winch wiring?



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  • winch wiring?

    Anyone know off the top of their head how to wire a 1500lb superwinch?

    I picked it up with a project and it was obviously yanked out of a machine - no harness or relays or anything. Just the rotating style switch and the winch with shortly cropped wires. Wiring to the winch is cake, but I'm not sure how to wire the switch. It has four terminals - two lug terminals for +/- and two more lug terminals with brass almost like tabs labeled 1 and 2.

    What is the deal with those brass tabs and am I missing any other parts that I have to have? Relays, breakers, etc or do I just simply wire up positive and negative and go for it?

  • #2
    You Need A Relay

    Throw away the switch. Go to TrailerCraft and get the newer style low amperage control switch with handlebar mounting kit. At the same time, get a newer relay to match the switch. Wiring is easy with the newer relays. They are all color coded as to which two heavy leads go to and from the battery, and which two heavy leads got to the winch. Then you plug in the three wire harness from the switch into your relay, and into a circuit controlled by your ignition switch. The store will have all of this and the relay comes with wiring instructions.


    • #3
      Thanks for the advice, but I can't afford to spend money when it's not needed. Sure something nicer or newer would be great - apply it to the whole four wheeler for that matter - but it's not reality for me anyway.

      If it takes me a little work then that's my time and while that too is something I don't have enough of, at least nobody comes to break my legs when I overspend it...


      • #4

        If you wire it up without the relay/solenoid assy you will burn the copper plates(posts) that you mentioned on the rotatary switch. They are not designed to handle the amp load. The relay is. The reason I said to discard the switch is that they are not offered on new winches due partly to the burned contacts (copper plates/posts) that occur over time within the switch due to the heavy amp loading due to poor design. They are open to the elements and do tend to corrode, or get dirty, and will heat up and eventually get burned spots on them. Some will get years of service out of them while others will get short service life. If money is an issue, go to Napa or Schucks and ask for a 12 volt relay assy. I do know that some of the automotive relays will work for a fact and tomorrow I will ask my co-worker about his Arctic Cat winch, which he wired up with an automotive relay and it works just fine. It is his old rotatary switch that is giving him fits. It arcs (sparks) everytime he raises or lowers his plow with the winch and he is an electrician and says it needs to go. (Even though he keeps cleaning the contacts they are becoming sloppy) Keep in mind the relay is sealed from atmosphere to prevent sparking or arcing. Also, there is the danger of wiring it up without the control relay and without going through the ignition switch, that the rotatary switch could short or burn up and the winch will try to activate on it's own, even when the machine is shut down. The relay also provides protection to your machines electrical system. If you over load the winch due to excessive use, the relay will open up and not overdraw (overheat) the battery as it would if you wired it direct. This I can attest to as I melted my relay doinf just that and did not damage a new winch or the battery, nor the wiring.
        Last edited by RockHound; 02-18-2009, 21:07. Reason: more info


        • #5

          You will need a relay go to six roblees with the switch and winch model they are good guys and will set you up properly. I had a bad ground on my new wheeler and It drove me crazy figuring it out a minor problem can leave you stranded way out there.


          • #6

            Guess it was 6Robblees. Bottom line is you will need a relay.


            • #7


              • #8
                I did check out the superwinch page, what I found doesn't get into the switch at all (like maybe it comes wired already) but it does show a circuit breaker...

                So I guess if I'm after a relay and a breaker it's probably worth looking at the new switch kit...maybe ebay will be my friend on this one.

                Thanks again


                • #9
                  Well, the winch relay on my Arctic Cat sh*t the bed yesterday when I went to plow the driveway. Come to find out that AC doesn't use the Warn relay on their 2500# winches, they have their own with a plug for the switch wiring rather than just wires to connect like the Warn relay. Northern Power Sports doesn't have them in stock, and said I'm looking at about $100 for a replacement. Guess I'm going to go to 6 Robblees tomorrow and see what they have that I can make work. Anybody done this on an Arctic Cat? I'd like to keep the AC switch if I can.
                  We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
                  James Madison


                  • #10
                    superwiches are different

                    way different than a warn, the older models didn't have a relay, it was built into the switch. the newer ones have a relay that you have to wire to your battery, easy two wire operation, but the switch as you stated does have 4 leads, going into a two lead winch. pain in the butt. they are color coded, as I recall. My switch just crapped out on me two days ago while plowing. There is a place in Anchorage that sells superwinch switches down in the port area, I can drive to it, just can't remember the name of the place..... know that doesn't help much... something like BJ's service or the like. I'd like to dump my superwinch in a creek somewhere, but it's easier to just buy the part and be done with it. you could probably call superwinch and get the wiring diagram from them.


                    • #11

                      Well since I had to find a switch and relay for my superwinch I thought I'd pass along the info, Bobs Services in the port area of Anchorage sells them. $40 for the kit. They were very helpful and had a full diagram of the winch along with all the part numbers.

                      Also when I went on the superwinch web site they had a troubleshooting section that also discussed wiring of the winch.

                      Hope this helps.


                      • #12
                        great - thank you


                        • #13
                          hey wait a minute -

                          why can't I just wire it up with a 30amp 12v relay and use any old switch?

                          I've got relays and I can go buy a momentary toggle for less than $10....(for that matter I could use the existing switch to run the relay - just modify it so those copper lugs are gone)

                          any reason this won't work??? :confused:


                          • #14

                            If it like mine it has a relay that wires directly to the battery and one wire from the battery goes directly to the winch switch and the other comes off the rely and goes directly to the winch switch. These are on a disconnect. The round switch has a screw in the middle that screws the switch to the winch and lets the switch rotate around the end of the winch. You simply twist the switch one way or the other to run cable in or out. I looked at the rely and did not see any markings so don't know what amps it so supposed to be rated for. hope this helps.


                            • #15
                              winch current

                              akjw7- That 1500# winch has upwards of 120 amps at full lock out (stall). Your 30 amp relay probably won't cut it. You could use 2 starter solenoids and a switch, but you would have to wire them correctly so that one would spool in and the other would spool out. Or you can go to and buy the contactor and handlebar switch like I did ($50). Saves time and money!


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