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

2. Type of winching

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 Battery
Winch Wiring Quick Disconnects

Option 1: Standard Winch Wiring Using Vehicle's Battery

Wiring Diagram of Front-Mount Winch to Auxiliary Vehicle Battery

Option 2: Using an Auxiliary Battery to Power the Winch

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

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

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

Updated by: Raymond P.

Last updated: 6/29/18

Questions and Comments about this Article

Richard H.

In option 2 you mention the need for a 60 Amp alternator. What does that get wired to? 95767

Reply from Jon G.

The alternator will already be on the vehicle. You just need to make sure that your vehicle has an alternator rated for 60 Amps. 70788

Russell K.

Have installed 8000lb winch and battery on car hauler being pulled by 01 F250 with a 7 way plug. I have pin 4 Battery Charge (+) connected to battery on trailer to keep it charged. How much amperage does it supply, and also , do I need to disconnect it when using winch? 82118

Reply from Chris R.

I'm not sure on the exact amperage that the factory 7-Way on your F-150 provides, but I can say that it's enough to provide a good maintenance charge while the ignition is on. If you actually need to charge the battery up during travel you'll want to add a BCDC charger like the Redarc # 331-BCDC1225D to boost up that circuit. I would unplug from the battery when using the winch just to avoid any backfeed and also prevent the trailer battery from pulling too much from the start battery. 67460

Ryan P.

I'm going to attempt to wire up my winch to my land rover defender some time this week.. The winch I have bought has resonably long power leads but land rover decided to put the battery under the passenger seat, so I might struggle to get the ground lead to reach the battery. (I'll have no problem reaching it with the positive lead) Is there any reason why I shouldn't just run the negative lead to the chassis, or does it need to go directly to the battery like in option 1? If I have to run it to the battery is there a way to reliably extend the cable if needed? 81535

Reply from Chris R.

You'll really want to run the ground wire all the way to the battery's negative terminal. Attaching it to the frame will increase resistance and may cause the winch and cables to run a lot hotter, which can lead to a lot of issues. A large load like this should have a dedicated ground directly to the battery. You'll just need to extend that wiring to reach. 67056

David R.

I have installed a winch on my trailer in a tool box. I have a battery mounted in the box with winch connected. I want to run wire from 12v wire of harness to battery to maintain charge. I under stand all except was wondering if I am able to just use a 3 way toggle switch to cut the power to battery while winching. I have a toggle that is power in. Power to load and a negative. Will that work? 76957

Reply from Chris R.

Installing a switch like that in-line with the charge wire would work to cut off power when you're actually using the winch. 62724

Nicole A.

Hello for wiring the winch with battery on trailer, and to maintain the charge when connected. Do I hook up the yellow wire Accessory wire or the black 12v power wire? wouldn’t either of these wires work to charge the power on the battery? And what if I used the yellow wire to connect to a dc to ac power inverter, then connected a small battery charger to that with necessary breakers and switches would that work? 72447

Reply from Chris R.

It depends how your 7-Way is wired up. If both the black and yellow wires are connected to the tow vehicle's battery, then either circuit could be used to maintain the charge on your trailer's battery. I'm not sure you'd get quite enough power form that circuit to run an inverter and a separate AC charger on top of that, though. For a good charge your best bet is a DC to DC charger like the Redarc # 331-BCDC1225D . 59337

Phillip B.

I want to install a 2500# winch in my basement floor to help me pull my boat in , I was wanting to know if I could use a jackery 240 , it has a cigarette lighter socket and I wanted to just get a 12 volt plug with neg and positive and wire direct to winch as needed , it would be under much strain . 71418

Reply from Chris R.

We don't carry the Jackery Power Stations, but from what I could gather I don't think the DC car outlet on the 240W unit will be enough to power the winch. With this size winch you're likely looking at a power draw of around 200 amps at full load, and around 15 amps just to power it (with zero load). The specs I was able to pull up on the Jockery lists a DC output of up to 10 amps using the car/cigarette port. Your best option here really is to just wire the winch directly to an auxiliary battery that you keep on hand for this purpose. 58319



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