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Puma ground/short ???? through handbrake cable , any help please

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A few weeks ago, I fitted a new winch onto my Defender, sat back and thought what a great job, that was until I used it for the first time, smoke cloud filled the cab, turned it off and could see smoke rising from the handbrake rubber shroud, hand brake was slack, on inspection the cable was broken and the insulation on the handbrake switch wire burnt away.

In my infinite wisdom I put the proverbial 2 and 2 together and thought, handbrake had snapped and shorted out the switch. So off I went for a new cable, I fitted in and again was happy, I know you are already thinking ( I bet it did it again ), to my horror, same thing happened again.

Winch is wired direct + and - from battery with 16mm cable.

By using google I came across a similar problem and they said it was a poor ground on either engine or chassis or both and that truck then uses the handbrake cable as ground. I can see the logic, but when the winch has its own direct supply from the battery how could this be the problem.

I have checked all ground connections, cleaned and also run another 16mm cable from - on battery to the engine/gearbox and linked to the chassis, but I don't have the nuts to try it :blush: Am I barking up the right or wrong tree.

Any help would be really appreciated

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Sounds like you have checked all the normal stuff and with a new engine to battery earth I'd give it a try , maybe disconnect the handbrake

cable to be double sure .

Have you had any other electric problems lately ?



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i'd bet you that the earth between your engine and chassis or chassis to battery has failed. now bear with me... i know your winch is earthed directly to your battery... but is your alternator? with your alt running at max output to keep up with winch draw id bet that with a bad earth it would melt the handbrake cable quite nicely.... i put a earth from the gearbox bellhousing bolts to the chassis and from the chassis to the battery when i rewired my 200tdi conversion.... works well.

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Hi Bowie69

Negative lead 16mm from battery direct to the body of winch ( Superwinch Talon 12.5 ) as per their installation guide

Hi qwakers

I have fitted new ground connections to engine/gearbox and to chassis but Im after re-assurance before I try again, but after all the comments, I think I should be ok, I will nervously try later in the week as in my haste to disconnect everything I left the pendant hanging on a tree ( it has been collected ) so as soon as I have tried I will report back ( good or bad )

thanks to all, your help is both valuable and appreciated

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as a example my 8500 Husky is wired like this.

12v power from dedicated winch battery +ve terminal to input of a isolator switch, from output side of isloator to switching solenoid pack [Albright unit] then out to the winch motor connections,

Earth is from winch motor body/bumper then from bumper to battery -ve terminal, not given any problems since fitting a few years ago.

the engine to chassis earth cable has been upgraded & vehicle battery to gearbox is thicker than original factory fitted cable.

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Ok, it's update time

I couldn't wait until Friday, so at dinner I popped out to pick up the hand pendant, the problem has vanished, nothing heating up, smelling, just the winch working as it should. I should have had more confidence, but I've learned something, so not a complete waste.

It may even help someone else.

So thanks for all the help and advice, as I've already said it's much appreciated.

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Glad to hear you got your problem fixed :)

But to back track a little to a point Bowie made... He asked if your cable is 16mm square, or 16mm in diameter. There is a huge difference. If it's 16mm square that's really too small and will surely cause a lot of resistance/heat if your having to use your winch hard. If it's 16mm diameter then that's more like it. So long as it's good quality multi-strand.

16mm diameter.. http://www.12voltplanet.co.uk/extra-flexible-tinned-copper-pvc-battery-cable-70mm-485a.html

16mm square.. http://www.12voltplanet.co.uk/extra-flexible-tinned-copper-pvc-batterywelding-cable-16mm-110a.html

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I'd still double check everything TBH as I can't imagine some friendly gremlin has fixed it for you ;) You might find the problem arises again due to it being an intermittent fault.

As an aside and more than likely unconnected with this particular issue I've read of several instances of the negative battery terminal that have been found loose causing all sorts of intermittent issues..

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Cable is 16mm (2) ,double insulated, so will take plenty of amps.

No. It will not. If you look at the links I posted you will find that good quality 16mm squared will only take a continuous 110A.

Nowhere near enough for a winch..

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There are 2 ways (actually loads of them includin the swa scale...)of measuring the size of a cable and manufacturers seem to swap between them at will... 1st is cable size and the other is conductor size. If yours is measured as cable size then 16mm2 includes the insulation, so nowhere bear large enough for a winch. However if it's s 16mm2 conductor then that is probably big enough... ( not having google it to check). However the longer the cable is the larger it wants to be. So although 16mm2 conductor is ok for the winch to the solenoid, out of caution I'd go at least double that for the feed and the earth.

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