M12000 Winch - What Fuse to use?

Spike Strip

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I just wanted to add some confusion to this thread because I've been reading a lot about winch motor/Amp draw and the proper electrical protection, if one wants to add it. Maybe I'm over-thinking this stuff, but it's like a fire extinguisher, you may never need it, but a life-saver if you do. Google winch fires if you want to see for yourself.

FWIW, Superwinch includes a 'Circuit Breaker' with their winches that bolts to the Pos (+) battery terminal. It's 3 or 4 50A breakers in series (depending on winch- pic below), bolted to buss bars which one then wraps in electrical tape. Crude at best, but a cheap workable solution. Common on J**ps. I personally want something cleaner.

However, for future readers of this thread, one can buy these assemblies aftermarket (etrailer).

SuperWinch engineers (their website) say protection *should* be about 45% of peak load to avoid motor or solenoid damage/overheat.

So why only 150A or 200A protection for a winch that is rated at 400-500A at full load? Because the winch motor can only draw as much at the system can supply. It might *want* to draw 300 amps, but if the system is a 55amp (or 80A FJ62) plus battery drain, then that's all you're gonna get. And Fuse or CB act on Temp, not really amperage, so according to Superwinch, with a 2-gauge cable 150 amp of circuit breaker is gonna heat up enough to trip the CB at an equivalent of 400 amps. 400 or 500 amps of protection might allow the motor/cable to heat to damage/fire level before the protection kicks in...

So what one is really trying to protect against is a dead-short, in case of an accident or some other potential breakdown of the Pos lead insulation, or a situation where the Winch won't turn off.

I admittedly have very little electrical knowledge beyond my own experience and reading and the usual university physics classes.

But it seems to me, if one were to either 'Fuse' or 'Circuit Break' the system, 500A would be way too high to avoid damage?

I've gone back and forth on whether or not to just use a disconnect or fuse or CB this system. Certainly any choice will work and each has its own advantage/disadvantage.

What do you all think?



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Cruiserdrew

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Peak loads are brief and infrequent. Look at the time delay graphs. A 200 amp fuse may tolerate 400 amps for some time.
 

Spike Strip

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Yes, that's what I'm saying: A 200A fuse may be *better* if 400A allows for too long before the protection kicks in.

I looked at the graphs and a 400A fuse/breaker could go 90 seconds before trip at 450 amps. A 200A would go in 25 seconds or less, and under a second at dead-short.

I've pretty much decided to go with this breaker, as it offers both a manual cut off and Circuit protection at 200 amps:

EATON's Bussmann Series 187200F-03-1 Circuit Breaker | Waytek
 

Cruiserdrew

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I'm thinking you'll want to upsize that breaker a bit.

You could consider not hooking up the winch + cable, and only hook it up when you are going on a off road trip. Then, there's no power out on the bumper and it only takes a minute or two to hook it up. You can also do a version of the same with the larger power poles. I've done it both ways. The power poles are easier but not hooking up the + cable is free and requires no hardware.

You can also use one of those 500 amp relays to only power the winch when you turn on the relay. That also avoids power out on the bumper.

Like you, I've gone back and forth over this issue and in 2 trucks use the power pole hook up, leaving it disconnected when I'm not off road. I've been lazier with my FJ40 and run with that hooked up all the time. Maybe I'll fix that this winter.

I am not a fan of circuit breakers for something like this generally. A fuse is essentially fail safe but you do need to carry spares.
 

Spike Strip

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Yeah, I actually ordered some of the single powerpole connectors (180 amp) from Del City as a disconnect for the Pos cable only, as that's all that's needed, but have decided to go with the CB and see how that works out. I like the idea of it having both electrical protection and the manual disconnect feature.

If I weren't so OCD, I should just use the SuperWinch type (cheap on fleabay) and cover it in 3" shrink tube and be done with it. :rolleyes:


 
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The eaton bussmann series you linked to on Waytek are my go to. They are high quality at a fair price. When I see people hooking up dual batteries and winches with off brand cheap circuit breakers off eBay it make me cringe. Electrical work is not cheap to do correctly.

1. Buy a high quality winch (WARN of course). Mine was bought used at $500 for my M12.
2. Use high quality cable that is over-sized for the loads (ie 1/0 fine stranded welding cable)
3. Sleeve the cables with expandable flame retardant PET.
4. Route cables in safe places with rubber cushion clamps (I go extra here and in high potential wear areas put pieces of old heater hose over)
5. Install cable ends with a proper swaging tool.
6. Size your circuit breakers properly as you are stating above.

Pretend you are a Toyota worker installing winch systems for 1,000,000 trucks and over design it! Make it last a lifetime and do it right.

Otherwise you'll be on the news with a harbor freight winch that seized and the cheap circuit breakers on fire. Very simple, you get what you pay for and you get reliability with the proper maintenance.
 

Spike Strip

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How has everyone routed their cables? Doesn't seem like there's any safe way (or room) except to go under the radiator core support then snake into the battery area?
 

Spike Strip

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Ended up using the 200A CB - FWIW, the 2 gauge cable supplied by warn is rated for 170 amps.

Made a simple bracket to keep the CB out of the way. Will shorten the cables and cover and secure, when the tinned lugs show up in the mail.

We'll see how it works.

Cheers.

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rjones

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Ended up using the 200A CB
@Spike Strip - Thanks for the info so far. It seems you've researched some of my questions already so maybe you could chime in further on the below?

So looking at the Data Sheet for that breaker (image below) it reads 400 amps for 10 seconds before the breaker would trip correct? Cross referencing that with the stated Performance Specs for my winch (image below also) would allow me a ~9250 lbs pull for only 10 seconds? And that is not even taking into account what drum layer I'm on. I know that is a lot of weight but I have a pretty loaded 100. Or looking at the second notation, 300 amps would be ~6500 lbs for 30 seconds?

SNAG-0012.jpg


SNAG-0013.jpg


Are those times sufficient to get a recovery done? As mentioned I'm pretty new to this so maybe I don't have a good feel for how long the average recovery takes? If this was a concern then this would be the time to add a snatch block to the pull if possible?

FWIW, the 2 gauge cable supplied by warn is rated for 170 amps.
So this leads me to another question - If the supplied 2 AWG cable is rated to 170 amps continuous how long can it handle the 400+ amps? I looked around for a similar Time vs. Percent chart for wiring and cannot find one. All I can find is info related to voltage drop and length. What am I missing here?

Thanks in advance for any direction!
rjones
 

Spike Strip

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Great questions and I wish I had the knowledge to answer them. But yes, 400 amp for 10 seconds will allow for those very short, high-draw situations without tripping the breaker. That's the diff between a quality and cheap unit.

For my 10K Warn, from what I could find on-line, the actual amps used, under normal situations, will almost never be more than 200 amps, and if it does, it will only be for short duration or you risk damage, but the breaker can handle the short high-amp draw... So I simply went with the presumption that the SuperWinch Engineers are way more knowledgeable than I, and since they use cheap 150- 200 amp breaker setup and 2 gauge wire, I decided to copy their engineering just with better quality components.

How long will a 2 gauge wire handle 400 amps? Don't know and don't want to find out, ergo the 200 amp breaker, but 400 amps at 12V 2 gauge wire with good crimped/soldered/tinned ends could probably go longer than your battery could handle.

If it doesn't work in the field, it's a simple matter to swap out the breaker for a 400 amp fuse, but I have found no complaints anywhere about the 150 or 200 amp breakers used with the superwinch, except that it's kind of a cheesy setup and bulky.

And in a worst-case, it's a simple matter to just connect one breaker terminal to the other and by-pass the thing.

I went with the CB because it's both a breaker and a disconnect, as opposed to just a fuse.

As you can see from the responses and earlier posts, this is far from settled issue and everybody has a different idea what to do -- you think it's confusing here, just tip-toe over to the J**p forums!!

On my 40's, I will probably just use a fuse to save space, cuz it seems the easiest thing and still adds protection in case of a dead-short that could occur during a front-end accident, and that's what I was mainly concerned about.

HTH.
 

rjones

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My winch has been mounted for about 3 weeks but a control box relocation was necessary and in research of suitable cable I nosedived into breaker/switch subject. Thanks to all for your input in this thread.

@Spike Strip - Good find on the Ebay price for the open box Bussmann 187200F-03-1, I've got one on order now!

Thanks,
rjones
 
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@rjones
The best way to mitigate hi amp draws is to turn to a snatch block when things get serious. I know some people that carry 3 snatch blocks but to me that's nuts. I carry 1 and I'm usually with another who also has one so a 2:1 pull with a redirect would use two snatch blocks and still not load the winch down.
 

Spike Strip

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Yup. Snatch blocks (block and tackle). Physics is your friend.

And yes, by far the best price for a genuine Buss breaker. Shipped fast, too. I bought another as a backup or if I decide to go the same way on my other trucks.

But I think one thing everybody agrees on is that some kind of circuit protection or emergency disconnect is warranted.

Good luck!
 
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