Electric Winch - Current Draw & how long can u winch for?

Submitted: Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 23:39
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Guys....

Finally tested the Electric Winch out and I was watching the in-car Voltmeter drop down well below the "normal" charging rate..... Got me thinking as to how long can u winch for (with engine running) b4 u start running into troubles with draining your main battery too far ???
I realise that winches are high current draw, and that there's no ALT that will be able to keep up with the high current demand, but what sort of time frame should u winch for b4 giving the battery a rest?
Cheers..... RobM
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 10:03

Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 10:03
Hi Rob,

A few variables to consider. What sort of doo doo are you stuck in? Bogged in mud so bad that your vehicle is sitting on it's chassis will test most winches.
What capacity is your winch?
How heavy is your vehicle?
Can you use a snatch block to lessen the load?
What capacity do you have in batteries?
The other factor to keep in mind is how hot your winch motor is getting. Really heavy winching may need you to let your winch cool off a bit before proceeding.
Some winches have a maximum current draw around 400 amps plus if under heavy load.
Although you don't see them much these days, this was a great advantage of the PTO style of winch. As long as your engine was running you could keep winching all day. No overheating or solinoids to burn out. One downside was that it was a fair bit harder to assist the winch by driving the vehicle while winching. Difficult but not impossible.

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Member - J&R - Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 13:46

Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 13:46
x2 pop2jocem
Determining factor will be winch duty cycle really.
But you give us no relevant information to offer an informed opinion.
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 14:22

Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 14:22
Hard to say but high beam off at night if you have an idle up switch or dial I would run it at 12,000rpm at least so you alternator is working. Use a snatch block as often as you can to reduce load it can draw up to 480amps in a single line pull depending on the brand don't turn the motor off straight away. Most winching only takes 10 to 20min of actual run time so a good battery will have no problems with coping.
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Follow Up By: Member - J&R - Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 14:37

Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 14:37
12,000 rpm ??????
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 20:40

Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 20:40
mot sure what the ? marks are 4 easier just to ask the question
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Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 21:01

Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 21:01
and yes it should be easy to figure out I ment 1,200rpm not 12,000 because it's not a rotary
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Follow Up By: Member - J&R - Monday, May 27, 2013 at 18:16

Monday, May 27, 2013 at 18:16
Why waste words????
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Reply By: Crackles - Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 18:18

Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 18:18
Rob it's impossible to say with any accuracy as an electric winch can consume any where between 50 amps free winding up to 450 amps at maximum load. Don't be too concerned by the volt reading while winching as it's not a true indication of the state of charge of the battery & will often read well below 12volts.
As a broad guide if winching a severely stuck car you may expect as little as 5 minutes run time up to 30 minutes with light intermittent use. Even when the battery is flat the reality is while the engine is still charging the winch will continue to work but at a reduced pulling capacity.
Cheers Craig....
AnswerID: 511877

Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Monday, May 27, 2013 at 00:28

Monday, May 27, 2013 at 00:28
Thanks for that.... My winch is a 13,000lb winch with plasma rope..... I tested it in our back paddock where there a 20degree hill. I tested it as a straight pull and just had the car in neutral so there wasn't much stress/load on the winch. The winch was very slow though and I checked the temp of the winch at the end and it was still cold, so it certainly wasn't being tested at any sort of load..... Would be nice to have a hand throttle though in the Prado, but nothing like that these days in these modern vehicles

Cheers..... RobM
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Follow Up By: Crackles - Monday, May 27, 2013 at 16:51

Monday, May 27, 2013 at 16:51
Rob as you have a 13,000lb winch it will pull the Playdoe quite easily so current draw will generally be reduced, but having such a slow line speed will mean it will need to run twice as long to recover your vehicle.
While there may not be many vehicles with hand throttles these days there are several with an idle up switch that will assist charging the batteries during winching.
Cheers Craig..........
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Follow Up By: RobMac (QLD_Member) - Monday, May 27, 2013 at 17:09

Monday, May 27, 2013 at 17:09
You're not wrong with having a slow line speed and the taken to get me out if/when req'd..... I guess the key will be patience and try not to run the winch too long and drain the battery
Cheers..... RobM
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Reply By: howesy - Monday, May 27, 2013 at 18:14

Monday, May 27, 2013 at 18:14
As previously stated the greater the load the more amp draw,,,look up the winch specs online and it will give you an idea.
I have never tripped my circuit breaker which is 250amp so I reckon the average pull on my brand would be around the 200 or so amps
even on a heavy pull I doubt you would ever exceed 8000lb or 3600kg
just remember the more the load the slower the line speed and the more the amp draw
I've winched off my deep cycle without the engine with no drama for one pull.
AnswerID: 511954

Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, May 27, 2013 at 18:29

Monday, May 27, 2013 at 18:29
You have some good answers there Rob, I'd add that next time get a 10,000lb not a 13000 for your particular car.

Mostly the 13000 just means higher and more lossey gear ratios and less effective winching overall.

I suspect though that your winching limit will be max 5 minutes in 15 min under load and you will be limited by melting of plasma rope. You may have a protective cover on the end of your plasma rope , but you really need one on the end tied to the drum.

You can winch longer but less safely with steel rope as it does not insulate the winch drum.

Watch for cable layer pull through , and wind up rope only under load and prefferably with a bit of a criss cross.

On my winches I reduce the winch cable length to 20m max and use shorter extension straps which causes stronger pull and less heat buildup.

The cut off rope end makes a good 2nd extension strap.





Robin Miller

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