I’m not talking about this old girl.
I love her, and we’re still lifting the heavier things in life together after 16 years.
I’m talking about this one.
(Believe it or not, the old girl was good with the joke. She’s awesome that way.)
So, we recently upgraded our pop up. The new-to-us one has a slide-out, which expands our living space. It also had a motorized winch to lift the roof, whereas our old one was a manual crank.
But, here’s the deal — many people would consider a motorized winch to be an upgrade. I don’t.
Here are the simple reasons I prefer a manual winch from a motorized one.
1. Batteries run out.
If your camp trips always include locations with electric hookups, a motorized winch may be perfect for you. But, if you like to camp off grid, a motorized winch can be a drag.
The motor runs off of electric or the battery. If electric is gone, you’re left with battery power. And if your battery goes kaput on a trip because you left something plugged in or because the battery is old, you may find yourself using the manual crank to lift the roof.
Motors are engineered for low resistance and high revolutions. That’s no big deal if the machine is doing it. But, cranking a motorized winch by hand would take over 2,000 revolutions and 45 minutes. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
2. Taking extra stuff sucks.
You could take a drill with a modified bit to lift the roof in a pinch if the battery dies. But, I try not to take extra items that I’ll rarely use. Weight accumulates quickly with little things here and there.
Sure, I know people who like to use a drill to lower their stabilizers. But, I don’t see the point when I can use a 1-pound crank to do the same job. I feel the same way about lifting the winch.
You could also jump a dead camper battery with your car battery via jumper cables. But, I keep the cables under the floor in the back of my SUV, and I don’t want to unload my entire cargo area to access the jumpers.
3. Motorized winches are annoying at home.
I like to properly maintain my battery. That means that when I’m at home, I remove the battery from the camper and put it on a battery maintainer.
If you decide you need to access the popup while the battery is removed, it can be annoying to have to attach the battery to lift the roof. With the manual winch, I can crank a couple of rotations and I’m in like Flynn.
4. I’m a fan of simple, reliable systems.
Motors mean more moving parts. More moving parts means more potential for something to go wrong. Keeping it simple means that there are fewer things to diagnose if something on the lift system ever goes awry.
So, I got rid of the winch.
I ordered an inexpensive manual winch, and she was ready to go in 10 minutes. Installation was a breeze. Three bolts held the old winch in place on the tongue of the camper. They fit the bolt holes on the new winch exactly.
I routed and attached the cable to the spindle of the new winch, and I was in business. (The wires were already free because I had disconnected the battery for charging. So, I simply pulled those loose from the wire housing. They weren’t spliced to any other wiring.)
Now, I’m back to the beauty of old school.
Simplicity is beauty.