The devil is in the detail

The history of the Dragon Winch brand dates back to early 90s. Since that time, winch models of the brand have evolved and been subject to some modifications. This applies to winches for ATVs, off-road vehicles, commercial vehicles and low trucks. In the meantime, several importers offering cheaper products have emerged on the market. We have decided to take a closer look at one of such models. For comparison, we purchased a winch with a declared pull of 13,000 lbs, i.e. 5,896 kg. We will disclose neither the importer nor the name under which the winches are sold, but we can tell the price which is about 1,300 PLN. We have compared it with our latest DRAGON WINCH DWM 13000 HD. To distinguish the winches, we named our competitors product “HIPER SUPER”.

I. WINCH DESIGN

The overall dimensions of both winches are similar and they are 540 mm x 160 mm x 160 mm. Add about 80 mm to that, which is the height of the relay box. What is striking for sure is the colour. DRAGON WINCH products cannot be confused with any other brand, here for the MAVERICK line, a black and red high gloss finish is reserved, whereas the HIPER SUPER is dominated by a grey, mat finish. Apart from the gear lever (more about this later), the relay boxes are positioned differently. In DRAGON WINCH DWM 13000 HD, the relay is mounted directly on the motor body.

The HIPER SUPER 13000 has the relay box mounted above the winch drum. The relays are connected to the motor with cables. DRAGON WINCH uses this solution in weaker models of the MAVERICK line, i.e. DWM 8000 HD, DWM 10000 HD and DWM 12000 HD. Both solutions have theirstrong and weak points. With a relay mounted directly on the motor, cable clutter is avoided and you have a clear vision over the winch drum and how the rope is being wound on it. On the other hand, relays mounted above the drum are in a box which is easy to move out of the winch.

II. ACCESSORIES

DRAGON WINCH set
DRAGON WINCH can be ordered in one of a variety of configurations. For comparison, we have chosen one of them:

DRAGON WINCH 13000 HD with steel rope and relay box

roller guide with counter-bolts

hook

rubber wired remote control

wireless control – remote control

bolts

ground cable

multi-language user manual in Emglish with CE Declaration

5 year warranty

mounting plate for proper installation of the winch and roller guide

8T head block which allows doubling the winch pull

a shackle necessary to use the head block

current breaker – emergency switch

waterproof cover for the winch, marked with DRAGON WINCH logo

THE PRICE INCLUDING SHIPPING – 1590 PLN
The HIPER SUPER winch was delivered configured as follows:

winch with steel rope and relay box

roller guide secured with snap rings

hook

wired remote control

wireless remote control

bolts

ground cable

a photocopy of manual in Polish

24 month warranty

no CE Declaration of conformity although it is indicated by stickers on the winch, and no specification

THE PRICE INCLUDING SHIPPING – 1300 PLN
To equip the HIPER SUPER winch with extras, you should assume the following cost:

mounting plate ~ 149 PLN

8T head block ~ 79 PLN

shackle ~ 30 PLN

current breaker ~ 40 PLN

winch cover ~ 40 PLN

SUM: 338 PLN + shipping.

After deduction of this amount we receive the HIPER SUPER price of PLN 1,638.

HIPER SUPER set

TO SUM UP:

DRAGON WINCH 13000 HD
1590 PLN
HIPER SUPER 13000 HD
1638 PLN
ROLLER GUIDE

The HIPER SUPER winch comes with lower quality rollers, secured only with snap rings, worth roughly 70 PLN. If you decide to replacethem with counter bolts, you will have to pay about 140 PLN. For comparison, let’s assume you are lucky enough to exchange the rollers purchased with bolted ones at an extra fee of 70 PLN. All that makes the amount of 1708 PLN.

NOTE ALSO THAT:

DRAGON WINCH comes with a rubber remote control with a convenient switch. With this switch, the winch can be operated even in thick gloves.

There is 5-year warranty granted for DRAGON WINCH. Shipping to and from DRAGON WINCH service under warranty is free.

The HIPER SUPER winch comes with a plastic wired remote control which breaks into pieces when it falls on the ground or is driven on.

The HIPER SUPER winch comes with a 24-month warranty. The customer pays for shipping to the service.

III. THE RELAY

As mentioned above, each winch has the relays positioned differently. Let us take a look inside the relay box. Dragon Winch DWM 13000 HD uses a contactor type relay. The contactor is an electromagnetic switch that transfers power supply to the motor. It also serves as a circuit breaker and protects the winch motor from overheating and damage. When a critical temperature is reached by the winch motor, the contactor cuts the power off. It is able to check when the power supply can be restored. Another advantage of a contactor is its splash resistant enclosure and long life. Dragon Winch uses contactors also in Truck and Highlander winch lines. They are also found in some Maverick models. In the HIPER SUPER winch, solenoid relays are installed. They are based on coils which generate electromagnetic field to form the winch circuit. The solenoid housing is by no means protected against water. An unquestionable advantage of solenoids is that they come in pairs, but usually fail individually. In the case of a failure, it is enough to replace only one, which will for sure minimise the operating cost.

DRAGON WINCH
KONTAKTOR type relay
HIPER SUPER
SOLENOID type relay

IV. MOTOR & BRAKE

WINCH MOTOR

Dragon Winch has a steel motor body. The motor is sealed, so it remains clean and dry even after many years of use in extreme conditions.

 

The HIPER SUPER motor, unfortunately, is not sealed. There is also much to be desired about the motor itself and its rotor. It’s size indicates much lower power than that found in Dragon Winch. There is no doubt which motor is more powerful when comparing both. The power of the Dragon Winch DWM 13000 HD motor is 6.8 HP.

WINCH BRAKE

The brake of Dragon Winch is a separate construction and it is located in the winch drum. On the motor shaft, there is a socket-coupling connecting the motor with the brake. There are 3 friction liners similar to those used in disc brakes. The brake causes the liners to rub against the drum and stop unwinding the rope.

The brake of the HIPER SUPER winch is a simple construction mounted to the motor. There is no brake in the drum. This solution will encounter difficulty at the first climb.

V. GEAR UNIT

The first difference in both gears is the weight. Just this fact makes us think a lot about the quality of both gears. Dragon Winch has a much heavier steel gear than that in the HIPER SUPER winch. A complete gear of Dragon Winch DWM 13000 HD weighs 8.74 kg, whereas that of the HIPER SUPER weighs only 6.26 kg. Okay, you can say this is because of the rope release lever or the gear legs. It is not much better after removing those parts. The HIPER SUPER winch still shows material deficiencies. For the Dragon Winch, in this form it is 7.81 kg vs. 5.37 kg in the HIPER SUPER. After dismantling the gear housing, the individual wheels of the planetary gear are put on the scale. Visually they are similar. The material in both Dragon Winch and HIPER SUPER is steel. However, the scale tells the truth. The quality of the materials used is shown with no mercy. In Dragon Winch, the weight is 5.61kg, in HIPER SUPER 4.85kg.

The new Dragon Winch models are provided with new rope release levers, as in the presented model DWM 13000 HD. This means two things: comfort and safety. The lever can be released at any time, just lift and turn. Then the spring in the knob disengages the locking pin of the gear. There is no need to rotate the drum to “hit” the release point as is the case in the HIPER SUPER unit. The new lever complies with safety standards as it cannot be accidentally activated. While in the HIPER SUPER winch the lever can be accidentally pushed and turned, this is virtually impossible in the Dragon Winch units. The motor can be started or stopped only by purposeful action.

CONCLUSION

Dragon Winch is present in over 30 countries worldwide. It offers manual and electric winches for rated voltage 12, 24 and 230 V. Winches with pull from 125 kg to 9000 kg are found in the range.Those include mobile winches, for ATVs, commercial vehicles, low trucks and roadside assistance tractors, off-road vehicles, boats, trailers and for the construction industry. Note also that Dragon Winch offers hydraulic winches.