Battery recommendations for 12,000 pound winch

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by W7UUU, Jan 12, 2018.

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  1. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Volunteer Moderator Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    As part of my dealing with the new 5-acres of land in the country, and getting it knocked into shape, I've acquired a 12,000 pound winch which according to the spec sheet calls for a 650 CCA minimum battery. The winch is now on hand, and to be mounted shortly on a hitch receiver carrier and powered by a very high grade 1-gauge, 800-amp-rated jumper cable set.

    My winching needs are not major - "pull 8-inch thick 50-foot-long tree out of scrub, cut up with chain saw - move on to next". I'm not pulling semi trucks out of ditches :) As winching goes, very light duty no question.

    the plan is to use a good grade deep-cycle battery for a few dead tree pulls, then put it back on the charger in the barn. I've ruled out using the truck battery - it's not up to that challenge, and I don't want to risk blowing the alternator and charging system in the Sierra 2500 by clamping onto the truck's battery while it's running.

    In looking at batteries, there are so many zillions of choices and price ranges and such - looking for some advice on just what I need to be looking at.


  2. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I would use a starting battery not a deep cycle. A winch is a high current draw for a fairly short time. A bonus is that they are cheaper.

    NAPA is a good place to get a battery and I’ve had good performance from them in lots of vehicles and equipment.

    Why are you are worried about using the truck battery and charging system? That’s the typical setup for a winch.
    K9ASE likes this.
  3. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Volunteer Moderator Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    So guide me - should I have concerns? The 1-gauge (really truly) jumper reaches the battery easily from the winch on the hitch....

    I'm happy to not have to buy another battery - I just don't want to fry anything. I've Googled it to death and read many opinions. Seems logical to leave the truck running, jumper on the truck battery, while running the winch.

    Lead on - I'm listening

  4. KI7LGN

    KI7LGN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not going to do much pulling like that, Dave. You'll knock the battery down flat with one good pull. Figure 400 amps draw, give or take a bit, depending on the actual winch you have. at 5' a minute and say a 50' pull (just putting numbers out here) you are looking at 400 amps for 10 minutes...

    Extra battery is a good idea, but tie it into the trucks electrical system. Even though 90's GMs don't have the best electrical systems, they are still stout enough for your occasional use.

    Since it's a GM, getting an upgraded alternator and wiring installed is childs play. If you can tell a wrench from a screwdriver, you can do the work yourself.


    Edit- was refering to original post, we doubled...
    N0TZU likes this.
  5. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Is it a 12V or 24V winch?

    Lot's of options for good deep cycle batteries. A bit surprising that the winch manufacturer specifies the battery in terms of cold cranking amps, that's not really all that relevant to deep cycle discharge applications. Peak current, or nominal current draw at a given torque/winch pulling force would be more useful information.

    If it's a 12V winch I'd suggest either a single Group 31 deep cycle battery if you want to limit it to a single battery. Or alternatively a pair of deep cycle 6V golf cart style batteries wired in series. Something like a pair of Trojan T105 or T125 batteries wired in series gives you a lot of energy reserve (ampere hours) to work with but of course it's a larger, heavier setup to move around.

    A single Group 31 deep cycle battery typically gives you around 105 to 130 AH or so to work with and of course you don't want to discharge below 50% or so of full charge so realistically somewhere around 50 AH of working energy reserve. Near full winch load (12k pounds) a 12V winch will draw somewhere around 300 to 370 amps. So a single, fully charged Group 31 battery will give you around 10 minutes of winching time before dropping to 50% charge and needing to be recharged. A pair of the T125 series batteries in series will roughly double that working time at full load. If your trees aren't that big and the winch doesn't have to work near it's maximum rated load then battery time will be longer. For instance, looking at a Northern Tool 12,000 pound 12V winch it draws 370 amps at 12,000 pound pulling force but the current drops to 165 amps while pulling 4000 pounds more than doubling the battery time between recharging.

    Bottom line, these winches are really made to be run off a battery being supplied by a high power alternator and a running engine. You'll drain batteries fast if you need to pull anywhere near the rated winch load for long. But if you need to run these purely from batteries then get a hold of some big deep cycle batteries. Also run some very heavy gauge conductors to from the battery(s) to the winch.
    KK7EL and KI7LGN like this.
  6. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    What Matt said.
  7. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Volunteer Moderator Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great advice - thank you. I thought it odd about the CCA rating at first but don't know enough to "know enough".

    Remember this is very light duty stuff - log here, log there, that sort of thing. I'm NOT pulling the truck itself out of a ditch!!

    The alternator in the Sierra 2500 is stock 1994. The battery is nothing special.

    Two to three 8-inch dead trees, 40-50 long, on a Saturday afternoon - to drag to the sawbuck to cut for firewood. Not clearing land or rescuing vehicles....

    But at the same time, I don't want to mess up the truck system as I use the truck a LOT for other stuff these days....

  8. KI7LGN

    KI7LGN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Dave, do you have a receiver mount on the front of the truck, or were you planning on using the trailer hitch?

    If it's on the front of the truck, and you aren't using the winch hard, you could get away with putting a good battery in the truck and wiring it up with short cables, done.

    If you were planning on using the trailer hitch, secondary battery is a good idea, use your mongo jumper cables to the rear battery, then heavy cables from the secondary bat to the winch.

    W7UUU likes this.
  9. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Volunteer Moderator Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    That sounds like a really good suggestion - probably the one I was looking for and makes great sense.

    yes - the winch will be in the rear. My 1-Gauge jumpers are 20 feet - plenty long to reach the "secondary battery" in the bed.

    So - what battery for the secondary?

  10. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That'll help a lot, but per the winch manual linked above with no load at all the winch draws 65 amps so even small loading can drain a battery fast.

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