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Accumulator for winch?


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Has anyone experimented with fitting a hydraulic pressure accumulator to a hydraulic winch system?

Nobody? Wouldn't it allow you to use a smaller pump and still get a certain amount of pull very quickly?

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Think of them in the same way as an air-tank/pressure vessel, you pump pressure in when you have it and draw from it when you need it. So you could run a pump with a lower flow/pressure rating through some kind of mechanical advantage (like a gear) to build greater pressure and store that for use when you need it. (Think Tower bridge, it uses massive accumulators so that when it needs to open the pressure is available, they're basically batteries for hydraulics)

Not knowing enough about the specifics of building a system my real question is how much pressure/flow can be stored in a reasonable space, and how long would that operate something like a winch.

My thinking is that the stock PS pump is insufficient to run a winch, but it could over a longer period of time pressurize an accumulator which could then be used when needed reducing the need for a secondary pump. I'm also told that the stock steering box is not happy with the kinds of pressures needed for a winch, which means just replacing the stock pump with a stronger one will result in a blown box (on a road vehicle still dependent on using a stock box vs full hydro) without fitting a pressure reducing valve system.

I'm good on the theory, it's the practical calculation of how much is needed, etc that I'm not so good on.

On a challenge vehicle with a PTO pump a similar setup could be used to store the power, then be able to use drive-assist while winching :)

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In my opinion it wouldn't be worth it on a vehicle winch system. I don't run a regulator on my winch system which if using an accumulator you'd be better off with (meaning you can charge the koomy to say 3,500psi then run your winch at 2,500psi sort of thing).

For the size of vessel and complexity involved i wouldn't bother.

At work we use accumulators for various reasons including dampening fluid flow from pumps or storing hydraulic energy to operate rams etc in the event of power failure.


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From my knowledge of hydrolics (it's ever increasing as a hydrolic fitter) you would need an acumulator about the size of your cab to actually give you an increase in effeciency or power. which also means weight and a high pressure charged cylinder. in a vehicle that has the potential to roll and bangs about quite alot I'd consider that a massive risk for so little gain. your better or making something with decent interchangable gears to increase power rather than doing it on the hydrolic side.

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Accumulators work well where;

1) Total flow/volume requirements are finite

2) Total flow/volume can be accomodated with the size of the accumulator

3) The duty cycle between flow and charge periods is low

All of the above are true for Tower Bridge, but none are true for a vehicle winch. As already mentioned above, the practicalities of making this work aren't too great.

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