Winch installation - circuit breaker? - Page 6 - Rubicon Owners Forum
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post #51 of 79 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 11:35 AM
Rubicus Maximus
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It really boils down to one thing...the probability of the winch hot lead shorting. This is no different than locating the battery in the truck of a drag car.

Prudent and safe installation means careful routing of the cable, and using extra protection (such as split wire loom) at any possible chaff points.

Adding anything in the circuit that lowers amperage to the winch means that it may not work when you need it most. For some of us this means the jeep (and occupants) could be in a very precarious position.

Of all the marine battery disconnect switches, none had adequate amperage rating. Relays that were rated at the amperage were very expensive and give an added element of possible failure.

For me, the simple addition of a cable disconnect allows me to hook up the winch with a mechanical connection before any trail rides, yet when it sits in the garage or is riding on the trailer will prevent a short from causing a disaster. Plus it is a simple and easy solution.

Just because winches have been installed a certain way for a long number of years doesn't mean we can't improve the design, but we need to carefully weigh the pros and cons based on that experience.

Lives in garage:

2004 Red jeep TJ "X", big tires, suspension, stereo delete, dent in cowl.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -Benjamin Franklin
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post #52 of 79 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 11:56 AM Premium
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The link I posted were the highest rating marine switches on their site
On/Off, 2 Positions, 600 Continuous Amps, 2000 Inrush Amps, 1200 Cranking Amps
Off/1/Both/2, 4 Positions, 500 Continuous Amps, 1750 Inrush Amps, 1000 Cranking Amps

Just another reference point.

I have just run winches straight to the battery, thought about one of these from time to time.

2003 Rubicon, with stuff
2004 Dodge CTD, with stuff
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post #53 of 79 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 12:37 PM
Rubi Bad Ass
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A lot of good discussion in this thread. If you don't want your winch connected to the battery all of the time I think the most reliable solution is going to be a manual disconnect switch. If you want protection for when it's connected to the battery, then I think the best option would be the type ANL fuse.

One thing not brought up about the solenoid option is that it requires control voltage to stay pulled in, and this comes from the battery. Under heavy winching this voltage could drop to where the solenoid no longer stays pulled in or it begins to chatter. Something you do not want when winching. For these reasons the solenoid is a poor choice for a disconnect, and I would not recommend one in the winch circuit.

I'm going to pull out my Warn solenoid and replace it with a manual disconnect.


2005 Sahara LJ
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Last edited by Sahara0643; 12-07-2013 at 05:06 PM.
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post #54 of 79 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 12:10 AM Premium
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Originally Posted by Sahara0643 View Post
I like Carling switches, I got them from OTRATTW (

First time seeing these. Thanks for the link.

'04 TJ Rubicon
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post #55 of 79 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 03:23 AM
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Years ago I saw superwinch provided circuit breakers with smaller winches. I think it was an X-3. They sucked and were usually abandoned after the first time they tripped and failed to reset.

What everyone seems to forget is any of these options have the same type of connection at both ends, usually a stud and ring terminal. If the device fails its pretty easy to move the in wire and out wire to the same terminal, deleting the device. Not the hardest trail repair, and similar to removing the hot lead from the battery in between wheeling trips, except you do it after a failure instead of every trip.

I think it's worth the convenience of flipping a switch each trip knowing I will eventually have to jump it out after a few years of service.

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post #56 of 79 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 12:46 PM
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So as i look at this video im thinking a battery disconnect would of saved the winch from exploding and just having to replace the stuck solenoids. a fuse would of not helped until the winch bound up and over loaded the circuit. ?

"If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere."
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post #57 of 79 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 10:02 PM
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I used to road race and all the cars had to have a master disconnect reachable from the outside. Sometimes we added pull cable routed to a better place. Simply drill a hole in the switch handle and use a bicycle brake cable type setup. Make a loop in the end of the wire to pull on.

I think I'm going to add this to my disco when I do it. For now the + is disconnected.

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post #58 of 79 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
Rubicus Maximus
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Originally Posted by deantac View Post
So as i look at this video im thinking a battery disconnect would of saved the winch from exploding and just having to replace the stuck solenoids. a fuse would of not helped until the winch bound up and over loaded the circuit. ?

That would so suck! Definitely feeling good about adding a disconnect after seeing that video.

Dave S.
Pine, Colorado
05 Rubi Unlimited, 4.5", 35's
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post #59 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-04-2014, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
Rubicus Maximus
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Originally Posted by LJ Dave View Post
Thanks for the replys everyone. I still think it is a hazzard, especially in the event of a collision. I ended up buying the Battery Doctor switch through Auto Zone. It was under $30, and specs at 12 volts are:
Continuous: 300 amps
Cranking: 700 amps/10 seconds
Intermittent: 1000 amps/5 seconds

If I ever actually use my winch for recovery, I'll be sure to keep an eye on the switch and also make sure to pause for a few seconds every 10 seconds if I'm pulling anywhere close to a fully loaded pull.

Mouse: Based on the reply you got from Warn, I guess they don't consider shorting the cable out in an accident as something to worry about.

Bob: I like the connector idea, but my preference would be to put it as close to the battery as possible as the cables running from the battery are still at risk in the event of a front end collision. Your set up looks convenient, but doesn't address the safety issue I was concerned about.

Wubicon: My thoughts exactly.

Here is the switch installed. I know it's not the best way to install it, but I was surprised at how few places there are to properly mount it, so for now, I'm simply supporting it with the 2 gage cables running into and out of it. The switch has two large posts inside and a non-conductive back plate, so the contacts are well protected:

Update: Winched a Subaru Outback out of the ditch last weekend and the winch worked perfectly. This electrical switch stayed cool and worked fine for the pull.

Dave S.
Pine, Colorado
05 Rubi Unlimited, 4.5", 35's
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post #60 of 79 (permalink) Old 02-07-2014, 09:57 PM
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great, thanks for the update!


I sit on the fence and watch.

DD- 2010 Jetta TDI ~45-47mpg, 90k miles and counting.

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