What is Solenoid and How to Wire a Winch Without a Solenoid?

You’re trying to figure out how to wire a winch. It’s no small feat. But if you want to be successful with this project, there’s a good chance you need to make some changes to the design of the system. A winch is a mechanical device that you use to pull something. Most winches work with cables and pulleys. The easiest way to figure out how to wire a winch is to do it backward. If you have a winch, then you have a cable. You have the cable because you need to have something to pull. And the cable will go through the pulley at the top of the winch.

What is a Solenoid?

solenoid for winch
Solenoid for winch

A solenoid is an electromagnet with a coil of wire inside it. When current passes through the coil, a strong magnetic field is created around the core of the solenoid, which then pulls the armature (the part outside the coil) into close proximity with the pole piece (the part inside the coil). This causes a mechanical force to be applied to the object attached to the armature.

The solenoid is the most important part of the winch because it is the thing that controls the direction and amount of tension in the rope. There are two basic types of winch solenoids, the “push” and the “pull.” Both are used in the same way. The push solenoid is like a switch that allows the rope to move in one direction, while the pull solenoid is like a switch that lets the rope move in another direction.

Understanding Winch Wiring

It’s crucial to have a foundational knowledge of how winches function before diving into the wiring procedure. Among the many parts that make up a winch are a motor, a drum, and a cable or rope. The cable or rope is wound around a drum, which is turned by a motor. After the cable is fastened to the thing to be pulled or lifted, the winch can do its work.

Many different types of winch wiring exist, but one of the most common uses solenoids to control the winch’s operation. Solenoids are electromechanical devices that, when activated, allow electricity to flow through them. When wiring a winch, a solenoid is typically used to regulate power from the battery to the winch motor.

Even though solenoids are great at regulating power, they sometimes cause issues. The lifespan of a solenoid is limited, and they are susceptible to corrosion and other forms of damage. Replacement solenoids can be pricey, too. Due to these factors, some elect to connect their winches without a solenoid.

Can a Winch be Wired Without a Solenoid?

A “solenoid” is an important component used in many different types of winches. It is used for tensioning and also for holding tension once it has been applied.

To wire a winch without a solenoid, all you need to do is to remove the magnet inside it, which is usually a black plastic piece. The magnet will then allow the motor to run freely. In most cases, the motor will also be able to turn the winch when there’s no magnet inside. But for extra security, you should make sure that the motor is not exposed to moisture or dust.

When you need to use a winch without the solenoid, there are a few things to consider. The first thing to do is make sure that the system is designed to work without the solenoid.

The second thing to do is to make sure that the wire is strong enough to pull the load without breaking. Make sure that it has enough flexibility, and doesn’t have any sharp bends or kinks. Also, look for any corrosion on the wire that can weaken it.

The third thing to do is to make sure that the wire is not too thick or too thin. Ideally, it should be 1/2 inch (12mm) in diameter.

How to Wire a Winch Without a Solenoid

It can be difficult, especially for first-timers, to wire a winch without a solenoid. Thankfully, by adhering to a few straightforward steps and using a minimal amount of tools and materials, it is possible to wire a winch without a solenoid.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before you start wiring your winch without a solenoid, make sure you have the following tools and materials on hand:

  1. Winch cable
  2. Battery cables
  3. Battery
  4. Winch control switch
  5. Terminal connectors
  6. Wire strippers
  7. Crimping tool
  8. Electrical tape.

Before you begin, you need also to take a few safety measures. As well as donning gloves and safety glasses, make sure your winch is unplugged from the battery. Additionally, make sure the drum is locked in place and the winch cable or rope is completely retracted.

You’re prepared to start the wiring process once you have your materials and tools and have taken the essential safety measures.

Wiring the Winch Without a Solenoid: Step-by-step Guide

how to wire a winch without a solenoid

Here’s how to wire a winch without a solenoid:

Step 1: To prevent unintentional electrical shock while servicing the winch, take the first step of disconnecting the battery cables from the battery.

Step 2: Secure the winch wire to the winch drum, being sure to follow the instructions specifically for your winch model.

Step 3: Join the battery cords to the power source. Positive and negative cables should be connected to the appropriate terminals.

Step 4: Utilizing a terminal connection, connect the winch cable’s one end to the positive battery cable.

Step 5: The other end of the winch wire should be connected to the winch control switch using a different terminal connector. Make that the cable is attached to the proper switch terminal.

Step 6: Connect a separate battery cable’s one end to the battery’s negative terminal.

Step 7: Use a terminal connector to attach the opposite end of the additional battery line to the winch motor. The circuit will be finished and the winch motor will be able to operate.

Step 8: Activate the control switch to test the winch. The winch rope should start to spool in or out according to preference.

Step 9: In order to prolong the effectiveness of the winch, step 9 involves covering any exposed wires and connectors with electrical tape. This will shield them from moisture and dirt.

How to wire a 12V winch?

Safety Precautions

In the event that one chooses to wire a winch without a solenoid, while it may present a financially advantageous solution, it is critical to undertake a series of measures to guarantee your personal safety:

  1. Primarily, it is of utmost importance to always disengage the battery cables prior to engaging with the winch so as to avoid electrical shocks that could be potentially hazardous to your well-being.
  2. Employing the suitable gauge and variant of cable as well as connectors for your specific winch model is also highly recommended, so as to prevent potential electrical complications from arising.
  3. Conscientiously ensuring that the winch cable is securely and properly fastened to the winch drum is another pivotal aspect of this process, as it serves to circumvent the cable from loosening or slipping during operation.
  4. Moreover, it is highly recommended to meticulously test the winch’s functionality before employing it to avoid any untoward accidents that may result in injury or damage to property.


Does a winch have to have a solenoid?

A winch has no need for a solenoid. But it can be helpful to use one in some cases, especially if you’re using a smaller-sized winch or if you want to add more features to your winch like locking it or providing a reverse feature.

How do you hardwire a winch?

Hardwiring a winch can be tricky. In fact, it’s downright dangerous if you don’t do it right. First, you need to know that a winch has three major parts:

  1. The motor or drum;
  2. The gearbox; and
  3. The cable.

To hardwire a winch, you must first attach the motor or drum to the gearbox, then connect the gearbox to the cable, and then finally, connect the cable to an electrical power source. There are several ways to hardwire a winch, but they all basically follow the same process. So, let’s say you have a 10-foot section of 1/2-inch steel cable with a single No. 8 copper wire wrapped around it. To hardwire your winch, you would do the following: Attach the 1/2-inch steel cable to the gearbox of the winch. Connect one end of the wrapped copper wire to the output terminal of the gearbox. Connect the other end of the copper wire to an electrical power source. Turn on the power source. Start the winch and test it out.

Can you hook a winch directly to a battery?

A winch can be connected to a battery, but you would need a power inverter to convert the high voltage of a battery to a low voltage that the winch can accept.

How do you winch on Hotwire?

Hotwire rewards members for staying at a hotel for longer periods of time, by giving them a “stay bonus”. All you have to do is book your hotel stay on Hotwire, then cancel before your stay is completed, and you will immediately receive your stay bonus. This way, you can stay at the most profitable hotels, without having to wait until the end of your stay to check out and get your full refund.


The coil of a winch has a specific direction of rotation. This direction is determined by the direction of the magnetic field in the armature. As it turns out, you can reverse the direction of rotation simply by flipping the magnet around. This is why you can turn a winch in either direction, even when the motor is only powered from one side. When working with solenoids, the solenoid needs to be wired in such a way that it produces its full magnetic field. This is how I did it.

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