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Cable Control vs Solenoid Control Amp Draw

Discussion in 'Western Plows Discussion' started by linckeil, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,265

    this year I swapped out my old tried and true cable control unit for a solenoid control pump from a unimount. maybe I'm imagining things, but my lights seem to dim a bit more and the volt gauge drops more with the unimount pump. I can't understand why that would be as both pumps use the same motor?

    or maybe its just a coincidence that my alternator may be on its last leg the first year I swap to the unimount pump?

    anyway, I figured I'd ask the question. so any reason the unimount pump would draw more amps than the cable control unit?
     
  2. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    Every plow is going to draw a little different current depending on the individual motor internal resistance and the drag of the plow's moving parts. The geometry of the lift ram and chain, for example. If the two plow's geometry is different the newer plow may move up faster but it will draw more current than the old one. As for the lights dimming I would be checking the connections at the battery. Dimming lights indicates to me that either you have a bad battery or there is an electrical bottle neck somewhere between battery and where the plow is connected. At idle the alternator isn't really doing anything and the battery should fill in. If the lights dim then the plow is drawing power faster than the battery can provide it simply because there is a voltage drop (resistance) somewhere. Look at the connections at your battery posts both pos and neg for loose, dirty or simply poor quality connections. Remember that steel bolts are not as good conductors as lead and copper so avoid making high current flow through the bolts. Try to get your terminals directly on the lead clamp or copper lugs.

    It could also be that your new pump motor is on it's last legs and simply drawing a crapload of current. That would do it too. Try measuring what it's actually drawing with a clamp on amp meter.
     
  3. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    I think the old cable control plow draw more amps then my ultra plows do
    Back then I had to run 2 batteries now never needed it now with the ultra mounts
     
  4. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,926

    To add to this. Do you know the history of the pump and motor?
    Do you have a good gnd and pwr at the pump?
     
  5. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,265

    it is just the pumps that have been switched - same plow, same mount, same geometry, same battery = same everything. all connections are clean and tight - every year they all get disconnected, cleaned, and resistance is checked.

    it sounds like you guys are saying that there shouldn't be any more draw from the unimount pump. so either I am imagining it, my alternator is on its way out, or my battery is on its last leg (although it cranks the engine over like new). I know autozone load tests batteries and alternators for free. maybe i'll bring them in for a test. if all checks out, then i'll swap the motor from my cable pump on and see if that changes anything.
     
  6. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    I think them old style pumps just draw more amps I'm glad I don't run any of them anymore
     
  7. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,265

    what i'm saying all along is that i think my older style cable pump is drawing LESS amps than my newer style solenoid pump.

    just trying figure out if the unimount solenoid pump does in fact pull more amps than a cable pump and thats just the way it is, or if i am having electical issues elsewhere.

    maybe your statement is in reference to the ultramount pumps versus all of the older pumps, but i'm talking strictly cable control pump vs a unimount pump.
     
  8. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,926

    Again what's the history of the unit?
     
  9. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Yes but its same pump Old Style They made 3 different sizes If I remember right
    Do you know what size you had vs the size you got now
     
  10. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,265

    history of the unimouint pump? was on a differnet truck that i ran as a backup for 5 years. saw limited use. junked truck 2 years ago. always worked fine on the few occasions it was needed. flushed and new fluid every year. lift time in 2 seconds, full angle to full angle in 4 seconds - all per western specs.

    as for the difference in internal pumps, yes there are 3 different pumps used throughout the years across the cable control and unimount style. all three are interchangable between housings, however the earliest style pump used an electric motor that was specific to it and could not be interchanged with later pumps - the pump/motor had to be swapped as a unit into different pump housings. both my cable control and solenoid setups utilize the newest style pump.

    while i appreciate the discussion, i'm not sure how any of this information will answer my question of whether or not a unimount pump draws more amps than a cable control unit? thats really all i need to know. if the answer is yes, then thats the way it is. if the answer is no, then i think i need to look into potential electrical issues elsewhere on the truck.
     
  11. chevboy167

    chevboy167 Member
    Messages: 96

    What Mishnick said. Buy or barrow a DC clamp on ammeter. The only true way to tell which pump/motor combo is pulling what for amps. I love ammeters! They are a MUST for propper diagnostic.
     
  12. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,926

    As a quick answer to you asking how some of this is relevant. Here's a pic of the inside of a motor that's only about 5 years old. It's shot.if the internals are rusted and corroded you'll have high amp draw issues

    IMAG1373.jpg
     
  13. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    I have never heard of different current draws between similar plows. Perhaps between a big heavy weight and a little HTS there would b a difference but not between cable and relay controlled.
    If u don't have a clamp on current meter u could try voltage drop tests to look for bad connections. Put a volt meter across from pos battery post to pos plow motor terminal and measure voltage difference while lifting plow. Zero would b awesome but 1/2 a volt is normal. More would explain dimming lights. Move the test points closer together and observe voltage change as u go. When u see a big change look at what u just took out of the test range and there is your bad connection. Do the same from neg battery post to motor neg terminal. This test is known as an "IR drop test". I is current, R is resistance. This is the voltage loss generated when current flows through a resistance.
     
  14. nealybird

    nealybird Senior Member
    Messages: 713

    the motor on a straight unimount and an 80's cable control plow, are the same motor. so there shouldn't be any change in amp draw. however when motors start going bad they draw more amps. so the one on your solenoid power unit might be going bad. you could swap it with your other one and see if that makes a noticable difference.
     
  15. BPS#1

    BPS#1 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,407

    I did a search, unable to locate numbers.

    What SHOULD the amp draw be???
    9' Hiniker scoop is hitting 138 to 148 amp draw on every straight lift.
    Had my wife run the controls and did 6 lifts with it.
    I've got the lights and blower motor dim real bad.
    I've done a bigger alt, big new batteries, cleaned the connections etc etc etc.
    Still happens.
     
  16. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,926

    You talking hiniker or Western?
     
  17. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    Initially the draw may go as high as 160 but should typically level off below 100 amps after overcoming the static resistance.
    Still could b a bad connection. Have u tried voltage drop tests?
     
  18. mishnick

    mishnick 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,243

    Also look to ensure your battery connections r copper to lead direct. If high current has to flow through a steel bolt it will create a bottle neck and cause a voltage drop. Steel is an ok conductor but not nearly as good as copper and lead. 1/4 ohm of resistance is enough to make lights dim when u pull 100 amps
     
  19. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    I'll venture the guess you are running ATF (in both pumps.)

    Change to premium plow fluid (Western, Boss, Snoway anything but ATF)


    Your old cable controlled pump had valve openings like your kitchen faucet,
    the Ultramount uses electric controlled valving that has openings the size of a IRS agent heart.

    The same pump and motor is trying to force the syrup like fluid though a MUCH smaller hole, therefore it has to work harder and longer to move the same amount of fluid. This will get worse as the temperature drops.

    Why electric valved units should run a premium plow fluid not ATF, it will operate faster, draw lower amps and increase the longevity of motor, pump and battery.

    Also make sure all amperage power/ground connections are directly to the battery and there is adequate wire between the battery and alternator.