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winch wiring - going big(ger)?

Pliny

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I suspect that most people install their winch using the electrical cables supplied with the winch. Back in the early 90's, installed a 9k winch on my Toyota pickup using 1/0 welding cable because the electrical cables that came with it didn't seem up to the task. For our gladiator I'm planning on a Zeon 10-s. The Warn site shows a peak amp draw of a little over 400 amps. I believe it comes with #2 AWG cables to connect to the battery.

Found a supplier that sells 25 foot coils of SGX (125C) battery cable. The cost difference between #2 and #2/0 AWG is only ~$40, so my inclination is to get something bigger than what comes with the winch. They don't list the number of strands in the cable, or the overall diameter, so don't know how flexible it would be or how difficult it would be to route it to the winch.

If you have installed your winch with larger diameter cable I am interested to know the size cable you used and the amp draw of your winch to help me decide on what size cable to use.
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I suspect that most people install their winch using the electrical cables supplied with the winch. Back in the early 90's, installed a 9k winch on my Toyota pickup using 1/0 welding cable because the electrical cables that came with it didn't seem up to the task. For our gladiator I'm planning on a Zeon 10-s. The Warn site shows a peak amp draw of a little over 400 amps. I believe it comes with #2 AWG cables to connect to the battery.

Found a supplier that sells 25 foot coils of SGX (125C) battery cable. The cost difference between #2 and #2/0 AWG is only ~$40, so my inclination is to get something bigger than what comes with the winch. They don't list the number of strands in the cable, or the overall diameter, so don't know how flexible it would be or how difficult it would be to route it to the winch.

If you have installed your winch with larger diameter cable I am interested to know the size cable you used and the amp draw of your winch to help me decide on what size cable to use.
I have a new Zeon 12s, replacing an Evo 12s. The negative cable would swap easily, but the positive cable is pretty well wrapped and the post might be hidden in the control box. It would obviously still be super easy, but I’m not worried about warm providing wires that aren’t up to the task. I do believe they’re #2 wires.
 

ShadowsPapa

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I have a new Zeon 12s, replacing an Evo 12s. The negative cable would swap easily, but the positive cable is pretty well wrapped and the post might be hidden in the control box. It would obviously still be super easy, but I’m not worried about warm providing wires that aren’t up to the task. I do believe they’re #2 wires.
The cables will be plenty fine.
2 gauge will handle 400 amps with only 0.3 volts drop at the lengths we use.
Figuring that you shouldn't run a winch at 100% load for very long at all, no problem.
Charts I have say "size ok".
And I agree since you won't be pulling "peak draw" and running peak load constantly.
 

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I actually contacted Warn couple days ago to ask this question because I was just curious what they were using. Their 25' extender cable with Anderson connectors uses just 2 gauge. I would have expected at least 1, or even 1/0. but nope, just 2 gauge. But it makes sense. 400 amps is the max pull. So you have to think that is when the winch is REALLY bogging down and clearly struggling. A person should be using a snatch block or two well before that point.

The only time I would consider larger wire is if you have a long run. Like me for example. Putting a winch on the rear as well as the front. And for that I am probably going to just go with a 1 ga. I happen to have some 2/0 lying around, but that is some MASSIVE wire. Trying to route that, tie it down, keep it safe, and crimp the lugs would be....overwhelming. Now if you had a 30K winch on the back of a flatbed truck and constantly pulling cars up with it that's one thing, but the duty cycle of these winches just isn't enough (with responsible use) to warrant 2/0 ga especially for the front
 

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ShadowsPapa

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I actually contacted Warn couple days ago to ask this question because I was just curious what they were using. Their 25' extender cable with Anderson connectors uses just 2 gauge. I would have expected at least 1, or even 1/0. but nope, just 2 gauge. But it makes sense. 400 amps is the max pull. So you have to think that is when the winch is REALLY bogging down and clearly struggling. A person should be using a snatch block or two well before that point.

The only time I would consider larger wire is if you have a long run. Like me for example. Putting a winch on the rear as well as the front. And for that I am probably going to just go with a 1 ga. I happen to have some 2/0 lying around, but that is some MASSIVE wire. Trying to route that, tie it down, keep it safe, and crimp the lugs would be....overwhelming. Now if you had a 30K winch on the back of a flatbed truck and constantly pulling cars up with it that's one thing, but the duty cycle of these winches just isn't enough (with responsible use) to warrant 2/0 ga especially for the front
Yes, for a longer run you'd be dropping voltage some so larger would be better.
But for a front mounted winch, 2 is fine.
 
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Pliny

Pliny

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Understand that using a snatch block is preferred due to lower load on winch. Still have the ARB one that I had for my Toyota PU. I've learned that the "ampacity" (ampere capacity) of cables is a function of the insulation / jacket. Higher temperature ratings of the jacket let the same AWG gauge cable carry more current. Also that the cable current ratings are done at an ambient temperature of 30C, I suspect at sea level. Our gladiator did not come with the air conditioned engine compartment option, and being at 6600 feet elevation, thinner air doesn't conduct heat as well. I already knew about:

https://www.batterycablesusa.com/

https://www.custombatterycables.com/

https://gregsmarinewiresupply.com/Custom-Cables/Custom-Cables-Inch

As sources for custom cables.

Will wait until the winch gets delivered, see how much clearance there is for the positive cable to decide on whether to up-size at all.
 

Blade1668

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I had rear winch power on my XJ, I used welder power wire for it with Anderson connector. Higher copper wire strand count and made to run high Amps. A front mounted winch wire run is only 14 ft of total wire run positive and ground maximum if that. If I was doing a upgrade on wire it would be to welder lead wire same gauge, it's made to withstand hard use.
 

ShadowsPapa

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A front mounted winch wire run is only 14 ft of total wire run positive and ground maximum if that. If I was doing a upgrade on wire it would be to welder lead wire same gauge, it's made to withstand hard use.
Yeah, if that........... at least on the Apex winch some of the ground can go through the frame to body. Mine with the ground wire off the battery isn't really ungrounded. Likely more like 12 or so feet but that's being "picky".
The problems with cables is flexing and vibration. Make sure all cables are tied or clamped or otherwise secured so they can't possibly wiggle, vibrate or otherwise move at all.
Copper will harden - work harden.
 

Blade1668

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Yeah, if that........... at least on the Apex winch some of the ground can go through the frame to body. Mine with the ground wire off the battery isn't really ungrounded. Likely more like 12 or so feet but that's being "picky".
The problems with cables is flexing and vibration. Make sure all cables are tied or clamped or otherwise secured so they can't possibly wiggle, vibrate or otherwise move at all.
Copper will harden - work harden.
Part of my reason for using welder cable for many projects it's typically made to withstand more than "regular" copper wiring.
The second battery in my 90XJ ground was straight to body it was mounted in rear right corner. I used welder power cable for all the battery cables that needed replaced or added.
Why I recommend using welding cable is I've not had any problems using it for over 15 years.
 

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I went overkill with 1/0 wire on my VR 10 Evo. I had a somewhat theoretical concern to maximize the pull power of the 10k winch I got. Looking at the charts, if the 2g wire heats up and limits current draw at the motor by 60 amps, you've dropped down to 8000 lbs. (Similar story but worse with winching at full drum instead of first wrap, which is why I got one of these.)

Realistically, the winch pull that heats up the wire that much would be the most epic pull of all time. Like, winching vertically up El Capitan or something. Hell, when you look into it, the contactor pack in the winch is itself only rated to 100A continuous, and can't sustain the 360A my winch draws after more than ~100 seconds. Try to picture pulling the full 10k lbs for 100 seconds without stopping even once - that's the kind of abuse that requires bigger wire :)

TBH I wanted a project to properly do wiring. I got a proper hydraulic crimper with really good dies, and learned to use it properly. Which was well worth it, between winch, lighting, camper build, solar, and whatever else in the future
 

ShadowsPapa

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Part of my reason for using welder cable for many projects it's typically made to withstand more than "regular" copper wiring.
The second battery in my 90XJ ground was straight to body it was mounted in rear right corner. I used welder power cable for all the battery cables that needed replaced or added.
Why I recommend using welding cable is I've not had any problems using it for over 15 years.
It's a heck of a lot easier to work with, too, when routing it.
The other stuff in that size gets bloody stiff.
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