eWincher Electric Winch Handle Review—Part 2, The Competition

In Part 1 I shared our experience with eWincher on Morgan's Cloud over this summer. In this follow up article I'm going to compare eWincher to electric winches as well as three competing products.

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Daniel McCarty

This is a great line. Good job on the word smithing. 🙂

“…would result in having your hand extruded through the clutch.”

Very vivid.

Later,
Dan

Peter Mahaffey

Hi John, just wondering . . . how many winch handles go overboard during the lifetime of the average enthusiastic cruising sailor? In other words, what is the risk of one’s e-wincher going the same way? And can this be insured against?!!

Henrik Johnsen

Seldèns E40i electric winch should also be taken into consideration in this discussion.
https://www.seldenmast.com/products/winches/
I don’t have any experience with it, and the price is unknown, but it for sure looks promising.
This is what Seldèn tels in their advertise:
“The E40i winch is built up around an electric motor which is totally integrated in the drum. Only three thin cables are protruding to lead through the coach roof or the deck, no large cutouts and no external motor or gearbox. This makes for uncompromised headroom down below which is normally not the case with electric winches.
The three speed operation provides a high speed gear, a moderate gear and a low speed gear for fine tuning. It is a two finger operation to start the winch and to swich gear, so a single-handed sailor can helm while adjusting the trim”.

Matt

The catch appears to be that it won’t run directly off a 12 V or 24 V DC supply, but requires a dedicated 42 V DC bus supplied by a Seldén DC-DC converter, plus a dedicated CAN bus for control, and a Seldén motor controller for each winch.

To be fair, that’s probably the right call, from an engineering standpoint. It means that your long twisty runs are made with 8 or 10 AWG cable instead of 2 or 4 AWG, and the higher voltage is necessary to fit the motor inside the drum like that, which you just wouldn’t be able to do at a lower voltage. Separating the MCU from the motor is, again, a good modern practice; it gives you more choices for mounting things in tight spaces, and means that five or ten years from now, you only have to replace what actually broke.

It’d be easy to integrate on a new build, rather more difficult as a refit, and I’d be inclined to apply the usual AAC caution to new and not-thoroughly-proven systems, at least until more evidence is available. Notably, I don’t see a handle socket for manual override in the event of a power failure.

Stein Varjord

Hi Matt,
Looking at the x-ray images on their site, it can be confirmed that they have no manual operation option. Since the motor is inside the drum, there’s no space for the gears needed for manual winching. The winches are probably very reliable, but long distance cruisers need a backup plan for all essential functions. That could in this case be snatch blocks in the right places to use other available winches when needed. Probably good enough?

Terence Thatcher

Great series. Question: do you think the ewincher would serve the same Jordan drogue retrieval purpose as your drill adaptation? I am still set up to use a nipper line to the bow and back to the cockpit primaries. Works, but time-consuming.

Brian Russell

It looks like Power Arm is now called Power Wincher with new URL: https://www.powerwincher.com.au/
Thanks for the in depth review. We’ve been using our Milwaukee drill motor for a couple of years now and, while useful, are thinking of upgrading to a more purpose-built device.