Guide to build your own e-Winch


Blog: Build your own Hangglider and Paraglider Winch

Update: 01/02-2023: New PLC-program and screendumps from it. The new program is more flexible, and can now handle different setups and different settings, which means only one program needs to be maintained, and it is easier to adapt to new software updates.

Update: 24/12-2022: New videos of wirecutter and splicing methode of wire.

Update: 12/12-2022: Stepper motor on testbench to verify the performance limits.

This is a guide to build an electric winch based on a wide range of easy accessible components.

It will be continuously updated.

System description

The thoughts behind the design, was to make a winch with optimal performance, flexible design, with minimum mechanical complexity and build by simple and cheap techniqes that everyone can do with basic tools, and by easy accessible components.


The speed of the drum motor is up to 3000 rpm, which is an optimal speed of a wide majority of motors.


We used 400VAC induction motors controlled by industrial frequency converter with torque limitation function. But is could also work with a PM-motor and drive from electrical go-carts etc.


A servomotor is used to wind up the wire in equal layers on the drum. The synchronization between sled and drum and the overall control of the winch is done by a industrial PLC, this could also be done by any other kind of controller.


The battery pack is based on lead acid batteries from UPS. Each battery has a voltage of 12V and 48 batteries are put in serial connection to have a total voltage end of charge voltage of 700VDC. A little ventilation channel is made to exhaust the gasses when charging.


The winch is mounted on a closed trailer to protect it from rain and to make it easily portable.


The wire cutter is based on a 25mm width hobby knife blade, which is placed in an angle 2 x 45° to the wire.


The main dimensions are based on the drum which is Ø125x1000mm. The height of the motor is 132mm from the feed to center of the shaft.

Main specifications and calculations


The most important questions are:
– How much force do you want?
– How much speed do you requirer?


Our expirences is 115kg for a tandem flight and 60km/h as max speed for both hanggliders and paragliders.


On the left side you can see the main specifications of the winch. If you change the numbers, you will see how they affects each other.


You can see more calculations under other pages, ie. more specific motor and drive calculations and calculations of battery consumption.


Calculations on “Next” page is related to the PLC-program and the programming of the zig-zag pattern.