this further if no one is intersted or if I develop it and it only meets 99% of your expectations because of a minor oversight that could have been easily included.

The secondary aspect of the cut out, in fact the primary idea when I began looking at this idea was to have a convenient way to isolate the winch to prevent it operating without someone first turning it on.

With regard to the legal aspects and liability, that is a long way away at the moment but a real issue that will have to be looked at very seriously. It may even be the stumbling block for me that will see me shelve the idea and just use it personally. I've never had to organise anything like this so I do not know what to expect in that area.

Ged,
What you say is very true, I am cautious about parting with any of my money without first researching what I am buying.
I have looked for something like what I am proposing for a while and have come up with nothing, that's not to say it isn't out there or no one has done it before as the concept is very simple and easy to implement.

I am not a qualified engineer, nor do I have any experience with design, manufacture or marketing. I am a Technician with several years experience in the Motor trade and Building trade and I have had an idea that I believe will work. I am merely trying to figure out if I would be wasting my time by taking it further or not.

Xpajun,
You are right, the winch in a stall situation does become a dead short to ground for the live cable.
This will not effect the cut out in any way you could continue for as long as you saw fit, so in terms of a cut out during recovery that should only occur if the insulation is compromised. The detection does not rely on current draw so will not cut out as a fuse would. This is in no way an overload protection, that would require more complicated monitoring that although easy enough to implement would be more costly and I expect it would have even less people interested... Simple is better right Smile

Cynic-Al,
I first thought to look for measures differences, then a simple and brilliant idea came to mind that simplified things greatly.
You would be able to switch off the power manually in the case that the solenoid sticks this was a priority for me before I concerned myself with the short circuit protection.
If you really wanted to, you could probably very easily have a system that turned off the power if the solenoid stuck in an on position. It would just require some simple monitoring which would increase the complexity of the system and add to cost.
I guess I could offer it with a big orange button and some highly polished stainless steel.

Thank you everyone for your comments so far. Ive got a little to think about and some good points have been raised that I hadn't previously considered.

Carl
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RichardD
Marshall


Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Odometer: 22856
Location: State of Confusion



PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cynic-al wrote:

My next project is to make an air free spool so I guess that could be a third safety device assuming it was capable of unlocking with load?!


They don't unlock under load.

There is an electric freespool about to hit the market apparently ... still won't unlock under load but cheaper given you don't need a compressor.

Carl
A few years ago I was fed an idea to use a diet coke bottle as a reservoir for my air freespools and despite it working brilliantly I was hammered, online, for promoting an idea that some considered dangerous. The fact that friends have been using it very effectively for years still won't change anyone's mind.

You don't need qualifications or experience to develop a good idea you just need time, patience and usually lots of money. Cynicl-al makes the best points about who might buy it though and at best it is a limited marketplace.

Maybe a single, 'everything' proof box that you simply wire stuff into to make up your own system may be a good route to take?

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cynic-al
Mud Obsessed


Joined: 14 Nov 2006
Odometer: 6025
Location: scunthorpe


1989 Suzuki SJ

PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't think it would unlock under load. Sad I have a/c on board air as I converted the LC80 axle diff lock actuators from electric to air. I have some little cylinders left over from my first attempt to do the conversion. The winch needs to come off for a service so I was going to try use one of these for the freespool. Could work out Smile
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jeepmadmike
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Joined: 08 May 2005
Odometer: 4573
Location: between 6000+7000 rpm and Devon



PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had thoughts about fuses on winch motor feeds.

For me high current fuses are readily available, but I have never bothered because of the charteristics of mains fuses, batteries and cabling we wire winches in 4x4's with.

As said a decent isolator accessible from the drives seat is a must.

Also a ammeter on the motor is a great thing to have, you can then see what is going on and if you are pushing the motor to hard. Snag is that's easier said than done...

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Land Rovers are the root of all evil!

Now i have gone and bought a D4!

one day i might buy a 86" series one like my dad had when i was a boy.
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RichardD
Marshall


Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Odometer: 22856
Location: State of Confusion



PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cynic-al wrote:
Didn't think it would unlock under load. Sad I have a/c on board air as I converted the LC80 axle diff lock actuators from electric to air. I have some little cylinders left over from my first attempt to do the conversion. The winch needs to come off for a service so I was going to try use one of these for the freespool. Could work out Smile


Do you remember how I originally got the air frespools working on UNB?

diet coke bottle, pressurised to 100psi with a link hose from cap to freespool valve ....

Yogi's is still working a treat!

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teamidris
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Joined: 24 Feb 2008
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Location: Staffordshire UK



PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I run a 300 amp fuse on the competition truck and carry a 500 as a spare. Haven't blown it yet. It is for a major electrical problem if one ever happens?

Transistor control is the only ideal way I know to protect the winch motor. That lets you run a six volt motor pulsed-voltage and have a current limiter, plus a temperature protection.

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