WinchFrequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Please read this article to better understand how your Atlas winch will perform in a variety of situations. If you do not understand the concepts presented in this article; please do not buy our Atlas winch.

Typically, most winch manufacturers will suggest you should calculate the winch rating by taking the vehicle weight and multiplying it by 1.5 and that would be your minimum winch size. But this minimum rating is just that, a minimum. Certain factors can quickly cause your winch capacity to be exceeded so you need to think about your intended usage. Click here for more information.

No! A winch is designed for pulling (moving rolling weight) NOT lifting and supporting "dead weight". The braking system incorporated in a winch is not designed to work effectively on pulling angles greater than 45 degrees. Click here for more information.

AOPS stands for Atlas Overload Protection System and was engineered and incorporated to prevent the winch operator from destroying a winch motor or winch gearbox because of improper use. Click here for more information.

Do not shift in and out of gear while the motor is turning the spool or gears. (This will strip the gears and damage the gearbox). This abuse is not covered under warranty. The clutch handle controls the engagement of the gears. If the clutch handle will not move (shift the gears) then gently rock the wire rope spool with your other hand. (This movement will help to align the gears and allow the sliding gear to engage or disengage the main planetary gear set).

our battery is low or bad, causing the winch to draw too many amps.
Connections could be loose or dirty.

  • The ground connection is bad. (Do you have a ground connection?)
  • The electric cables could be corroded.
  • Check all cables and repair or clean as necessary.
  • Always operate the winch with the vehicle's motor running.
    (Battery is being charged and full amp power is being delivered to the winch).
  • You are running the winch motor for a longer period than the recommended duty cycle. Only run the winch motor for a minute or two at a time. Allow the motor to "rest" between run times. This will keep the motor from overheating.

The solenoid has contacts inside which can wear out over time. If the solenoids flutter with the wired remote, there is a loose or broken wire either in the wired remote or control box. If the solenoids flutter with the wireless remote, the remote's transmitter batteries could be low. There could be an obstruction between the transmitter and receiver at the winch. You are too far away; stand within 10 feet with a clear line of site, and then slowly move away to understand the range of your remote. If the solenoids stick (closed), the winch motor will continue to run. If the solenoids stick (open), the winch motor will not work. In both cases, replace the solenoids.

This could be because of the angle at which the cable comes into the fairlead, and then onto the spool. Always exert some pressure (tension) on the cable as it is being retrieved onto the spool. The wire cable should spool evenly across the face of the spool. If the cable is not spooling correctly, freewheel some cable off the spool and start the process again. Cable that has been damaged should be replaced. (The pulling capacity of the wire rope has been compromised).

If you have retrieved a vehicle up an incline (or pulled your vehicle-with the winch attached to the front bumper-up an incline), the power out function of the cable may not work if there is still a "load force" on the wire cable. The winch is designed to pull vehicles. Many people use the winch as a "tie-down" after the "pulling" is done. Greg Smith Equipment recommends that other "tie down" methods be used rather than the winch cable. If you are using your winch as a "tie down", then you must relieve cable tension for the wire cable to be "free spooled" or powered out. The brake action of the Atlas winch is working properly, and not allowing the winch cable to be pulled from the spool. If you were pulling a vehicle on level ground (not up an incline), then once the "pulling action" stopped, the winch cable could be powered out; because there would be NO tension on the cable….. and the brake would not be engaged. It may be difficult to “un-weight” a vehicle on an incline…but it must be done to disengage the brake and allow the cable to be powered out. Think of a tightly stretched ratchet strap being used to "tie down" and object. The teeth of the ratchet act like the "brake" of the winch. You must "pull back" on the metal ratchet ears of the ratchet to disengage the ratchet teeth; so that the strap may be loosened. Same theory applies to a winch cable that is attached to load exerting force on the wire rope.