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How to Wire an Electric Winch


Electric winches require power from a battery to be operational. With proper wiring, power can be provided to the winch through a vehicle battery or through a separate, auxiliary battery that powers the winch only.


The recommended way to wire your winch depends on three things:

SuperWinch Electric Winch

1. Where your winch is mounted

  • Trailer/Rear of Vehicle
  • Front of Vehicle

2. Type of winching

  • Light duty
    • Well below your winch's maximum weight capacity
    • Small to medium inclines
  • Medium duty
    • Within your winch's weight capacity
    • Medium inclines and pulling
  • Heavy duty
    • Consistently heavy weights that are close to your winch's maximum capacity
    • Rough and steep terrains
    • An additional battery is recommended to power the winch

3. How often you use your winch





Wiring a Front-Mount Vehicle-Recovery Winch

There are two ways to provide power to a winch when it is mounted on the front of a vehicle. The two options are outlined below.


Wiring Diagram of Front-Mount Winch to Vehicle BatteryWinch Wiring Quick Disconnects

Option 1: Standard Winch Wiring Using Vehicle's Battery

  • Recommended for light- to medium-duty winch and winching on a regular basis
  • Requires a vehicle battery with at least 440 cold-cranking amps and a 60-amp alternator
  • Procedure
    • On the winch
      1. Attach the power wire to the positive post on the winch
      2. Attach the negative wire to the negative ground post on the winch
      3. Run both wires from the winch to the engine compartment, avoiding hot areas and places where the wires could get pinched
    • Under the hood
      1. Attach the positive lead from the winch to the positive post on the vehicle's battery, using an in-line circuit breaker if one is included with the winch
      2. Attach the negative lead from the winch to the negative ground post on the vehicle's battery
  • Quick disconnects can be added to this setup to make it convenient to remove the winch when it is not being used
    • Install quick disconnects in-line with the power and ground wires running to the battery
    • Connect the battery's vehicle-side lead to the winch-side lead to operate the winch
    • Ensure that you buy quick disconnects that are compatible with the gauge of wire used in your application



Wiring Diagram of Front-Mount Winch to Auxiliary Vehicle Battery

Option 2: Using an Auxiliary Battery to Power the Winch

  • Recommended for medium- to heavy-duty and frequent winching
  • Requires an auxiliary vehicle battery with at least 440 to 660 cold-cranking amps and a 60-amp alternator
  • Procedure
    • Auxiliary battery
      • Must be wired in parallel with vehicle's battery
        • Ensures that the output of both batteries combined remains at 12V
      • A battery isolator must be installed between the vehicle's battery and the auxiliary battery
        • Ensures that the winch only draws power from the auxiliary battery when operating, preventing vehicle's battery power from being drained while the winch is in use
        • Installs in-line with the positive power wire running from the positive post on the vehicle's battery to the positive post on the auxiliary battery
        • Isolator is operated by a wire from the ignition circuit
    • On the winch
      1. Attach the power wire to the positive post on the winch
      2. Attach the negative wire to the negative ground post on the winch
      3. Run both wires from the winch to the battery compartment, avoiding hot areas and places where the wires could get pinched
    • Under the hood
      1. Attach the positive lead from the winch to the positive post on the auxiliary battery, using an in-line circuit breaker if one is included with the winch
      2. Attach the negative lead from the winch to the negative ground post on the auxiliary battery
  • Quick disconnects can be added to this setup to make it convenient to remove the winch when it is not being used
    • Install quick disconnects in-line with the power and ground wires running to the auxiliary battery
    • Connect the auxiliary battery's vehicle-side lead to the winch-side lead to operate the winch
    • Ensure that you buy quick disconnects that are compatible with the gauge of wire used in your application




Wiring a Trailer-Mounted Winch

There are two ways to provide power to a winch mounted on a trailer. The two options are outlined below.


Wiring Diagram of Trailer-Mounted Winch to Vehicle Battery

Option 1: Wiring the Winch with Trailer and Vehicle Winch Wiring Kit

  • Recommended for light- to medium-duty winching on a regular basis
  • Requires a vehicle battery with at least 440 cold-cranking amps and a 60-amp alternator
  • Uses included quick disconnects to make it convenient to connect your trailer-mounted winch to the power supply from the vehicle's battery
  • Procedure
    • Rear of the vehicle
      1. Find a place to mount vehicle-side quick disconnect at the end of the long power wire and short ground wire
      2. Ground the short wire from the quick disconnect to a clean, metal surface on the vehicle frame
      3. Run the long power from the quick disconnect to the vehicle's battery in the engine compartment, avoiding places where the wires could become too hot or get pinched
    • Under the hood
      1. Connect the power wire from the rear of the vehicle to the positive post on the vehicle's battery
        • NOTE: If a circuit breaker is included with the winch, the circuit breaker needs to be installed in-line with the power wire running to the vehicle's battery
      2. Using the separate, short wire with eyelets at both ends, ground the battery to a clean, metal surface on the vehicle's frame
    • On the winch
      • Wire the trailer-side quick disconnect to the winch
        1. Attach the power wire to the positive post on the winch
        2. Attach the ground wire to the negative ground post on the winch
        3. Run the opposite ends of the two wires, the end with the quick disconnect, to the coupler of the trailer for use
    • To provide power to the winch, simply connect the quick disconnect on the trailer side to the quick disconnect on the vehicle side



Wiring Diagram of Trailer-Mounted Winch to Trailer-Mounted BatteryWiring Diagram of Trailer-Mounted Winch to Trailer-Mounted Battery

Option 2: Wiring the Winch to a Separate, Trailer-Mounted Battery

  • Recommended for heavy-duty winching and frequent winching
  • Requires a vehicle battery with at least 440 cold-cranking amps and a 60-amp alternator
  • Trailer does not have to be hooked up to a vehicle for the winch to receive power
  • Battery is separate from the vehicle's battery, ensuring that the tow vehicle's battery will not be drained by the winch during heavy use
  • Procedure
    1. Mount trailer battery in a secure spot on the front of the trailer
      • Protecting the battery from the elements will prolong the life of the battery and the winch wiring connections
      • Placing the battery inside a toolbox and/or battery box is recommended
    2. Attach the power and ground leads to the appropriate posts on the winch
    3. Run the power and ground wires to the trailer-mounted battery
    4. Attach the power wire to the positive post on the battery and attach the ground wire to the negative post on the battery
      • NOTE: If a circuit breaker is included with the winch, the circuit breaker needs to be installed in-line with the power wire running to the trailer battery
    5. The battery will need to be recharged periodically to maintain charge. With additional wiring, charge can be maintained through the 12V accessory circuit from the trailer connector, which pulls power from the vehicle's battery. This involves additional wiring steps.
      • Once you establish that the 12V accessory circuit pin on your 7-way trailer connector is supplying current, run a length of 12-gauge wire from the corresponding prong on the trailer-side connector to the positive post on the trailer-mounted battery
      • Ensure that the trailer-end connector has a good ground connection to the trailer frame
      • Ground the trailer battery to the trailer frame using a length of 12-gauge wire
        • Clamp a ring terminal to both ends of the ground wire
        • Attach one end of the ground wire to the negative post on the trailer-mounted battery
        • Using a self-tapping screw, attach the remaining end to a clean, metal surface on the trailer frame
      • When the vehicle is running and the trailer and vehicle are connected, the 12V wire will maintain the trailer-mounted battery's charge
      • NOTE: When operating the winch, the trailer wiring must be disconnected from the tow vehicle. Failure to do this may result in an overload on the 12V accessory wire carrying current to the trailer-mounted battery, which can damage the battery and 12V circuit.





















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