Winch Definitions

Winch Types

Single drum winches are used most often. Cable wraps on and off the drum as the winch direction is changed. Cable length is determined by the size of the drum. Lifting or pulling force varies depending on the cable layer on the drum.

Double drum winches use two drums that require a "loop" of cable. Cable is continuously spooled in and out on the drum system. Because it does not accumulate on a drum you have an unlimited lifting or pulling distance. Also, the maximum force of the winch is available for the entire length of lift or pull. The drawback to using a double drum winch is that it requires at least one return pulley to complete the loop.

Load Capacity

Two gear ratios are used to generate two different load/speed combinations. The 1200/700 Lbs gear ratio will allow you to pull or lift 1200 pounds on the first cable layer and 700 pounds on the final cable layer. The 700/400 Lbs gear ratio will allow you to pull or lift 700 pounds on the first cable layer and 400 pounds on the final cable layer. For both gear ratios, the force capacity decreases as the cable is wound onto the drum and successive layers of cable are added.

The Double Drum winches offer the same two gear ratios as the single drum winches. However, since the cable does not accumulate on the drum, the winch force does not change as cable is spooled in and out. The Double drum is capable of producing 1200 pounds of force with one set of gears or 700 pounds of force (and a faster line speed) with the other set of gears.


The winch motors and controls have to be ordered with either the 115 VAC (Volts AC) option or the 230 VAC option. Winches built for 115 VAC operation will not run on 230 VAC. Likewise, winches built for 230 VAC operation will not run properly on 115 VAC. The power required is single phase (3 phase not available), 17 amps for the 115 VAC motor and single phase (3 phase not available), 8 amps for the 230 VAC motor. The 230 volt winches can be run with 208 VAC but the winches will run a bit slower.

Remote/Standard Controls

Controls can be either mounted directly onto the winch (Standard) or can be purchased with a pendant cord (Remote). Standard pendant cord length is 10 feet.


Several different style switches can be used. Traditionally, a single rotary switch has been used. The switch can be a momentary (release it and the winch stops) or a maintain switch (release it and the winch stays running - you have to manually turn it to the off position).

Our newest control uses push buttons. Push the "IN" button and the winch runs IN. Push the "OUT" button and the winch runs OUT. Releasing the buttons stops the winch from running.

The push button switch is generally easier to use but is more expensive. It uses a low voltage (24 volts DC) control circuit which makes it easier to use with external limit switches.

Both the rotary switch models and the push button switch models are available with electrical disconnects for the remote pendants that allow you to remove the pendant control easily from the winch.