Winches and Starters - why do they still use Solenoids? - Defender Source
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 11:51 AM
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Winches and Starters - why do they still use Solenoids?

Most of the electronics industry has moved away from large discrete electrical components, and now high-power switching is done with IGBTs and high-temp MOSFETs. Normally these are prescribed because they are able to switch at extremely high frequencies compared to relays, so you can create high power microwave amplifiers for radars or use pwm in lieu of transformers. Therefore they are trivial for use potentially as replacements for both winch solenoids and starter solenoids.

So I guess my question is, is there some obvious reason why starter motor solenoids and the bulky winch solenoid packs aren't being replaced by theoretically much smaller and much more reliable solid-state devices?

I took a look at the solenoid pack on a winch and an equivalent solid state circuit could be 1/8 the size, completely waterproof, and last pretty much forever.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 11:54 AM
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Cost?
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 12:11 PM
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My Superwinch Husky has a small, waterproof solenoid...
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 12:23 PM
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IMO it has to do with cost and reliability.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JSBriggs View Post
Huh? I didnt understand 1/2 of what you said. IGBTs? MOSFETs?

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Old January 22nd, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JSBriggs View Post
Huh? I didnt understand 1/2 of what you said. IGBTs? MOSFETs?

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Old January 22nd, 2013, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JSBriggs View Post
Huh? I didnt understand 1/2 of what you said. IGBTs? MOSFETs?

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Old January 22nd, 2013, 01:36 PM
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I haven't seen any solid state devices that can switch 800 amps that are very small. Maybe you can show an example.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 01:51 PM
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LOL! Marketing folks are worse.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 02:13 PM
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I believe something like:

http://www.digikey.com/product-detai...0B3-ND/2529254

should be sufficient in an H-bridge configuration to supply constant 400A / momentary 960A in both the forward and backward directions, I think.

I'm assuming that 800A is the momentary load (as at 14.4V, that's 11.5kW, which is an incredible amount of energy!)
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by o2batsea View Post
I haven't seen any solid state devices that can switch 800 amps that are very small. Maybe you can show an example.
For a small 1"x1"x3" example that can handle north of 300 amps for ~ 5 seconds and around 200 amps for extended periods with adequate cooling, I used several of these:
http://www.castlecreations.com/produ...oenix-180.html
I've burn a few of them up as well.....

Granted, different application, but the technology is the same, MOSFETs and all. Guessing it would be a $1000 for something that could handle cranking/winching duties.
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 02:14 PM
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I've seen some up to 180 amps at 30v, but you'd have to parallel a few of them to get enough capacity and keeping them balanced becomes quite an issue at these power levels. . . Also switching multiple devices on at once sounds easy, but when you're talking about that much current, even milliseconds can cause things to fry. (One goes on first, gets all current -poof)

They make high capacity Solid State Relays for AC power transmission etc (up to 1000Amps) So who knows, perhaps its doable. probably would end up bigger than a solenoid (relay). Most of industry is moving away from low voltage + high current also, so there is less innovation and demand for new parts to fit this mold.

If you put a team of EE's on it it could of course get done, but..... Solenoids are dumb simple and relatively easy to scale up. And work.


Ed, do you work in electronics?? I'm just a "hobbiest", and basic electricity/electronics teacher, but playing with electricity is second only to rovers . .
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by revtor View Post
Ed, do you work in electronics?? I'm just a "hobbiest", and basic electricity/electronics teacher, but playing with electricity is second only to rovers . .
~Steve
I work in high frequency RF, so we often work with high power amplifiers (for communications type applications). Although I don't do the actual electronics part of it (I am in the modeling and simulation side) I am aware of the technology, so that's why I'm asking the other D90 folks for info

I think all of the answers that folks are giving are very informative. Not a lot of demand for low voltage, high-current DC apps, higher cost, component suitability, easy availability of solenoids.

The other thing I am thinking about is ensuring fail-open (that is, you do not want the winch power switching circuit to short-circuit when it breaks)
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