Winch Terminology & Phrasing

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Last Updated on May 18, 2022

It is always a good thing to be familiar with the terminologies and phrasing of a winch. It will help you to know your winch better. However, knowing these things may not always be easy as you need to remain busy with other stuff.

Today, I have decided to talk about these winch terminologies and phrasing. So, let’s start.

Common Winch Terminology & Phrasing

Purpose of using a winch

Your intended use matters most. You will find there are some winches made for lightweight vehicles and others are for heavy-weight vehicles. There are some specific winches for medium-sized vehicles too. While purchasing a winch for your vehicle, you should give priority to your requirements. It’s always recommended to invest a bit extra if you want a winch to be used very often.

The 1.5 Gross Vehicle Weight Rule 

This means the recommended weight capacity over your vehicle’s weight. Obviously, you should bring the right size winch that will be enough to deal with your vehicle. According to experts, you should bring a winch that holds 1.5 times higher capacity than your vehicle’s weight.

For instance, if your vehicle weight is 8000 lbs, then you should get a winch that holds 12,000 lbs pulling capacity.

Rated Speed For Input 

The rated load for the highest admissible input speed is referred to as RPM. If your winch exceeds the input speed, then there is a possibility of getting your worm gear damaged.

Maximum Layers or Full Drum

The winch drum having the highest cable-layers number would offer a 0.7 freeboard X diameter of the cable underneath the flange of your winch drum.

Spool Cable Capacity Or Drum Capacity

The highest specific length of wire rope or diameter cable which you will find wound on your winch cable drum without crossing the highest layer numbers. You will find the cable is denoted in meters or feet.

Rated Line Pull

Usually, the rated line pull means the capacity of pulling a single line can handle properly without the help of a snatch block or other device. The rated line pull is measured on a flat surface from your cable drums’ first layer. 

Rated Line Speed

The line speed means the rated speed that comes from any layer. Usually, the line speed is referred to in meters/minute or feet/minute.

The rated line speed is the number of lines that can be spooled in a minute. The faster line speed gives quicker winch pulling. This feature is found in pricey winches.

Duty Cycle (Thermal Rating)

The duty cycle is a test result. In this test, distance is measured when a load goes upward and downward while lowering and hoisting a specific weight. 

Battery and the Amperage Draw

The demand of your winch electrical system can cross the capabilities of the system. In this case, you need to upgrade the alternator to a higher output alternator and make sure that the battery is fulfilling the demand. For this, you have to check the battery information.

Basically, your electric winch mostly depends on the power of a battery. It does not depend on the alternator. You will find an automotive is available for supplying higher amperage from your battery for a shorter time period. Typically the alternator supply is below 100 amps. Your winch may demand about 400 or higher amps while pulling from your system. 

The duty of a battery is to supply that power. So, you have to make sure that your winch battery has the ability to supply the required power. 

Highest Recommended Size For Wire Rope

It is better to have winch rope no longer than 1/8th the winch cable drum barrel diameter for almost all of the recovery applications.

Wrap

Wrap means a single coil of cable wound around your winch cable drum.

Layer

Layer means all the wraps on the same level between the winch drum flanges.

Free Spooling

Basically spooling means releasing the cable from your winch drum. More specifically, manually cable unspooling operation from the winch cable drum by pulling on your cable ending part when the drum is not connected with the power train.

Drum Clutch

The Drum Clutch is also known as “jaw clutch” or “dog-clutch”. This clutch has two or more drive lugs that engage the similarly driven lugs to transmit torque to the cable drum.

Efficiency of Gear Set

The gear set efficiency is the relationship of the input horsepower (HP) transmitted to your winch with the help of a prime mover and the output horsepower (HP) transmitted by your winch to your winch cable. It is expressed in percentage.

Freeboard

The freeboard means the drum flange amount that extends past the winch cables’ last layer.

Mean Drum

The mean drum is the theoretical point situated between the barrel of your cable drum ropes first layer and the topmost layer. The mean drum is also known as the reference point measuring the performance of a winch.

Extension Shaft

Your standard winch cable drum shaft can be replaced or extended by a long shaft that allows you to use CR reels or capstans at your vehicle’s side. This shaft usually remains installed on your vehicle curb size. 

CR Reel

CR Reel stands for collapsable recovery reel. It is used for picking up and coiling power and telephone lines that have been removed from the poles and lowered to the surface. The maximum reel has a 20-inch diameter.

Capstan

The Capstan is a removable small drum that is used for applying force to fiber rope wrapped around your winch barrel along with tension applied using your hand. In most cases,  the winches have a 7-inch nominal barrel diameter.

Bull Gear

The bull gear is the bronze alloy gear that is powered using the steel worm. 

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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