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Old 12-23-2008, 01:58 PM   #1
The Spark
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Default Installing winch in trailer

I'm going to install a winch in my enclosed trailer over the winter and need some advice.

I want to use the winch to load and unload my car so I don't have to climb in and out of the car (no side escape door on the trailer). Sort of a PITA. I have a front tow hook.

I will install a battery (maybe 2) to run the winch. Should I get a deep cycle, regular, or marine battery?

Charging - can I wire the battery into the charging circuit for the breakaway battery?

Any other tips are welcome.
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Old 12-23-2008, 02:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS Racing View Post
I'm going to install a winch in my enclosed trailer over the winter and need some advice.

I want to use the winch to load and unload my car so I don't have to climb in and out of the car (no side escape door on the trailer). Sort of a PITA. I have a front tow hook.

I will install a battery (maybe 2) to run the winch. Should I get a deep cycle, regular, or marine battery?

Charging - can I wire the battery into the charging circuit for the breakaway battery?

Any other tips are welcome.
We have one Deep Cycle battery and a solar panel on top of our trailer. Works like a charm, everytime. If you are planning on running a power wire back to the trailer, make sure it's thick gauge and use a breaker of some sort, plugs get pulled out of trailers. Shorting out a power feed from your tow rig isn't a good idea.

Randy
PS The parts left, let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 12-23-2008, 02:28 PM   #3
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There's a device called a "Toad-Charge" that is designed specifically to charge batteries in a trailer from the towing rig. I have one, haven't installed it yet, but plan to over the winter to power a winch and a 12v compressor in the trailer. Google it and you'll have no trouble finding the part - gets a lot of good reviews from the RV community.
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Old 12-23-2008, 02:55 PM   #4
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There's a hot wire in the 7 pin plug on the tow vehicle. You can run that one to your battery in the trailer and it will charge the battery while it's plugged in. I run a pigtail off of that and plug an inverter into it and have power to charge camera batteries and run my laptop while at the track without worrying about shore power.
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
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There's a hot wire in the 7 pin plug on the tow vehicle. You can run that one to your battery in the trailer and it will charge the battery while it's plugged in. I run a pigtail off of that and plug an inverter into it and have power to charge camera batteries and run my laptop while at the track without worrying about shore power.

I know the trailer only gets power when the truck is running - guess that keeps from draining the truck's batteries. I need to open up the charger box for my breakaway brakes battery. It is a plastic box so I can take the cover off and see what's inside. I wasn't sure if I needed to go through some sort of charger or isolator (read something about them) instead of straight off a hot wire to the battery.
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikahb View Post
There's a device called a "Toad-Charge" that is designed specifically to charge batteries in a trailer from the towing rig.
Interesting little gizmo.


Quote:
We have one Deep Cycle battery and a solar panel on top of our trailer. Works like a charm, everytime. If you are planning on running a power wire back to the trailer, make sure it's thick gauge and use a breaker of some sort, plugs get pulled out of trailers. Shorting out a power feed from your tow rig isn't a good idea.
I thought about using a solar panel. That would keep it charged between uses. Something else to think about.
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:47 PM   #7
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So one battery would be enough to run a winch?
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I know the trailer only gets power when the truck is running -
No, it doesn't matter whether the truck is running or not. It gets power from the truck batteries if it's plugged in. That pin in the 7 pin connector on the truck is always hot.

I leave it plugged in all weekend at the track and that allows me to have lights (DC) and other small electrical devices plugged in all weekend.

If I needed to use the winch, I'd unplug the trailer from the truck so it wouldn't try to pull too much current through the charging wire.

BTW, my truck is a diesel so it has 2 batteries.
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:56 PM   #9
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So one battery would be enough to run a winch?
Yes. I have a Superwinch 4000 and it's pulled multiple times on one charge.
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Old 12-23-2008, 04:17 PM   #10
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one 12v car battery works fine. Nothing special needed. If you charge from the trailer get the right kind of charger hook up like the toad. If you run 12v to the battery from the 7 pin hot wire you can kill your battery. Your alternator has sensing circuits and is wired to the battery and does not overcharge it due to the sensing feedback. The 7 pin does not have this. You don't need any more than the weight of the car as the winches capacity but like anything else more headroom is better. I am not sure what the breakaway box has in it to prevent overcharge of the breakaway battery but it may or maynot be compatible with the car battery and the breakaway battery if wired in parallel as they have huge mismatch in capacity. It would be a nice way for easy wiring. maybe an engineer on this forum could tell us if that would work. Good idea by the way. I never thought of that.
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Old 12-23-2008, 04:47 PM   #11
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No, it doesn't matter whether the truck is running or not. It gets power from the truck batteries if it's plugged in. That pin in the 7 pin connector on the truck is always hot.

I leave it plugged in all weekend at the track and that allows me to have lights (DC) and other small electrical devices plugged in all weekend.

BTW, my truck is a diesel so it has 2 batteries.
Either my trailer is not hooked up to the #7 wire or they changed something. I only have lights inside my trailer if the truck is running. As soon as I shut off my truck the lights go out in the trailer.

I hate having to keep my truck running when I am loading up at night just so I have lights. Wastes fuel.

I could rewire the lights to the new battery so I can have lights without the truck being on - or even attached.

I need to look at my owners manual and read up on the wiring.
I have a diesel too.
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:15 PM   #12
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I have my trailer battery connect to the hot wire on my RV plug as well. It works well. However, I suspect it's because I normally make trips that are less than 3 hours so I never have the opportunity to overcharge the battery.

I need to look this up but my 2004 F250 has a terminal on it's RV trailer plug labeled "battery charger". I'm not sure if this means it's integrated with the onboard dual battery charging set up or if it's simply a constant on source.

I believe my power is on when the truck/RV is not running. You may want to check your connections. I don't remember if there is a switched and an unswitched power on the RV plug.

I like the idea of the solar panel. My problem has been keeping the battery charged between trips.

John
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:21 PM   #13
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I have used something like this http://www.powerstream.com/battery-isolator.htm in the past, for dual battery applications. "got to keep them seprated" Some may know the song.


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Old 12-23-2008, 05:53 PM   #14
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If you're towing an enclosed trailer, you likely tow it with a diesel powered HD pickup truck. I use a Super Duty F-250 diesel and the truck has two batteries. I ran a #4 welding cable from the truck's left battery to the back of the truck. I ran a short lead to the winch from the tongue of the trailer and use a Wenco welding cable connector when I need to run the winch.

Although I thought about using a separate battery in the trailer, it would just be another thing to maintain, keep charged and more dead weight. The cable and connectors cost a little more than a battery but if the truck is running, the batteries are good. Besides, my truck has a 160 amp alternator so I don't have to worry about running out of juice.

I also use an electric tongue jack, and although some wire it to the breakaway battery on the trailer, mine is powered from the truck. Without the truck there, nobody can jack the tongue up or down unless they want to go to the trouble of using the manual lever override. Again, the same power source, the truck. If the truck isn't running, I'm not towing. And my truck's diesel engine idling while I'm loading or winching is very minor fuel use. Even if it were gas, the amout you burn while idling is nothing compared to when you're pulling the trailer.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I know the trailer only gets power when the truck is running - guess that keeps from draining the truck's batteries.
What make of truck? IS this a factory harness or is it aftermarket?

The 12 power lead on my Chevy Silverado is always hot. My old 99 was that way and so is my new '08.

I use the trailer harness connector to power a 12v drop light and I don't have the ignition switch in the ON position. That 12v connection is #10 or #12 wire and it should have either a 40A or 60A fuse.
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Old 12-23-2008, 11:00 PM   #16
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What make of truck? IS this a factory harness or is it aftermarket?

The 12 power lead on my Chevy Silverado is always hot. My old 99 was that way and so is my new '08.

I use the trailer harness connector to power a 12v drop light and I don't have the ignition switch in the ON position. That 12v connection is #10 or #12 wire and it should have either a 40A or 60A fuse.
I have a 2008 Ford F250 with factory trailering package and 2007 Wells Cargo trailer with factory wiring.

I couldn't find anything about the wiring in the truck owners manual. I haven't checked the plug with a multimeter to see if it has a lead that is always hot. All I know is that there is no power going to the trailer when I shut the engine off. I did read in the manual that the factory trailer brake controller "senses" the trailer wiring for any faults. Maybe it cuts off power to the trailer when it is turned off.
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Old 12-24-2008, 03:07 PM   #17
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Here's another option FWIW...

I have an enclosed trailer and a Superwinch 4000. I purchased a PS 5000 M portable power station from Costco. It has an 18 amp Battery, a 400 watt inverter a 140 psi air compressor and an LED worklight all built into one compact unit. You keep it plugged in to an AC outlet which keeps the battery charged. Whenever I'm going to the track, I just unplug the unit and bring it with me. It has jumper cable leads so all you have to do is clamp them to the winch leads and start winching.

There are a number of nice things about it, but the best is that you can used the winch without having the truck hooked up to it. Plus be able to jump start any other car by just carrying the unit to it.

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Old 12-24-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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