How to Use a Hand Crank Winch? – Complete Guideline

Suppose you went out for an off-road adventure with your buddies, and at a certain point, your jeep or car gets stuck in the mud. You keep on accelerating, but the vehicle won't come out of the mud no matter what you do.

This is where winches come in handy. They are basically tools that can pull in or lift heavy objects such as cargo loads or cars.

Using an electric winch will use the power of your car. Not a wise move considering you have to save the power for your ride.

In such cases, a hand crank winch is the best option. No electricity is needed. Just set it up and use your brute force to pull out the car from the mud. Don't you know how to use one? No worries.

How to Use a Hand Crank Winch?

Cost: you can successfully set up the hand crank winch within 25 bucks. But the price may go down if you already own the tools and materials we are about to mention.

Time: setting up or installing the hand crank winch takes about 5 to 10 minutes. And the time required for pulling in whatever you want to pull in depends on you.

Now let's quickly look at the tools and materials we need in order to set up and use the hand crank winch successfully:

  • Electrical tape.
  • A hex key.
  • A hand wrench.

Please follow all the steps very carefully as using a hand crank winch can be very dangerous if not done right.

Please do not skip any steps, and follow them chronologically. So, without wasting more time, let's jump right in.

Step 1 - preparation

Start by examining how much weight your hand crank winch can carry or pull. Do not use a winch that is not rated for the weight you are about to pull.

This might end up damaging the winch. That is not all; it might cause severe injuries as well.

Now, wear a pair of safety gloves before setting up the hand winch. The gloves are not necessary when using the winch, but precaution is needed when setting up. Once you are done wearing gloves, move to the next step.

Step 2 - mounting the winch

Mounting the hand winch is a bit tricky. First of all, you need to determine if you need to pull in or pull up/lift the weight.

If you want to pull in the weight, go right ahead. But if you want to lift a weight, you have to make sure your hand winch has a braking system.

Do not attempt to lift without a braking system. If you lose control of the handle midway through, the handle will violently spin around, and your weight will free fall to the ground. This can seriously damage you and the thing you were lifting.

Now, find a flat surface to mount the winch on. You can mount it on both wood and metal surfaces.

Flip the frame of the winch, and you will see some mounting holes. Now use screws to place the winch on the surface firmly.

Make sure you tighten the mounting vase to the point where it does not move even a millimeter. After securing the mounting vase, attach the winch to the vase. Now you are ready to move forward.

Step 3 - spooling the cable or rope

Before we begin, we would like to point out that we did not include the price of the cable because it is natural to assume you already have it.

Before you want to use your hand winch, it must be properly spooled with cable. To do this, you must first seize the end that will go inside the winch with electrical tape. Roll the end up with a good chunk of tape.

Now, insert the set screw that came with the winch through the cable. After that, insert the cable end into the catch hole. Remember to leave one cable length diameter of wire so that it can protrude from the other side.

Slide the set screw you inserted earlier into the set screw hole located right next to the catch hole. Now tighten the set screw up with the provided nut.

Before you tighten it up to the point where it can't move, take a hex key and rotate the set screw, and orient the cable so that it can flow correctly with the rounded shape of the spool.

Back to tightening up the set screw. Use a hand wrench and keep tightening up the set screw until it can't move. Remember to leave the cable pointing in the right direction.

Now for the main part, to spool the cable, you must slowly turn the handle and guide the cable onto the spool.

Do not forget to apply constant tension to the cable. If you leave the cable hanging down and turn the handle, it will most likely bird nest on the spool.

Not spooling it properly will reduce the life of the cable and even increase the amount of force needed to use the winch.

Continue turning the handle until the cable is equally distributed across the spool. Please note that you should only spool the cable until there are two diameters of cable left. If you continue spooling it, it will angle out from the reel.

Step 4 - using the winch

Now that you have mounted the winch and spooled the cable, the only task left is to pull in the weight.

But before we start, if you want to lift weights, you have to mount the winch vertically. Mount it facing upwards.

Now the pulling in part. This is a pretty self-explanatory step. You just attach the hook, which is located at the end of the cable to the weight, and turn the handle of the hand crank winch.

As we have said earlier, do not attempt to lift weight if your winch doesn't have a break built-in.

Keep the winch aligned with what you are pulling in. Keeping it centered requires much less force compared to keeping the winch in the right or in the left from the weight.

Hand Winch vs Electric Winch

Now that you know how to operate and set up a winch, it is only natural to assume that you would want to know if the hand winch you are using is good enough or needs an upgrade.

Well, there is no objective answer because hand winch and electric winch both have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation.

A hand winch usually costs around 300 bucks, whereas an electric winch costs 10 times more. So, if you want an affordable solution, there are no options other than a hand winch.

But, as the name says, you have to use your hands to operate it. Not going to lie; it takes a bit of strength. As you will operate it in person, you will most likely be in danger if anything goes wrong.

On the other "hand," an electric winch may cost way more, but it lets you take a back seat. You just set it up and watch as it does all the job.

It is also lighter than hand winches. But the downside is that you have to worry about the battery dying. If it does, you can't do anything.

In conclusion, hand winches are cheaper and more flexible, but they are hard work (really hard).

On the other hand, electric winches are more expensive, but they do all the work for you so that you can relax. If you ask us, we will go for hand winches because they are more reliable.

Final words

From saving your stuck vehicle to lifting heavy items, a hand winch can do everything. They are a cheap alternative to towing. Thus, saving your money and time.

But be sure to buy the right one according to what you are going to do because there are many different winches for different jobs. Before we end this article, here's a tip that can be a lifesaver in the future.

Keep in mind that the most significant mechanical advantage and the lowest force required to pull a load is achieved when you have the fewest layers of cable on your hand winch.

The more the cable layer, the harder it is to turn the handle. Hope this tip helps you.

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