How Do Mini Hand Winches Work?


Quick Answer

Mini hand winches work by using a small, rapidly rotating gear to turn a larger gear, which then turns the winch's spool and retracts the rope or cable attached to the winch. A winch allows an individual to pull substantially heavier loads than she could using only a handle attached directly to a spool.

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Full Answer

All winches work by taking advantage of the increased torque that results from using different gear ratios. When a person turns the crank on a winch, she turns a small gear that rotates at a high rate of speed. The small gear is attached to a much larger gear, which turns much more slowly. While the larger gear turns more slowly than the smaller gear, some of the smaller gear's rotational velocity gets converted to torque in the larger gear, which allows the winch to pull heavier objects.

Some mini hand winches have multiple gear speeds. Using the fast setting, these winches operate like a standard one-speed winch, and they can pull moderately heavy loads at a brisk rate. When switched to the slow setting, the winch turns much more slowly but uses a more powerful gear ratio, producing a substantially larger amount of torque and allowing even heavier loads.

Some winches use a worm gear system, where instead of a smaller gear turning a larger one, a screw turns the large gear. Worm gear drives have much higher gear ratios, meaning the screw has to turn many times to turn the larger gear once. This makes worm gear winches slower but more powerful than regular, planetary drive winches.

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