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How to Wire a Winch Solenoid

Solenoids are the only protection system of electromagnetic switches that stand in between the power source and the winch battery.

These vehicle-mounted boxes ensure the safe passage of power to the winch motor, ensuring no damage to either the switch or battery.

Solenoids can be used either as a pair, one as reverse and the other as forward or as a combination of 4, two for reverse and two for forward.

The two Solenoid configuration is typical of permanent magnet winches while the four Solenoid configuration is found in Series wound winches.

Wiring the Solenoid box

Most Solenoids are built with the same principle.

However, brand-to-brand instructions for wiring the Solenoid come with the Instruction manual with the Winch.

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Here is a brief guide to wiring up the solenoid. It may not be an exact procedure for the winch you may have, but it does come close.

Make sure you follow all instructions for the particular Solenoid that comes with your winch.

Every Solenoid box has either cables already connected to it or you have to do the wiring based on the posts available.

wiring winch solenoid

Before wiring, the winch solenoid ensure that you follow the necessary below steps.

  • Be sure to turn off your vehicle’s ignition before you do anything, for the sake of your own safety.
  • Make sure the negative battery cables are far enough from the car battery that they cannot be reconnected without your knowledge.
  • Disengage the winch clutch and remove the hood to make the installation area more accessible.
  • Find and mark the location where you wish to mount the solenoid.

Connecting Cables to Solenoid Box

On the top of the Solenoid box is a Positive terminal and right beside it you will find a Negative terminal. These terminals coincide with the terminals on the Battery.

Below the Solenoid box, or sometimes on the sides are two more terminals, Positive and Negative, that coincide with the similar terminals on the Winch.

Also on the top of the Solenoid box are two more posts, that connect to the In and Out functions of the Winch cable. Sometimes they come labeled. If they do not, it is a simple matter of finding out by trial and error.

All posts on the Solenoid box come color-coded for convenience. Red cables indicate the power line or Positive connections. Black cables are either meant for grounding or Negative connections.

Solenoid boxes are usually mounted on top of the Winch for convenience. This way you do not require lengthy wires other than those that connect to the battery.

Two wires from the Solenoid box, one for the In-function and the other for the Out-function connect to the respective terminals on the Winch. These posts are indicated in the instruction manual.

To connect the negative from the Solenoid box to the battery, first, you will have to connect the grounding wire from the Solenoid to the winch. From the same post, connect the negative from the battery to the winch.

Two additional red cables run from the Solenoid. One takes power from the battery and connects to the positive terminal on the battery. You can include the In-line Circuit breaker in this connection.

The other red cable from the Solenoid box supplies the power to the Winch by connecting it to the positive terminal on the Winch.

 

The wiring from the winch to the solenoid and the battery to the winch requires a great deal of care. Avoid touching any rusted metal or sharp edges with the wires.

The majority of people are unaware that wires that are smooth and metal can become entangled with dirt or mud, so this should be taken more seriously.

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The cables must also be connected to the winch. The winches have color-coded lugs on purpose to minimize the risk of mistakes, the cables lug onto the winch solenoids, and the cables must not be tightened too tightly. The solenoid may become damaged if too much torque is put on the cables.

These basic connections apply to every Solenoid. Figuring out which wire connects where may take some time, but all you have to do is follow the instructions that come with the Manual.

You can watch some online videos if that will help you understand the wiring process better.

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