Choosing the correct winch
Which winch? Your questions answered.
Choosing the correct winch to suit your application will save you time and money. Here are a few simple hints that will enable you to choose the correct winch.
- Take into account that most applications involve a ‘rolling load’, whereby the load to be moved has straight wheels (and inflated tyres) that are facing forward and have no obstructions (i.e. ruts, stones, rises and dips in the surface to be covered). The less resistance the winch has, the better it will work.
- All drum winches have a rated capacity when all of the wire rope is off the drum (whilst still allowing a minimum of 5 safety wraps on the drum). For example if a winch has a line pull of 2000kgs and a rope length of 30 meters, if 50% of the wire rope is pulled off the drum, the winch will only pull 1000kgs! Similarly, if 25% of the rope is pulled off, the winch will only pull 500kgs, a quarter of its rated load! Always make the most of your rope length and take this into consideration when choosing your winch.
- Always try and maintain a full and adequately wired battery. If vehicle mounted, keep the engine running when winching. Any loss of pulling capacity is normally attributed to low battery power and poor wiring. A good earth is invaluable. Make sure all electrical connections are true and that an adequate wire gauge power cable is used, taking into account length of cable from the battery to the winch; valuable amps/volts can be lost over long lengths of power cable.
- Working duty cycles can be important. If you are going to use a winch regularly, i.e. every day for professional use, then a leisure winch will have a limited life. If the winch is to be used occasionally then a leisure winch may suit the application.
- Consider a pulley block when winching at offset angles to the winch. Also, the use of a pulley block will nearly double the winches capacity; whilst the winch speed will be almost half!
- Without getting too complicated, as a general rule of thumb, if the load you need to move is 1000kgs, then choose a winch that has a capacity 2000kgs. Simply double the load you need to move and this will be your required winch capacity (remember you can use a pulley block to get double the capacity). So, times the load by 2 and you have your winch capacity! Choosing a winch 2 times the size of the load to be moved makes allowances for ruts, ramps, rises and minor obstructions – so make life easy on yourself, your winch and your battery!
As time progresses you will see the benefits of choosing the correct winch to suit the application, and it will save you time and money!