How to Run a 12v Winch on AC Power

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Last Updated on June 30, 2022

At first glance, a 12-volt winch may not appear to be very impressive. It’s rather small. Although it is not able to extract anything you require, it is still a capable machine. It can move or pull trees, pull a vehicle stuck in the mud, tow a boat, move a large rock, and so on.

When running on a 12V alternator, a 12-volt winch can only be powered by a direct current. So if you want to run a 12-volt winch on AC power you have to convert it from DC to AC power. For this, you need to use a power converter.

How to Run a 12v Winch on AC Power

Types of Devices for Converting DC to AC

The most common device for converting DC to AC power is the power inverter. To convert DC to AC, various types of devices are available. Here are a few examples:

  • Power inverter 
  • Motor generator
  • Rotary converter 
  • Switched-mode power supply

The definition of these devices is in the following.

1. Power inverter

A power inverter is a piece of power electronic equipment or circuit board that converts direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). It converts DC electricity from batteries or fuel cells to AC electricity. 

2. Motor generator

A motor generator is a fusion of an electric motor and an electric generator that converts electric power from one source to another.

3. Rotary converter

Before the introduction of chemical or solid-state power rectification and inverting, rotary converters were used to convert alternating current AC to  DC or DC to AC power.

4. Switched-mode power supply

A switched-mode power supply (SMPS) is an electronic power supply with a switching regulator for efficient power conversion.

Step-up or step-down transformer

Step-up transformers raise the voltage of the incoming current, whereas step-down transformers lower the voltage of the incoming current. It can convert the alternating current voltage to the correct voltage.

Steps To Run 12v Winch on AC Power

To run a 12v winch on AC power, you must follow a few simple steps. These steps are mentioned in the following:

Step 1: AC power compatibility

The first thing you must ensure is that the winch can operate on AC power.  Because some winches cannot run on AC power. To ensure this, you must read the manufacturer’s specifications.

Step 2: Determine the winch’s wattage

First, you must determine the winch’s wattage. Then ensure that the inverter is capable of handling the winch’s wattage. If it is not rated according to the wattage, it may overheat and cause damage to the inverter or winch.

Step 3:  Determine the AC outlet

You must ensure that the AC outlet you’re using is rated for the inverter’s wattage. If it is not rated according to the inverter’s wattage, the outlet could become overloaded which will cause a fire.

Step 4: Proper wiring and connector

To run the winch on AC power, make that you have all of the necessary wiring and connectors. To ensure that you have the proper equipment, you should check with the manufacturer.

Step 5: Connect to the AC power supply

Connect the AC power supply to the winch. When connecting the AC power to the winch, you must pay attention to the instructions.

Step 6: Check out the winch 

The final step is to test the winch to ensure that it is working effectively.

Final Words

A 12V winch is a type of winch that runs on DC electricity. If you have a 12v winch and would like to run it on AC power, you should convert it from DC to AC power. You need to purchase a power inverter to convert DC power to AC power. Different types of devices are also available to convert DC to AC.

A DC to AC inverter is needed in order to generate AC power. Basically, an inverter converts DC power from a battery to AC power. In addition to these, you must follow the above steps if you want to run your 12 volt winch on AC power.

There are a few disadvantages to using an AC power source to power a 12v winch. One possibility is that the winch will be unable to handle the power supplied by the AC adapter and will overheat. Another potential danger is that the adapter will overheat and catch fire.

You might be interested to learn the methods of converting 12 volt winch to 120 volt.

About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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