Wiring a Winch to a Battery: Step By Step Guide

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Last Updated on June 19, 2021 by Ellis Gibson (B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering)

Nowadays, most of the available winches are commercially are powered by electricity. Other winches are hydraulic powered but are primarily used in recreational places. Winches consume a lot of electricity. When you do proper wiring, there will be a powerful connection to the winch through a car’s battery or any other battery that can power the winch only.

It is advisable to keep the car running when operating the winch using the rig’s main battery. The action will prevent the rig’s battery from being drained by the winch. Therefore, it is good to have proper knowledge when wiring a winch to a battery.

Methods Are Used For Wiring a Winch to the Battery

Different methods are used for wiring a winch, but the recommended methods always depend on three specifications.

  • The user needs to mount the winch; the winch can be mounted either at the car’s front or at the back part of the vehicle.
  • The second thing is the winching that you need to do. Again, there are different types of winching on the vehicle. They include; light-duty winching, medium-duty winching, and heavy-duty winching.

The light-duty winching is done below the winch’s maximum weight capacity, and it does small to medium inclines. The medium-duty winching is done within the winches’ weight capacity, and it does medium inclines and pulling. The heavy-duty is for the very heavyweights that are close to the maximum capacity of the winch. Heavy-duty also does the rough and steep terrains. Due to its serious work, it is advisable to use an additional battery when doing heavy-duty wrenching.

  • The third thing to consider is how much the wrench is used.

Wiring a Front-Mount Vehicle – Recovery Winch

How to wire your winch using both batteries
Image Source: www.redarc.com.au

When a winch is mounted at the front of the vehicle, there are two ways of power provision. These two ways include the following:

Method-01:

Winch wiring using the battery of the vehicle:

This kind of winch is recommended for the light and medium-duty winch regularly.  It also requires a high-powered battery with a cold ranking of 440amps and an alternator of 60- amp.

Steps:

  1. Connect the powered wire to the positive terminal of the post on the winch.
  2. Secondly, you need to connect the negative post of the winch with the negative wire.
  3. Take both wires and run them from the winch to the engine compartment. Make sure the cables are not pitched. As a result, you should ensure that the wires are not damaged.
  4. Using the an-inline circuit breaker connects the positive terminal of the lead from the winch to the positive terminal of the vehicle’s battery.
  5. Again create a connection between the negative terminal of the lead and the negative terminal of the battery.
  6. Ensure that you install quick disconnects to provide easy removal of the winch when not in use.
  7. The lead on the battery’s side should be connected to the leader on the winch side.
  8. The quick disconnects that you buy should be compatible with the used gauge of wire.

Method-02:

Powering the winch using a backup battery:

This kind of winch is recommended for the medium-duty to the heavy-duty and also frequent winching. This method requires an auxiliary vehicle battery with a cold cracking 441 to 661 amps and an alternator of 60 amp.

Steps:

  1. The auxiliary battery should have parallel wiring with the battery of the vehicle. Again, the combined output of the batteries should add up to 12v.
  2. Make sure that you mount the battery insulator between the battery of the vehicle and the backup battery.
  3. The connection you make should ensure that the winch draws power from the backup battery only to prevent the main car’s battery from being drained when the winching is still in progress.
  4. Ensure that the positive terminal of the power wire is connected to the positive terminal of the post on the car’s battery.
  5. Make sure that the operation of the isolator is done from the ignition circuit.
  6. Connect the positive post of the winch with the power wire.
  7. Connect the negative ground post on the winch with the negative wire.
  8. Take both wires and run them from the winch to the engine compartment. Make sure the cables are not pitched. As a result, you should ensure that the wires are not damaged.
  9. Connect the positive lead from the winch to the backup battery’s positive post.
  10. Connect the winch to the ground post. The negative lead should be attached to the negative ground post of the auxiliary battery.
  11. Ensure that your connection has quick disconnects that are in line with the ground wires and the power.
  12. Connect the side of the vehicle lead backup battery to the lead in the winch side for the operation of the winch.
  13. Ensure that the quick disconnects that you buy are compatible with the gauge of wire used in the application.

Wiring trailer-mounted winch

A trailer-mounted winch can be wired using two methods. These methods are discussed below.

Method-01:

Wiring the winch with a trailer and a wiring kit:

It is recommended for the light-duty to the medium-duty winching frequently. The battery vehicle that is required should have a cold ranking of 440 amps and an alternator of 60 amps. In the winching, quick disconnects are used to ensure easy connections between the trailer-mounted winch and the vehicle’s battery power supply.

Steps:

  1. At the end of the long power wire and the short ground wire, look for a place to install the vehicle side quick disconnect.
  2. Find a clean metal surface on the frame of the vehicle for grounding the short wire from disconnect.
  3. Operate the long power from the quick disconnection to the battery of the vehicle in the engine.
  4. Ensure that the wires are not pitched, so you should avoid hot areas.
  5. Attach the positive wire from the back of the vehicle to the positive post of the car’s battery.
  6. Ground the battery to a clean metal surface on the vehicle’s frame using a short wire with eyelets at the two ends. The short wire should be separate from the other cables you are using.
  7. Wire the trailer-side quick disconnect to the winch.
  8. Connect the positive wire to the winch’s positive post
  9. Connect the earthen wire to the winch’s negative ground post.
  10. Attach the opposite ends of the wires. A quick disconnect on the trailer must connect to the quick disconnect of the side of the vehicle.

Method-02:

Wiring the winch to the auxiliary trailer-mounted battery:

It is approved to be used by heavy-duty and regular winching. It is supposed to be used in a vehicle with a cold-cranking of 441 amps and an alternator of 60 amps. For a winch to receive power, you do not have to hook up the trailer to the vehicle. Instead, a separate battery is used to ensure that the vehicle’s battery is not drained before the operation is used.

Steps:

  1. Install the trailer battery in a safe place at the front of the trailer. Secure placement of the battery ensures that the battery is protected and thereby prolonging the battery life. It is advisable to place the battery inside a toolbox.
  2. Connect the power lead, and the ground lead to the right post on the winch.
  3. Attach the positive wire and the ground wire to the trailer-mounted battery.
  4. Connect the positive wire to the positive post of the battery and the negative wire to the negative pole of the storm.
  5. Charge the battery regularly to ensure that the charge is maintained. The charge will be held at a 12v circuit when there is additional wiring. The trailer connector in the circuit pulls power from the vehicle’s battery.
  6. Once the connection between the 12v accessory circuit and the seven-way trailer is established, the current is supplied. Next, connect the 12-gauge wire and the trailer-side connector.
  7. Ensure a good connection between the trailer-end and the ground to the flame of the trailer.
  8. Do the earthling of the trailer battery and the trailer frame using the 12-gauge wire.
  9. Place the ring terminal at both ends of the wire.
  10. On the trailer-mounted battery, connect one end of the ground wire to the negative post.
  11. Connect the remaining part to a clean metal surface at the vehicle’s frame using a self-tapping screw.
  12. The 12 voltage wire will maintain the battery charge of the trailer-mounted when the vehicle is running while connecting the trailer and the car.

Conclusion

Wiring a winch to a battery is a straightforward procedure when followed correctly. In this article, we have discussed the simple and effective steps used in wiring a winch. It is essential to know the steps for winch wiring. It will be so easy and cost-effective to do it by yourself than calling for assistance.

Again it is essential to know that the trailer’s wiring should be disconnected from the vehicle tow when operating the winch. There will be an overload on the 12 voltage accessory wire; you fail to disconnect in any case.  The surplus may lead to the damage of the battery and the circuit.

FAQ

How long will my winch function on a battery?

A winch lasts for approximately two to three minutes when it runs on battery, and the period differs from one winch to another depending on the model.

Can my winch require its battery?

The winch requires its battery to function well. It is advisable to have a different battery for your winch.

Can I run my winch using a generator?

As long as the winch and the generator voltage match, you may run the winch to a generator. But if not, it is advisable not to run the winch with the generator.

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