In Cab Winch Remote
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By: Randy L. Wheeler - 9/2001 

Wire up an in cab winch remote... it's easy!

While 4wheel'n a couple of months ago, a friend of mine had to winch a broken rig out of a predicament.  Maneuvering his rig in place, we unspooled his winch, hooked up to the stranded rig and prepared to winch him up over some rocks.  Only problem was that he couldn't find his winch remote cable which was buried under mounds of camping gear in the back of his Jeep. The solution to this problem would have been to store the winch remote cable in an accessible location, making it easier to retrieve.  Another solution is to hard wire an in cab winch remote switch. This way you can control the winch from inside the cab and not have to worry about locating the winch remote cable.  Sure, there are times when having the cable available is handy, but for those those other times, an in cab remote switch is mighty useful.

wiring.jpg (90488 bytes)
Connections to the existing wire harness.
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Notch the back side of the winch cover for the grommet.
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Standard trailer wire connector makes an easy and inexpensive way to disconnect the remote wire to remove the winch.

Wiring up the remote switch is as easy as, well, wiring up a couple of wires.  I'm running a Warn XD9000i winch.  This winch uses a 3-pin connector for the cable remote.  I'm sure those winches with a 5-pin connector would be just as easy to wire up.

The parts used for this project consisted of the following:

Start by disconnecting the battery so that you don't short anything out during the process.  Next, remove the winch cover to expose the solenoids.  On the XD9000i winch, there are 4 solenoids.  The connector uses three wires:  white (power), black (winch out), and green (winch in).  The white wire is routed directly to the main power terminal on solenoid #1 (where the large red power lead goes to the vehicle battery).  The green wire is wired to the #1 and #2 solenoids, and the black wire is wired to the #3 and #4 solenoids.

The first step is to connect the 3-strand orange wire to the existing solenoid block.  Strip away enough of the wire shealth so that you have enough wire to splice into the green, black and white wires.  It's a good idea to slide on a rubber grommet first before you start making all the connections.

Spice and solder a ring terminal to the white wire of the 3-strand orange remote wire. This will be connected to the positive terminal of solenoid #1. Next, splice into the green wire using solder and heat shrink tubing to finish the connection.  Repeat for the black wire.  Route the remote wire out the back of the winch and up through the engine compartment.  On the winch cover, notch a small area at the base of the back of the cover so that the remote wire can pass through it.  Test fit the grommet into the notch to make sure the cover seats fully on the winch housing.  

With this completed, it's time to splice a trailer wire connector into the remote wire.  This will allow you to remove the winch without having to disconnect the pretty wiring job you did on the solenoids.

With the trailer wire connector in place, route the remote wire through the firewall and connect it to the momentary switch.  The location of the switch should be such that it's easy to reach while winching without having to bend over or reach too far.  I selected a location just beneath the drivers seat on the right side of the seat tower.  This allows me to easily reach down while still being able to hang on to the steering wheel.  It's close enough that I don't have to bend over or reach too far, thus possibly blocking my vision.  

Before I hard wired the remote wire to the momentary switch, I spiced in a second switch that is used to control the power lead.  Simply spice an on-off switch in line with the white power lead and you have an effective way to isolate the momentary switch. I mounted the power cut-off switch in a convenient location on my dash.

Once the remote power switch is wired in, connect the white, black and green wires to the remote switch, install the winch cover, paying attention to route the grommet through the notch, reconnect the battery and you're finished!

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Drawing courtesy of Mike Dixon

Remote power cut-off (on-off) switch mounted on the dash. Momentary (on-off-on) switch mounted to the right side of the drivers seat bracket. Schematic showing 3-wire connector


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