A winch has many parts and accessories needed to make it work. There is of course the motor, the winch line, the fairlead (optional), the mounting plate, the remote control, the clutch, the hook, the power source and many more. Some of these parts and accessories can easily be replaced, such as the hook or the fairlead or the winch line, whether it be a steel wire cable or a synthetic rope. But some parts can’t be replaced as easily, parts such as the motor or the solenoid.
A solenoid is one of the most important parts of a winch. It is one of the electrical components which has a very delicate design. Replacing the solenoid needs more careful thought than replacing a winch line or the hook. If the replacement solenoid is wrong, it will set you back maybe hundreds of dollars. It can be expensive because the wrong solenoid can damage either the electrical or the mechanical components of the winch.
What Does the Solenoid Do?
The solenoid regulates the amount of electric current that goes to the winch motor. In a winch design, at least one solenoid is needed to move the winch drum in one direction. For really powerful winch motors (series wound motors), two solenoids are used in unison to move the winch drum in one direction. They have a four winch solenoid arrangement.
A solenoid is an electromagnetic switch. It activates the winch motor. If it delivers the wrong amount of electric current, it can overload the winch. The solenoid should have deliver only the exact amount of current needed. If not, it may damage either the motor or the winch switch.
There are two mounting configurations when it comes to solenoids. A solenoid can either be mounted on top of the winch or in a remote place in the vehicle, far from the winch. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
If the solenoid is mounted on the winch, you have an easier mounting configuration. This involves less wiring and is not as complicated as having the solenoid mounted remotely. This eliminates chaffing of the wires and significantly lessens the risk of a short circuit.
However, the solenoid is exposed to the heat generated by the winch motor. The solenoid is also more vulnerable to the harsh conditions the winch is exposed to in this configuration. In short, having the solenoid sit on top of the winch might be easy, but it does not bode well in the long run.
If the solenoid is mounted remotely inside the vehicle, it is safe and protected from both the elements and from the heat generated by the winch. Another benefit of remotely mounting the solenoid is it makes the winch smaller, more compact, and easier to install on a winch bumper.
However, the installation and the wiring may become exponentially more complicated. A remote solenoid mounting needs more electrical skills to achieve. You would have to be careful with the wiring here if you want to avoid unnecessary electrical problems.
Should You Use Two or Four Solenoids?
As was mentioned above, some winches use 4 solenoids and others only two. The number of solenoids you need depend on the power and the motor of the winch.
More powerful winches need more solenoids. These winches are usually equipped with a series wound motor. A four winch solenoid arrangement is more reliable and stronger. If you have the budget, this is the better option.
Winches that only utilize two solenoids are weaker and less reliable. But they are cheaper. They come with a permanent magnet motor.
Anzio Universal Winch Solenoid Relay (B0773P2JJ2)
This is a 12 volt and 500 amp solenoid relay. It is compatible with any winch with a capacity of 8000 lbs to 12000 lbs. It is a viable Smittybilt winch solenoid replacement for the model X20, the XRC8 and other Smittybilt winch models in that pull capacity range. Any winch with a pull capacity that is within the 8000 to 12000 lb range, with a direct current 12 v motor, either series wound or permanent magnet, is compatible with this solenoid.
The solenoid is easy to install in a control box. It has a pre-cut mounting bracket. It is also quite protected. It is waterproof, to some extent and features a corrosion resistant case. The material it is made of is a combination of ABS and aluminum alloy, both of which are not really durable materials. But if you keep it from demanding environments, it should last a long while. A remote mounting is the better option with this solenoid.
If you have no experience in mounting and installing a winch solenoid, it is advisable to get a professional to do it. The package does not come with an installation manual, so you might do it wrong if you have no idea how to do it.
NPBoosted Winch Relay Solenoid NP-PRO500 (B071NKSYHP)
This model has a wider pull capacity range. It is suitable with any winch that has a pulling capacity of 5000 to 12000 lbs. Like the previous solenoid, it also works with a 12V 500 amp winch motor.
There are no specifications on the product, but upon use, it does serve its purposes well. It is a good Smittybilt winch solenoid replacement. However, if it does not work for you, it is covered with a 1 year warranty.
Regarding installation, it is easy enough if you know what you are doing. Again, no instruction manual comes with the product. So if you don’t have the mechanical knowledge and skills to set up its wiring, a professional might be needed.
What do you think of this Smittybilt winch solenoid replacements list? Are there other solenoid replacement parts that you think are worth their price? Share your opinions on the comments section!
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