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Thread: Servo Winch Tutorial

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Burnaby, BC

    Default Servo Winch Tutorial

    This is a tutorial showing how to turn a servo into a winch.

    Start with a servo:

    Remove the access plate by unscrewing the four screws.

    Remove the two wires going to the motor. Heat the connection on the motor terminals with your soldering iron. Once the solder has melted, the wire should lift off.

    Now remove the screw that is holding the potentiometer in place. The potentiometer ("pot" for short) is the round device with three wires going to it. The screw has been removed in this photo. It was in the hole at the 5 o'clock position of the pot.

    Flip the servo over again so that the output shaft is on the top.

    Lift off the upper lid to expose the gears.

    What we need to do is get access to the output gear so that the pin that limits rotation can be removed. Just lift off the middle gear.
    If it is stuck on, a little careful prying with a small screw driver should help it off. This exposes the shaft of the pot.

    Press down on the pot shaft to help it slide out the bottom...

    ...which will allow you to remove the circuit board and pot from the servo case.

    The pin needs to be removed from the output gear. I like to use some sturdy side cutters to grip the pin while I hold the gear in my other hand. The pin is pressed in but you can work it loose with some twisting and pulling.

    Pin is out!

    Put the gears back in place.

    Place the top cover back on top of the gears. Note how there are brass bushings in the lid to support the gear pins. Some of the other TowerPro servos don't do this and tend to wear out quickly. This is one of my favorite of the inexpensive servos that are available.

    Flip the servo over again. This photo shows the winch controller ready to be installed.

    Before soldering in the winch controller, it is a good idea to make sure the motor terminals aren't too close to the motor case as they might short together.

    Carefully bend them up just a bit to be safe.

    Solder the winch controller output wires to the motor.

    The winch controller slides into the servo case.

    Screw the servo case back together.

    Ready for testing!

    I like to put some sealer around the opening for the servo wire to keep some of the water out of the servo. Here you see the winch and some other parts hanging up to dry.

    Attach your winch drum and some line and a hook and go pull something!
    Last edited by HeyOK; 01-06-2013 at 03:56 PM. Reason: fixed the order of a bunch of images!
    :biggthumpup:HeyOK Performance RC Electronics

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011


    Very cool, good tutorial!!! It clears up some questions I had about this!! Thanks!!!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Burnaby, BC


    You're welcome!

    Someone had a good point that I should include.
    Not all servos have their circuit board, motor and pot attached by wires. Some use a circuit board and those items are soldered directly to it. With those, you have to carefully locate and remove the solder from each item before lifting the board. The real risk is that you will not be able to find the correct pads to desolder and you will pry up the board and break the terminals from the motor.

    In this photo, the motor tabs are pointed out.

    :biggthumpup:HeyOK Performance RC Electronics

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