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Article: In Cab Winch Controller

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Glendale, AZ
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    8,539

    wrench In Cab Winch Controller

    I have been wanting to do an in cab winch controller for some time, but never really got around to it, nor did I want to do the overly complicated multiple control points. I would always remember when I got out on the trail, then hook up my winch controler, wrap the cable around the side view mirror, in the window, and then deal with the joystick controler and cable all over the cab. This was especially annoying with a passenger. I just wanted to be able to operate my winch with a switch in the cab without all the muss and fuss.

    This was a quick and easy install that used all existing equipment as supplies, a flat piece of metal that covers your opening (if you are replacing another switch panel) plus 2 small nuts and bolts and 2 sheet metal screws. If you are doing a nice install in a plastic dash, I would recommend getting a 3 way switch that allows you to change the current switch if you don't want to use my method. If you are installing in a plastic dash, you can skip the metal plate part. Total time start to finish was less than an hour and most of that time was actually waiting on paint to dry...

    You will also need a drill, an angle grinder (or some method of cutting a hole in metal), and a drill bit for pilot holes.

    I began by taking apart the joystick. 2 screws and it falls to pieces (insert your own joke here...)






    When it is apart you will notice the switch is a simple 3 way set up. If you do not plan on using the existing switch, just mark and label which wire does what (in, ground, out) and plug them into whatever 3 way switch you choose to use. Do not use a simple on/off switch as it won't work,




    Again, my plan was to use the same cable as the joystick, just mount it inside the cab. I liked the triangle shape of the existing switch, plus I had a dead space in my console I wanted to cover that used to house old rock light switches.

    I cut a piece of metal 1" wider and 1/2" taller than the space I had to cover. I did the decidedly messy method of using an angle grider to cut out a square and the "over cut" is hidden by the switch cover. The 1" wider was to allow space for the sheet metal screws. I measured the space of the switches and wires (in my case 1" x 1.25" and used an angle grinder to cut out a hole for the switch to drop into.

    I left enough lip that I could use 2 small nuts and bolts to attach the switch to the metal plate. You can also see the pilot holes I drilled in the plate (and the pilot holes in the cover if you reference the first picture in this write up) since I didn't want to damage the plastic cover on the switch.




    After plugging it into the winch control box and testing to make sure everything worked alright (nothing worse than "finishing" a project only to find out it doesn't work...), I then routed the cable through the firewall, down the frame, and plugged it back into the winch control box on the front of the Jeep like normal. (If you do have to cut a hole in the firewall to get the plug through, please remember to make or buy a rubber grommet to keep the wire from fraying on the sharp edges.)






    Finally, assemble the switch into the plate using 2 small nuts and bolts to fasten the switch to the plate (which I painted black). Do not over tighten these bolts as you will crack the plastic cover on the switch.

    I then lined up the cover over the opening I had, drilled the two pilot holes on the outside edges for the sheet metal screws, and screwed the entire plate over the opening.




    Now I have my rock lights, main winch control, suck down winch control (black switch box on the right side of the console, front and rear locker switches, left and right rear brake line locks, and my electric fan switch all within my reach while safely and comfortably inside the Jeep.

    Last edited by alanzona; 07-10-2011 at 10:52 PM.
    The Dusty Gnome / White Collar Publishing
    Follow @thedustygnome on Twitter and at www.thedustygnome.com or White Collar Publishing on FB

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Glendale, AZ
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    That's pretty awesome. Looks like an easy enough project to do. I saw another write-up from another board. He opened up the winch control box, soldered some wires directly to the connectors and ran them to the cab. Inside, he mounted two switches. A DPDT switch for winding the winch up/down, and a SPST switch for power on/off to the DPDT switch. It took him much longer than your project, though.
    2009 4-door JK - 85% daily driver, 15% hunting vehicle, 100% fun!

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Glendale, AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2ndchance View Post
    That's pretty awesome. Looks like an easy enough project to do. I saw another write-up from another board. He opened up the winch control box, soldered some wires directly to the connectors and ran them to the cab. Inside, he mounted two switches. A DPDT switch for winding the winch up/down, and a SPST switch for power on/off to the DPDT switch. It took him much longer than your project, though.
    There are several good ones like that out there. The advantage is that it allows you to still have a mobile out of cab winch control. i didn't need that so went simple and inexpensive.
    The Dusty Gnome / White Collar Publishing
    Follow @thedustygnome on Twitter and at www.thedustygnome.com or White Collar Publishing on FB

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